A Chapter of Vintage
Thunderbird Club International, Inc. (VTCI)
Celebrating Mid Kansas
Vintage Thunderbird Club's 20th year!!
Loses Charter Member:
club was saddened to hear of the passing of Leon Cotton
at Clearwater, Kansas on May 6,2012, at age 86.
Leon and Mildred, along with son Greg Cotton
were among the group
who met at Potbelly’s Restaurant in 1992 and formed
Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbird Club,
at that time a chapter of Heartland VintageThunderbird
Leon and Mildred were mainstays
of our club up through
the 90’s and their beautiful
1965 Hardtop was a part of
every club event we had in Wichita,
and most of the annual
events at Kansas City.
They participated in the Hannibal
in 2004, all of our Dream
Car Shows and other club events.
Leon and Mildred were always supportive of
the Lake Afton
All Wheels Rally, and a relative told
that although Mildred did
not like heat, she was always
among the first to arrive at a car
show to support Leon in his
Leon and Mildred also participated
regularly at All Ford Day,
and loved to visit with club members
and others in the comfort of the
shelter house around our annual pot luck
Kansas native, Leon was born in Adams, Kansas and lived in the Viola and
area for most of his adult life. Leon knew how to work with his hands
and worked not only the oil fields, but other skilled jobs including
Chemicals from which he retired. Leon lost Mildred, his wife of 64
years only a
few months ago and only his own failing health kept Leon from participating
in our more recent meetings and events. Leon had told others he still enjoyed
chapter Newsletters as a way to keep up on what we were doing and we
continued sending them to Leon.
The church at Clearwater where Leon’s funeral was held, was nearly
filled with relatives and friends,and Leon’s ’65 Thunderbird, immediately
hearse led the procession out to the cemetery.
Leon was particularly proud of his Thunderbird and his eyes would sparkle
told how he had found it.
He enjoyed showing its unique original remaining factory tags and markings
Leon’s ’65 will be leaving our area, now in the capable
hands of daughter and son-in-law Dana and Robert Fitzsimmons, Clearwater
and Conway Springs natives now residing in Winfield, Missouri.
Our club members Prez Rod, Larry Fichter, and Richard Carlisle visited
Fitzsimmons family at Leon’s funeral are relieved that the car will
continue to receive the attention and care that Leon and Mildred gave to
it. We look forward to seeing the car again at VTCI events.
of ’65 Convertibles:
sat in an older gentleman’s back yard and shed for several years before
David Dannels, in partnership with the late
Fall located and bought a much neglected ’65 Thunderbird Convertible.
April and Grandsons Alec and Austin have also been helpful when available.
engine would turn over and the top motor
would growl when the boys brought it home
with no definite plans for its future.
David already had one ’65 Convertible and at that
time Kress had two Thunderbirds under roof.
Along came Sal DeLucia who bought the ’65 from the
partners and parked it along with his other
works in progress.
Sal has had a rough work schedule at Hawker Beechcraft for the last
few years and never got around to doing what he planned with the car.
In 2011, Sal sold it to new Vintage club member Carl Marts. Carl already
had a ’64 HT in the works but quickly shifted his time and talents to the
Making this car presentable was a major challenge, but Carl has
an extensive mechanical background and has a knack for enlisting help from
Carl has been making steady progress on the ’65 and with the help of
Henry Messerschmidt and Larry Fichter, has done some heavy
duty work on the body.
This includes rust repairs to the floor pans, rocker panels, some sheet
This includes some custom metal fabrication by Henry using some snazzy
tools and equipment he owns.
Carl also has the upholstery rounded up along with other soft trim.
Don’t know the time schedule of Carl’s ’65 but looks like one of these
days we will be seeing another ‘65 convertible among our flock
of ‘Birds; a convertible that without the enthusiasm and dedication
of a few ‘Bird lovers would have still been parked in some old
gentleman’s back yard.
little investigation shows Carl’s Thunderbird left Wixom, Michigan on August
21, 1965 destined for Ford’s Los Angeles sales district.
It would be interesting to know the 1,000 stories of where the car
went between that time and the few years ago when the boys found
it in Wichita looking for a new owner.
But regardless of where it has been, we now where it is going—to some
car events with the club!
The mission of the Vintage Thunderbird Club International is, “to encourage
the preservation and enjoyment of all models of Ford
Thunderbird—one of America’s most beloved automobile nameplates.”
The purpose for our Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbird Club , as stated
in our By-Laws is, “…the preservation, restoration
and enjoyment of Thunderbird automobiles built by Ford Motor Company
from 1955 through 2005.
The prime objective of this club is to promote social activity and
cooperation among its members and interest and enjoyment of the hobby…”
So take your pick, whether it be the mission of the VTCI, or the
mission of our own Mid-Kansas Vintage club, Carl, Henry, and Larry
are good examples of what both clubs are all about.
Friends helping friends with a common goal in mind;
put a Thunderbird back into use as close to its original condition
as possible, for the benefit of the club, its members, and an admiring
We will catch up with the Thunderbird a few months from now, and fill
you in on its progress.
(Subtitle, “Wish I Would Have
Said That!" )
How many times have you seen something in print which
what you have thought, but somebody else put it into words?
time the “wish I had said that” is on the
of car colors. A few issues back, Editor-In-Chief Richard Lentinello wrote
an article in Hemmings Classic Cars about the absence of pretty colors
cars. In the current issue of Hemmings Classic Cars, Richard published
51 of the
responses received in response to the article.
Here are just two of them
the cars of the mid-20th Century, modern cars have no discernable lines,
or design separations that lend themselves to two-tone color schemes,
unlike the ‘two and three box’ styles
that we know and love. Lee Fowble, Edmonds, Washington”
1970’s in many ways, were the best years as far as colors and choices of
almost any individual options to add to your cars—not like today’s take-it-or-leave-it
$3,000 package options.
in mind, the ‘70’s also had cars with pinstripes, vinyl tops, many choices
of engine and transmission options, wheel covers and nice rims. It
was very hard to find any two new cars with
the same color combinations and options. As for me, if I’m going to spend
$40-$50K for a new car, I want to be noticed!
Zelhofer, Sussex, Wisconsin”
Classic Car, July, 2012, pages 38-42)
I’d have said that!
Dues Membership and Numbers:
due date came and went, and many club members paid their dues as required.
You will notice we
“many” and not “all” members paid. That means that if you have not paid
your dues, please contact Lynda promptly and make arrangements because
we cannot afford to lose any more members.
Mid-Kansas Thunderbird Car College is offering a course (non-credit) to
knowledge of that well known invention, the Automobile
is the correct definition, as printed in
Hemmings Motor News Collector Car Encyclopedia:
“Body featuring frameless
doors and no B Pillar (center roof support) that allows for continuous
A Pillar at the windshield frame, to the C Piller
at the rear of the body
when both the front and rear windows are rolled down.”
Everybody knows that when the side windows and
quarter windows are rolled down on a convertible with its top UP,
post or B Pillar) it makes a very attractive look.
the mid 40’s somebody
discovered that if you were to take a standard convertible with roll-up
windows and simply fashion a steel, permanent top for it you had all the
looks of a convertible with the safety and comfort of a closed car.
Cadillac came out with a hard top convertible, followed quickly in 1950
by other GM cars such as the Pontiac, Olds, and Chevy.
The others scrambled to
follow—Ford with its 1951 Victoria, Mercury and Lincoln with 1952 “hardtop
Convertibles” and also Dodge and Plymouth.
They sold like hotcakes and before
long, everybody had a “Hardtop,” (proper noun) which was short for a hard
topped convertible. Our 1958-1982 Thunderbirds are Hardtop Convertibles.
you see an ad in the paper that says, “For Sale, 1962 Thunderbird Coupe”
you know that is the wrong term.
Rod Wake, Mid-Kansas President
as May was for our club, June promises to be filled with activities.
Lake Afton, and the North Central VTCI Regional Convention at Des Moines
are coming right up.
Next Newsletter will be bulging at the seams with Thunderbird news.
In the meantime, we need to take care of business and rake in
all the outstanding dues.
Lynda is ready, willing, and able to accept and deposit dues so we
will know what assets we have for the rest of the year.
monthly meeting at Spears this month.
We will be touching briefly on business items at the Lake Afton Show.
I had our banner updated at Quick Signs, to properly show our VTCI affiliation,
and our correct Website
address and you need to check it out at Lake Afton where it will
be prominently displayed.
Forget our Parent Club:
If you have not yet
joined VTCI, please take this opportunity to do so.
To those of you who have
not yet joined, you can get your application from www.vintagethunderbirdclub.org
or ask Prez for an application.
We simply cannot afford
to lose our affiliation with VTCI!
forget who helps make all our activities possible;
Thunderbird Club International, Inc.
you do not belong to VTCI, join today!
Now, a Word From Our VTCI Regional Director:
club is in the North Central VTCI Region, and Ed Elzinga, from Holland,Michigan
our VTCI North Central Regional Director.
is a great guy who owns a few Thunderbirds including an ultra rare ’58
recently wrote to all club presidents in our Region:
all Chapter Presidents,
please pass the following email and attachment along to your newsletter
to promote the VTCI. If you have club members who are not yet
VTCI members pleaseencourage
them to join.
The VTCI is a family oriented club and we need to bring the younger
into the club to keep it going.
of the benefits of being a member of the VTCI is meeting new people and
finding new friendsfrom
across the country and the world. My wife, Sandy, and I have found
some lasting friendshipsthat
we would have never had if it wasn’t for the VTCI.
benefit is receiving the award winning “Thunderbird Scoop” which comes
scoop keeps you up to date on all of the activities through the year, gives
you tech articlesabout
your Thunderbird, lets you know where you can find parts to restore that
Thunderbird parts and memorabilia, and shows what other chapters are doing.
you have questions or comments please let me know.
Elzinga VTIC North Central Regional Director
address: 17040 Ransom Street, Holland , MI 49424
In All The World:
The Newsletter continues its series picturing Thunderbirds
seen around the VTCI Regional and International Circuit as well as local
With each Thunderbird featured, you should see
why the Vintage Ford Thunderbird is considered to be “Unique
In All The World!”
about unique, this 1960 Thunderbird is particularly unique as only 2,536
of them with sliding sunroof were produced for the ’60 model only.
The sliding metal panel was installed offsite by American
Specialty Company as designated ‘Birds were on their way from Budd Stamping’s
assembly line to Ford’s Wixom assembly line.
The Sunroof Thunderbirds were not given separate model
numbers, and were also treated to a unique windbar and stanchions to reduce
highway wind noise.
This special feature cost the buyer another $242.00 in
1959/60 dollars, but is worth ‘way more than that in
The specimen featured here was on
hand at the Hoosier Vintage Thunderbird Club’s 2011 VTCI Regional Convention
at Fort Wayne, Indiana in June, 2011.
and International Conventions:
By the time you receive the next Newsletter, Prez, Secretary,
Treasurer and Larry will have
attended the North Central Regional Convention at Des
The Convention will be June 21-24 and the aforementioned
officers will be taking Retros to the
We’ll tell you all about it next issue.
In the meantime, Vice President Mike took a road trip
to Minden, Nebraska to meet with the Rocky Mountain Chapter in touring
fabulous museum complex there, along with some Thunderbird
fun and fellowship.
Mike will be reporting on that trip, also.
Events We plan to Support….a definite
the February meeting we reviewed upcoming events listed by the Wichita
Area Car Club Council and chose those whichthe
majority wished our club to support with a good presence. This list also
includes events which may have cropped up since thatmeeting.
10: Lake Afton All Wheels Rally
sponsored by the
Mid-Kansas VintageThunderbird Club and the Wichita Classic Thunderbirds.
In other words, …..US!
said, Be there! Prez Rod and Prez Royce will be there ahead of time making
an attempt to
save a large area for our Thunderbirds!
See you all there!
Father’s Day at the Zoo.
Participate individually if you can work it
into your Father’s Day plans
Away to Io-way"
North Central VTCI Convention
at Des Moines.
Registration and details about the weekend are in the latest issue
of The Thunderbird Scoop, and/or ask Prez for a copy.
Bird Watchers Alert!
you see this one?
Sunday, April 29, Davis Moore’s
Ad showed as follows:
02 Ford Thunderbird,
miles. Whisper white with Torch red interior and a
Whisper white removable
hardtop. Well equipped in dual
power leather seats,
6-disc in dash CD, Traction control,
and much more. This
one has the storage cart for the top,
and the original window
sticker in the glove box. Was
$40,245 new, now only$24,922
Marts reports that Hambelton LaGreca has two Retro
Birds in inventory;
a Merlot and a Torch Red one.
for one and not certain
about the other one.
A yellow 2002
Thunderbird became available at a dealer in
Goddard, but was gone
by the time Darryle Barth could get
there to check it out.
is the main reason the Newsletter
almost quit listing them altogether…they are usually
before the Newsletter comes out!
Big Bird Bazaar:
Parts and Services
or sources of service for our Birds are free to club members, but business
card size ads run $60 per year.
less than $5 per issue ‘cause we usually run 14 editions per year.
What have you to sell?
& Misc For Sale:
Pearl Beige interior
Lee and Rosemary Hufford
802 E. Madison
Local supplier for Smithy’s
and similar street rod
Marts spotted a
1964 Thunderbird HT:
brakes, carburetor rebuild.
Moler saw this one on the Internet: 1965
Aqua Blue HT
says it looks nice in the picture
This just in!! Curt and Diana Rakestraw
selling their 2002 Retro Bird.
Torch Red hardtop,
Torch Red body, and black soft top.
Red and Black two tone
interior and all the accessories.$24,000.00.
Located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Evening Black, both
chrome wheels, 49,000 miles.
Drivers seat worn a bit.
Carfax shows a salvage title
because of an accident at 326 miles—right front fender replaced, but owner
says no problems with the car.
Evening Black (Gads, that sounds sexy!) with special
upgrade sand interior. Both tops.
14,000 miles and factory fresh all over. $29,500 call
Chris Cushman 316-648-2444.
Now folks, you won’t find a nicer black Retro ‘Bird.
In a later correspondence, Chris told Pres, “…it is for
sale and I want to be fair on the price to the
new owner and myself.”
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