Tbird Times page JPEG
051819 010
011208 004b
2007 Early Bird Back-cover

Tribute Photo Album of Russ Dolbear    1950 - 2023

      The Virginia Classic Thunderbird Club will meet on Saturday October 14, 2023, at the Spring Run Vineyards Beginning at 11:30 A. M.

      Spring Run Vineyards is family-owned boutique winery in Chesterfield, Virginia. They are not normally open on Saturday so VCTC will have the entire facility to ourselves. They have a beautiful outdoor patio area overlooking the vineyards and well-appointed indoor area if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Spring Run currently has 7 different wines available, including a pumpkin flavored for fall.

      The Hillmans will provide brisket, chicken, sausage, soft drinks, and bottled water. Attendees will be asked to provide side dishes to supplement the main course. A charge of $12/person will be levied to cover the rental cost.

      Spring Run Vineyards is located at 10700 Spring Run Road, Chesterfield, Va. 23832.  Their website is springrunvineyards.com

      You can get directions from the website or your friendly GPS.     Any issues please contact Lynn at:     lm_hillman@mac.com

      Please RSVP to this event to Carrie Hillman at     cp_hillman@mac.com  with what you would like to provide.

We look forward to a large group on October 14.

Carrie & Lynn

CTCI Early Bird Back-cover Photo 2007

January - February 2007

Back Cover Car

A Caboose and a 'Bird in the Backyard—Doesn't everybody have one?

     If it weren't for my love of electric and real trains, we would never have gotten into Thunderbirds. It all started in 1998 when I began a part-time auction business to help people liquidate electric train collections. I called my company The Wooden Caboose, Inc. Two years later, it came to my attention that a real wooden caboose within 30 miles of my house was in jeopardy of being scrapped by the City of Richmond, Virginia. They wanted it off their property at no liability to the City.  After discussions with the decision makers at City Hall, I purchased the 1942, wood-sided caboose formerly used by the Richmond Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, for ONE DOLLAR. I set the ties, laid the rails, and then paid $4,500.00 to move it. My local county had to authorize the move, so an additional $1,217.50 was spent, and the move was made.

     I removed the plywood siding on the rear of the caboose and discovered original graphics on the original tongue and groove wood siding beneath. Being a draftsman for 30 years, I duplicated those graphics, made templates, and recreated them on the plywood side you see in the photo, Built in 1942, retired in 1969, it is somewhat rare as most surviving cabooses are steel, not wood.

     Years later, I attended an estate auction held by the widow of a deceased friend and fellow train collector, as we had discussed the possibility of auctioning her husband's train-related items through our company. That is where I came across my first Tbird. A red 1956, unrestored, jewel in-the-rough which looked great from 15 feet away, was on the block and after the bidding settled down, I raised my little ol’ hand one time and ended up buying our first T-Bird. I didn't have the courage to tell my wife what I had done for a couple weeks, as I cleared out a spot in garage to bring her home. A visiting fellow train collector accidentally broke the news to my wife, asking, "How do you like your new Thunderbird?" The cat was out of the bag. Alice never warmed up to the Redbird, due to the way it came into the family. But we enjoyed taking her out for long drives. You can read about our exploits in the July-Aug 2003 issue of the EarlyBird when we took our bucket of bolts on a three hour one-way drive to Callao for a parade at the invitation of long time members Lew and Jane Wright, CTCI #7867.

     I was cruising around the Internet one day looking at Thunderbirds for sale and Alice happened to pass behind me, and she commented, "Oh that’s a pretty one, we should get that one!" You could have knocked me over with a feather! My Alice, interested in another Thunderbird? I didn't need to hear it twice. I started searching for a restored '56. Enter our purchase, a 1956 Thunderbird Green (Sage Green interior) built only 11 days after our original Redbird in March of 1956. It was restored by a Volvo Museum in Illinois, was purchased by a pilot and his wife back in the mid-nineties, and then went with them to Tennessee when they moved. It was for sale on eBay, and we bid on it, but someone outbid us by $100.00 at the last minute. However, neither of us had met the reserve, so there was no sale. The high bidder had zero feedback on eBay, and we had over 300 transactions with 100% positive feedback on eBay, so the owners of the "GREEN HORNET” (my nickname for our new car) contacted us with a SECOND CHANCE OFFER. After some photo exchanges, phone calls, and lots of questions, we officially bought the car on July 4, 2006. We trucked it in, sight unseen and with the exception of a tapping noise in engine, which we can’t decide if it is a lifter, valve guide, or rocker arm, we have enjoyed "OLIVE OIL" (Alice's nickname for the Green Hornet!)

     Help us decide what we should call our new baby. Drop us a line at wooden-caboose@att.net. We really enjoy our friends at Chapter 36 CTCI and look forward to years of T-Birding here in the Commonwealth Of Virginia.

     Stay safe everybody. Cordially,                                       Russ and Alice Dolbear

                                                                                                    CTCI #32754 Chester, Virginia

     Russ had the honor of having his car photo grace the back-cover of CTCI's Early Bird magazine. Here is what Russ submitted, and was published that month:

*** Russ Dolbear Tribute ***

(see Photo page below)

Footnote:  President's Message page is a "throw-back" to the original T-Bird Times newsletter.


Trophy Award History

                  The idea for a ”most miles driven” trophy began back  in 2006. Then VCTC President, Fred Schmoyer thought it would be fun to have a friendly competition to promote driving of our classics. Our trophy was designed and crafted by club members George Lake and Fred Schmoyer.

                  Mileage is tracked for Classic Tbirds driven to club events simply by noting the mileage from member’s home to the club meeting location using Google Maps.  The noted mileage is doubled to create a round-trip total and then tabulated.  The club member who travels the most miles for the year has their name placed on the trophy and is awarded The Trophy for a year.


      Some of you may be thinking about hosting a club event but are hesitant because you haven’t done it before or have concerns about organizing it. If that’s the case, no worries…it’s relatively easy to plan, there are no hard-and-fast requirements, and other club members will answer questions, provide advice, or help you plan. There are a few considerations to make things go smoothly and create the environment for an enjoyable social experience for club members.

     Usually, plan for guests to arrive by 11:30 with things kicking off at 12:00. It’s best if there is a dedicated/designated parking area for those driving classic and retro TBirds. If meeting at a restaurant, the business management can often help identify and reserve a suitable area. When weather cooperates, we can have 10 or more classics at the event. Hosts should plan to arrive a bit early to confirm plans with the restaurant and direct parking.

     For planning, usually 20-40 members attend our monthly events. The host will be required to provide the basic details such as who, what, where, when, and RSVP information to the club secretary for posting to the club web site. The club secretary will then post and send event notice to all members. This notification needs to be posted as soon as details are available. Ideally, the meeting would be held in a room large enough to seat everyone comfortably. If in a restaurant, it’s best (though not required) if the area is separated in some way from other customers to facilitate group discussion and business.

     Since the pandemic some venues have started charging a room or service fee. In this case, VCTC will provide hosts with up to $150.00 to offset the cost of these room/service fees. These funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.

     Options for lunch can vary depending on the venue. Regardless of choice, hosts should talk to restaurant management to inform them of the overall plan and coordinate necessary details. Ordering and paying individually from the standard menu is one option. If going this route, it’s best to coordinate with restaurant management to make ordering and serving go smoothly without excessive delay. Selecting menu items in advance or catering a buffet line is another possibility. Another option depending on the venue is to determine/provide the main course and have attendees contribute to the meal by bringing a dish to share. Generally, try to keep costs for lunch about $25 per person. Meeting hosts can collect lunch fees from guests as they arrive or guests can pay checks individually after lunch, depending on which option was used.

     At the meeting site, you can expect the club President to discuss the plan and manage timing to briefly conduct VCTC business and make any pertinent announcements prior to serving lunch. This business generally takes less than 15 minutes. When complete, lunch is served and expect the rest of the day to go smoothly as the servers do their thing and attendees can continue mixing, meeting and eating.

     As an after-lunch option, consider if there are additional activities available at or near the meeting location which can be visited following lunch. While not required, this can provide opportunities for attendees to visit places they otherwise would not have known about. Previous examples include wineries, car/tractor museums, botanical gardens, and various historic sites. These can be set up as group activities or merely offered as information for those who might want to check it out.

     Please consider if you have a great restaurant or unique idea for hosting an upcoming event. We are always looking for new places we haven’t visited before.


** Tips for Hosting **

See Below President's Message


Classic Thunderbird Club International Chapter #36








Bill Brown

J. Brown

Eric Best




Stan Hostetler

Linda Twilley

Brenda Morrison / Carrie Hillman


Bill Brown presenting trophy to Stan

** Please note **

4 Items on the "Classifieds" page under "More" Tab

1st Award Winner

Russ Dolbear & Fred Schmoyer

"Trophy Love"

Nancy Schmoyer

George Lake

Bill Brown & Stan Hostetler

Bill is a multiple winner (4 times)

and has the highest mileage total!

**     If you are interested in hosting a monthly club meeting, contact     **  Activities Coordinator, Linda Twilley  (email:  lctwilley821@aol.com )

                  President’s Report                                                                                                                               August 2023

      We had a great turnout with 7 classics and 7 retros and 28 members in attendance at our 12 August meeting. There were some first-timers joining us, Moring and Benjamin Gravitt in Moring’s white 57, Dave and Judy Russell in their 04 Merlot, and Tom and Fayth Esker in their 02 Red. I want to give them a great big welcome and hope to see them at future VCTC get- togethers. I would like to say once again, thank you to Linda Twilley and Len Alexander for hosting and for the VCTC souvenirs. The Kitchen 33 buffet was excellent.

      Our September meeting will be hosted by Lyn and Ron Padrick at Angelo’s Italian Restaurant in Midlothian, Va on Saturday the 16th. It will be a Family style meal starting at 11:30. Details will be announced on webpage and by e-mail.

      October 15th will be hosted by Carrie and Lynn Hillman.

      November (elections meeting) will be hosted by Tom and Brenda Morrison.

      December 9th will be the annual Christmas Party hosted by Lee and Stan Hostetler at Howlett’s Tavern and Restaurant in Chester, VA.

      Mark your calendars for Saturday, 12 January, 2024 for our annual business meeting to be held at the Virginia Diner in Wakefield, VA, hosted by Linda and Bill Brown.

      Please consider hosting a VCTC meeting. They are fun and easy, just see the guidelines below, or ask anyone who has hosted in the past. 2024 will be here soon and the months of February-December 2024 need a host. You can contact our activities director Linda Twilley at lctwilley821@gmail.com  to sign up.

      From CTCI: Considering the increased operational costs, the CTCI membership dues will be increased from $35/year to $55 for 2024 and $60/year for 2025. In addition, there are three proposed bylaws changes: (1) to make the appointed positions of the CTCI Board; Secretary and Treasurer, voting members. (2) All future voting will be done online, no more paper ballots. (3) In the event of dissolution of CTCI, all residual proceeds will be donated to the Gilmore Museum or any museum of the board choosing, instead of the Henry Ford Museum. These proposed changes will be up for vote in the Fall.

      Last call to register if any members are interested in attending the CTCI Region IV Touring Convention “Thunder Road leads to Florida’s Friendliest Home Town” October 25-29 2023 at The Villages, Florida. I was thinking if you want to go but do not want to drive that far, there is the auto train stop at Stafford, VA that will drop you off at Orlando…

      Here are some tidbits for the month of August concerning the history of the Ford Thunderbirds:

      8/12/2002 specs for 2003 made available to dealers

      8/17/1956- Last 56 Thunderbird rolled off the assembly line;  vin P6FH 359566    (editor's note:  Lee & Stan's - P6FH 359454)     

      8/18/2000- Neiman Marcus Limited Edition introduced (200 units)

      As always, I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the next meeting and remember, IT’S ALL ABOUT FUN X 3!

            Bill Brown


October 25-29, 2023     CTCI Southeast Region 4 Touring Convention

(at The Villages, FL)

October 14     Hosted by Carrie & Lynn Hillman

November      Hosted by Brenda & Tom Morrison

December 9th     Hosted by Lee & Stan Hostetler

                       @ Howlett's Tavern & Restaurant in Chester

The Davidson's  April 2009

The Most Tbirds at a Club Event  20 Classics & 4 Retros

Thunderbird Appreciation Day 2019


November 2020


Photo taken at Graves Mt. Lodge  Syria, VA  2008



Note:  Click on photos to enlarge and see more.



2007     Alice & Russ Dolbear

2008     Alice & Russ Dolbear

2009     Linda & Bill Brown

2010     Linda & Bill Brown

2011     Peg & Gene Marianetti

2012     Sue & Steve Patterson

2013     Nancy & Fred Schmoyer

2014     Carrie & Lynn Hillman

2015     Nancy & Fred Schmoyer

2016     Linda & Bill Brown

2017     Peg & Gene Marianetti

2018     Paula & Eric Best

2019     Lee & Stan Hostetler

2020     Defered - pandemic2021     Linda & Bill Brown                  510

2022     Lee & Stan Hostetler              786


Dedicated to the enjoyment, restoration, and preservation of the Classic Thunderbirds 

All 'two-seater' Ford Thunderbirds

















Website Created & Hosted with Doteasy Web Hosting Canada