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2007 Early Bird Back-cover

     According to Bruce Woodson the event chairman, we can all park together, Classics and Retros.

The best way to facilitate this, is for everyone to register in advance to be judged. That will put us all on the show field in the Thunderbird class. Since there is no judging for the Retros, they will be classified as "display class", (when registering, note in the comments that you are a member of the VCTC).  Anyone can change their "judged status" on the day of the show.

          We can have a pop-up tent on the edge of the show-field that is fairly close to where our cars will be. 

          We are working on securing a tent for our "Club Central" spot and to provide some shade.  There will be Food Trucks on site as a lunch option, or you can "brown-bag" it, and pack your own.  Water and cold drinks will be provided by Lee & Stan. There is a good possibility that some cookies will be available too.

          It is important to register ASAP if you are planning to attend, and no later than June 1st, as they do have a limit of cars on the show field. They actually "sold out" last year.  Registration for 'show field' cars is $30 in advance.  If not registered in advance, 'Day of' cars must go to 'cruise-in' location.  Cruise-in cost is $15

          Here is the link to the AACA website:  https://richmondcarshow.com/     Scroll down to the "registration" tab to register on-line.   

          Club members not driving a Thunderbird can join us by buying general admission tickets and parking in the public parking lot. General Admission is $7.50 in advance and $10 on Show Day.  Or drive a vintage car and park in the "cruise-in" location.

          Car Show hours are 8am to 3pm.  Registered cars should arrive between 8am and 10am.  


More information will be coming closer to Show Day.

Tribute Photo Album of Russ Dolbear    1950 - 2023

New Retro Thophy

George Lake & Fred Schmoyer

The Original Miles Driven Trophy 

for the Classics

Thunderbird Appreciation Day      Sunday May 19th

Members of Classic Tbird Clubs,

     We are co-presidents of Mid Atlantic Thunderbird Club and our club is planning a weekend away May 18-20 in the Roanoke VA area.  On Sunday, May 19, we plan to caravan to nearby Smith Mountain Lake to have a lunch cruise on the Virginia Dare boat at 3pm.   We would love to have you folks join us if you can make it. We would need to know in advance to guarantee room on the boat so please get the word out to your members soon. If you are interested:

Call or text on 443-417-0441.


Cathy & Steve Kelley

email:        cathykelley49@gmail.com

June 8           Richmond AACA Car Show @ St. Joseph's Villa     Northside Richmond

                      Hosts:  Lee & Stan Hostetler     

CTCI  International Convention will be held in Des Moines, IA, from August 20-25, 

July 13          At The Wigley's in Toano      Pool Party & 10th Wedding Anniversary

     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:

Please send all correspondence to:


VCTC officer's emails will be forwarded to the designated individual

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.

       In 2023 CTCI membership voted to include the "Modern Classic" Retro-Birds. In accordance, VCTC also includes Retro-Bird ownership. (VCTC has always welcomed Retro-Bird owners into the club.) In the latter months of 2023, VCTC membership voted to include a 'Miles Driven' competition for those driving Retros. George Lake and Fred Schmoyer were then 'commissioned' to build a new Trophy to recognize the 'Most Miles Driven' winner of the Retro Division.
      The new trophy was exhibited at the November VCTC meeting. Mileage tabulation began in January, with a winner to be declared for the year 2024.


      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

Patsy Gregory

Eric Best




Stan Hostetler

Linda Twilley

Brenda Morrison / Carrie Hillman


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

2023 Trophy Winners Lee & Stan

** Please note **

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

1st Award Winner

Russ Dolbear & Fred Schmoyer

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  

               President’s Report                                                                                           April 2024

       Spring has certainly arrived in South East Virginia as the weather was a little iffy for our monthly meeting held at Paul Treolo’s beautiful home. The threat of rain did not deter 21 club members and one guest (Paul’s daughter Kristina) from attending and enjoying the awesome BBQ. We also welcomed two new members to the nest; E V Wilhite and Mark Garner. They have a 2002 black with white top Retro. There were 5 Classics and 4 Retros driven to the meeting. For dessert there was a cake in recognition of VCTC’s 53rd anniversary. VCTC is only one of five CTCI chapters that have had 50 plus continuous years of membership.  

        During the meeting, I shared a couple of tech tips (one quite exhausting) with the members. I gave a quick discussion on how to restore our faded, scuffed, and scratched soft top vinyl windows. I also subjected the members to a painful explanation of the retro bird fuel tank system and problems you might encounter. For those of you who are interested in more details, the tech tips are posted on our webpage under “MORE” tab and drop down to “TECHNICAL.”

        Upcoming events:

        May – The May event will be hosted by George Siecko on Saturday, 11 May at “The Grapevine”, a Greek & Italian style restaurant in Richmond. Please RSVP to George Siecko by the 27th of April.

        May 19th is Thunderbird Appreciation Day and VCTC members have been invited by the Mid-Atlantic Thunderbird Club to join them in the celebration with a cruise and meal on Smith Mountain Lake. A detailed message on the event was posted by Stan. Linda and I are planning to attend as are Linda Twilley and Len Anderson. I encourage any members who are interested please sign up, it sounds like fun.

        Our June 8th meeting will be at the Richmond AACA car show at the St Joseph’s Villa hosted by Lee and Stan Hostetler. More details soon.

        July- Will be hosted by Nancy and Steve Wigley at their home in Toano, Va.

        We still have August, September, and November open. Please, if you are interested in hosting contact Linda Twilley, Activities Coordinator. 

        Here is a tidbit for the month of April concerning the history of the Ford Thunderbirds:

5/30/2003- Last day for dealers to order 2003 retros

        I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the Grapevine Restaurant on 11 May, and remember,

                     IT’S ALL ABOUT FUN X 3!                      Bill Brown


"Trophy Love"

Nancy Schmoyer

George Lake

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

2023     Lee & Stan Hostetler              748

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

All 'two-seater' Ford Thunderbirds

















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