TBird Times Letterhead New new
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2007 Early Bird Back-cover
TBird Times Letterhead New new
Howlett's Map Improved JPEG

     Our December meeting will be hosted by Stan and Lee Hostetler at Howlett’s Restaurant & Tavern 3530 Festival Park Plaza Chester, VA 23831. Date is Saturday, 9 December, starting at 2pm. This will be a heavy Hors D’oeuvres Buffet. This will be our last 2023 meeting so everyone come to the “Tavern” and let us celebrate the holidays with Thunderbird friends.

      Our annual Business Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, 13 Jan 2024. This event will be hosted by Bill and Linda Brown. The meeting will be held at the Virginia Diner, 322 W Main Street, Wakefield, VA 23888.

      We still need help filling out the 2024 event calendar. There are openings for February, March, and June - December. Just ask anyone who has hosted, it is fun and easy. We have a “How To” checklist on the webpage if you need assistance. We have many members who have hosted in the past that you might consider teaming up to make it even easier. If you are interested in hosting, please contact Linda Twilley, our Activities Coordinator.

      Linda and I would like to take this moment to wish all of you a very “Merry Christmas” and may the beauty of the season bring you and your family joy and warm memories.

      Here are a few tidbits for the month of November concerning the history of the Ford Thunderbirds:

               11/14/2002- Last 2002 Retro completed

               11/ 18/2002- First 2003 Retro production completed


      Large red thermos mug, which was left at the October meeting at the Spring Run Winery. Contact Bill Brown to claim.

      I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the Howlett’s Restaurant and Tavern on December 9th, and remember, IT’S ALL ABOUT FUN X 3!

Bill Brown

Please send all correspondence to:


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

January 13  Annual Business Meeting hosted by Linda & Bill Brown

@ The Virginia Diner in Wakefield, VA


Tribute Photo Album of Russ Dolbear    1950 - 2023

     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:

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


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

Bill Brown presenting trophy to Stan

** Please note **

4 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                                                                                                  November 2023

       Thirty-eight members and one guest made the journey on November 18th to the VCTC meeting at Kitchen33 in Glen Allen, VA. I would like to thank Brenda and Tom Morrison for hosting the event. The restaurant parking lot never looked better with 7 Classic birds and 9 Retro birds lined up for customers and club members to enjoy. It was exciting to see long time members Nancy and Fred Schmoyer make the journey to Kitchen33. You have been missed, great to have you two back.

      This was our annual meeting for the election of board members for 2024 and our charity event for the USMC Toys for Tots.  The election proceedings were conducted by none other than the “Master” of Roberts Rules and nominating committee chair Lynn Hillman. The results were President: Bill Brown, Vice President: Patsy Gregory, Treasurer: Eric Best, Secretary: Stan Hostetler and Activity Director: Linda Twilley. I would like to take a moment to thank J Brown for his service as our VP for 2023 “Great Job” J and “Thank You”. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery. On behalf of all the officers, we thank you for your votes of confidence. We look forward to serving the club members in 2024.

      Our charity efforts were a great success and I want to thank the Morrison’s for providing a gift basket for the raffle along with a wreath provided by Kitchen33 staff. We also had an auction to help with the fund raiser. We were able to auction off some memorabilia from the Lew Wright collection provided by the Morrisons and the Hostetlers. Considering the auction, raffle, and club donations, I am delighted to report that we sent $500 to Toys for Tots. I am proud to report that toy donations over-stuffed all the collection boxes. Great job VCTC members.

      In addition to the fund-raising efforts, we also had the unveiling of our new “Miles Driven Trophy” for the Retro Thunderbirds. I would like to thank George Lake and Fred Schmoyer for their hard work bringing this beautiful trophy to fruition. The miles driven competition for the Retros will commence on January 1st for 2024.



December 9th     Hosted by Lee & Stan Hostetler

Howlett's Restaurant & Tavern

3530 Festival Park Plaza

Chester, Virginia  23831


2pm to 5pm

Heavy Hors D’oeuvres Buffett


Shrimp Cocktail
Savory Meatballs
Mini Sandwiches - Chicken Salad & Ham
Veggie & Cheese Trays
Holiday Punch & Cash Bar
Home-made Christmas Cookies

Final cost to be determined ($20 to $25)

  RSVP - ASAP or no later than Monday Nov. 27th via email to Stan Hostetler

"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


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

All 'two-seater' Ford Thunderbirds

















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