ORIGINS OF THE VIRGINIA CLASSIC THUNDERBIRD CLUB
by Robert G. “Bob” Corder
I received a phone call one evening in early 1971 from a guy named Jim Oakes (James A. Oakes) who was living at that time in Richmond but later moved to Pennsylvania. He stated that he had a ‘56 T’Bird and understood that I had a classic T’Bird. When I told Jim that I had a ‘55 Bird, he wanted to know if I was interested in helping him organize a club for the classic T’Birds, and I told him that I was interested. We later contacted another classic T’Bird owner, Ron Peters (Ronald W. Peters) who, like me, lived in Chesterfield County. Ron owned a ‘57 T’Bird, and he too, was interested in helping form a club. As if it were meant to be, we had all three years of the classic T’Birds represented among the three of us! We planned a meeting at my house for the following week.
After the three of us got together that day, we checked out each other’s ‘Birds and, after some lengthy T’Bird chatter, our conversation segued into forming a club. Everyone thought it would be a fun thing to do and a good way to promote the promethean qualities of the classic T’Birds. Not long after that meeting, we checked with the DMV to determine if there were enough classic T’Bird owners in the area to warrant the formation of a club. We were pleased to find that there were approximately 30 classic T’Birds in the Richmond metropolitan area, so we proceeded with laying the groundwork for forming a club. The three of us agreed that, if a club were to be formed, it should be named the Virginia Classic Thunderbird Club because we envisioned classic T’Bird owners from across the State joining as time progressed. I volunteered to fashion a design for the club emblem which was later approved by Jim and Ron (and, eventually, the membership). I also investigated the legal requirements for forming a non-profit organization. Soon thereafter, we set a date, time, and place for an organizational meeting and invited prospective classic T’Bird owners to attend.