Featured Thunderbird for June 1995

Highlighted Thunderbird

1956 / Exterior:Black / Interior: Fiesta Red/White / 312cid/automatic

Owner: Jerry Wotel, San Jose, CA

My name is LIL TBRD, and this is my story. I was born on February 13, 1956, as I emerged from the Dearborn assembly plant. My given name was Thunderbird. I was delivered to Seattle, WA to meet my new owner, who was a retired lady whom I accompanied to her country club for golf. These were days of easy living, but four years and 19,000 miles later when I was wanting to stretch my wings, she decided to see if a local dealer could find me a more exciting life. Obviously, since I had a quality lineage, I was given a preferred location in the showroom where I eagerly anticipated the arrival of a new owner.

My new owner, of course, would be a sophisticated person of the world, very appreciative of the finer things in life, and would immediately recognize my finer virtues. Much to my chagrin one day this crew-cut, fuzzy checked, novice aerospace engineer arrived and proceeded to peer through my windows and look at my most private engine parts, while almost drooling, and babbling incoherently about how I was just what he always wanted. He did however appreciate me for the fine automobile that I was, and I supposed I should be happy for that. The next thing I knew he was driving me away with absolutely childish glee and grinning ear to ear. I had this premonition that my comfortable and easy life was over. This feeling was soon realized, but to my surprise was also to my liking.

My new owner, body style human, was called Jerry Wotel and came from an assembly plant (I think he called it born) in Pittsburgh, PA. It seemed that was near where I was from so we at least had that in common. He was a bachelor (which I think means he was not sharing his parking space with a similar model), so I settled into a comfortable niche as his most precious possession, a status which I found most pleasurable. Jerry and I toured the Northwest country together, frequently accompanied by other human models who were obviously a body type different than Jerry (he called them girls). However, they came and went, but I remained.

One day I noticed I was seeing more and more of one girl, her name was Cindy and she was a native of Seattle. Well wouldn't you believe it, after I had given him five of the best years of my life, he starts to give her more attention than he does to me! I was getting very nervous about this whole situation when one day my worst fears were realized, they were "married," which sounded like they were going to share the same garage, or something like that. I went with them on their honeymoon, which I thought would be a test drive, and maybe she wouldn't pass. Well she certainly did, but as I soon discovered brought much love, happiness, and stability to our life. I was certainly glad I had found her.

Soon after Cindy joined our family we moved to the other side of the country, a place called Connecticut. Since I was then 10 years old. I made the trip by rail. We settled near Hartford and from there I took Jerry to work every day. During that first year in Connecticut something totally alien to me arrived, WINTER! I had experienced snow before on numerous skiing trips from Seattle, but it was so cold some days I could barely crank my shaft. The snow was different too. It had something called salt in it which started to give my body a rash. Seeing my dilemma and caring for my welfare, Jerry and Cindy decided that I should spend my winters off the road before my rash became serious. It was at this time I finally got my very own garage.

Life was going well and we were all getting along marvelously when before I knew what was happening, another human joined our family. He was a body type like Jerry only much smaller. His name was Paul. I viewed this new addition with a cautious eye since he was getting all of the attention. However, I decided we should keep Paul since he was small and didn't take much room on my seat. Besides, he was kind of cute. That was when I started to view Cindy with awe and respect when I discovered that she was obviously a highly compact and mobile human assembly plant, remembering the huge Dearborn plant where I was made.

I had many good times in the Northeast, but the years and miles were starting to catch up with me. My once striking interior was faded and torn at the seams, and my shiny finish had become dull, chipped, and a bit flaky. My engine and transmission were still strong, although a little drippy, but the cold weather got to my joints and made me squeaky and slow to get along. I resigned myself to a life of reminiscing about the good old days, but then I overheard talk of moving to a warmer place called California, and before I could press my dimmer switch, I was once again on a train traveling across the country.

We settled in a city called San Jose, and soon my owners had joined something called the Santa Clara Valley Thunderbird Club. Whatever this meant I was in favor of it because it spawned a new interest in me. I soon received new black paint and a red and white interior (both my original colors), new chrome, and a rebuild of my engine and transmission. I was filled with a new vitality, and received a new name to go with my restored image, LIL TBRD. I wanted to meet this club which was responsible for my renewal, so one day filled with anticipation and apprehension, I went with Jerry and Cindy to meet it. I found myself among the most beautiful fellow T-Birds that I had ever seen. This was the first time since my assembly that I was with my own kind, and I felt at home.

I have spent the second half of my life attending numerous shows with other T-Birds and many cars of my own age or older. Jerry and Cindy became very active in the Santa Clara Club and also the national organization (Classic Thunderbird Club International), and I was happy to lend my assistance.

My life is quite contented now as I am well cared for, get much attention from Jerry, am considered a classic and desirable automobile to the general public, and maintain a favored status among my owners' cars. I was very pleased when we added to our family a younger sister for me, CINDY 57, with whom I now share my garage. A great-grandson lived with us for awhile, BIG TBRD (who is a '64 convertible) but has since moved to another home. I also have two cousins, CINDY 65 ( a '65 Mustang conv.) who is a fun-loving girl, and a '73 modified Mustang Mach 1, who is a loud showoff always flexing his muscles.

Recently, I overheard Jerry talking about putting me on the world wide web, which made me shiver since I detest spiders, having had them crawling all over me during my winter's naps. I was relieved to discover that this was just some cute way of referring to global communication with other people, and would give me an opportunity of saying hello to my family all over the world. It is mind boggling, but I welcomed the chance.

I appreciate having this occasion to tell you my story. The next time you are in San Jose, look for me and know that I am happy and content to be here, and oh yes, say hello to Jerry, Cindy, and Paul too.


Copyright © 1995-1996 by Jerry Wotel

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