The question: How does one get a Retro Bird Hardtop from CA to NY without costing an arm and a leg? The Answer: Have a CA to NY Hardtop relay comprised of various owners heading in the direction you need the top to be moved! Cost the price of the top, shipping oh such a deal! I occasionally watch the posts on TBN and TBT and came across this listing for Drew Schmidt’s request to form the Longest top Relay! Drew made the deal on the top and the rest is now history!
The Mountain Shadow Gray top which was removed by Ford Techs from the Ford Dealership the former owner purchased the car from. OK’ folks what is wrong with this picture? Very good… you all got it which apparently the Ford Techs didn’t, they put it on the stand upside down back in 2003 and there it sat upside down and uncared for until 2008 when it was sold to Drew. As this story goes, the owner traded her car in for something new and the dealership never came back to pick up the top! Well that starts us off on the Journey. I have been a member of the Thunderbird Nest since November of 2003 and have seen several of these relays in that time! I watched as the top was carried from Beverly Hills, CA to Garden Grove CA on a Black 04 owned by a TBN Group Member David Cannioto who carried it the first 48 miles.
The second leg of the trip enlisted the Merlot 94 owned by TBN member Jim Vitatoe who carried it from Garden Grove, CA to Shamrock TX for an additional 1,681 Miles.
TBN’er Bill Green picked up the top from Jim with his Torch Red 02 in Shamrock TX and carried it to the TBN Thunder Bells Wedding of TBN and ITC Members David Applebaum and Jean Kershaw Applebaum and the following ITC 15th Annual Convention in Nashville, TN! Mileage 820.
This is where Kathy and I got into the mix. TBN and hopefully soon to be ITC member Drew Schmidt of Lockport NY contacted me on the TBN list and asked if we were interested in helping get the top back from Nashville! Kathy was a bit skeptical with the MSG top really clashing with our Medium Steel Blue 05 but with minimal resistance she said OK and we were in!
When we arrived the Saturday night before the big ThunderBells Wedding, there in the parking lot stood Bill and many other TBN members all bench racing this and that! Bill and I met and off came the top to spend some restful nights in the Nashville Holiday Inn Select between Bills room on a lower floor then later in the week we moved it to our room on the 14th (housekeeping must have had a heart attack). There was quite a stir as spectators in the lobby noted the roof being rolled by and up the elevator.
After the ITC Concours Show on Saturday was in the books, the ITC gave the top a great send off . Tin Man was parked under the portico in front of the hotel and the top was moved from the 14th floor where it had been resting comfortably in air-conditioned comfort. Carefully it was rolled down the hallway then back down the elevator and then back through the lobby with many curious on lookers watching the festivities. Once outside there were about 30 ITC members taking pictures supervising or assisting as Dwight Good and I carefully landed the MSG top safely and attached it to Tin Man.
We then packed the rack and the rest of our junk in the trunk which was packed beyond belief and Sunday morning we were off for the trip back to NY. Mileage 899.
The next week Drew and his girlfriend Bridget made the trek down to Corning for a couple days then to Elmira with his Mint Green 04. We installed the top took a couple pictures and he was off to Lockport for another 157 miles! A total of 3,605 miles, not counting the elevator trips!