Thunderbird owners have great weekend in area, give thanks toas Imagination Library

John Thompson • Updated Aug 1, 2018 at 2:33 PM

ELIZABETHTON — About 110 Thunderbird owners and fans from 19 states and Ontario migrated to Elizabethton last weekend to participate in the State Line Cruise, and not only did they have a great time, they left behind a few thousand dollars to benefit the Carter County Imagination Library.

“It was a great weekend and we had great weather,” said Ron McCloud, president of the Carter County Car Club and organizer of the event. He is also the proud owner of several of the retro Thunderbirds produced by Ford from 2002 to 2005.

The event was called State Line Cruise II, and the motorcade crossed the state lines into North Carolina to Mount Mitchell and the state line into Virginia after a trip to the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Thunderbirds also made an impressive showing at the weekly Carter County Car Club Cruise-in on Saturday night. During that event, the group gathered at Ron’s Cafe on E Street to enjoy a meal catered by City Market and then participate in an auction of Thunderbird memorabilia.

Some of the items in the auction were rare and included promotional items from the chief engineer for the Thunderbird project and a one-of-a-kind diplomatic briefcase designed to promote the Thunderbird’s use in the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies.”

The briefcase is really a portable martini-mixing case. Ford had originally planned to make 700 of the briefcases, but the one auctioned on Saturday was the only one ever made.

The proceeds from the auction were dedicated to the Carter County Imagination Library, which is a part of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation. McCloud said the auction raised $4,000. One of the members called on his way back home and pledged another $100 to make the total a nice, round $4,100.

McCloud and Liz Smith presented the money Monday afternoon. On hand to receive the donation was Lilo Duncan, chair of the Carter County Imagination Library.

“This will buy a lot of books,” Duncan said.

Aerial photo courtesy of Tennessee Backroads Photography.

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