PortholeAuthority.com Spotted in Publications
June 10, 2010
Quoted in the Old Cars Weekly News & Marketplace magazine Question and Answer column on page 12

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The following is the article that appears in the December 2002 issue of" Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords"
www.musclemustangfastfords.com
Written by Jeff Bauer in his Cyber Stallions column, page 42


 I hereby give you full permission to use the following personal 
email in whatever capacity you deem appropriate:


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Cyber Stallions  MM&FF  Dec. 2002

The New Thunderbird Homepage

By Jeff Bauer

One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that it offers a fairly 
level playing field. An enthusiast who’s got a burning love for a specific 
model, a thirst for compiling info on that vehicle, and a determination to 
keep their site current can create a site that’s every bit as worthy as one 
built by a team of professional programmers and designers. Case in point: 
Dot Lang’s The New Thunderbird Homepage (www.portholeauthority.com).

Lang’s not a professional web designer. She’s just a Thunderbird owner and 
die cast model collector who enjoys “hands-on, technical types of hobbies” 
like sewing, quilting, gardening—-and building web pages. She thought it 
would be fun to create pages for her various interests. In 1999, one of 
those pages was dedicated to the die cast models that were being made for 
the concept Thunderbird. This is no plain Jane list: Lang’s compiled the 
manufacturer name, model name, country of origin, year of introduction, 
scale, and description of more than 30 models.

“That expanded to another page with photos of the actual concept Thunderbird 
that I had taken, plus some that were sent to me,” Lang said. “The New 
Thunderbird site became a reality in February 2001, when I realized that the 
old site would not have enough room for the information that would be coming 
out on the new Thunderbird.”

And keeping track of that info became her site’s reason for existence. The 
New Thunderbird page quickly garnered a lot of attention among Thunderbird 
fans for two reasons: Lang is extremely vigilant about hunting down and 
posting the latest information on the new Thunderbird, and no one else was 
doing it.

Of course it didn’t hurt that at the time, like many of her visitors, Lang 
was also playing the waiting game for one of the new Tbirds. “I’ve waited 
years for Ford to decided to build it again,” Lang wrote on the site’s lead 
page. She and her husband have been into the hobby for years, and own a ’57 
Thunderbird they’ve had since 1975, and a ’64 Ranchero. On March 3, 2001, 
they order a Thunder Blue 2002 Thunderbird.

Both before she took delivery of new Thunderbird and ever since, Lang’s been 
compiling every last bit of data on these cars that she can, and updating it 
often. The result is that her site’s become the proverbial “Internet home of 
the new Thunderbird. “I want to keep track of information coming out on the 
new Thunderbird so that some of it doesn’t become ‘lost’ or forgotten over 
time,” Lang said.

When visiting this sprawling site for the first time, start with the site 
map, where Lang has her links arranged by category. The pages dedicated to 
the 2002 car are going to be most people’s first stop. Under this heading, 
Lang has pages for
Features and Options, Colors, Engine, Comparisons, Accessories, Interior, 
Neiman Marcus Editions, Convertibles, and more. She mentioned that the pages 
for the colors and accessories seemed to be the most popular.

There are two pages for wheels for the 2002. The first has photos of the 
Standard, Premium, and Neiman Marcus wheels, plus the wheels that came on 
the concept Thunderbirds. The Wheel Fantasies page has profile photos of the 
new Tbird with a variety of aftermarket wheels, some of which aren’t even 
available in the appropriate size. Lang asked visitors vote on which wheels 
they think looked best, and posted the results on this page.

There’s also a section on the 2003 Thunderbird. On a recent visit, it 
included pages for Preproduction Photos, Rumors, and a Sports Roadster 
concept.

In keeping with Lang’s personal interests, the Memorabilia section is 
extensive. In it are pages for die cast models of the concept and production 
Thunderbirds, as well as miscellaneous memorabilia, including the 
dealer-order books, brochures, posters, pins, and watchers.

The Memorabilia section also includes an impressive, thorough listing of 
more than 100 print magazines and newspapers with covers and/or articles on 
the concept and production Thunderbirds. It’s divided into two pages: one 
for 1999-2001 magazines, and a second for 2002 magazines. Lang provides 
scans of the covers when possible, and the entire list is also available as 
a Word file. She obviously puts a lot of time into compiling this 
information. A separate list of more than 80 articles that are available 
online appears under the Links section.

The New Thunderbird Homepage also includes a massive section dedicated to 
photos, an FAQ, Events, Trivia, Car Care, a VIN decoder, and many, many 
other pages. In addition to being updated almost every day, one of the 
coolest things about Lang’s New Thunderbird Homepage is its down-home, 
personal feel. It reads like somebody’s personal homepage, but the quality 
and quantity of its content is more like what you’d expect from one of the 
major model-specific sites. “I wanted [my site to be] a resource for others, 
so I try to be as accurate as possible.” Lang said. “I try to acknowledge 
those who help out.”

One of the few things Lang’s site doesn’t have is a message board. In July 
2002, Justin Sprague launched The Thunderbird Nest 
(www.thunderbirdnest.com), and within a month it attracted more than 125 
members and 1,500 posts. Other new Thunderbird sites worth visiting are 
Ford’s own Thunderbird site (www.fordvehicles.com/cars/thunderbird)[ed. note: Ford removed their Thunderbird website 3 years ago]
Thunderbirdforum.com (www.thunderbirdforum.com), and the newtbirddata Yahoo 
Groups site (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/newtbirddata/).

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Hope this helps.

Jeff
 

 

* now (Oct 2002) at over 200 members and over 4000 posts - but whose counting! ;)
Update (November 2004) at over 1700 members and over 100,000 posts.
Update June 2009 - TBN now has over 5000 members
Update Dec 2009 - TBN now has over 6000 members
 
 



 
 

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