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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
keep their site current can create a site that’s every bit as worthy
built by a team of professional programmers and designers. Case in
Dot Lang’s The New Thunderbird Homepage (www.portholeauthority.com).
Lang’s not a professional web designer. She’s just a Thunderbird owner
die cast model collector who enjoys “hands-on, technical types of hobbies”
like sewing, quilting, gardening—-and building web pages. She thought
would be fun to create pages for her various interests. In 1999, one
those pages was dedicated to the die cast models that were being made
the concept Thunderbird. This is no plain Jane list: Lang’s compiled
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
Thunderbird site became a reality in February 2001, when I realized
old site would not have enough room for the information that would
out on the new Thunderbird.”
And keeping track of that info became her site’s reason for existence.
New Thunderbird page quickly garnered a lot of attention among Thunderbird
fans for two reasons: Lang is extremely vigilant about hunting down
posting the latest information on the new Thunderbird, and no one else
Of course it didn’t hurt that at the time, like many of her visitors,
was also playing the waiting game for one of the new Tbirds. “I’ve
years for Ford to decided to build it again,” Lang wrote on the site’s
page. She and her husband have been into the hobby for years, and own
Thunderbird they’ve had since 1975, and a ’64 Ranchero. On March 3,
they order a Thunder Blue 2002 Thunderbird.
Both before she took delivery of new Thunderbird and ever since, Lang’s
compiling every last bit of data on these cars that she can, and updating
often. The result is that her site’s become the proverbial “Internet
the new Thunderbird. “I want to keep track of information coming out
new Thunderbird so that some of it doesn’t become ‘lost’ or forgotten
time,” Lang said.
When visiting this sprawling site for the first time, start with the
map, where Lang has her links arranged by category. The pages dedicated
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
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
Standard, Premium, and Neiman Marcus wheels, plus the wheels that came
the concept Thunderbirds. The Wheel Fantasies page has profile photos
new Tbird with a variety of aftermarket wheels, some of which aren’t
available in the appropriate size. Lang asked visitors vote on which
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
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
more than 100 print magazines and newspapers with covers and/or articles
the concept and production Thunderbirds. It’s divided into two pages:
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
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
photos, an FAQ, Events, Trivia, Car Care, a VIN decoder, and many,
other pages. In addition to being updated almost every day, one of
coolest things about Lang’s New Thunderbird Homepage is its down-home,
personal feel. It reads like somebody’s personal homepage, but the
and quantity of its content is more like what you’d expect from one
major model-specific sites. “I wanted [my site to be] a resource for
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
2002, Justin Sprague launched The Thunderbird Nest
and within a month it attracted more than 125
members and 1,500 posts. Other new Thunderbird sites worth visiting
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
Groups site (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/newtbirddata/).
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Hope this helps.