The headline on the current TAC Air FBO chain’s direct-mail publicity campaign reads, “Showing you our love by giving you the bird.” But “the bird” in this case is not the classic New Jersey Turnpike salute, but rather a fully restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird– the classic two-seater upon which the current upscale Thunderbird is based. Pilots have the rest of this month to register for the prize at any of the 10 TAC Air FBOs. The limit is one entry per day, and registrants must be at least 18 years old. TAC Air president Greg Arnold will flip the keys to the ’bird to the winner during next month’s NBAA Convention in Las Vegas.
Vintage horsepower enthusiasts can plan their upcoming trips with the following list of TAC Air facilities in mind: Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Denver, Colo.; Fort Smith, Ark.; Greenville, S.C.; Windsor Locks, Conn.; Lexington, Ky.; Omaha, Neb.; Shreveport, La.; and its headquarters facility in Texarkana, Ark.
The vintage Thunderbird is the latest in a string of eclectic giveaway prizes from TAC Air. It began at the 2000 NBAA Convention with a new Volkswagen Beetle, followed by a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser the next year, then a restored 1945 Piper J-3 Cub last year. Valued at $50,000, the “torch red” Thunderbird comes with an overhauled engine, new tires and wire wheels, refurbished paint, chrome, interior upholstery and two white tops–a removable hard top (with its round opera windows in the back) and the classic white soft top. Arnold said the choice of the T-bird is a way for TAC Air customers to “experience our passion for old-fashioned customer service.”