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In Memoriam:
Lois Eminger

Known as "Mrs. Thunderbird" at Ford Motor Company

Lois Eminger worked for Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, and eventually retired after many years of service to the company. She had earned the nickname of "Mrs. Thunderbird" among Ford employees, and for good reason. She was the lady given the task of communicating with Thunderbird owners who corresponded with Ford about their cars, especially if it were an older model that was no longer covered by a warranty. This author remembers well the letter received from Mrs. Eminger in 1973 when I wrote to Ford inquiring about how to purchase a Shop Manual and an Owner's Manual for my 1966 Thunderbird. In her letter to me, she explained that she was known as Mrs. Thunderbird, and went on to advise me how to order the literature I had inquired about.

While employed at Ford Motor Company, Eminger discovered that original invoice copies were being destroyed when no longer needed. These invoices are actually the #2 sales copy, and were one part of the multi-part form that also produced the window sticker that appeared on new car windows. Eminger felt this information might be of importance to people down the road, so she asked for permission to save these copies for future reference, and permission was granted by Ford for her to do so.

Lois Eminger signatureEminger was the original owner of a Dusty Rose 1957 Thunderbird, known as the "Pink Lady," and had membership number 0004 with the Classic Thunderbird Club International (CTCI). By all accounts, she was a very lovely lady that everyone enjoyed knowing, and she certainly shared a strong admiration for the Ford Thunderbird, as well as other Ford cars. Eminger often wore pink, which was her favorite color. People who requested invoice copies or other information often received a hand written note from Lois as well, which shows what a true enthusiast she was. She was reportedly thrilled to receive an invoice request and discover it was for a particularly rare car, and was happy to know that it had survived and was in the hands of someone who was caring for it.

1957 Ford Thunderbird in Dusk RoseThe exact accounting of how Lois Eminger came to save all these invoices was told by Eminger herself in the 1990s: In 1967, Lois worked in the Legal Department at Ford, and needed to research a particular 1955 Thunderbird. When she asked the people in archiving for the invoice, she was told that they were all thrown away after 10 years, which of course meant that the information she needed had been destroyed two years earlier. Concerned about this newly revealed information, she asked Ford management for permission to have the archive send her all invoices instead of destroying them. She received the OK, and from that point forward the original invoice copies were sent to her. When one considers the monumental task of storing all these invoices over the years, it's apparent Eminger's dedication to the classic Ford hobby was very strong. She said she stored the invoices in envelopes, each of which contained about 50 invoices.

For many years, Lois Eminger supplied original invoices to Ford Motor Company vehicle owners. They only needed to provide proof of ownership for their vehicle, and pay a modest fee. Countless rare cars have been documented over the years thanks to Eminger's foresight to retain these invoices. In her later years, Eminger sold her invoices to Kevin Marti of Marti Auto Works [link opens in new window], who now provides them to owners with proof of ownership (copy of title or registration), and upon payment of a fee. (Click the link for details.)

In addition to her 1957 Thunderbird, Eminger has garaged various Ford cars over the years, including a 1967 Ford Mustang Hardtop, 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible, 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, and a 1963 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster. Most of them were reportedly painted pink (the Sports Roadster is Rangoon Red).

Lois C. Eminger died on Sunday, August 24, 2008 in Spokane, Washington after an extended illness.