This is the 20 th newsletter to keep our supporters, volunteer workers
and other interested people informed on the status of the restoration
project. This is an all-volunteer effort with one goal - restore one
of the twelve GM Futurliners to an original and functional condition.
The vehicle is owned by the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the
United States (NATMUS) in Auburn , Indiana and is being
rebuilt under the volunteer direction of Don Mayton in
Zeeland , Michigan .
We want to mention again that this vehicle was donated to NATMUS in
the mid-90’s by the Bortz AutoCollection in
Highland Park , Illinois . Thanks to Joe and Mark Bortz for
the donation that provided the basis for this restoration project. For
more information on this collection, check out their web site at www.
- The hundreds of loose ends, some small and some large, are continuing
to be attacked diligently these last few months. The hardy work crew
of 20-25 guys continues to plow through snow, rain and wind to spend
a day each week on the project.
- The cab new upholstery is being installed and is looking great. This
involves the drivers seat, 2 passenger seats, headliner and all other
- Electrical work for the 12 volt systems is one of the larger jobs
in process for the cab, interior lights, head lights, running lights,
display area lights and engine controls and has been a long standing
job for Wally Snow and others.
- The 110 Volt AC circuits are being designed and built by Jeff Dornbush.
- Other areas they are working on include weather seals, passenger
seats in the cab, finishing the display area interior walls, rebuilding
the powered step at the cab door, insulating the exhaust system as
it makes it’s way to the top of the vehicle behind the cab.
- Many of the exterior panels have been repainted and/or buffed.
- One of the more trouble some aspects has been a sag in the upper
doors when they are open. Several types of additional supports have
been tested to alleviate the situation but it appears new upper doors
will have to be fabricated.
- The second engine has been rebuilt by Bill Bicknell in Ohio and delivered
to Zeeland. This is pl anned to be part of an operating driveline and
powertrain display when the vehicle is finished.
Shows and Trailer Requirements:
- Although numerous requests are beginning to come in for the Futurliner
to be at particular shows, only two are being committed to this year.
This is due to two primarily reasons – the vehicle is not finished
and the need to acquire a special lowboy trailer to transport it. With
a top speed of 40 MPH, driving it is out of the question in addition
to the wear and tear on a new restoration. It also requires several
members of the crew to be on site to drive and operate it.
- The two shows tentatively committed to so far include the grand
opening of the new GM Heritage Center (date yet to be ann ounced) and
a Truck Show in California in May at the request of a major supporter
Brad Boyajian. The later is contingent on having the trailer available
and a means to pull it to Calif. and back.
- After searching for a suitable trailer and acquiring one for free
that they thought might be modified and restored, it became evident
that a new one was required built to these unique requirements. Quotes
were obtained, a vendor selected and one is on order for delivery this
- HOWEVER, it has been ordered on faith that the money will
come thru because at the moment, the NATMUS account for this project
is well short of the $30,000 needed.
- Bruce Berghoff composed a letter to the Paraders and all Futurliner
enthusiasts that was sent via e-mail to all on the list. For those
that did not see it, we’ve included it below.
ARCADIA , MICHIGAN 49613
February 6, 2004
Good morning Paraders & Futurliner
How many of you have longed to be out there on the Futurliner restoration
project in Don Mayton's backyard sweating it out in the 90 degree heat
of September or cooling your heels in February but for one or more of
the following reasons haven't been able to make it:
+ Live more than 70 miles from Zeeland
+ Wished you lived more than 70 miles from Zeeland
+ Don't have the required talents to contribute to the restoration
+ Getting too old to climb ladders and crawl under chassis
+ Enjoy watching work from a distance
Well, there's still an opportunity for you to become a partner in the
Futurliner program ..... and it's almost painless!
The volunteers are on the home stretch, but they need a little help
to wrap it up - about $30,000 worth. That's what Don estimates it will
take to build the trailer andput finishing touches on this five year
project. Thirty thousand sounds like a lot of cookie sales, but let's
call it the "Treat
the Futurliner Volunteers to Lunch (or Dinner) Program". Here's
how it goes: There are about 30 regular volunteers on the restoration
project donating their time and travel each week. So if 100 of us supporters
agreed to donate the equivalent of a $10 lunch in honor of each volunteer
for a total of $300 per supporter, NATMUS would have the $30,000 necessary
to complete this funding project.
If, on the other hand, 50 of us supporters were to pop for a $20 dinner
honorarium for each volunteer and send a check for $600 to NATMUS, they
would reach their goal that much sooner.
Don Mayton and his partners have put out a call for FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE,
and they need it NOW! Their talents are much better placed doing what
they have been doing with the Futurliner, and not chasing dollars. But
that's something we can do.
Won't you join me in honoring them by writing a check for $300 or better
yet $600 or more, made out to: NATMUS, Futurliner Restoration Project,
1000 GordonBuehrig Place , Auburn , Indiana 46706 . And remember, all
donations are tax deductible!
- Trucking firm with a tractor that can pull the new trailer to Calif.
and back in June of this year as noted above.
- Additional contributions to pay for the trailer on order. As of
3/31, we were about 20% of the goal so there is still and opportunity
(and a need) for any on you so inclined to help the project.
Financial status + Poster & Hats:
- Posters and hats are available thru NATMUS for $10 each plus $3
shipping. Quantity orders will have a break on shipping and will be
approximately 20% above the single item shipping charge. Contact Bobbie
Smith at NATMUS for specifics for your quantity. An order form and
additional info is on the web site and the mailing address is below
on the Donation Form. Please use the full street address
and not the PO box. Credit cards are accepted at the museum.
- You can also see the poster (along with its history) and the hat
on the web site (http://www.futurliner.com/poster.htm).
- As we had reported some time ago about the possibility of one or
two of the missing Futurliners being used by Oral Roberts in his ministries
in Mexico and farther south, Howard Sullivan did extensive research
on the subject while visiting his son in Oklahoma this winter. Howard
visited the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Assoc. in Tulsa
. After talking to a number of people there and looking thru their
library, and came up with a lot of interesting information. In their “Abundant
Life” magazines in the 1960’s, they uncovered photos
and articles about the use of a Futurliner in the ministry with the
American Indians in the US and then moving into Mexico . Original photos
(21) were loaned to Howard and are being added to the historical file
that Mike Ball continues to expand. Another piece of the puzzle in
place and probably a rusted out Futurliner somewhere in Mexico these
- We (Don, Jim Crame and your editor) put together a comprehensive
summary of the overall project at the request of Old Cars Weekly for
just an update. We sent them the complete 4-page document and they
published all of it in their Feb 12, 2004 issue along with 2 color
photos, one on the front page. If anyone would like a copy of the article,
please let us know. You are free to use any of the material for other
publications or publicity. We would only appreciate mentioning where
it came from and letting us know where it is being used for the file.
- Various magazines continue to publish articles on the project by
using info off the web site, from visits to the work site, conversations
with Don and the crew, etc. and these provide good visibility and information
on both the project and on the history of the Parade. We are grateful
for their efforts. One unique magazine is one devoted to tents – yes
tents! In the Dec 03-Jan 04 issue of “In-Tent”,
there is an excellent article about GM’s Aer-O-Dome Tent. It
describes the futuristic design without interior poles, with all exterior
supports and stakes and the fact the structure had the feel of a giant
- The company Retro 1-2-3 is building a model of the Futurliner that
should be available by June of this year. If you are interested, contact
Don Mayton. They will handle these directly to you and NATMUS will
receive a portion of the proceeds for this project. It is 1:12 scale
and cost will be approximately $1400. Their web site is www.retro1-2-3.com for
more info on the company.
c/o Dean Tryon
2516 Laurelford Lane
Wake Forest , NC 27587