Gil Baumgartner was presented the Lee Iacocca Award at the 2012 Classic Thunderbird International Convention in Memphis, TN.
The Award is one of the most prestigious honors bestowed within the classic car hobby. It was conceived in 2006 by Lee Iacocca and has been presented to such notables as Carroll Shelby, Steve Saleen, John Force, Jay Leno, and Craig Jackson and Steve Davis of Barrett-Jackson. This marks the first occasion, however, it has been presented to a member of the Classic Thunderbird community.
The Award is given to recognize “Dedication to Excellence in Perpetuating an American Automotive Tradition.” As such, it celebrates the truly exceptional among classic car hobbyists. And it does so with consideration to multiple attributes, including character, community involvement, integrity, and exemplary dedication to the classic car hobby.
Since the mid 1970’s, following a distinguished career in the United States Air Force, Gil has focused on his passion for the Classic Thunderbird. His accomplishments and contributions are many. He has tirelessly studied the originality of the Thunderbird,
which has involved thorough research and analysis, and countless trips and photographs to document how the cars were originally built. The knowledge he accumulated resulted in his appointment as Authenticity Chairman for Classic Thunderbird Club International.
And the documentation he compiled now serves as The CTCI Restoration and Specifications Manual, the ‘Bible’ for all restorers of Classic Thunderbirds.
Gil has judged at 76 CTCI sanctioned events, more than any other judge on record, and he holds the level of Senior Master Judge IX. Gil also maintains the ‘Gil’s Garage’ technical section of the CTCI website, and has authored countless technical articles for CTCI’s magazine, the EarlyBird.
Gil and his wife Laura reside in Fairfield, CA where he operates his Thunderbird restoration shop, and where he has been recognized for his charitable efforts as one of the top fundraisers in Northern California for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The Lee Iacocca Award was presented by Rick Miller on behalf of the Memphis Classic Thunderbird Foundation. Congratulations, Gil!