When is a Ford Talladega a Mustang Cobra?
What would you do if Ford Motor Company told you that your prized 1969 Ford Mustang Cobra was in fact not a Mustang after all? What if they told you that your Mustang was a Torino or a Talladega? Not a pleasant thought is it?
Well, that is what happened to me, sort of!
Katrina had wanted a Talladega ever since we met. It is probably one of the reasons I married her. After all how many women do you meet that even know what a Talladega is? How many care if you try to tell them? Ok, you meet a beautiful woman who not only knows what one is but actually wants one; believe me you grab her by the arm and head for the nearest Church. It is equivalent to finding an original, unmolested, like new condition, Hemi Cuda with 5,000 miles on it in a barn and the farmer says he needs the space for hay. Just haul it away!
Now that I had the wife of my dreams, we went on a search for a Talladega. We found several but they were either too rough or sold too fast. We ended up with a builder out of Texas, but found a better complete car in Indiana. After we brought the Texas car home and as soon as we got the Indiana car home, we found the perfect car in South Carolina. Now my beautiful wife has three Talladegas.
When we got the first one we began doing research on the cars. We wanted to gather more information and documentation. As soon as we got home with the third Talladega, the one from South Carolina, the first two things we did of course was to search the internet and get a Marti Report. Next was to contact the Ford Research Department to see what information they could supply.
That’s when we found out we had three Mustang Cobras!
We had three Talladegas but Ford didn’t believe us. They insisted we had three Mustang Cobras with 428 CJ engines! We had three Talladega titles, data plates for all three and a build sheet for one of them. I should ad we are not blind and can tell the difference between a Talladega and a Mustang. So when we asked Ford for a 999 Report we were shocked when they responded by telling us that all three of our cars were Mustangs!
We immediately placed a phone call to Ford; they confirmed that our cars were Mustangs and not Talladegas. I don’t think they even knew what a Talladega was!
I finally called a respected Talladega expert, Rick Ochs, who in turn placed his own call to higher ups in Ford and got some new paper work started.
This time I got three reports that correctly confirmed what we already knew, we owned Talladegas. However, the documents continued to misrepresent what was included in the original Talladega option package. At the time Ford was getting ready to sell their total production of only 750 Talladegas their sales materials listed the option package as including hood pins.
Well, as things tend to happen with limited production vehicles, things changed. The hood pins were never installed in any production Talladegas as far as I know. I have never seen one that had them from the factory other than some prototypes. The Marti Report has it right, just not Ford.
I don’t want to be too hard on the folks at Ford, it has been 40 years since the car was built and there were only approximately 750 built out of how many millions of cars Ford has built since then? So I will give them a little slack since they did correct their mistake. However, it just goes to show you how difficult it can be to obtain accurate information on how some of these very rare cars were originally built. In this case, even the factory didn’t have it right. (Copies of some of the original Ford letters can be found on our web site. On the Museum page go to the 1969 Talladega and then click on to its page.)
Have any of you had similar experiences? If so let me know.
I can just see some poor drug smoking hippy fool out in California trying to convince some idiot at the DMV that he needs a new title to his Talladega because Ford says it’s a Mustang Cobra. Better yet, be cautious bidding on a 1969 Mustang Cobra 428 CJ on eBay if the pictures aren’t real clear!