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1969 Ford Talladega; Overview

If you are going to the Forge Muscle Car Show on Oct. 1 and 2 in Kingsport, TN then you need to have a solid historical background on the Ford Talladega. The First Ever Talladega Family Reunion will be held in conjunction with the Forge Show and it will be an event you won’t want to miss.

1969 Ford Talladega; How and Why was it Built?

Unlike today, in 1969 NASCAR raced Stock Cars; race cars built from cars straight off the show room floor! It was the time of the AERO WARS on the new Super Speedways.  This resulted in the Ford Talladega, Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II, Dodge Daytona, and Plymouth Super Bird.

In 1968 Ford showed up at the races with a new Torino body style. It was an all new aerodynamic fastback body and it put the MOPAR and Bowtie fans to shame. Fighting back, the Dodge Boys modified a stock 1969 Dodge Charger to be a little more aerodynamic. The result was the limited production 1969 Dodge Charger 500. With a flush mounted grill and reworked rear window it had much less aero drag. The Dodge Boys were so excited with their new creation they couldn’t keep it a secret or stop talking about it. Meanwhile, Ford quietly went back to the drawing boards with help from the Holman and Moody race shop. These guys were wizards and came up with some new aerodynamic tricks for the already slippery Ford and Mercury fastbacks.

Each Talladega had 15.5 inches of new sheet metal added to the front fender of the car. Contrary to common beliefs the Talladega was built on the regular assembly line along side the more traditional Torino. Prior to assembly, the original Torino front fenders were modified by cutting the front portion off just in front of the wheel well and grafting on an entirely new, sloped nose front section. Another critical change missed by most observers is the modified rocker panels. They were “re-rolled” to provide a shallower rocker panel. To determine how low a race car could be for the race track NASCAR Inspectors measured the distance from the bottom of the rocker panels to the pavement. Due to the re-rolled rocker panels the Talladega could sit 1″ closer to the track giving it a lower center of gravity and thus better cornering ability. Holman and Moody took the Torino rear bumper and placed it up front but not before sectioning it in three locations. This allowed the new bumper to tuck in close to the fenders catching less passing air and acting as a front spoiler.

In January and February of 1969, using its Atlanta plant, Ford produced only 754 Talladegas. (6 Prototypes of various colors; 5 Pilot cars, all white; and 736 Production cars in three colors: Royal Maroon, Wimbledon White and Presidential Blue plus one special for Ford President Bunkie Knudson in yellow.) The Production interiors were all black vinyl, with cloth bench seats, no tach or clock, and just an AM radio. Talladegas were given special “T” plates on the doors just above the handles, a “T” in a circle on the rear, and “Talladega” nameplates inside on the door panels. All regular Production Talladegas were identical except for the paint. All Production Talladegas received the 428 cubic inch Cobra Jet engine rated at 335hp, a C6 automatic transmission, staggered rear shocks, and non-posi 3.25:1 rear end. Talladegas are the only automatic equipped Torinos to receive the Drag Pack staggered shocks.

Ford won the NASCAR Manufactures Cup in 1969; David Pearson won the Driver’s Season Championship. Richard Petty finished second and won his 100th race behind the wheel of his blue Talladega. It was the only year that Petty raced a Ford.

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at http://www.LegendaryFarms.com.

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