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Ford Talladega Banjo Matthews Prototype

Without question this was the standout car at the First Annual Ford Talladega Family Reunion held in conjunction with the 2010 Forge Muscle Car Show. This car was restored by and is owned by Jason Thompson. Jason also owns the another unrestored Talladega prototype, a white Banjo Matthews car.

Ford built this car on September 25, 1969 several months prior to the production of the First Talladega on January 22, 1969. You can’t look at this car in its beautiful bright red paint with the custom “C” stripe on the side without wishing Ford would have built them all this way. Can you imagine how the Talladega would be received today with bucket seats, air conditioning and bright exterior colors?

Here are some of the unique features on this prototype that make it different from the production Talladega.

-rocker panels were modified by hand and covered up with a rocker molding;

-the car has GT trim;

-bucket seats and console;

-rimblow steering wheel and tachometer;

-hood scoop with ram air (only ram air Talladega built);

-different rear panel trim;

-different front end, appears the same but all panels are different from production;

-no hood latch, only hood pins, and;

-bright red paint with white “C” stripes.

Not only is this a rare piece of history but its restoration has been completed by Jason and his father Clarence to a very high standard.

THANK YOU for saving this once lost piece of automotive history.

If you would like to know more about the history of this rare Ford Talladega Banjo Matthews Prototype, Click Here.

The white Talladega shown in the photos below is the second Banjo Matthews prototype also owned by Jason. It is currently in the same condition it was when Jason and his father located the car in the summer of 2010. It is expected the restoration-duo will soon be documenting and restoring this car.

The white prototype has many of the same differences as the red car and is believed to me the car used in all of Ford’s early marketing and sales brochures for the Talladega.

Here are some more photos of these beautiful cars.

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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 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

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One Comment

  1. Dear Sir;

    Great article. The interest to me is that I live in Asheville, NC where Banjo’s shop was. I worked for Matthews Ford (no relation to Banjo) in Asheville in the mid 70’s. We used to sell all kinds of parts to Banjo when they still were using the factory lower A arms and stuff to build race cars. I have been out to Banjo’s many times and the white Talledega used to sit under an oak tree at the end of the parking lot as long as I went there. The last I heard of it was when Banjo died and they closed the place down his son took it to his house. The best I recall he died not long after that. I saw pictures of the red Talledega on the walls of Banjo’s office, but never saw the car. From what Banjo told us he had much input to Ford on how to change the front of the car. Not varified, but that is what he told us. Do you know where Jason found the white talledega? Just curious if it was still in Asheville when he found it.

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