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1969 Ford Talladega Prototype; Banjo Matthews Update

For sometime I have been telling you about the great work Jason Thompson and his father Clarence are doing with the restoration of the Banjo Matthews Ford Talladgea Prototypes. There is the red one that was done just in time for the 2010 Talladega Family Reunion. This car will soon be featured in Muscle Car Review magazine. The other, white car, was displayed in its “barn find” condition at that show held in conjunction with the Forge Muscle Car Show in Kingsport, TN.

This is the red Banjo Matthews Prototype when the Resto-Duo acquired the car. (I don’t think the cat was a factory option.)

This is the same car after our Super Heros completed the Restoration.

This is the white prototype in the Floyd Garrett Museum in the same condition it was in when acquired. From here it went to the First Talladega Family Reunion and then into the Duo’s shop for a light freshening.

After the Reunion Jason and Clarence took the white prototype back to their shop with the intent of giving it a full restoration comparable to what they did to the red car. Some of us were telling the Super Hero Resto-Duo to cool their heals and leave the car in its original condition. However, this may be a good time to point out that “original condition” may be a little misleading on cars like this. Since they are pre-production prototypes and used for a variety of purposes they are not unlike an old race car; they have many possible configurations. Old race cars can be used for years, have many drivers and sponsors over that time. Often they can even have different years of sheet metal attached to the chassis over that time period. Well, the prototypes might be used for testing different design details, photo shoots for brochures or magazine and will often be painted different colors to make the public believe there is more than one car. So what is considered original condition? The very first version? The most viewed version? How about the last version? I think it is up to the restorer, what was their favorite version or what was the most historically significant?

We got a little off track with that but our Super Heros did some mechanical repairs, polished up the paint and added a missing decal to the side and presto, a pretty cool car. According to our Super Hero Duo they have now decided to sit tight with the white Banjo Matthews prototype and enjoy it for a year or so. The car isn’t so perfect it can’t be driven but still unique, rare and in good enough condition to be shown.

Check out these before and after photos to see what a tremendous difference there is with some talented efforts.

You will be able to see this car and some other unique surprises at the 2011 Talladega Family Reunion, see ya there!

If you have a 1969 Ford Talladega, Mercury Cyclone Spoiler or Spoiler II or one of these race cars you need to be at this year’s Talladega Family Reunion show. This is a none judged show, it is for every car of any condition. The people that own these cars love them in any condition and it is a great place to learn more about them.

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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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  1. They have done a nice job on both cars.I didn’t know the red one was that ruff.Keep up the good work.I hope to have mine painted by the time the next show comes.

  2. These cars get me choked up. Have had many ‘classics’ (mostly less popular models and body styles) in my day before I met my wife, but had to shift priorities with our 4 young kids. But still love the oldies, so have to live this passion through my model collection. Sure wish I could have a barn to keep all my oldies. Included in my past are 50’s through 70’s and when I remember some of the old beasts I couldn’t save it makes me nausous (example, ’59 Buick 4 door sedan back when I was in college)…

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