Once a year our sister web site, www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com, holds a reunion for owners of the 1969 Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler and Spoiler II cars. These are the cars that were custom built by the factory to win on Sunday and Sell on Monday during the Aero Wars. These are the cars that forced Dodge and Plymouth to build the winged 1969 Dodge Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Superbird. The following is a brief recap of the 2016 Reunion.
Our 2016 Talladega Spoiler Family Reunion kicked off on Thursday night at the host hotel, Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, TN.
Thursday evening included a brief welcome, introductions and review of the schedule for the Reunion. We also handed out “Goody Bags” for everyone to help them get through the weekend. It was very rewarding to see so many new faces that had never attended a Talladega Spoiler Family Reunion before. By the time the Thursday night activity was over everyone felt comfortable and we started off on Friday like old friends.
Day One of the 2016 Talladega Spoiler Family Reunion was a busy one. We began the day with a brief early driver’s meeting and off we went. The weather was very hot and our destination had significant traffic so many opted to drive their tow car rather than their classic.
Our drive of approximately 45 minutes took us through some typical rolling Tennessee countryside with a little bit of freeway driving. Our first destination was the 200+ car collection of Copart owner, Willis Johnson. The Johnson property is the former residence of country music star, Alan Jackson. Alan had a nice but small area for his collection so Willis modified a former gymnasium into a car barn and built a new gigantic building for the larger part of his collection. We were greeted by a friend of Willis who opened the building and gave us a free run of the entire collection. There is no easy way to describe what we saw but maybe these photos and captions will in some small way give you a hint of our experience.
Here are a very few photos from the Willis Collection. We will do a special article on just this collection at a later date.
After two hours of drooling over all the wonderful cars we again hit the road for a short drive to Puckett’s Restaurant in Leiper’s Fork TN. The food was great and the service outstanding.
After a terrific lunch we broke into smaller groups. Some were off to visit Civil War sites, some to shop for antiques, others back to the hotel for rest and some hardy souls headed over to our house and garages for parts swapping. This activity was also a favorite pastime on Saturday.
In the early evening we all got back together for dinner at the Chop House in Murfreesboro TN. The meal was great but the conversations with fellow Talladega Spoiler Family members was even better. We called it an early evening because Saturday was going to start early and last long.
Day One of the 2016 Talladega Spoiler Family Reunion was all about getting out, seeing the countryside and seeing a big collection of great cars. Day Two of the Reunion was all the Talladega Spoiler Family.
We started off early Saturday morning with a short drive down some beautiful Tennessee two lane country roads to a legal moonshine distillery called Short Mountain. I have heard stories of a Talladega or two having been used to run some shine back in the early 70s. It seemed only fitting with the connection of NASCAR to moonshine and the Talladega to NASCAR that we should investigate what a real moonshine still is all about. Our trip to Short Mountain included a visit to a non-working still plus an authentic “old fashioned” modernized legal working still and a new large production still. Our tour guide was very informative and educated many of us on the differences of various types of real moonshine.
After the tour we just had to go to the sampling room and try out six different versions of the shine they produced. Next up was lunch at the Short Mountain restaurant with its special hamburgers made from mash fed beef. The meat had a distinctly different and good flavor. Of course, for the really brave there was the moonshine brownie! We all had a taste and wanted more. One lucky member got the cherry on top that had been sitting in a jar of moonshine for quite some time. It is good she had a designated driver, it had a real kick to it!
Our travels next took us back to our home where everyone’s cars were on display in our own private car show. I opened up our garage for a gathering spot and opened the parts building as well. From there it was freestyling and enthusiasts were everywhere crawling over cars, under cars and sorting through parts! Katrina is still talking about how all the guys, and some of the gals, were constantly looking at every little detail of the cars to see how theirs should look.
While some were inspecting cars others were out playing with some of our 36 miniature donkeys. I am not sure who was more entertained and intrigued, the donkeys or our guests!
One highlight of the day was when we all gathered to listen to Kenny Troutt tell stories about the late 60s and early 70s days of NASCAR. He had some great tales to tell and some stories I dare not repeat here. Kenny is the real deal having worked for some of the biggest names of the time, built his own Cup car and is an inductee into the Living Legends of NASCAR in Daytona Beach.
As the day grew long a traditional Tennessee pulled pork dinner was served with peach cobbler to finish it all off.
By this time many were beginning to wear out and thinking of the early morning trip back to their home states on Sunday. Those who were just not ready to give up on a great weekend of Talladega Spoiler Family fun stayed around for a showing of Last American Hero. It is the story loosely based on the early years of Junior Johnson. Included were action scenes of Cyclones, Torinos etc. on the track. If you watch closely you will even see the famous cut-a-way print of the David Pearson Talladega make an appearance. You will have to be quick and look for it, it is there.