Richard Petty only raced a Ford one year, 1969. This exceptionally restored Torino is one of only 212 ever built. This article was written by the restorer and owner, Doug Edens. It is the best original example todate submitted to the Talladega Spoiler Registry for these Richard Petty “Color Code” cars and on top of that, it is a rare 428 CJ Ram Air car with bucket seats.
1969 TORINO RICHARD PETTY SPECIAL
This is my story of a one-of-a-kind car find in Charlotte, NC. It was at the 2013 Spring Swap Meet at Charlotte, NC that my youngest son Clayton and I attended for the first time. We were enjoying finding parts and met a lot of friendly people but it was on the outside of the speedway that we ran across some project cars for sale. We came across this blue 69 Torino which they said there was only 212 built as a Richard Petty Special with Petty Blue paint. We tried to make a deal that day but our offer was turned down. We exchanged phone numbers and headed back home to West Virginia. I kept thinking about that car and gave the guy a call that next week and found out he ended up not selling it at the swap meet, so I made him my offer again and this time he accepted. We talked it over with our oldest son, Jordan, and decided this would be our next project car together. Plans were made to meet halfway and pick up the car. And so our restoration project began that spring in 2013 and we finished up in May 2019, a six year journey.
After we got the car back to my shop, we started our research, beginning with a Deluxe Marti Report and found out the car was a rare and unique find. According to our research, there were only 212 Richard Petty Specials built, with 106 of those having a 351W and the other 106 had a 428CJ of which only 16 were R-Code. This car was ordered with 13 options, which are listed on the Marti Report. As the restoration process began, we decided to do a full restoration and make the car as original as the day it was new. The car still had its original paint and interior and had been sitting behind an old dealership for 25 years. The car was very solid but everything was very weathered. We began to disassemble the car, taking many pictures along the way to use as a reference when it came to putting it all back together. We tagged and bagged a lot of parts, starting searching for NOS parts and talking to many people who helped us along the way. Rick Parker of Signature Auto out of Ohio was a great source of information on a lot of details for this restoration and for the engine rebuild. Also, Marty Burke from Texas helped out with parts and any questions I had about this car. Another great source for parts and information was Bill Sneathen out of MO. As the car got closer to being finished, it was getting more exciting to see this Torino come back to life.
We decided to register our car and enter it in the 9th annual Petty Fest, to be held on May 25th, 2019 in Concord, NC, so the deadline had been set to get the car completed. We dug in and put all our efforts into getting her ready and with only 1 day to spare, we finished the car up the day before we left for the show. This was also going to be the first time the car had been seen for over 30 years. We registered this Torino to be judged by Richard Petty in the Kings Court along with 25 other cars. Richard walked around all the cars to be judged, talked to the owners, signed autographs and took photos with all the owners. It was so exciting to talk to him about these Richard Petty Specials and all he commented on them was “he sure had wrecked a lot of them”. 1969 was the only year that Richard raced Ford and he won 10 races that year. This car show was a great memory and felt like a once in a lifetime event. We ended up winning 1st place – as the King’s favorite! A special trophy indeed.
In June 2019 we took the car to the Fairlane Torino show in Dayton, OH where we got to meet up with Marty Burke and really understand what all it takes to be judged in the Concours class. We met a lot of interesting people and the judges we very critical in their scoring but also very helpful with their advice on how to improve upon making this car a true restoration. We were judged amongst some of the finest restorations around and we came out winning gold in our class. We were pleasantly surprised and thrilled that the car did so well.
Thru this entire journey, many life changing events happened, my father passed away in 2015, devasting WV floods of 2016, my wife went thru chemo & radiation in 2017 and Jordan got married in 2018 and we had our first grandbaby in 2019…. yet we were still able to complete this project and enjoy all the hard work, time spent, days that were stressful and frustrating and the memories shared, all worth it.
We’ve researched newspapers, magazines, the internet, and past auctions to see how many still exist. We would enjoy hearing from anyone that had some information about these “Richard Petty Specials”. We feel like every car has a story to tell and a history to uncover. Feel free to contact Doug Edens at our shop @ 304-965-5900 or email us at LUCKY4EDENS@AOL.COM.
If you would like to know more about these cars or their relatives the 1969 Ford Talladega and 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler/Spoiler II visit our sister site the Talladega Spoiler Registry. If you own or have knowledge and information of other rare special one off factory cars contact us by email and maybe we can feature you car on this site.