In not too long, we will watch all the Speed Week activities at the Daytona Super Speedway. This all leads up to the Daytona 500 in 2023. Having attended both the 500 and the 400 several times over the years, I can tell you there have been some big changes with time. I think most of you can agree that the “stock cars” that race today have nothing in common with their factory counterparts. It wasn’t always that way.
For instance, at the 1969 Daytona 500, although those stock cars were modified, they were still built from real cars. They very much looked like the car you may have driven to the track. We consider the 1969 Daytona 500 by most fans as the beginning of the Aero Wars. The winged 1969 Dodge Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Superbird were not yet born, but they would soon join the war.
At the 1969 Daytona race, the one year only aero 1969 Dodge 500 and the more radical one year only 1969 Ford Talladega first challenged each other on the racetrack. In an attempt to get more publicity for the new Aero Car Racers, NASCAR President Bill France and Ford came up with a plan. Speed Weeks at Daytona with the 24 Hour race, the 500 and the motorcycle races after the 500, always brought the greatest racers to the track. It was decided that Ford would provide a new street version of the Ford Talladega to Bill France for Speedweeks. This very special Talladega would become known as the Bill France Senior Signature car. The car was not only put on display but also became one big autograph pad! Every racer at Speedweeks placed their signature on this very special car. This car still exists, with most of the original signatures still in place. You will find some very remarkable names on this machine.
As every car should, this car has a very special secret. One autograph that you will not find on the car was removed very soon after having been placed there. It seems that a particularly attractive exotic dancer managed to put her mark on the car. It seems Bill France loaned the Talladega to automotive journalist Ken Squier for a night during his stay at Speed Weeks. As part of Squier’s rest and relaxation away from his duties at the Speedway this famed automotive journalist ventured off to visit a local bar that had some outstanding exotic dancers.
Upon arriving at the Speedway early one morning following one such evening visit, France Sr. confronted Squier and suggested he might want to wash France’s special Talladega prior to returning to the track. It seems that the night before, one of Squier’s favorite exotic dancers had managed to autograph the passenger’s side of the very special Talladega in giant letters written in bright red lipstick!
This car, minus the lipstick autograph, is now owned by Mike Teske who has often shown the car at TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com events. If you would like to know more about these cars you can visit that site.
Here is the late NASCAR driver Bill Arnold pointing to his autograph signed on the rear quarter panel back in 1969 at Daytona Speedway! This picture was taken at the 40th reunion of the Aero Cars at the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in conjunction with the 2009 the Talladega 500 at the Talladega Speedway.