One of the biggest unknown changes to the 1969 Ford Talladega and the 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II deals with the rocker panels. There is only one reason these two cars were ever built and that is to give the Blue Oval gang an advantage over the other brands on NASCAR’s Super Speedways. Back in the day the benefits of aerodynamics were just beginning to come into play on a large scale.
At the time the manufacturer had to build at least 500 of any one model before it could be “accepted” by NASCAR officials to race. If this were still true today, not one of the look a like generic race cars on the track would be accepted. Instead, today the officials mandate they use a NASCAR template certified body.
Ford out did the competition by going one step beyond aerodynamic changes; they lowered their cars by one inch thus giving them a lower center of gravity and better handling. NASCAR mandated the the bottom of all cars be a certain distance from the track surface as measured from the bottom of the rocker panel. Ford, no so simply, reduced the height of the rocker panels on all of their sloped nose Talladegas and Spoiler IIs.
How did they do that? Rick Ochs has provided us with some diagrams straight from Ford’s “welding book” that explain what was done.
This image shows a cross section through the new rocker panel with the “old” panel location represented by the dashed line.
This also shows another view of the rocker panel from the a view point under the car looking up from outside.
This is a photograph taken from a position similar to the drawing above.