2nd Oct 2010, 14:14
This is a wonderful dialogue about these old cars.
I have owned several big Fords, but nothing as rare as this car. My own contribution is to point out how interesting it is that the large Fords were really the company's best racing vehicles, not the pony cars.
From the top drag car of all time, the 1964 Thunderbolt Fairlane, to the 427 and 429 cruisers that frightened the competition on the big ovals, it was always clear that Ford made great BIG cars at the time, and was content to let the Mustang remain a pony car for the masses (it was never a great race car).
The big Fords were their real race stars.
I have had big Fords with the FE block and 351 Windsors, but never one of the 385 series. Nice to see a write up on this one, and too bad everyone is questioning whether you even own it.
I would concede to the Mopar boys that their cars were overall better performers on the street, as Dodge actually made a lot of 440s, whereas Ford tended to make bread and butter versions of cars that were safe transportation (302s and detuned big blocks).
But when Ford made track-targeted cars, they dominated.
Even Ferrari found that out the hard way.
Enjoy that big Ford.
11th Nov 2010, 22:38
Thanks. It is ironic that whenever I attend local car shows, very few Fords tend to attend. And, of those that do, it often seems that half of them are Mustangs. (I generally don't count the 32s with a Chevy 350 as a Ford - they're more of a 1/2 and 1/2 that never was.) Don't get me wrong, the Mustangs are great looking cars (I really like them, too). But, Ford did make a lot of "Muscle Cars" in the 60s, as well as making their "Pony Cars."
It is also interesting that the second largest group of Fords that I tend to see at local car shows will either be T-Birds (yeah, I've got a couple of those, too - an 86 Turbo-Coupe and a 91 Super-Coupe), or the F series pickups (mostly from the 40s and 50s). It is very rare to see any of the Fairlane series of cars (from the T-Bolts all the way through the Starsky-Hutch era cars) at all. But, the 68 & 69 fastback body style seems to be the rarest models of all at these shows. Ironically, like you said, Ford built a lot of them. I have no idea what has happened to them over the years; but, apparently, they have not been saved by a lot of collectors.
I feel very fortunate to own one of the rarest models out of that particular group of Ford MuscleCars. Not only do you rarely see the bread and butter versions of the 68/69 Fairlanes/Torinos; you virtually never see one of the ultra-rare Talladegas. It is even rare to see very many at the national meets.
Back in June of this year (2010), I was at the Fairlane Nationals in Kingsport, TN, where there were only two Talladegas on display - my Presidential Blue car and an extremely low mileage Royal Maroon one out of Texas. In fact the typical attendance numbers of this model are so low each year, that we get grouped with all of the Cobras, Talladegas, Spoilers, and Spoiler IIs. (Speaking of rare, the Spoilers and Spoiler IIs are even rarer than the Talladegas!) I was also fortunate enough to be part of a special group of cars that was able to take a few laps on the track at Bristol - while we were in the neighborhood, thanks to the Fairlane Club of America! (I have some great photos of my car on that track, and several of them wound up in our club magazine.)
The two largest gathering of Talladegas in recent history have both happened during the past 12 months.
The first happened at Talladega, last fall (November 2009), when the cars that fought the aerowars in 1969 and 1970 (Dodge Charger 500, Ford Talladega, Mercury Spoiler II, Dodge Daytona, and Plymouth Superbird) were all invited to take a parade lap a couple of hours prior to the race, to celebrate the track's 40th anniversary - which just happened to correspond to the 40th anniversary of 4 of the 5 models invited. We all had a great time, and I have a lot of photos of my car on the track, and especially photos from inside my car shooting the track with my hood (and trunk lid) in the foreground as we were making the lap.
The second gathering just took place (October, 2010) in Kingsport, TN at the Forge MuscleCar Show that is put on each year by Tim Lopata. It was the first, ever, Talladega Family Reunion Show. I was all set to attend, when a family emergency prevented me from attending, this year. However, I am already making plans to attend the show next year - with my car. (If any doubters of its existence would like to see it, they should plan to attend.)
It is really a shame that NASCAR has gotten so far away from its roots. The series began as a way for "Good Ol' Boys" to show off their moonshine running cars. They all had to have started as a "stock car" and modifications were very limited. As the series developed over the decades, modifications for safety were not only allowed, but, they were required. The one thing that remained constant, until recently, was the requirement that all entries at least start life as a "production car" that could be purchased by anyone at a local dealer. Not only did this boost sales of successful models, it caused fans to closely associate what was on the track with their own cars, parked in the parking lot. But, most importantly, it caused the manufacturers to make huge increases in performance and safety development that wound up in all of their production models (at least to some extent).
11th Nov 2010, 22:56
If anyone would like to see some photos of my car, (and a great website about Talladegas and other cars), that has been put together by the owner of the 1st production Talladega, please go to: