Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson Auction Co.

Equipped with 428 CJ and C6 transmission. Competition Suspension and AM radio.

Fully documented with original window sticker and Marti Report with Talladega package.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1969 Ford Torino Talladega 428 CJ fastback
Years Produced:1969
Number Produced:754 (includes nine prototypes and five pilot cars)
Original List Price:$3,456
SCM Valuation:$28,000–$42,500
Tune Up Cost:$150
Distributor Caps:$14.41
Chassis Number Location:Plate on driver’s side dashboard, plate on driver’s side door
Engine Number Location:Partial VIN stamped below driver’s side cylinder head on block
Club Info:Talladega/Spoiler Registry
Alternatives:1969 Dodge Daytona, 1970 Plymouth Superbird, 1969 Dodge Charger 500
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 559, sold for $38,500, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale, AZ, auction on January 14, 2015.

Aero tricks to win

As NASCAR grew into the 1950s and 1960s, winning became more than just a game of endurance. The tracks were gaining longer and bigger banks to allow the cars to go flat-out safely, and as engine technology developed to the point where cars were able to run 500 miles without grenading, race winners needed better top-end speed to help ensure a win. One of the new weapons in racing was the science of aerodynamics, but in the 1960s, for car manufacturers, it was more of a black art.

Dodge got involved with aerodynamics out of necessity. Their 1966 Charger looked fast but was very dicey at speed. The rear end would lift and the car acted unstable, so engineers came up with a thin curved lip for the trunk lid that helped settle the car down. A restyle in 1968 helped matters, but as the Hemi gained power, the new body’s design limitations showed up as well.

A sleeker Ford

Ford’s Fairlane Torino was new for 1968, too, but Ford’s engineers knew streamlining was needed to keep the lead in racing. Holman & Moody collaborated with Ford and they came up with clever ideas to make the Torino fastback even faster.

For this project, the team flush-mounted the grille. Then, they built a special front bumper by cutting a rear Torino bumper into three pieces, making a vee in the center, and filling in the rear quarter-panel recesses so it could be flush mounted against a custom hand-fabricated front end. About two inches past the wheelwell, they cut off the front fender, and on went a hand-made extension, including a hood header panel.

The Talladega nose has a 30-degree rake and extends 15½ inches farther than a stock Torino. Other special touches included rolling the rocker panel sheet metal an inch under height, which left a Grand National car builder an extra inch to spank the car lower for better center of gravity without deviating from NASCAR’s profile template check. Every builder just sawed off the extra inch, then lowered the car.

Job one: wipe out Mopar

Ford was stretched thin with other race projects, so the Talladega had to be built on the assembly line without outside help. All were built in Atlanta. NASCAR demanded 500 cars to be made available for sale to qualify for racing, and Ford complied, making 748 available all across America. In addition, Mercury built 519 examples of a similar car called the Cyclone Spoiler II.

To make it work, the Talladega became a package car. Only three colors were offered: Presidential Blue, Royal Maroon and Wimbledon White. They all had black bench seat interiors and matte black competition hoods. All wore GT wheels with whitewall tires. The only engine was a 428 Cobra Jet 335-horsepower Q-code backed with the C6 automatic transmission. Talladegas also got engine oil coolers and staggered rear shocks. The only option was an AM radio. For visual identification, Ford gave the Talladega special “T” door handle escutcheons, a “T” gas cap, “Talladega” door panel emblems, and that was it. Ford wasn’t messing around — a Talladega was military-spec speedway ordnance with one job: wipe out Mopar.

This car and its Mercury cousin were the game changers that forced Chrysler to get serious about aerodynamics. Dodge came up with a flush grille and rear window concept for the 1969 Charger 500. The Fords were still faster, so Dodge developed the Charger Daytona, complete with a wing and nose cone that helped it hit 200 miles per hour. Plymouth followed suit with the Superbird in 1970. But those wings and extended noses were a hard sell out on the street. Alternatively, the Talladega and Cyclone Spoiler II proved race cars could be aerodynamic without resorting to tall wings. They were fast without looking crazy.

Ford took the Manufacturers Cup for 1969, David Pearson was the season championship winner and Richard Petty took second place. Petty bagged his 100th win with a Talladega and his first win at notoriously tough Riverside International Raceway.

Entry-level aero warrior

Today, the Talladega and Cyclone Spoiler II are the most affordable NASCAR homologation specials available, standing in stark contrast to the now more valuable Mopars they battled during the ’69 and ’70 seasons. Ironically, the overstated wings and noses that made the Mopars hard to sell in period have made them more attractive in the more-is-better collector car world.

However, although the Daytona and Superbird have more flash with optional engines and features, they’re less practical drivers. They also had to share the winner’s circle with the Fords more times than Mopar guys might care to admit. The Talladega runs well on the street without the high maintenance a solid-cam Hemi requires. For the enthusiast driver, a Talladega or Cyclone Spoiler II is a great choice with plenty of upside for future growth.

Condition, description and value

During the last market peak in 2006, Talladegas in very good condition went for prices in the high $40k range, while cars needing work sold for around half that value. Show cars, by contrast, were commanding upwards of $60k when they sold. Since the market slump from 2008 to 2013, prices have risen and then stabilized. Presently, we’ve seen a few sales crest $100k, but the majority of good drivers tend to bring bids ranging from the $40k range to the $60k range.

Our example is a decent driver-quality car with small issues. For example, these cars shipped from the factory with a padded vinyl steering wheel wrap, which is missing here. The camera-case dashboard also shows some scuff marks. But overall the car is solid and appears to be in good condition. The catalog description is unusually brief and gives no clue as to whether the car is numbers matching, which, if it was an oversight, could have been an expensive one for the seller.

I’ve seen Talladegas sell for less, but that doesn’t make this a poor buy. The items mentioned are easily fixed, and I’d say the sold price is fair considering the recent rise in values for NASCAR homologation specials. Provided the drivetrain is in good order, it should provide thrills for the new owner and a modest return when it comes time to sell. Call this one a good deal for both the buyer and seller.

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.

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