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50 Years after the Ford Talladega

Do these two Mustangs look like they have the same front fascia? Does the roof height look the same? How about the width?

Does anyone else think the world is getting just a little crazier every year? 50 years ago was a long time ago yet we are fixated with the 1969 Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II. Just in case you are not old enough or have a bad memory, these cars were built for one reason, to be fast race cars on the track. To race these bodies in NASCAR there had to be at least 500 examples built and available to be be purchased by the general public. Only two years later NASCAR changed the rules to make the cars noncompetitive by requiring any aero car to be limited to 305 cubic inch engines while non-aero cars could run the larger 350 cubic inch engines.

NASCAR did not want the factories building specialty race cars. The “win on Sunday sell on Monday” worked only if what you saw win on Sunday was at least similar to what was in the showroom on Monday. Some over the next 50 years, the world of NASCAR turned upside down. Let’s just quickly look at the 2019 NASCAR Ford race car, a Mustang.

Here are some images of the 2019 Ford Mustang with the 2019 NASCAR Ford Mustang. Let me start by saying the Mustang race car is built on a 110 inch wheelbase while the factory car rests on a 107.1 inch wheel base. That is almost 3 inches shorter. The race car is 77 inches wide while the factory car is only 75.4 inches. These differences may not sound like much but look at these photos.

Take a good hard look at these two cars. Yes they resemble each other but the one in front is a CUP Mustang. Note the difference in the grill but the really noticeable difference is in the roof line. The NASCAR CUP car appears to have a much bigger window area and the rear side window is completely different.
From this angle the difference in roof line is clear as is the side panels. The relief in the factory body is much different than the race car.
Look at the roof line again.

I fully recognize that the race team in 1969 “tweaked” their race cars, but they still looked very stock. In 1971 NASCAR “outlawed” factory built aero race cars built in very limited numbers but could be bought from a dealer by everyday Joe Blow. Today. NASCAR tells the factory what their race car will look like and there is no way the factory can build a street car that can match the race car appearance. The race car is bulky and ugly compared to the factory car.

How many Ford Mustangs do you think are sold on Monday because one of the Ford teams won a NASCAR race on Sunday? There are a number of reasons why the stands are nearly empty on race day…arguably, one of the big reasons is the lack of similarity between the race car and the street car.

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Richard

Some of my first and strongest memories from my childhood relate to cars. I still remember when things happened based on what car I was driving at the time. I grew up and lived in Iowa for nearly 40 years before moving to Southern California and now live in Tennessee. I was a Corvette fanatic for years but then re-discovered vintage American Muscle. My wife, Katrina, and I decided we wanted to focus on unique and rare muscle cars. After a lot of research we fell in love with the Ford Blue Oval Aero Cars. These were only built in 1969 and and aerodynamics became an important part of winning races. The only purpose of these limited production cars was to win NASCAR races using the Boss 429 and 427 power plants complimented with a special, wind cheating, aerodynamic body. The Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II are terrific and historic cars. This site is devoted to these car and their owners past and present. We provide an Online Registry for recording the long term history and ownership of every remaining Talladega, Spoiler and Spoiler II.

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