The original research and story for this article was prepared by Rick Ochs (the Guru) with contributions and editing by Richard Fleener.
It seems that every time two or more Talladega owners get together there is one topic that will eventually come up; “Did any Talladegas ever come from the factory with hood pins?” This is usually preceded by one of the owners saying a friend of his has a Talladega with hood pins and a Marti Report confirming it!
To be clear, this article response to the question only applies to the regular Production Talladega cars not the Prototype or Pilot cars. So, did any Production Talladegas come from the factory with hood pins?
We are going to try and answer that question once and for all right now!
This is a difficult question because numerous Talladega Marti Reports have been seen that state “Hood Pins” under the options list and some that state “Hood Pins (Delete Mustang) “. This would seem to be perfectly clean and proof that some production Talladegas came with hood pins. I have personally seen numerous Ford 999 Reports stating that particular Talladegas came with hood pins. I have also received three 999 Reports stating my three Talladegas were Mustangs! Obviously, they were not and I am equally sure that none of the three ever had hood pins.
Well, in the words of the Great Baseball player Reggie Jackson, the proof is in the ‘Tissue” or the paper work for a muscle car tells the real story! What does he mean by the “Tissue”? For Ford restorers, collectors or buyers it can be one of the following or best of all, all of the following:
1. The car’s Build Sheet; this is the sheet that goes with a car as it goes down the assembly line while it is being built at the Ford plant. The Build Sheet tells assembly line workers what items to put on a car and what components not to put on a car as it is being built.
2. The Factory Invoice; this is the Invoice the Ford Plant Office sent to the selling dealership. This is the record that stated what options the car had on it; what the dealer was going to pay Ford for the car and what the dealership’s retail price for the car would be when it got to the dealership; plus a few other good bits of information.
3. The retail buyer’s Sales Agreement; this is the paper work the original buyer received when the retail sale was completed. It is the sales agreement to purchase the car for a specified price new. It usually included the allocated price for any trade in and additional charges for dealer installed options or accessories.
4. Marti Report; For Ford owners of specific years and models, the “Marti Report” is the accepted “Bible” of how the car was originally assembled.
For the Talladega you may find a Build Sheet under the back seat, in the back of the front seat, under the front seat or under the carpet but it might actually be almost anywhere.
Let’s start with the Build Sheet for your Talladega (see Example 1). Go to line E on the Build Sheet; now go over to line or box 38. You will see in this example the code E-38; this is for “Hood Lock Pins”. You will see the box has no mark or “X” in it.
You can click on the images below to enlarge them several time.
Next, review the Marti Report for your Talladega and it will seldom list “Hood Pins” but some have been known to have “Hood Pins” listed as an option.
So who or what is right?
Take a good hard look at any Talladega and you will find holes in the radiator core support for hood pins; See Picture 1. There are even some Talladegas with hood pins. There are plenty of publicity photos from back in the day that show pre-production Talladegas with hood scoops and hood pins. Is this evidence that some production Talladegas had ram air or hood pins?
Here are some important Facts:
- Early photos of Talladegas were all based on Prototypes some of which had hood pins and ram air. This is not uncommon. Look at most dealer brochures or early magazine articles from that time period and you will find numerous detail discrepancies from the cars that were actually available in the show rooms (this is true of all cars and not just Talladegas).
- All Production Talladegas were built on Body Code 46, better known as the Torino Cobra platform. Standard equipment on a 1969 Torino Cobra included locking hood pins; see Example 2 of the Build Sheets. (Note this is a copy of a build sheet for a 1969 Torino Cobra and not a Talladega.) Look at line E box 38 and you will see an X in the Box for Hood pins. Why? As stated earlier, hood pins were standard equipment on the Torino Cobra.
- Now, if the Talladegas were built on the Torino Cobra platform why is the Build Sheet not marked on the Talladegas for hood pins? This is where the gray area comes in. Before Ford started the production run of the Ford Torino Talladega they put together a manual called the 2500. This manual listed the standard parts that were to be installed to modify a Torino Cobra Body Code 46 into what we know today as the Talladega. The 2500 Manual also listed things to remove from the Torino Cobra when a unit or car was being built into a Talladega. One of the items to be removed from the Torino Cobra as it was becoming a Talladega in the Atlanta plant was the “Hood Pins”. Yes, the factory was told not to put hood pins on units that were being converted into Talladega’s . Could the assembly line worker made a mistake and install hood pins on a Talladega? No, see the next paragraph.
You can click on the images below to enlarge them several time.
To summarize, you have an item that was standard equipment on the 1969 Torino Cobra to “not be installed” by the Ford factory when the car was being built as a Talladega. You also have the Talladega Build Sheet; this author has seen more than a few of these and none have a mark in the box for “Hood Pins”. The author also has copies of EVERY Talladega built and there is not one Production Factory Invoice that shows hood pins were installed at the Factory! Even if an assembly line worker had made a mistake the Build Sheet would reflect that mistake.
Now, on to the Marti Report.
- On to the Marti Reports that state: “Your car was built with the following options.” and it lists “Hood Pins”. You want to believe that your car is one of those very rare “urban legend” Talladegas with hood pins plus everyone says the Marti Report is the “Bible” of how Fords were built. Think again oh Blue Oval brain; the key word here is “options”. The Talladega’s were built and shipped from the factory without hood pins! This is backed up by the Build Sheets and the Invoices.
- That is not to say that a Ford Dealership did not install hood pins. The original buyer may have requested them or the original selling dealer may have added them wanting to add additional value to the car. Every 1969 Torino Cobra radiator core support was drilled for the hood pins. Remember, the Talladega’s were based on the Torino Cobra platform so they were also drilled for hood pins in the core support (see picture 1) but not the hoods. Thus a dealership could have easily drilled the hood and installed hood pins but it would show up on the selling Dealer’s final Sales Agreement.
Picture 1 – Factory Holes for Hood Pins
Picture 2 – Factory Style Hood Pin (Shown on Spoiler)
To the best of our knowledge the Marti Report information comes from the factory warranty information that the selling dealer sent back to Ford. Ford needed this information for its records. This data included the original buyer’s name which was needed for reimbursement to any dealer completing future warranty work on the car. Today, this data still includes the original owners’ names. However, neither Ford nor Kevin Marti can, by law, release that information regarding the first owner.
For example, on a 999 Ford Report, if the researcher saw a “Q” in the VIN they might jump to the conclusion that it is a 428 CJ Mustang or if they see a “46 Body Code” they might assume it is a Torino Cobra and just list the option package for a Cobra not understanding the “Talladega 2500 factor” and taking the time to go to the next step in completing more thorough research.
From research completed by Rick Ochs, any hood pins installed by a dealer would not show up on these files. However, if the original owner bought the car and had the selling dealer install hood pins it would be on the Sales Agreement to the original owner. In order to prove a Talladega had hood pins when bought new you need the selling dealer’s Bill of Sale/Sales Agreement to the original owner.
In conclusion, no Production Talladega ever received Hood Pin’s before leaving the Atlanta Plant.
Editor’s Note: Rick Ochs would like to thank Tom Bryant for years ago sending him some Torino Cobra build sheets.