This article was previously published on August 17, 2012. This is the last time it will be published prior to being added to this web site as the Official Definitions for this web site. If you have any comments or questions please post them at the bottom of this page or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These definitions are provided as a means of classifying all of the cars referred to as “Talladega” cars on this site. Since only a portion of the total number of cars we refer to as Talladegas were actually produced on the Ford Factory Assembly Line as production cars destined for customer purchase; the following definitions have been selected to assist the reader in understanding the individual cars within the total group of cars referred to as “Talladega”.
The definitions presented here are still up for discussion and interpretation. However, I believe that the terms bantered about regarding our cars may have caused some confusion over the years. I am as guilty of this as anyone. I believe it is important that we all agree on what these words mean before we can begin to apply them to our cars. Regardless of how a car is defined it remains a Talladega. I would like to present a series of definitions for use when discussing our cars to help put us all on the same page. If you have suggestions or recommendations on how to improve these definitions, by all means please suggest them. Once I believe we have sorted out all of the issues I will post them on the appropriate pages of this site to help new comers and the rest of us better understand our Ford Aero car world. If we find it necessary to amend the definitions in the future we will certainly do so.
For the purpose of these definitions and to be consistent with other data outside this Registry we will begin with the premise that 750 Talladegas were produced, as stated by Marti Reports. We will also start with the idea that only a Talladega documented as such by a Marti Report can be included in that 750 total. (Before everyone blows up at me, let me add that part of this exercise is to identify those rare cars that were built as Talladegas but may not have a Marti Report to verify them. These may be cars that are included in some of the definitions below. I believe that unless we make this conclusion there is no way to ultimately determine the total number of Talladegas. We may or may not conclude at the end of this process that 750 cars is an accurate number. The 750 may be dead on, too high or too low depending on what we count as being included as a Talladega. This is not intended to “de-Talladega” anyone’s’ car, just an attempt to accurately classify and count them. Remember, this is a starting point and not a conclusion!)
Once these definitions are agreed upon the next step will be to assign every Talladega/Spoiler II to a category within these definitions.
This may or may not have begun life as an actual production car. Its VIN and Data plate may or may not support its final configuration. A Concept Car starts as a sketch of “what might be” and then evolves into physical Concept Cars or parts. It is in this stage of development that different design approaches are tested and evaluated. A Concept Car may be built on a previous year of manufacture platform or may built out of clay. It may not even be a functioning, drivable vehicle. This is a styling exercise. Remember the aero cars were not put into production until mid-year. Today we would call these 1969 1/2 models. That being said, with the Talladega and Spoiler II some of the Concepts, Mules and Prototypes could have been built on 1969 platforms.
After a design Concept has been agreed upon by designers and management it is important to test how this new “Concept” might function in the real world. For the 1969 Ford Talladega this would likely have included wind tunnel tests and possibly road tests for cooling purposes. For the Talladega/Spoiler II run some of the Concept Cars and Prototypes may have also functioned as Mules.
At this point in development of the ultimate vehicle the design and engineering team build a Prototype of what might become an actual production car. Prototypes may also be Mules where final designs are again tested. These cars might be used for early press release photos, crash testing, car shows or other similar activities.
A Pilot car is one that is assembled on the production line for the purpose of refining and correcting any production issues or procedures on the assembly line. These cars will normally not be available to the public for retail purchase. They are often kept in-house for corporate use and testing. However, some of the Talladega Pilot cars were sold to retail buyers.
This is the most simple definition. These cars are the regular Production cars that were built on the assembly line for retail sale to customers. Some of these cars may have been diverted to regional sales offices for promotional use or used by corporate executives for short periods of time.
Show Car or One Off Production Car:
These cars are a little more difficult to explain because they may overlap with any of the other definitions. These are cars built for a special purpose to promote the brand or model. They may also be built to special specifications for a VIP within Ford or celebrity outside of Ford. For the purpose of making these definitions more specific to the Ford and Mercury Aero Cars we will define a Show Car or One Off Car as one built after the Prototypes. That means the Show Cars or One Off Cars were built by Ford or one of its sub-contractors for promotional purposes.
This definition will limit itself to the professional level of racing. We all know there were Talladega/Spoiler II race cars in 1969-1971. At this time we do not believe any professional level of race cars were built from factory produced Talladegas or Spoiler IIs. All such cars were built on professional race team chassis using factory or factory style sheet metal. This definition excludes drag racing cars; we have no knowledge of professional teams using a factory car but would sure like to see any evidence proving otherwise. It is also understood that certainly some armature racers on both circle tracks and drag strips may have used production Talladega/Spoiler II bodies for racing.