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What Are You Working On; Frank Durso

img_1799You may remember Frank Durso from a few months back. He has a rough Talladega he is restoring and also a couple of Boss 429 engines. The original plan was to turn the T into a tribute race car. Our friend Rich Turner convinced him to use an old Torino rather than cut up a salvageable T.

That project is certainly headed in the right direction. Frank, with the help of undisclosed friends, sourced an original Banjo Matthews NASCAR front clip. I think I want to go to Vegas with Frank. First he scores a Talladega, second a pair of Boss 9 engines and now a Banjo Matthews race car clip! Dang, next thing you know he will be getting Cale Yarborough to teach him how to drive it!

Check out these photos.

Does anyone have some thoughts on the significance or purpose of the diamond on the front of the frame?





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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  1. Banjo Matthews went into the chassis building business in late 1971 with a little help from Bud Moore. Bud gave Banjo a surface plate (Ford had given Bud two) and a wire feed welder. And he also placed the first order for a customer car with BM. Bud’s first car was the now well know #15 Sta-Power 1972 Torino (that, interestingly, was first painted with left over T/A Mustang school bus yellow paint, BTW). That chassis featured a front clip that had been welded up from raw steel tubing as a simulacrum of the modified 1965-1966 Galaxie frame snouts that had first been used in half chassis cars (when NASCAR first allowed Holman Moody to build them in late 1966). The use of stock Galaxie based front snouts ended at H&M in mid 1969 (per Ralph Moody) when NASCAR first allowed the use of the fully fabricated style snouts that Banjo and Hutch also built when they carried on after H&M’s demise. This is a long way of noting that the snout pictured, based as it is on a stock Galaxie frame section, is NOT a Banjo snout as claimed. So far as I know, Banjo never built a car with a Galaxie based snout. He had no need to since he was able from the jump to build all new snouts from raw steel. No modifications to stock frame rails was necessary. The snout pictured appears to be from a later racing period than the early 70s as well based on the configuration of the spring perches and the lowered location of the front sway bar. It does appear to be well built and should serve the replica Talladega project well. Control arms and steering gear will all be 1965 Galaxie (either original modified/reinforced) components (except for a special narrowed drag link) or fabricated versions. H&M spindles were probably originally used. But, if that snout was built late enough, Stock Car Products spindles and hubs could also have been used.

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