FeaturedFord TalladegaWhat are You Working On

What Are You Working On/ Tom Bailey

SEMA Talladega

These, “What Are You Working On?”, articles are some of my favorite posts. It is interesting to see what else is in your garages. I also like to see if Concours cars are underway, road warriors being built or some wild thing that makes us all go crazy. This time around it is one of those cars that makes us all go crazy!

Tom Bailey is no shade tree mechanic, you take this guy seriously when he pulls out a project. His Talladega is not yet 100%, it still needs an interior but it was at SEMA 2018! If you are a purist you may want to stop reading right now. If you are a true car guy who loves them all then sit down and take a good hard look at this beast.

The car has every bit the look of a stocker that sits a little low, has some cool tires and wheels with some extra decals added to it. But wait to you see the rest of the photos and read the details. Let’s start with how he acquired the car and then a little about the details of the build.

Finding a Talladega

Tom says back in 2010 he was working on his Indian Burial Ground 1969 Camaro at Clocks off Racecars in Wisconsin when no other than Dr. Ford, Jim Plimpton pulled in. Tom says he was driving a car he had never seen. It was a Ford he actually liked! After a long conversation about the history of the car and how unique and rare the Talladega was, Tom asked if it was for sale. Jim said NO, but would let Tom know if he ever changed his mind. Just as a note, below is the comment Jim put with his Registration back in 2011 when he Registered it on this site.

“I bought it in 1985, sold it because I went broke, kept track of it and got it back-it has a very special place in my heart. It was my first T, and I have had 12 others since, but got my favorite back. It wasn’t pretty when I found it, but now it isn’t too bad. It has become an old dear friend.”

Fast forward to 2015 when Jim called Tom and asked him if he was still interested. Although he was up to his neck in other projects he immediately said “Yea!”. As can be seen in the following photos and text, Tom’s easy project got a little more complicated.

At SEMA 2018

The Build

Tom Bailey has never let moss grow under his feet.  Having just returned from HOT ROD Magazine Drag Week’s with a second Unlimited class victory with his 1969 Camaro dubbed “Sick 1.0” he is ready to debut a brand new car.  This time a 1969 Talladega will be aimed at roads with curves!

The outside body appears to be very stock and a real sleeper.

The Ford Talladega was the factory’s response to the NASCAR aero wars.  The promise of the tapered and extended nose, raised rocker panels, flush mounted grille, and sports roof was so great that Richard Petty defected from Plymouth to drive it.  To make the car legal for competition, Ford built a scant 745 editions of the modified Torino to be placed in the hands of the public.

For car #648, its past has been a chequered one, and not in a good way.  Along the way the original engine was pulled and lost.  Beyond that, it has led a life mostly comprised of ¼ mile passes.  Fortunately for the car, it found its way into the hands of fanatical hot rodder Tom Bailey.  Under Tom’s direction all of this has changed with modern technology weaving its way into a new chassis while paying the proper respect to the Talladega’s rich racing history.


Keeping true to Ford DNA a Holley controlled 5.0 liter Coyote motor is combined with twin Bullseye turbos and Turbosmart wastegates at Sled Alley outside Detroit to produce 1000 HP.  A Tremec 6-speed is mated to row through the gears and out back a Strange third member paints twin stripes on the pavement.  The only hint of what lurks within are the twin air trumpets in place of the inner headlights that feed the howl of the turbos.

A Roadster Shop chassis establishes the lowered stance with AFCO suspension and Brembo carbon ceramic brakes.  A set of Forgeline rims wrapped in modern low profile tires keep it all planted to terra-firma.  There is no doubt this throwback to a storied time in NASCAR’s history rekindles the passion of the factory-built battles!


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.

Related Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Back to top button