I am sure this story will resonate with many of you Talladega owners. John Wayne Stowe owns Talladega #556 in our Registry. He completed the restoration of the car only to find that when he took it out to shows. Like most of us, it got little attention because no one knows exactly what they are. I know our own white Talladega gets called a “Charger” more times than not! However, once they hear the story, they usually get very excited and ask lots of questions.
“Concord native John Wayne Stowe and his 1969 Ford Torino Talladega took home the Walt Hollifield Best of Show title and a one-of-a-kind custom trophy from Cold Hard Art as the fall AutoFair wrapped up at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Stowe is no stranger to Charlotte Motor Speedway, having attended races at the famed 1.5-mile superspeedway since the mid-1960s. For a time, he even lived on the property with legendary NASCAR mechanic Harry Hyde. But in all those years, Stowe said he never imagined seeing himself in Victory Lane, his car crowned king of the world’s largest auto extravaganza.
While the Torino Talladega is a rare find — by Stowe’s count, only 742 were ever built, and only about 90 remain today — it always held a special place in his heart.
“I’ve been in racing most of my life,” Stowe said. “I’ve seen Richard Petty and David Pearson drive the same car. My dad had one, so I wanted one, but thought I’d never get one. A guy down in Atlanta called me and told me he had one. I went down there the next day to get it, sight unseen.
“It was in a bucket. I paid $7,500 for it. I did the whole restoration myself — the motor, the transmission, the whole works.”
Despite years of meticulous work to bring the car back to its former glory, Stowe was stunned to win the Charlotte AutoFair’s most prestigious award.
“I’ve taken it to car shows all over the place, but it’s never won anything because people don’t know what it is. The car never wins. When you get the Best of Show, it really just turns your stomach and your nerves. It felt like a NASCAR win.”
The one-of-a-kind trophy, which stands nearly 4 feet tall, was constructed on-site during the three-day AutoFair weekend using parts found throughout the show’s expansive vendor areas by fabricator, artist and gearhead Thomas Patsis from Cold Hard Art.”
Taking our cars out, having them be seen, and educating the general car guys about these terrific rare cars is what our purpose for this site is. Keep on keeping on!