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1969 Daytona 500 Signature Talladega

The Forbidden Signature

Very soon Speed Week activities at the Daytona Super Speedway will be underway. As we prepare for the  2023 Daytona 500 we have to take time to remember the 1969 500. Having attended both the 500 and the 400 several times over the years, I can tell you there have been some big changes over time. I think most of you can agree that the “stock cars” that race today have nothing in common with their factory counterparts. It wasn’t always that way.

For instance, at the 1969 Daytona 500, those stock cars, although highly modified, were built from real cars. They very much looked like the car you may have driven to the track. We consider the 1969 Daytona 500 the beginning of the Aero Wars. The winged  1969 Dodge Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Superbird were not yet born, but they would soon join the war.

At the 1969 Daytona race, the one year only aero 1969 Dodge 500 and the more radical one year only 1969 Ford Talladega first challenged each other on the racetrack. In an attempt to get more publicity for the new Aero Car Racers, NASCAR President Bill France and Ford came up with a plan. Speed Weeks at Daytona with the 24 Hour race, the 500 and the motorcycle races after the 500, always brought the greatest racers to the track. It was decided that Ford would provide a new street version of the Ford Talladega to Bill France for Speedweeks. This very special Talladega would eventually become known as the Bill France Senior Signature car. The car was not only put on display but also became one big autograph pad! Every racer at Speedweeks placed their signature on this very special car. The car still exists, with most of the original signatures still in place. You will find some very remarkable names on this machine.

As every car should, this car has a very special secret. One autograph placed on the car can not be found today. It was ordered removed by Bill France very soon after having been placed there. It seems that a particularly attractive exotic dancer managed to put her mark on the car. Bill France loaned the Talladega to automotive journalist Ken Squier for a night during his stay at Speed Weeks. As part of Squier’s rest and relaxation away from his duties at the Speedway this famed automotive journalist ventured off to visit a local bar that had some outstanding exotic dancers.

Upon arriving at the Speedway early one morning following one such evening visit, France Sr. confronted Squier and suggested he might want to wash France’s special Talladega prior to returning to the track. It seems that the night before, one of Squier’s favorite exotic dancers had managed to autograph the passenger’s side of the very special Talladega in giant letters written in bright red lipstick!

This car, minus the lipstick autograph, is now owned by Mike Teske who has often shown the car at TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com events. If you would like to know more about these cars you can visit that site.

Here is the late NASCAR driver Bill Arnold pointing to his autograph signed on the rear quarter panel back in 1969 at Daytona Speedway! This picture was taken at the 40th reunion of the Aero Cars at the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in conjunction with the 2009 the Talladega 500 at the Talladega Speedway.

Richard

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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