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Forgotten NASCAR Aero cars stuck in the shadow of Daytona/Superbird


thanks for the 1970 Plymouth Superbird And its lesser-known sister, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, most car nuts know about Detroit’s early attempts to incorporate aerodynamic tricks to victory in NASCAR.

Even the most casual car lover will recognize it dangling superbird The front end and towering rear spoiler, a combination that helped him clinch the 1970 Chrysler championship, but which was so visually polarizing, road cars built to match racers have struggled to find buyers.

Today, of course, Superbird and Daytona, which are actually half a season ahead of them, are highly collectible, and well worth the money. So it is not surprising that when MECOM Auctions We posted the parts list for this month’s Indy 2022 sale, and we posted a story about the stunning Hemi-engine-powered Daytona that the auction house called one of the main attractions of the event.

Related: The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona with a manual box is one of 22 options ever made

One of only 22 cars equipped with both the optional Hemi and a four-speed manual transmission, it’s also believed to be the most selectable Hemi Daytona, with an estimated selling price of $1.1-1.3 million.

But with a lot of focus on Chrysler winged cars and the fame that comes with them Daytona charger Being the first car in NASCAR history to roll at over 200 mph (322 km/h), it’s easy to forget that they weren’t the only air cars from the late 1960s. There were other key players in the fight to use airflow management to win the NASCARS National Grand Series, and MECOM He has at least one example of nearly every one of them at the same Indy 2022 sale.

1969 Dodge Charger 500

The Daytona charger It came out in the middle of the 1969 season, but it wasn’t Chrysler’s first attempt to make the Charger more skid. The 68 road-going Charger includes a dramatic recessed grille and concealed headlights, as well as a more attractive rear window sandwiched between the C-pillar struts. It looked sexy on the street, but both of those design features cost the supercharger valuable speed in the oval races.

So Dodge got rid of it, or rather got its subcontractor in Detroit, Creative Industries to get rid of it, as you can see from the pictures below comparing the yellow 1969 Charger to the 1969 Charger 500.

Engineers installed a grille from unpretentious Coronette sedan That shares the B-body chassis of the Charger, fits flush with the front edge of the hood, and locks it out from the rear end, pulling the rear window outward until it lines up with the rear of the C-pillars.

Dodge was supposed to make a model 500 to embody the changes to the racetrack, and the resulting road car earned the name Charger 500, although only 392 were actually produced, each of which came with either 440 cu ft (7.2 liter) Magnum V8.1 with a 375 hp (380 hp) or a 426 cu ft (7.0 liter) HEMI that made 425 hp (431 hp).

Sadly, these changes weren’t enough to help Dodge beat rivals at Ford, which was also thinking about how to make their own cars glide through the air more easily. The 500 won many races, but Ford’s aero cars were winning more, forcing Chrysler to up its game and develop the radically different Daytona Supercharger. Daytona debuted during the 1969 season but came too late to prevent Ford from taking that year’s spoils.

So you might say the 500 was a failure, or you might view it more gently as an important stepping stone to the more famous and most successful winged cars that followed. Either way, the 500 is an interesting machine, and the car pictured here is especially cool Because MECOMlist says It is one of 52 HEMI-equipped 500 and has covered 200 miles (124 km) of new. It carries an estimate of between $300 and $350,000.

1969 Ford Torino Talladega

Ford took first place at the end of the 1968 NASCAR season, stole Chrysler’s crown and, to make matters worse, former Chrysler Golden Boy Richard Petty He had changed his team and was driving for the Blue Oval in 1969 alongside ’68 champ, David Pearson.

Related: The 1971 title-winning NASCAR rider could fetch $750,000

And Ford had something else up its sleeve. Like Dodge, Ford realized that making its cars breathe cleaner air could help them gain valuable speed on the track, perhaps even pushing cars near the legendary 200 mph (322 km/h) mark. So, it took the 1968 season winning Torino and set out to make it faster, calling the result the Torino Talladega after the brand’s new ultra-fast in Alabama.

At first glance, the 1969 Talladega (bottom photo) doesn’t look drastically different from the regular 1969 Torino SportRoof fastback (top photo), and certainly not as wild as the Charger Daytona that will debut later that season. But don’t be fooled. Ford put so much effort into the Talladega project, that it even went so far as to shut down the plant in Atlanta, Georgia, where the Torinos and their Fairlane brothers were built, for two weeks to focus on building enough special machines to meet the minimum 500-unit Nascar test.

Still wondering what makes Talladega so special? First, there’s an additional 5.9-inch (150 mm) issue of metal inlaid into the nose, which skews slightly toward the ground to give a smaller front headroom, and ends with a Fairlane grille that, like the Charger 500, has been pulled flush with the standard car’s comfort zone.

The extra snout length required Ford to weld extra metal to the fenders and create a stuffing plate between the grille and the matte black hood, and the front bumper was actually a Fairlane rear fender that was cut into three sections, welded together again, and then re-chromed. The final touch is the one that’s hard to define: Ford rolled over the sills so it could lower the race versions of the Talladega even further while still adhering to NASCAR’s minimum ground clearance rules.

Under the hood, each of Talladegas’ 750 street-cars is equipped with a 335-hp (340-hp) Ford 428 cu-in (7.0-liter) Cobra Jet V8 and a Traction Lock drive through a three-speed automatic, though the This is not what you find among the shock towers of racing cars. The first versions ran Ford’s 427 Tunnel Port FE V8, which was powerful, but has been showing up for years. But the 427 was just a pit stop until the Talladega’s intended engine was finally ready: reed 429.

wait, It wasn’t a Boss 429 Mustang? It was, and for reasons better known to itself, Ford chose to homogenize its new 7.0-liter gusto by installing the required number of engines not on the Turin road, but the Mustang. NASCAR had no problem with that kind of trade-off, but Ford engineers did. They subcontracted Kar Kraft for the complex boot horn task, which had to completely re-engineer the front end of the car for a decent 375bhp (380bhp) wide engine.

unlike 1969 Boss MustangInside, the Torino Talladegas was very basic, with simple bench cabins and column change switches, no lap counter, and only came in three colors: white, red and blue. These bench seats didn’t offer much lateral support on the NASCAR Oval, but fitted into a convenient bucket seat, drivers like Pearson and Petty took win after win to secure the overall victory in the Ford Manufacturers’ Cup, with Pearson up front by Petty to take the honors for best Driver.

Today, the Talladega hangs on nearly every collectible box: it’s relatively rare, and not only has motorsport pedigree, but it’s a true homologation car. If this was a Porsche, it would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, Turin is a bargain. MECOM It has red and white cars ready to go on sale in May (blue was also available) and The red car is estimated at 50-75,000 dollars It makes it look very valuable.

1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II

No celebration of Turin Talladega is complete with mention of her spoiled husband, Mercury Cyclone II. However, they are not twins at all. Yes, the base Cyclone was the badge-designed Torino, and both got radically extended front-end plates, but as crazy as it sounds, these additional plates are very different in each case.

to me Talladega record spoiler, the Mercury gained an additional 4 inches (102 mm) of fender over the already substantial extra length that Ford added to the Torino. The angle of the nose was different, too, with these two changes allegedly making Mercury between 2-8 mph (3-13 km/h) faster on the track. The Spoiler IIs also got a real small street spoiler, which neither Talladega nor Mercurys used to race, and in case you were wondering about that later II, Mercury also offered a Spoiler (not the “II”) with the regular, unextended Cyclone snout.

Both cars had a Boss 429 engine in competitor form, but while the Talladegas Street came with only 428 V8s, Mercury chose to make 290 hp (294 PS), Small block 351 cubic feet (5.8 liters) A 290-hp V8 is also found in the standard treadmill Mustang. Like Ford, Mercury was obligated to build 500 cars, but like Dodge it couldn’t. Production numbers indicate that only 351 of the 503 cars built were Spoiler II models with the NASCAR nose.

Related: NASCAR Could Move To Hybrid Engines In 2024

Of these, the Talladega Spoiler Registry says, 199 were special editions of Cale Yarborough with blue stripes, and 152 were Dan Gurney’s cars with red stripes, however you’ll find one of each in MECOMMay saleand both carry estimates of $65,000-85,000.

1970 Ford Torino King Cobra

The Ford Torino Talladega, with the help of its brother Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II, brought the 69th NASCAR crown to Uncle Henry, but Ford knew the 1970 season would be much tougher. The Dodge Charger Daytona arrived too late in the 1969 season to prevent Ford from winning, but it proved its worth with several victories and became the first stock car to roll at over 200 mph (322 km/h). By chance, that very good car for sale at MECOMIndy event. Daytona competed again in 1970, but this time he would join her Similar to Plymouth Superbird (Pictured above), one will be driven by Richard Petty, who has been lured back to Chrysler.

Ford needed to do something drastic. Torino Street was new for 1970 (top photo), but instead of planting a simple aerodynamic piece at the ends of the existing fenders, Ford created an all-new front end that wouldn’t have looked out of place The luxury Italian GT. The slippery snout allowed the prototype Torino King Cobras to pass 200 mph in testing, but without a rear spoiler to keep the tail attached, the car was unstable at high speed. Sadly, Ford canceled the program, returning to older Talladegas Models and Spoiler IIs for the 1970 season, which he lost to Chrysler.

Three Torino King Cobra prototypes are known to exist, as well as a 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II that has been given the same treatment. One From that Turin ready to grab MECOMThe 2022 Indy is sold out, and it’s in incredible shape, having only gone 837 miles since new. Equipped with no bus 429 Cobra Jet V8 Rated at 370 horsepower (375 bhp) and powered by a three-speed automatic, NASCAR team owner Bud Moore bought it in 1971 after discovering it unloved at his Ford facility and is there today as a reminder of what could have been. Mecum estimates it will sell for between $400,000 and $500,000.

pneumatic auto end

The 1971 NASCAR rule changes effectively ended the era of air cars. Series boss Bill France Sr. didn’t officially ban wings and nose cones that year, but a new rule restricting cars from running with 305 cu-in (5.0 liter) engines was as good as the ban. By the mid-1970s, all cars had to run engines smaller than 358 cubic feet (5.9 liters). But for a brief period between 1969 and 1970 when big engines and bigger wings left the highways of America, the only things crazier than cars were guys brave enough to drive them.

If you want to create an instant flight group and be rich like a real NASCAR driver, paying off MECOMindie sale It’s where you’ll find all the cars pictured, plus no less than four Plymouth Superbirds. Yes, four. This Superbird should always dominate the conversation, right?

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