A former road and oval-track racer, Larry Wilson decided to move to a racing discipline with less wheel-to-wheel contact. Land speed racing seemed appealing and, as a fan of ’60s muscle, he decided to search for a classic car that could scratch his racing itch and get his family involved as well. Having grown up owning Falcons, Mustangs, and Corvettes, Wilson was quite familiar with compact performance cars. Although he admired Ford’s larger performance and muscle cars, he’d never owned one. For this venture, though, they seemed like the perfect cars.
Wilson is old enough to remember Ford’s NASCAR homologation cars and Mopar’s winged response. The pointed nose and tall wings of the Superbird and Charger Daytona may have brought superspeedway success, but they didn’t win over the hearts and minds of new car buyers. That’s where Wilson thinks Ford got it right.
Read the full article on Hagerty.com:
In late 1970-1 I was attending school in Flint, Michigan and ran across an ad for a Torino Talladega. It was at a used car lot in the north end of town. Price? $1500 and drive it home! To bad I was a broke college student.
I worked at Ford's Atlanta Assembly Plant when we ran the Talledega Torino's. The fenders had an added piece of metal to make them longer and I was a lead wiper. We soldered all the fender joints and finished the metal so the fender looked like one solid piece of sheet metal from the door to the front end. It was quiet an undertaking, but I appreciated the overtime. We used lead in body joints until the introduction of the 1986 Taurus.
My hats off to Larry Wilson. I sure appreciated the fact that he used a junk car to start. I'm one of those that cringe when someone cuts up a good condition original car. I've always owned vintage vehicles and always resisted the temptation to modify them in any way that involved cutting. I only changed what could be bolted on and later put back.
Having owned a 68 Torino, I am well aware of the 'lifting at speed' problem. I worked in a Ford dealership bodyshop at the time & had the front end alignment checked numerous times because I had a problem with it wearing tires on the inside. The alignment always checked to be in specs. Then one day, I was driving another vehicle & my wife was following me with the 68 Torino. Looking in the RV mirror, I saw that at 70MPH, the frt tires of the Torino had several degrees negative camber & the front end of the car was sitting very obviously high. After that revelation, I fabricated a frt spoiler for the car & fastened it to the bottom of the frt bumper. That took care of the tire wear problem and also totally changed the driving dynamics of the car (improved the fuel economy too). I engaged in a bit of impromptu road-racing with the car & after adding the front spoiler, it handled MUCH better on curves & was a LOT more fun to drive.
love those Talladegas. i would have cried foul if a clean example had been hacked up but the right thing was done in this instance and a made to go fast is going faster. makes me want to watch "The Worlds Fastest Indian" if there's anyone out there who hasn't seen that movie it's a must watch,even if your not a gearhead