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Where did all the cars go?

Our Talladega Family Reunion Cars were lined up on the Show Field NASCAR style with the race cars in the front row.

When Ford/Mercury Aero Car folks get together the topic of how many cars did they really make always comes up. One of the arguments for believing that fewer Talladega and Spoiler II cars were built is the low percentage of survivors. Where did all the cars go? If you review our Registry’s numbers of registered and documented cars you might agree.

SUMMARY of SURVIVAL PERCENTAGE

  • 738 Talladegas built with 168 Registered or documented = 22%
  • 285 Spoiler II Yarborough cars built with 36 Registered or documented = 12.6%
  • 218 Spoiler II Gurney cars built with 29 Registered or documented = 13.3%
  • 617 Spoiler Yarborough cars built with 33 Registered or documented = 5.3%
  • 352 Spoiler Gurney cars built with 22 Registered or documented = 6.2%

What’s Your Opinion?

Let me begin by saying the Talladega Spoiler Registry (lacking any other documentation) takes the position that as long as the Marti Report, which is the accepted source of Ford documentation, we must accept the production numbers as given by Ford/Mercury. With that said, what is your take on the great difference in the percentage of survival between the Spoiler II cars and the Spoilers? What about the Talladega survival percentage and Spoiler II cars?

By way of comparison, let’s look at the more easily identified MOPAR Aero Cars the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Superbird.

  • 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona with 503 built with 364 documented survived* = 72.4%
  • 1970 Plymouth Superbird with 1930 built with 1,174 documented survived* = 60.7%
    • *These numbers are several years old and are our best estimates based on information at the time. There have also been cars added/found since that time.

As you can tell, there is a significant difference in the survival rate of the different brands. The MOPARs have survived at a nearly two to three times the rate of the Ford products. There is no real good way to determine what an average survival rate is for all old cars. To some extent, the rate depends on the number of individual collectors wanting to save a particular car. For instance, how likely are you to save a rusted out four door 1969 Ford Falcon? How about a two seat baby Thunderbird or 67 Mustang Fastback?

Common sense tells us the more desirable or unique a car is the better chance there is that someone will want to preserve it. Look again at the survival rates for the Ford/Mercury cars above. Here are my conclusions for the differences in the rates.

CONCLUSIONS:

  • The Ford Talladega has the highest percentage of survival because it is a Ford, it has the big engine and a unique special limited edition body. Now, the big engine may also contribute to its survival rate lower than the MOPARS. Many of these cars arguably gave up there drive train to build a hopped-up Mustang? The rather plain Talladega body and interior does not make it stand out as anything special.
  • The next highest survival rate is the two Spoiler II versions. They didn’t survive as well because they lacked the 428 CJ engine and were a Mercury, not a Ford. Think of it this way; how many Olds 442s survived compared to Chevelle SS 396 cars? The Chevy was far more common and that is what the biggest percentage of folks go for.
  • The lowest survival rate is the two Spoiler cars. This is an easy one. As the bright shinny cars became used cars and nothing special they all needed a repaint. Because they were used up and cheap and the two-tone paint job cost significantly more than a single color, I think most of them got repainted a different color and were no longer identifiable as something special. This would be especially true for the 351 cars. However, the big block cars could have easily died for their big blocks as well.
  • As for the huge difference in the increased survival rate of the MOPAR cars, no one ever missed what they were. You knew they were special from the nose cone to the huge rear wing. They can not get lost in a crowd or junkyard. MOPAR collectors have driven the prices of these cars to a level that makes high restoration expenses justifiable and thus survival rates higher.

All of the above comments are simply one person’s perspective of what happened to all the Ford/Mercury Aero cars.

What are your thoughts and opinions? Leave your comments below. Did they not make as many Fords and Mercs as the corporate folks said or are there a lot of old cars still in barns waiting to be found?
Why do you think there are so few out there and why are the values not higher?

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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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3 Comments

  1. Richard I think your conclusions are very realistic. It is hard to explain why more cars have not shown up.
    Thanks for all you do in hosting the Registry. This site is invaluable!

  2. I think rust claimed a lot these cars . When the price of scrap metal was so high I think more disappeared. A lot of drivetrains went into Mustangs .

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