Johnny Lightning’s Ford Torino Talladega

Banking left without breaking the bank…


I don’t exactly remember how I was introduced to the Torino Talladega, but it is one of my most favorite American muscle car designs. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m not a vintage NASCAR buff, but that should have been the obvious reason. The Torino Talladega was Ford’s response to the Dodge Charger 500, and dominated the 1969 NASCAR season. Approximately 750 were produced by Ford to comply with homogolation requirements, so I doubt I’ve ever seen one in person. To be honest, I believe I was introduced by a Hot Wheels mainline that I picked up many years ago, and I’ve been in love ever since! This model, of course, is not a Hot Wheels car. Johnny Lightning sent us this burgundy beaut, meaning a true 1/64 scale model of the Torino Talladega.

Ford utilized some slick tricks to make the Talladega truly special. The chrome front bumper is actually a Ford rear bumper that provided a closer, more aerodynamic chin. The new nose cone extended the car a half-foot over a standard Torino. They also rolled the rocker panels a bit tighter so that the car could have a lower center of gravity while still meeting NASCAR regulations. Shockingly, the entire production run was wrapped up between January and February of 1969. Three colors were offered: Wimbledon White, Presidential Blue, or Royal Maroon like this Johnny Lightning.

My favorite viewing angle is the side profile, which features the fastest of backs. The sweeping line from windshield to tail rivals only the ’67 Mustang when it comes to Fastback designs. It’s amazing how long this beast looks, yet it is only a two-door coupe! I absolutely love that JL slapped a license plate that reads “TRNLEFT”, it’s a great touch!

We’re blessed with four rubber tires and an opening hood to show off a 428 Cobra Jet V8. The hood is painted black with silver “FORD” tampo badges, and the rear fascia is painted black as well, such as a Torino Talladega would be. Chrome trim highlight the body lines from nose to tail, although I’d call it silver paint rather than chrome. Whitewall stripes on the tires wouldn’t be my first choice either, and could have been more centered. Johnny Lightning’s headlights on this car are a bit of a disappointment. They look like off-white circles without crisp edges and lack depth, but are surrounded by silver “chrome” bezels. Sure, the engine is visible, but I would have appreciated a few more details.

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