Hot August Nights car show celebrates 1969 Ford Torino

The engine bay of the '69 Torino is The engine bay of the '69 Torino is filled with a 750-horsepower 429-cubic-inch Ford V8. It's fuel injected and paint black to look sophisticated, purposeful, no-frills and factory built. Photo Credit: Wheelbase Media

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The marriage of the traditional Hot August Nights car show in the Reno-Tahoe Nev., area, and one of the many Barrett-Jackson Collector-Car Auctions, turned out to be a huge home run for all involved.

But what else would you expect from a nearly week-long love fest of vintage and collector cars? And for the most part, those cars are ones that people actually drive and enjoy, rather than lock away in museums of garages.

From a sales standpoint, the auction generated $14.2 million for Barrett-Jackson, which is a comparatively small number relative to its monstrous auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., each January. That said, the company was thrilled with the results and the near-capacity crowds all three days showed that this likely will be the start of something big.

The auction ended with the presentation of the first Barrett-Jackson Cup, an award given to the best-executed custom car in Hot August Nights, where some 400 vehicles were judged by an all-star panel of experts in the industry. When the judging was complete, the winner was a 1969 Ford Torino Talladega owned by George Poteet of Collierville, Tenn., and built by Troy Trepanier and his Rad Rides by Troy custom shop in Manteno, Ill.

First prize was a cool $20,000 plus an "LS3" V8 "crate engine" donated by Chevrolet. An additional $20,000 in prize money went to the four other finalists.

"This is one of the greatest honors Rad Rides has ever had," said Jack Trepanier, Troy's father and general manager of the shop. "We've worked shows all over the country and even foreign nations. This is the best venue we've ever had."

Poteet and Rad Rides have quite a history together. Among the cars the two have collaborated on are "Sniper," a 1954 Plymouth Savoy custom; "Intruder," a tricked-out 1957 Ford Ranch Wagon; and "Blowfish," a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda that has gone more than 300 mph on the Bonneville, Utah, Salt Flats. And, indeed, the Torino, which is known as "The GPT Special" is headed to Bonneville as well.

The Torino was inspired by the NASCAR superspeedway racers of the late 1960s and '70s.

"We were fortunate to get with George Poteet and Troy and this is their rendition of a Holman-Moody Talladega," said Jack Trepanier.
The build took three years to complete, but the end result truly is something special and certainly worth the wait.

Under the hood is a massive, 750-horsepower Boss 429 engine with fuel injection. The Torino rides on a Art Morrison-built chassis, with a Corvette front suspension. The car is said to be fully streetable. The car carries Wilwood-brand disc brakes, GT40-style wheels and fat Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires all around, the rears being 14 inches wide.

The bodywork alone took more than 1,000 man-hours to complete and the interior is every bit as trick as the exterior. The workmanship on the GPT Special truly is amazing.

The car is painted in "Tennessee Whiskey Gold" gloss paint on the bottom half, and "Daytona Sand" satin paint on the roof and in the interior.

"Doing a car that no one else has done is a banner philosophy at Rad Rides," Troy Trepanier said on the company's Web site. "A '69 Talladega became the perfect blank canvas for creating a car distinct from the typical street machine. I didn't want to just copy an old NASCAR car. I liked the thought of building a car that recalled the NASCAR glory days of the 60s and early 70s, but then enhance it with modern-day features and body modifications. George (Poteet) was already thinking along the same lines, so we set out to transform a plain-Jane '69 Torino GT into our interpretation of what Holman Moody might have created today."

In person, it's easy to see why this car won the inaugural Barrett-Jackson Cup. Inside and out, the craftsmanship is phenomenal, the attention to detail amazing.

"That has always been one of Troy's claims to fame, the way they detail things," said Jack Trepanier. 

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