1968 Ford Torino NASCAR
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Built and campaigned by Holman Moody
Driven by David Pearson in his 1968 championship NASCAR season
Sold by Holman-Moody to Wendell Scott after 1968 championship season
Purchased by David Pearson sometime after 2000
Hailing from Spartanburg, South Carolina, David Pearson was an American stock car racer. Winning the NASCAR Rookie of the Year award the very first year he raced in 1960, Pearson would go on to become one of the most distinguished and respected NASCAR drivers. Going up against the likes of Richard Petty and other racing legends, Pearson cemented himself in history with 105 outright victories. Inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011, David Pearson was respected and revered by some of the very best in motorsport.
In 1968, Pearson entered 48 of the year’s 49 events. Campaigning a Holman-Moody #17 Ford Torino he qualified on the pole on 12 separate occasions, won 16 events, scored 36 top-fives, and won his second NASCAR Grand National championship. That season he scored wins at some of the most famous racetracks: Darlington, Charlotte, Bristol, Richmond, North Wilkesboro, Nashville Speedway, Asheville-Weaverville, Beltsville Speedway, Langley Field Speedway, Middle Georgia Raceway, Columbia, Bowman-Gray, Hickory, and Augusta Speedway.
Once the 1968 season ended, the Torino was retired as new cars would be built for the 1969 season. David Pearson was expecting Holman-Moody to offer him the car to buy to keep since it was one of the 1968 championship-season cars, but Ford Motor Company had other plans. Wendell Scott, one of the first African-American drivers in NASCAR and the first African-American to win a race in the Grand National Series, was given the opportunity to buy the Torino per the instructions from Ford to Holman-Moody. To add insult, Holman-Moody sold it to Scott for One Dollar! David wouldn’t be reunited with his championship-year car until more than three decades later.
Steve Gantz of Ankeny, Iowa restored the Torino to its former glory, returning the race car back to its original as-raced specification. With accurate attention to detail in bringing the car back to how David Pearson raced back in the day, the car was now exactly how it was in 1968. The dashboard of the Torino was signed by David Pearson and team members from Holman-Moody when the restoration was complete.
David was finally reunited with his car sometime in the early 2000s, in exactly the way that he raced it in his championship season. Pearson took the Torino to numerous current NASCAR races as part of pre-race parade laps, as well as taking part in historic displays. In 2007 Pearson decided that it was time to sell the famous NASCAR and called Bruce. Bruce Canepa and David Pearson knew of each other through racing and later became friends through their similar passion in race cars and racing historic cars.
It didn’t take long for the Pearson Torino to arrive at Canepa’s doors in early 2007. The car was immediately given an intensive examination of all of its cosmetic and mechanical components. With the restoration done by Gantz in great condition, Bruce then decided that it was time to prep the car for historic racing. Going through the entire car, from suspension to drivetrain, brakes and steering to tuning the engine, nothing went unchecked to ensure that this race car could now participate in modern vintage racing. With its work completed to become a formidable vintage track car, the car was then sold to a prominent collector who kept the car in their possession for over seven years. Returning to Canepa with barely any track time whatsoever, the Torino presents and performs exactly the way that it left from Canepa in the summer of 2007.
Now available for those looking for an iconic piece of NASCAR history, owned and driven by NASCAR Hall of Fame driver David Pearson, this car is an excellent museum piece and capable entrant into vintage racing. With formidable power, perfected handling, a menacing presence with museum quality, it is the perfect combination. Being a prime candidate as a museum-level collector car with excellent heritage and a capable race car for a driver who wants to celebrate David Pearson’s long and successful career, this Team Holman-Moody/David Pearson NASCAR Ford Torino stock car pulls historic double duty with aplomb.
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