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NATMUS presents Legends of Nascar

Executive Director Dave Yarde and the team at the National Auto & Truck Museum (NATMUS) in Auburn, Ind., have just assembled a one-in-a-lifetime display titled “Legends of NASCAR.” This collection of legendary NASCAR race cars will be displayed on NATMUS’ main floor, in the racing gallery. NATMUS is the first automobile museum to assemble this collection of important NASCAR race cars.

There’s a special twist to the NATMUS “Legends of NASCAR” display. The unique display will evolve in the coming months with additional historic race cars joining the lineup, ensuring repeat museum visitors have something new to see during each stop. One of the future additions to the display will arrive in Auburn after its display ends at the Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum. Another car will join the display upon completion of its full makeover by Eddie Pearson, the youngest son of a NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee David Pearson. Additional historic race cars are also being prepped for eventual inclusion in NATMUS’ new “Legends of NASCAR” display.

NATMUS will formally announce in Old Cars the addition of each race car to the display as it arrives at the museum and officially joins the historic display. (Several of these vehicles have already been featured in Old Cars.)

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and truly an opportunity to showcase these Legends of NASCAR,” Yarde said. “They deserve to be recognized and the exposure will be a world-class experience for the visitors who walk through our doors and into the racing gallery. We’re truly honored and we feel it’s our obligation to keep NASCAR history alive. This is a once-in-a-lifetime display that I believe will showcase NASCAR to the world. NATMUS attracts visitors from around the world, and the lucky ones who come through our doors to see this display in person are going to see something special.”

The current ‘Legends of NASCAR’ lineup includes:

Richard Petty #43 Plymouth Belvedere 

1964 Plymouth Belvedere Petty Blue #43 race car

1964 Plymouth Belvedere Petty Blue #43 race car was built by Petty’s Garage in Level Cross, N.C., as an exact, authentic replica of the Plymouth Petty Enterprises built and campaigned for the 1964 Winston Cup season. The project and build of this accurate and period-correct race car were spearheaded by Richard Petty; his brother, engine builder Maurice Petty; and their second cousin and crew chief, Dale Inman.

These three NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees teamed up with Petty’s Garage and were instrumental in the process to produce this exact version of the #43 Plymouth that won the NASCAR Grand National Championship in 1964. Each of them had a role in its development, then endorsed the #43 Petty Blue Plymouth with their signatures of authenticity on the NASCAR-inspired air cleaner element on the 426 Hemi engine.

Richard Petty won his first of seven NASCAR Grand National Championships in 1964. Driving the #43 Petty Blue Plymouth Belvedere, Petty won nine races in 61 starts and racked up nearly 5,000 more points than runner-up Ned Jarrett, who won 15 races that year.

This race car spent the last six years in the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Glory Road display. Prior to arriving at NATMUS to join the “Legends of NASCAR” display, the Petty Blue #43 Plymouth returned to Petty’s Garage where it was tuned, updated with fresh fluids, fuel and prepped for the racetrack. The car is owned by Boris Bonutti of Illinois.

Cotton Owens 1964 Dodge Polara 

Freezeframe LLC image via Al Rogers

1964 Dodge Polara #6

1964 Dodge Polara #6 built by NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Cotton Owens at his Racing garage in Spartanburg, S.C., and known as Owens’ “Last Race Car.” The Polara is powered by an experimental Chrysler 426 Hemi engine identified as X-2. The X-2 experimental 426 Hemi engine is number 2 of 10 produced by Chrysler. It powered the original 1964 Dodge Polara that Cotton Owens Racing built and campaigned for Dodge in 1964. This Cotton Owens Race Car just completed a three-year commitment at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. It was pulled from the Cotton Owens private inventory for use in his last race car build. This race car is the last one built by Cotton Owens at his racing garage in Spartanburg, S.C. The car is owned by Hank Bonutti of Michigan.

The Benny Parsons Talladega race car has a storied NASCAR chassis.

Freeze Frame Image LLC

1969 Talladega #98 race car

1969 Talladega #98 Benny Parsons race car is an original Holman and Moody NASCAR chassis believed to have started its racing history as the Blue #115 Stropped Motorsports 1967 Fairlane that won the Riverside (Motor Trend) 500 race in 1967 with International Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee Parnelli Jones behind the wheel.

In 1968, the Holman and Moody racing chassis received a Ford Torino body, and NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Benny Parsons won two consecutive ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) Championships with it in 1968 and 1969. Wendel Scott, also a NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee, acquired it in 1970 and campaigned it on the Winston Cup circuit in 1970 and 1971 until a crash took it out of commission. It was reskinned as an exact Talladega racecar on the original Holman and Moody chassis with the #98 Benny Parsons yellow paint scheme. Barry Miller of Indiana owns the car.



The very first 1969 Dodge Charger 500 remains in unrestored condition. 

Freezeframe LLC image via Al Rogers

1969 Dodge Charger 500, the very first of only 392

1969 Dodge Charger 500, the very first of only 392 such aerodynamic models built to homologate the slickened Charger body for NASCAR. This Charger 500 remains in original, unrestored condition, just as it was built for Chrysler Corp. at the Creative Industries Conversion facility in Detroit with the intent of showcasing the new Charger 500 to the press, and for promotional purposes.

This 1969 Dodge Charger 500 is a true legend in the MoPar and muscle car community. It originally appeared in Hot Rod magazine in February 1969, and Chrysler campaigned the Charger 500 on the show car circuit in 1969 as its official promotional and press car.

It’s one of 15 Charger 500s equipped with the Hemi engine and A833 four-speed manual transmission, and the only Charger 500 with the Hemi, four-speed, R4 Bright Red paint, C5X black cloth and vinyl interior, and power windows. The options list is extensive, which makes sense given the car’s promotional intent. This car is a must-see for the MoPar fan. They’re only original once, and this Charger 500 is as original as it gets. The car is owned by the Manny Collection of Ontario, Canada.

Written by Al Rogers | OLD CARS WEEKLY | APR 25, 2023

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