HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1969 Mercury Cyclone

Pick of the Day: 1969 Mercury Cyclone

A CJ Spoiler by any other name


They like to say, “What wins on Sunday sells on Monday!” Was it true? Based on the racing success of the Mercury Cyclone, possibly not, as the Cyclone was always in the shadow of FoMoCo’s other models. One of these NASCAR-inspired models is our Pick of the Day, a 1969 Mercury Cyclone. It is listed for sale on by a dealership in Philadelphia. (Click the link to view the listing)

Mercury introduced the Cyclone for the 1964 Comet series. It was a sporty small-block compact, but America was demanding big-block performance cars. The Comet was redesigned in 1966 and moved up to a mid-size platform, bringing the Cyclone with it. A companion Cyclone GT came standard with a 335-horsepower 390. A 427 became available in 1967 but was way too rare to make an impact. For 1968, the Cyclone and Cyclone GT were available as a hardtop and new fastback, with a standard 302 two-barrel and options up to the 390 and, come mid-year, the new 428 Cobra Jet.

For 1969, Mercury discontinued the hardtop, leaving the fastback as the only body style. Additionally, Mercury shuffled the Cyclone series a bit. First off, there were two Cyclone models: Cyclone and Cyclone CJ, the latter being Mercury’s answer to the Plymouth Road Runner. The GT continued, but it had been reduced to an appearance package. And then, mid-year, Mercury introduced the Spoiler package.

Truth be told, before the Spoiler was introduced, Mercury built a small batch of white and red Cyclones that invoked Cale Yarborough’s race car (known as “color code” cars). All carried a blank paint code (signifying a special-order) and were built before January 1, 1969. These cars have been discovered to be built on both the Cyclone and Cyclone CJ models.

These served as the prototype for the Cyclone Spoiler, which was introduced in January 1969 for the base Cyclone model. The white and red cars were now branded as the Cale Yarborough Special, while a white and blue version was branded as the Dan Gurney Special. Standard engine was an upgrade from the Cyclone’s 302, a 351 Windsor 4V rated at 290 horsepower; optional was the 390 and the 428 Cobra Jet. Other Spoiler equipment included side stripes, black-out grille, black hood scoop and stripes, hood pins and, of course, rear spoiler. The Cyclone Spoiler served as the basis for what’s known as the Spoiler II, which was the NASCAR homologation special that was only available with the 351 4V.

Based on the data plate of this 1969 Mercury Cyclone, this Cyclone appears to be a Cyclone CJ (body code 16) with a blank color code, six-digit DSO (meaning a special-order), and December build date. That would suggest that this is a color code Cyclone that someone has dressed up as a Cale Yarborough Spoiler. The spoiler, and Cale and Spoiler decals seem to have been added, but what else? Yet, all things being equal, the two vehicles look mostly the same and have rarity on their respective sides. “The car comes equipped with power brakes and power steering,” says the seller. Options include the Cobra Jet without ram air (engine code “Q”), red bench seat, column-shifted automatic, and AM/FM radio. What this car truly needs is a Marti Report to know exactly how it was ordered . . . and if our theory on being a color code car is correct.

But even as a straight Cyclone CJ, this vehicle would be quite desirable, so perhaps the $66,000 asking price would not be out of line? Only you would know, so pony up for the Marti and find out!

To view this listing on, see Pick of the Day.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in the Southwest.


  1. What a rare find! Awesome car… put a 4 speed and bucket seats in it and you have a ridiculously awesome car. Mercury pulled out a gem here in 1969.

  2. I had a 69 Mercury Cyclone CJ with the 428 engine, back in 1974-75. I paid $2850 for it. I had to let it go in 81. One of the worst days of my life, and I have never gotten over it. The only way I’ll be able to get another one is to win the lottery, and I look forward to that day!

  3. I love Mercury’s this Cyclone is rad. I had a 70 Cougar X-R7 with a 351 Cleveland what a monster should have never sold it. The guy who bought it wrapped it around a telephone pole, I weep when I think about it. Good luck with your Cyclone it’s a treasure of a car.(awesome!)

  4. The first time ever a Merc Cyclone came into my life was when I was in my early 20s and had gone into a Ft. Collins Colorado speed shop wanting badly to upgrade my 66 Mustang’s stock manual 3-speed with a top-loader 4 sp. After about two weeks of them not finding anything, I finally got a call back saying that “ I was in luck, ~ they just received a totaled early Cyclone “ and would pull the top-loader from it. Once installed a long long several weeks later, (for me, haha,) it then became clear that I needed to get my stock high ratio open differential out of there pronto so I could pair it with a more compatible lower geared Traction-Loc* (< Ford’s term ) rear but that part came * NOT * from this Cyclone, but rather a Falcon wagon I had crawled under at a Longmont area salvage yard, just happy “the diff”may not have gotten too much pinion wear, as the wagon appeared never to have had a hitch installed. Decades later, I’d love to score a Cyclone survivor with a manual. Odds aare low, ( ! ) … but a ‘70s raised old kid can still dream …

    • That’s not the case. Those cars were called the Spoiler II. Additionally, the modifications between the Talladega and Spoiler II were different, so they didn’t share the same nose.

  5. Looked at a 1968 1/2 cyclone gt in Jacksonville FL on a used car lot in 1976. 900 dollars was the price , 428, 4 speed with the spoiler on the rear deck lid. God I kick myself for not buying it.

  6. Very nice car,, most are saying it to much money, I disagree,, how can you put a price on a rare piece of history.
    If one looks at the prices on classic American muscle now a days ,,, every car is over priced, But , these are very rare in this condition. Remember people,, just watch Barret Jackson auctions . And that’s why prices are so inflated. Compare it to a AMC pacer that sold for stupid money.
    This is not overpriced to to proper buyer.

  7. I was at the York Pa Ford National show a few years ago I had seen this car and it took 1st place. I watched the judges get under the car to check everything out. I remember seeing Cale Yarlborough signature in the trunk of this car.

  8. I bought a used 1970 Cyclone Spoiler and I’m pretty sure it had a 429 CJ under its beautiful hood. Like the idiot I was with so many classics now, I sold her. I regret letting that car go over all the others to this day. I could only wish to have the money to buy another one.


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