429 Cobra Jet: 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler

There are times when ambition and reality collide in an unfortunate way. That is the case with the 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler. It was a car that received a rapturous reception from the motoring press at the time, but this didn’t translate to success in the showroom. Today the model has gained recognition in the classic market, and values have begun to rise accordingly. This particular car underwent a rotisserie restoration around 10-years-ago. It has had limited use since then and is now set to go to a new home. It is located in Granite Falls, Washington, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Spirited bidding has pushed the price along to $39,500. With the reserve met, the new home is only days away for this Mighty Merc.

The owner supplies a great collection of photos, but he does admit that the color is inconsistent across the set. When the Mercury was treated to its restoration, it received a fresh coat of its original Competition Orange paint. The vehicle has spent most of the time since then in storage and only sees the light of day a couple of times per year. Therefore, it is no surprise to see that it still presents superbly, with no apparent signs of any deterioration in its shine. The panels are laser straight, while the gaps are tight and consistent. Rust is not a concern with this beauty because it is as clean and sound as you could ever hope to find. The tinted glass is as flawless as the rest of the exterior, and the correct front and rear spoilers are present and in good condition. The Cyclone has recently been fitted with a new set of 15″ Magnum 500 wheels in place of the 14″ items. I hope that the seller has retained those wheels because the relative rarity of the 1970 Cyclone may mean that the buyer would want to refit them.

When it came to the question of power outputs, Mercury didn’t lie outright. However, there has always been an overwhelming belief that they were probably quite frugal with the truth. The Cyclone features the 429 Cobra Jet V8, which was claimed to produce 370hp. There has been plenty of speculation over the subsequent decades, and conventional wisdom seems to agree that the truth sits somewhere closer to 400hp. This V8 is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission, which channels the power to a 3.50 Traction-Lok rear end. That combination should be capable of firing the Mercury through the ¼ mile in 14.5 seconds. If you were hoping that the Cyclone is a numbers-matching classic, I do have some bad news. The engine block is date-coded for 1971, while the Ram Air intake base is a reproduction item. When the restoration was performed, the camshaft was given an upgrade. That means that the V8 now pumps out more power, but it doesn’t idle as smoothly as the original. The seller doesn’t expressly state how well the vehicle runs or drives, but the impression that he conveys is that it performs both of these tasks well.

The interior of the Mercury is a delight, upholstered in a combination of Black and Pewter. The limited use over the past decade is best reflected in the interior’s condition. It is spotlessly clean, with no problems to report. The original Hurst shifter pokes out of the console, while the driver can keep an eye on the Cyclone’s mechanical health via a comprehensive set of factory gauges. Apart from the cover on the wheel, I can’t spot any aftermarket additions, and the seller doesn’t mention any in the listing. If you are searching for luxury equipment, what you will find is an AM radio. Still, that leaves fewer distractions and should allow the driver to focus on enjoying this classic.

With impressive levels of performance and a multitude of positive reviews in the specialist motoring press, the stage was set for the 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler to be a run-away sales success for the company. To the surprise of many, this didn’t happen. During the 1970 model year, only 1,631 buyers slapped down their cash for a Cyclone Spoiler. No-one has ever conclusively been able to determine why sales were low, but plenty have put forth various reasons that sound plausible. Today, the Spoiler is recognized as a special car, and values have begun to rise steadily. The proof of this is graphically demonstrated by the bidding on this car. The auction opened at $1,970, and it has taken a little over a day for it to skyrocket to its current level. This is a classic that has sparked interest in a lot of people, and I’ll be interested to see whether it has done this with any of our readers to the point where they are tempted to join the bidding war.

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Comments

  1. Classic Steel

    This is a nice looking Spoiler. Its a shame its not the original engine. This takes a big bite out of price.

    The color is spectacular as is four speed.

    Like 5
    • bry593

      The car is nice, but still ugly as the day it was born.

  2. Snotty

    Mercury always had factory gauges in the cockpit, while in a Ford counterpart you got a fuel gauge, maybe an alternator gauge. The 1970 and 71 grilles on these Merc’s were a bit(maybe) over the top,only reason that comes to mind for low sales numbers. I realize 1631, is only spoiler numbers. I had a 70 Cyclone, and I always wanted a 70 Bee or R/T. Which also had a “love it or hate it”grille. I guess I’m in the minority.

    Like 4
  3. Jcs

    Many don’t but I have always liked the gunsight style grill on these. Certainly unique.

    A fortunate soul is going to take home one seriously fast luxobarge. That’s always cool in my book.

    Like 15
  4. Skorzeny

    Adam, this is not a complaint, but let’s say I’m halfway through a quarter mile run, I doubt I would think ‘Oh crap, the date code on the block is wrong…’
    And I LOVE that paint color, wow.

    Like 17
  5. Moondawg00

    This model was NOT the one used in NASCAR that year which probably had an impact on the sales. The Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II (better known as the Ford Torino Talladega) was chosen instead due to its aerodynamics. While only 600 Cyclone II’s were produced, it undoubtedly cut into the normal Cyclone sales.

    Like 5
  6. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Very nice. Unlikely to see another one at Cars & Coffee. My favorite part is the canted gauge package, and I’m fine with the gunsight grille. Take a look at the ebay ad; this dealer certainly knows how to make a thorough presentation. From the Marti report, the car took nine months to sell; and from the window sticker, I hope the original buyer did not regret the $6.50 for the Higher Ratio Rear Axle.

    Like 3
  7. Joe Machado

    The W front end car era. To be fair, even the 1970, shaped by the wind, Torino was ever so slightly used in the 70 Nascar season.
    Hemet is where I found one of these. 4-speed.
    Picked up the SuperBird instead

    Like 1
  8. Keith

    Sales were low because they were stone ugly.By far the worst looking front end to come out of Detroit.

    Like 3
    • local_sheriff

      While I wouldn’t necessarily describe this face as beautiful IMHO it definately falls into the ‘so ugly it’s cool’ category. Gotta admit this face looks furious. Way worse designs than this have come out of Detroit, both before and (particularly) after

      Like 4
  9. 433jeff

    Maybe not having the original motor may be a blessing for the guy who could care less about counting beans and more about driving it, someone may not have the extra money

    Like 8
  10. Woody

    Clean,solid,4-speed,big block 429 power.Mercury had their own look a few years,some are getting closer to Mopar money.

    Like 2
  11. Troy s

    I dont know, how many 428 cobra jet powered Cyclones did they sell in ’69?
    Not many I bet. Dont know why it would be any different for the restyled ’70 and the new and completely different 429 385 series screamer version. Some guys I knew had a plethora of high performance for FE’s,, none which would work on the 429, as a factory high performance engine maybe a year and half and adios. Not to mention the 454 and 455 powered GM street rats sitting all smiley faced on the lots now, Ford grew one whole cubic inch and were now the smallest offering in this class., despite the very large bore and short stroke and mile high compression ratio.
    Who knows really, sales fell hard that year for this now saturated market across the board. Maybe the front end had something to do with it maybe not.
    Very nice old Merc, a diamond in the rough or just a needle in the haystack, flog that sucker hard! Nobody will know what your driving anyways.

    Like 4

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