Live Auctions

Bargain Or Basketcase: 1970 Mercury Cyclone


Big block muscle cars are always exciting, but escalating values can keep many of them out of reach for most of us. There are a few lesser known models that can still be had at decent prices though if you are willing to forgo some style. This 1970 Mercury Cyclone could be one of those cars. Although it is not going to be cheap to restore, it will still be more affordable than many of its Cobra-Jet powered cousins. Not only does it have a 429 CJ with Ram Air under the hood, but it’s a Spoiler model! Find it here on eBay in Ypsilanti, Michigan.


There is a problem though. A big problem. There’s rust and a whole lot of it! That is unfortunate too because it could be a great restoration canidate. It was nicely optioned and is supposedly a one-owner car that has been in storage for 34 years. It’s still wearing its original paint, well at least where there is still metal underneath, and supposedly only covered 43k miles before being parked. The seller mentions lots of original paperwork too.


It may be a little loud for some, but I actually love the gold paint and houndstooth interior! Things look pretty good inside. I can’t find any tears in the seats and the carpet shows minimal wear. Good thing too, because they may be the only thing keeping your feet from dragging on the ground. There are a couple of cracks in the dash, but that is the least of your concerns here.


Cancerous rust can be spotted in the fenders, doors, and what appears to be one of the frame rails. Repairing it wouldn’t be an impossible task, but it might be beyond the skills of most diyers. If you love the car and have the money, you could always find a professional to tackle the job. These aren’t super high-dollar classics yet though so you will want to watch the budget. Let’s just hope that the reserve is set at a reasonable amount so the next owner won’t be in too deep before starting the restoration.


Being a Spoiler model meant that this car received racing stripes, a handling package, and you guessed it, spoilers front and rear. The visual package added some much needed sportiness to Mercury’s already potent muscle car and the spoilers were reported to significantly decrease lift at high speeds. You might actually need them too with this under the hood. The big 429 Cobra-Jet was rated at 370 horsepower and was enough to take this big car from zero to sixty in 6.4 seconds! Too bad the tin worm got the best of this one though. Do you think it will end up being a bargain big block or a big basket case?


  1. Andy

    you would have to really love this model to get it to work. that frame rail rusting is a real worry.

  2. Lemble

    This would make a great car for the right person. This car looks to be 90% there . Strange if you think about it , if this car was a different make or model people would be all over it. How many Vettes, Camaros, Mustangs, Chevelles and Hemi cars have you seen redone with only a shell left?

  3. dj

    If you had another frame, two doors and a lot of money to throw at it. Sure. I like how it’s a ONE OWNER. And he bought it from the original owner so that makes it a two owner. It’s already above the 7k mark and not met the reserve. I’ll pass.

  4. Michael Yentzen

    Plenty of rust. Cool car but lots of work to repair rusting frame, rear quarters, trunk surround, etc.

    • William Yelton

      Too much rust is right

  5. Ramone de V8

    I was thinking this thing had potential until the shot from underneath. Really like these cars, and all the options make it cool. Maybe it would be a good donor if someone had a solid Montego body, and wanted to create a clone? Don’t know if they will ever be considered a real collectable enough to justify the scope of work needed.

  6. Rich G

    Yes, cool car, but with bidding at $7300 and reserve not met, this is not a project for the faint of heart. The way that frame looks, your best bet would be to find another Merc with the same frame and move it over. I can only image what the rest of the underbody is like.

  7. rapple

    The commenters seem to agree that at $7300 (reserve not met!) it’s not a “bargain”. Therefore it must be a ……………..?
    I hope the high bidder has a ready market for the useable parts.

  8. mark

    I agree with previous comment by Rich G. A lot of work and time is needed here!

  9. stanleystalvey

    Basket Case.! Lots of good parts here as a donor car.. It’s not worth 7k though.. Cars like this sold for $500 dollars back in it’s day..

  10. Rex Kahrs Member

    I believe the 43K miles assertion. 43 thousand miles on the salt flats in the rain maybe. Pricey parts car. And the sister Mercs were never as cool as their Ford big brothers, right?
    Mustang/Cougar, Falcon/Comet, Torino/Cyclone. Maverick/?

    Give me the Ford model every time.

    • Carlton James Madden

      Mustang/Cougar? Depends on the year but mostly Mustang. Falcon/Comet? I’ll take the Comet. I did, in fact. A 1964. Torino/Cyclone? Depends on the trim level but mostly Torino. The nose was better on the Torino. Maverick/Comet (The Comet jumped platforms a few times)? Maverick every time. The Mercurized Maverick didn’t translate well at all. Just my opinions.

  11. jim s

    is this car body on frame or unit-body? i think it is a parts car. should be interesting to see where the bidding goes. nice find.

  12. Brian

    I’ll vote with the majority! It would be a great parts car to build a clone from a solid bodied, lesser model, if the price was right … but its not! I can’t help but wonder what these bidders are thinking by paying so much for a car this rough – just like I wonder about the Porsche guys that pay ridiculous money for those bombed-out bodies. Even if you were able to do ALL of the resto work yourself, parts and materials alone would have you upside down on value with a car this rough. Who knows, maybe one of the bidders has a solid Montego body in the barn already, and the plan is for this one to go next to it for a 15 year nap, followed by yet another auction and a buy-it-now price of $100k? It would be a gamble though, who knows if there will be a market for it by then, or even if you’ll still be able to buy gasoline to fuel it?

  13. Moxman

    I wonder if the bidders interested in this car are paying for the 429 CJ engine and trans? Those components alone might be worth that kind of money; to put into another car? Just a thought…

    • JimmyinTexas

      That is what I was thinking too. If you had a 70 cougar and needed a period correct engine… Might be a bargain…

      • Moxman

        A guy in my neighborhood put this engine/trans. combination in a 65 Ford Galaxie convertible. Then, he put a Paxton supercharger, intercooler and fuel injection on the engine. It makes 550 horsepower at the rear wheels! One of the baddest hot rods in my neighborhood!

      • Mike B.

        That would be a ’71 cougar. The ’70 was still equipped with a 428cj.

  14. Steve

    I believe these cars are unibody. That being said the limitations are your skill or budget. I’ve seen some friends with limited talent and strong desire restore worse. Personally I don’t think it’s too far gone…the jump in price would be my limitation. I’m very fortunate to have a few friends with insane fabrication skills who would find
    this a challenge rather than an obstacle.

  15. Clay Bryant

    People seem to forget that there’s people out there that might have had one of these or at least “lusted” over one when they were a kid.Try to find another one.Someone’s going to buy this one,to hell over the restoration cost ’cause they’re going to keep it.If I loved one of these when i was younger,I’d rather had this and the money I put into it then money in the bank.Only one thing worse then to die and that’s to die with money in your pocket.I used to tell people,”If you think they’re going to have these in heaven,just hold off.”Some things just don’t come up that often.My boy just came out from Denver and took back a 59 Impala convertible that was really “down and dirty” and you would never believe how many people wanted that because it was an “entry level” restoration project that they could restore over the years as their budget saw fit.If you didn’t drink a 6 dollar pack of beer a night and smoked 40 dollar cartons of cigerettes a week you’d be one up on the guy that does and theirs a lot of guys out there devoted to cars and not wanting to see their money “pissed away” or going up in smoke right under their nose.It’s what you call priorities.

    • Brian

      I understand where your coming from, but this car needs ALOT of work! Based on the photos, the amount of rust damage present under this car would likely make it unsafe to travel down the road in. After a complete sandblasting, it’s going to look even worse, because the cosmetic bondo job will be gone. To attempt a restoration, your going to need some sophisticated body work skills and equipment, a ton of money, and likely a decent parts car to rob all the metal from that isn’t being reproduced. If the new owner doesn’t have these skills, he’ll be hiring someone who does. By my thinking, by the time the body man has the metal work done, under primer, and ready to paint, the owner will have already invested the value of a basic model of a new car (at today’s ridiculously high labor rates). With that in mind, any potential buyers with enough knowledge and finances to pull off a restoration on this car would just do a body swap to a better body. An amateur who “falls in love” will likely take it home, tear the car apart, find even more hidden rust, maybe even drag the car to a few restoration or body shops and get floored by their estimates (or turned away completely) before he gets overwhelmed and frustrated then gives up. I must respectfully disagree with you. If this car is involved in a restoration, it will be the parts donor, giving up it hi-po running gear and special pieces to a solid lesser model or another model like it in better shape. In short, I still have to agree with the gang, even if this is the car of your dreams, your time and money would be much better spent finding a better car to restore or just financing one that’s already restored – which would likely be cheaper than restoring even a solid example. It would take an aweful lot of beer and cigarette money to bring this one back to life!

  16. John

    Seems like a massive amount of rust for a car with only 43K on it. Where was it stored, the bottom of a local pond?

  17. Toolbox

    It’s an FE car and looks complete. If it was a solid shell with missing drivetrain and it’s special bits it would probably cost just as much to restore and still be not a numbers matching car.

    This type of car is a Unicorn for a serious Mercury guy.

    • Randy G

      A 429 is not an FE engine, it a Lima engine. FEs are 352, 360, 390, 406, and 427 CID. Limas are 429 and 460 CID.

  18. Elliott Member

    Just curious, what is the fifth power window switch button for??

  19. Andrew

    Elliot…probably a window lock button

    • Randy G

      Yes, a lock out button. It makes the 3 single switches inoperative. Kept the kids from playing with the windows.

  20. Deny Alldredge

    I’ll never understand why people take on these rust bucket projects. Life is to short and the return on this kind of project is way deep in the red.

  21. Bizinfguy

    Neat anomaly but, to quote some of my fellow commenters, a boat anchor.

  22. John

    Well. it would be a good motor for the Mercury station wagon conversion project.

  23. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    The rust is from winter driving in the salty snow in Michigan, and never spray cleaning underneath. I remember as a kid building a model of one of these, and never rreally seeing one. I’m trying to figure out how the hood got bent up on both sides, maybe it was stuck and happened while trying to open it? If someone used a donor car and resstored it, it wouldn’t be a clone if it had all the matching numbers.

    • Mike B.

      I agree – finding a donor car would be the best option. If you swap all the mechanicals over to a donor then you might spend less, but you end up with a clone that isn’t worth as much – just like how any other clone is not worth as much as a factory car that has been brought back from a crusty grave. If you are gonna buy a rusty car for too much money then at least protect your investment a little bit.

      That said, there are better examples out there. This one is lacking some of the better options: 4-speed, Drag Pack, console, frame rails >.>, to name a few. These cousins to the Torino / Cobra are not THAT rare if you take the time to look. Be patient, learn the car and its market, spend wisely.

  24. scott

    The only remedy is to let the “Loud & Fast” people in Las Vegas give it the once over, if you got the money and time. Do or die…

  25. Andrew

    I like it! The frame has way to much rust and to many unknowns about the engine and transmission.

  26. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Bidding ended at $8,310 with the reserve not met!

    • Moxman

      Wow…that sure seems like a lot of money for a car with tons of obvious problems; let alone what the pictures don’t show. The owner must be very proud of this car?

  27. Rick Septon

    There is a problem here… Unibody, rust never sleeps, structurally unsound in this train donor vehicle at this point… In my opinion… To far gone… Sad

  28. Greg

    Well It was MY car and I parted it out and in parts the car brought me $17,930!!!! That is why the reserve was so high………….NOW do you understand??????????? In case you are wondering the reserve was only 10K…..Just seeing if there were any mercury people on EBAY and or performance ford people…..That is what you call makin $$

    • Mike_B_SVT

      Not bad. Drivetrain alone was probably worth close to 10k, depending on condition and details.

      Can’t save them all.

  29. Art d

    I have restored two 1970 cyclones and parts for Merc’s. is hard to come by so I know what Greg is saying about the price of his car.

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