Rebuilt 390 Engine: 1966 Mercury Cyclone GT

This is a different opportunity, it’s more like “Buy this 390 CI V8 engine and we’ll throw in the ’66 Mercury Cyclone GT.” There’s no description of the car other than “Complete car, needs restoration call for info…” But as you’ll see, the engine is prominently featured. Before you start dialing, I’ll explain what I can and we’ll take it from there. Located in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada is this 390 CI V8 engine, rather 1966 Mercury Cyclone GT and it is available here on craigslist for $13,000. Thanks to Ron for this tip!

The Cyclone was Mercury’s sporty, two-door hardtop, in either compact or intermediate size depending on the year of production. It was based on the Comet from ’64 through ’67 and then went on as a separate model in ’68 and ceased production at the end of the ’71 model year. The Cyclone GT held up the performance end of the spectrum and in ’66 that meant a 390 CI “S” code V8 engine good for 335 gross HP.

And that’s the guts of this car, and perhaps the sale. The engine, which has been obviously been removed, appears to have undergone a complete rebuilding. As to what extent, you’ll have to inquire. And if you do, you may want to ask if the seller is planning on reinstalling it. Supposedly there is a manual transmission backing up this big Ford “FE” motor.

As for the condition of the car, recall the “needs restoration” comment from above. The images do not present a comprehensive view so it’s hard to say what’s good, bad or indifferent. The styling is reminiscent of the ’66 Ford Fairlane, the over/under headlights are an unmistakable clue. The body, what can be spied, seems straight enough, there is no obvious rot or crash damage but it’s really hard to tell for sure. There are lots of surface scrapes on what appears to be a faded finish, but nothing substantially wrong with the exterior.

The interior is dark and dingy, again hard to get a good look other than seeing the obvious split seams in both bucket seats and a split in the dash pad. There’s no shifter present so the gearbox is likely out with the engine. An aftermarket tachometer and under-dash auxiliary gauges have been installed but that’s about the end of the story for the interior, or is it?

I’m not even going to comment, (don’t know if she’s included with the sale or not).

This listing is a real shame, it looks like there’s some good stuff going on under the hood, or outside of the hood. And the seldomly seen Cyclone GT is a pretty desirable muscle car, this one even more so if it were all intact. The details around the engine build would be especially helpful and probably valuable in supporting a sale. Why sell now when this Merc is not together? Hard to say, happens all the time. What do you think, worth further inquiry?

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    A few years back, my buddies towed a trailer out to Wyoming to pick up an early-60s Econoline pickup van. They loaded the van on the trailer facing backwards. Somewhere along the interstate they stopped into one of those adult book stores and bought one of these blow-up dolls, and placed her in the driver’s seat of the reverse-facing van. Classic.

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  2. Snotty Member

    I had a 2 Dr. 67 Caliente, it had the vertical taillights which I much prefer over these long horizontal pieces. Ran great till I took it to grease monkey for an oil change. Never ran the same after that.

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  3. Troy s

    Highly educational for what to do in the back seat, excellent marketing ploy for what is essentially a beat up old Merc!
    Very rarely seen, and this is an old story, intermediate Ford/Mercury performance car so the desirable status falls short of the doll. Drop a built 428 in there and scare yourself half to death.

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    • Johnny

      Been their and got straight A,s. Its alot of my memory,s I won,t get rid of my Fairlane GT.HAHA. Out ran a state police one night and he had a big Plymouth 440. I was just a itching to run it to see if it ran as good as the cops said it did. I out ran him. Then my friend and I went up this holler .Drank beer and laughed about it and went to sleep. Two days later one of the state police asked me where I went to. I told him what we did and NOT where we went. He said they went up and parked going down to where I lived at till day light. I told him we figured that and was laughing about it. He said they couldn,t believe how fast I out ran them and we both laughed about me out foxing him.

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      • Troy s

        That’s a great story, Jonny! Imagine trying to pull that stunt nowadays….probably make the headline news.
        Sounds like your GT was breathed on a bit, good looking cars too.

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  4. Gordon

    I have a 66 Cyclone GT that I purchased out of California in the 1990. It was an all original paint car but needed a full restoration. Even having spent it’s life in CA it needed rust repair under the rear window and around the tail lights. If you look at the tail lights you can see how they trap dirt and moisture in behind. The grille in this car is from a standard comet and is not correct. Near impossible to find a correct one – ask me how I know. lol

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    • Johnny

      I know. I been watching for a cyclone GT for along time and if I run across any of their parts. Will try and get them and try to locate you. I don,t believe in this saleing for a big price. I ,m in it for the hobby and to help someone out. Someone mentioned the Cal custom valve covers on this Cyclone. I have a set of them and even 2 sets of the Thrush aluminium side drag pipes. I couldn,t believe what they were asking on EBAY. I think those people bid on their own parts to raise the prices up.

  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Above photo is a 66 Caliente with 289 and 4 speed. These are very nice cars. This cyclone has great potential for the next owner to make it personal.
    God bless America

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  6. Johnny

    Unless it has been painted. It is NOT a GT. The strips and emblems are gone. Plus its a automatic. All GT,s were 4 speed cars. The automatic ones were GTA. . My oldest brother had one with the 390 . My brother next to me had a come rag top with the 289. I have a Ford Fairlane GT. Sme motor and stuff. Their alot of questions to be answered about this car and I,d want to look it over good and the price. Is high in my area. Keep looking and you can find them in better shape and a real GT. The parts for the Mercurys are hard to find and it should lower this car for that reason. Also check the front bumper to make sure its a 66 and not a 67. Where the front liscenec plate goes–one is solid and one is cut out behind it–I,m not sure which one

    • McQ

      Johnny you are not correct on the automatic/4 speed transmission option for the ‘66 Cyclone GT. The heavy duty C-6 automatic “Sports Shift” was available for the -S- code 390 GT Cyclone. The standard transmission for the Cyclone GT and Fairlane GT was a floor controlled with console 3 speed stick. The 4 speed and C-6 were optional. The Fairlane GT became a GTA with the C-6 “Sport Shift”. Mercury did not designate a fender emblem change to A for an automatic equipped Cyclone GT. I have owned both a totally stock ‘66 Cyclone GT and a ‘66 Fairlane GTA (bought the Fairlane new).

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      • Johnny

        Well from what I read and saw. The Fairlane –like you and I both said–GT represented the 4-speed or as you stated and I myself had never seen a Fairlane GT with a 3 speed. I am sure they did make them.Right now mine has a 3 speed,but only until I find a descent price case for my top loader. Mine also didn,t have a doll baby in the back seat. Though their was some real ones in it. hahaha.

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      • Johnny

        Also Mac–the S code is the intake manifold is a little taller then the regular 4 barrel intake. Same heads as the regular 390-but also different exhaust manifold. They are a good bit bigger. The 390 (GT)also had a slight bigger cam. I like this cyclone and they ran real good. To me they were -fancy-er interior then the fairlane. I had forgotten about the flag on the fender until you mentioned it. They were alot easier to work on then gm products

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      • Johnny

        Mac, I never mentioned the c-4 or c-6. The c-4 was for the small motors and the c-6 was for the bigger motor. I simply said the GT was for the 4 speed ( I didn,t they had the 3 speed in the floor) and the GTA was the automatic.. I,m not sure if the GTA came out in 66. I do know they did in 67. I have seen the badges of GT with automatic ,but they are question buy people who changed them =themself-not from the factory.

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  7. Lance G Nord

    I had a 66 Cyclone GT…. it had factory cutouts for the exhaust. With some trick aftermarket engine accessories and 4.11 gears, it would match up with nearly any other car on the street. Sadly, I threw a rod through the block one night when I failed to shift gears. I searched for another engine for almost a year. A week after I sold the car, I found a side oiler 427 but the guy I sold the car to wouldn’t sell it back to me.

    It was one of my favorite cars. I would love to own another one, but time and money prevents it at this time.

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    • Johnny

      I spun a rod bearing in mine. I still have mine.With the heads ,intake and manifolds. I blowed the inside cylinder wall on a 428 -then I put a 289 in it. Talk about a tough little motor. It took as much abuse as the 390 and 428. I,m rebuilding it now and hope to have it on the road next year. My woman tried to get me to sale mine but I wouldn,t. She asked me what meant the most to me.Her or my car.? I told her my car. Too many cars shows I have gone to and heard people say they wished the kept their a 1,000 times. I,m not gonna have that feeling. I had the car before I had her and other woman and if she don,t like it–she can walk anytime,but I,ll still have my GT.HAHA

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  8. McQ

    This Comet does have the fiberglass simulated dual scoop hood. This hood was standard on ‘66-‘67 Cyclone GT’s and optional for the Cyclone. The Cyclone GT with flag badge is partially missing. But as has been indicated it’s got a standard Comet grille. Sure like what appear to be Cal Custom finned aluminum valve covers on the pictured FE.

    1
  9. McQ

    This Comet does have the fiberglass non-functional dual scoop hood. This hood was standard on the GT and optional for the Cyclone. It appears the Cyclone GT with checkered flag front fender badge is only partially there. These Mercs are very uncommon, unique and forgotten. Super Stock magazine awarded the 1966 Cyclone GT their Car of the Year award. Fast Eddie Schartman ran a 4 speed equipped GT into the low 14’s with 4.11’s and cheater slicks. Competitive ….. then.

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  10. Dusty Stalz

    Wow this car is literally blocks from where I live. Even closer to where I work.

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  11. Steve Bush Member

    Looks to have the potential to be a pretty nice car but seller should provide some decent pics and info. As it stands, way too much money for a non running car that’s needs to be put back together.

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  12. chrlsful

    I love any of the stacked hdlghts. Johnny & Q can say but I think the Commet had ’em 64/5 B4 goin Fairland sz in 66 (67 2 yrs after). I like the smaller guy (105inch WB).
    That grill is almost as good as the ‘Kennedy Lincolyn’ (art nueveau-like tinny lill squares) but split like the Rambler (ambassidor?). Still post ‘bulge-mobile’ of the 50s and not yet the ‘humps-over-the-wheels’ like the late 60s muscle. Nice straight lines!!
    Sfuff whatever U want in’em. 390/C-6 seems like for a truck. If there were a straight 8 w/OHV I’d mate it to an AOD (made a transmission adapter 4 one last wk here).
    Have fun, B safe AND productive !

    • Johnny

      Starting in 65 the Comet had stacked headlights. . 66 the Fairlane got them.

      1
    • Johnny

      You got good taste and do what please,s you. Just keep tinkerin and enjoy yourself. Have a great time doing it.

  13. TimM

    Could be a very nice car with some elbow grease but from what I’m reading the authenticity could be in question!! Although any 390 car is no slouch!! I hade a 390 in a ford pickup and it was a torque monster!!!

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  14. Johnny

    Your right Tim. I remeber when I first TRYED the Fairlane out. I went to turn around and the car dealer told me to drive it as if was mine. Big mistake for him. I le,er rip and scared the hell out of him. Plus it needed tuned up. I had to buy a double jointed ratchet to change a couple of the plugs in it. I still have mine and getting ready to re-build the 289 to put back in. I spun the bearing in the 390-blowed up a 428 and the 289 got stuck. The 289 is a really tough motor. Plus easy on gas and easy to work on. I still have the 390 hp parts and I have about 5 -390 motors

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  15. McQ

    Johnny, I really appreciate your enthusiasm for the ‘66-‘67 Fairlanes and Comets whether GT’s, Cyclones, etc. Now here’s some facts specific to the Fairlane & Cyclone GT’s and the Fairlane GTA. I state these based on ownership of numerous Fairlanes and Comets and that I am a founding member of the Fairlane Club of America. The FCA does include Mercury’s counterparts. For many years I was the Technical Advisor specifically for the ‘66-‘67 GT/GTA.
    In 1966 the Fairlane GT & GTA along with the Cyclone GT were introduced with one standard engine available only to these models: the -S- code 390 which featured camshaft C6OZ-B which was a decent street performing cam with a bit more duration and lift than the standard 390-4bbl. cam. As you stated there was an improved cast iron intake manifold with a large S cast on top of the front runner. This manifold became the standard intake for all 390-4bbl. and even passenger car 428’s. Not the 428 Police engine and of course not the Cobra Jet.
    The carburetor for a 390GT was a Holley 600 CFM. So essentially the 390GT was warmed up a bit with a cam & carb combo for the Fairlane/Cyclone GT/GTA.
    As stated the standard transmission for the 390GT was a floor shifted top loader 3 speed. Optional transmissions were the top loader close ratio 4 speed and the new for ‘66 C-6 which for the GTA had a larger servo which allowed for a firmer shift. Ford promoted this new transmission as the Sport Shift. If you notice the listing for this car you’ll see a nice picture of a dealer brochure featuring the interior of a Cyclone GT with floor/console automatic. So that’s it for ‘66.
    Now for 1967 things get muddled because Ford decided that the 390GT would no longer be the base only engine for the Fairlane GT/GTA and Cyclone GT. The 289-2bbl. became the base engine with options 390-2bbl. and top option the 390GT. Of course I always thought that was a mistake to allow a 289-2bbl. to be connected to the Fairlane/Cyclone GT’s.
    My opinion on this car being offered is that it very well could be a genuine Cyclone GT. It’s very rare to see the fiberglass hood on anything but a Cyclone GT. As stated by many commenters it needs a lot of work and finding parts for a 1966 Cyclone is very difficult.
    Good luck Johnny with your Fairlane project.

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    • Troy s

      I may have asked this before but just how many 427 Fairlanes were built in 1967, I know the 58 or so race cars in ’66 but somewhere a claim of 200 came up for ’67 sold to the public this time. I’ve also heard that 200 number included race cars, which may or may not be true. One things for certain,
      the nearly 900 dollar option kept it honest I guess. Thanks.

      1
      • McQ

        Regarding ‘67 Fairlanes & Comets with factory installed 427’s both dual 4V (425hp) -R- code and single 4V (410hp) -W- code I have read estimates of 1,100-1,200 were built. Quite uncommon to say the least. The 200 production estimate has been claimed by some but refuted by the Fairlane Club of America. I personally saw four on the streets in the late ‘60s. One was a 425hp Fairlane 500 two dr. Hdtp. In Spokane, WA. Another was a Fairlane XL 410hp in Yakima, WA. Then another Fairlane 500 two dr. hdtp. In Seattle. And a ‘67 Cyclone 425 hp in the Tacoma, WA. area. Yes I kept my eyes open for all things Fairlane and Comet. There was a Ford Dealership in a small Washington town, Morton, Van Cleve Ford that successfully campaigned two 427 powered Fairlanes in Super Stock while Bill Ireland, Portland, OR, also successfully raced a 427 Fairlane. I agree with you Troy that the $900 + price of the 427 option prevented strong sales numbers. In addition to that your 427 Fairlane/Comet came with a 90 day/4,000 mile warranty (which ever came first). Same warranty that was on the K code HP 289’s from mid ‘63, ‘64, ‘65 Fairlanes and Mustangs late ‘64-‘67. A buyer of a 427 Fairlane/Comet also had to sign a waiver at the time of purchase that indicated the 427 was a competition engine that did not meet Ford’s standards for daily usage. You had to be aware there was going to be above normal maintenance required.

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      • Troy s

        Thanks, McQ, that’s the best answer/explanation of the 427 Fairlane I ever heard!

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    • Johnny

      Thanks Mac. When I tinker on mine–it takes me back to 74 .When I bought mine. . I,ve been wanting to join your club for along time and hope so some day. Yes both my brothers had a regular Comet and GT. One had the 390-4 speed and the other was a rag top 289-4 speed. If I,m not mistaken-and I could be. The GT had a Hurst shifter in it. Where my other brothers rag top-289 had the ford shifter . Where you lifted the leaver to put it in reverse. Like my GT –HAD. I changed it to a hurts shifter later on because you could shift better and it was alot quiter with the Mr Gasket metal spacers. Thanks Mac

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