No Reserve: 1968 Mercury Cyclone GT 390

This 1968 Mercury Cyclone GT throws us a mass of mixed signals. It was parked in a barn back in 1978, and the current owner purchased it around 13-years-ago. It has been revived, but it needs the right person who is willing to return it to its best again. Its original engine is still present, and its rust problems are relatively minor. If you feel up to the challenge of restoring a classic Mercury, you will find the Cyclone located in Binghamton, New York, and listed for sale here on eBay. A single bid sees the price sitting at $6,800 in what is a No Reserve auction.

The owner claims that the Nugget Gold Metallic paint that the Cyclone wears is original. However, visible color inconsistency across some of the panels could indicate prior repair work. The hood has been swapped with one from a Torino. The original was apparently bent due to being forced with seized hinges, and this one was substituted as an interim measure. I find it interesting that the car lacks the badges and upper-level body stripes that were an integral part of the GT package. The original owner may have chosen to delete the stripes, but the badges are a mystery. The panels wear a collection of dings and dents, but most of them look to be repairable without resorting to replacement. There are some rust issues, but once again, most of these could be addressed with patches rather than the wholesale replacement of steel. It is in the usual spots like floors, lower rear quarter panels, and the rear wheel arches. However, the car is structurally sound, so these repairs could be tackled at the buyer’s leisure.

The GT option on the 1968 Cyclone brought bucket seats, but this one has a bench. I’m not sure if this is original or whether it has been swapped at some point. It is possible that the first owner ordered the car with a bucket seat delete, but that would have been an unusual choice. What can be seen of the upholstery and soft trim indicates that a full restoration will be on the cards. The wheel is also badly cracked and appears to be beyond repair. A trim kit will probably be the most sensible approach, and $2,000 should secure a high-quality kit. This won’t include the dash pad, so a buyer will need to budget extra for that.

The owner says that the engine bay houses its original S-Code 390ci V8, which would be right for a GT. This was originally backed by a 3-speed manual transmission, although this has been swapped for a 4-speed. With 325 hp on tap, the Cyclone would have been capable of covering the ¼ mile in 14.9 seconds in 3-speed form. The 4-speed would knock a few tenths off that time, which is no bad thing. The news here is all very positive. The Mercury has been revived and now runs and drives. I can spot a rebuilt carburetor, new fuel pump, new master cylinder, and what appears to be a new radiator. The brake hoses have also been changed, along with all brake shoes and the rear drums. The result of all of this hard work is a classic that now runs and drives well. The dual exhaust looks a bit old, but the owner says that the 390 runs quietly, with no signs of smoke.

I would love to know the full story behind this 1968 Mercury, and I would love to see a Marti Report for it. This is a car that poses a significant number of questions, and if it is as original as the owner says, it could potentially be a relatively rare find. When I first looked at it, I questioned whether it was a genuine GT. The lack of stripes, badges, and bucket seats all seemed to indicate that. However, the originality of the engine tells a different story. I guess that it is possible that someone wanted to “fly under the radar” to keep an insurance company happy, but we may never know the truth. Do you have any theories, or are you tempted to follow-up on this Cyclone because you’d like to park it in your garage?

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Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    This one would be a great car to restore but it’s in really rough shape in and out. Rust, dings and dents all around, rusty bumpers and the wrong hood along with an interior that’s completely shot. It’s good news that the motor is up and running and the four speed is a plus. Assuming it is a real GT, the missing stripes and badges are probably the result of a re-paint or two and the original buyer opted for a bench seat. Or maybe it’s not a GT at all. I like the ’68-’69 Cyclones and their Ford cousins, the fastback styling is awesome. I hope this Cyclone gets restored but it will be a costly project.

    Like 10
    • Angrymike

      You’re absolutely right about runs to the paint booth, my father’s black 69 Road Runner had about 4 repaints in a 12 year period. I always amazes me when I see “original paint” on a 50+ year old car !

      Like 4
  2. Rustytech Member

    This looks like a good project if the price doesn’t go much higher.

    Like 1
  3. gaspumpchas

    Being from the rust belt, these had a nasty problem of rusting out up under the cowl plenum, an area thats not readily visible. Saw one that when you let out the clutch the whole car would flex like it was hinged. Looker over good!
    Good luck and stay safe,
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 7
    • DON

      And this one looks to have that same cowl rot. Back in CT. in the mid 80s we went to pick up a 69 Torino wagon that had been sitting in a guys yard. When the cable from the flatbed began to pull the car , it tore in half right at the dash/ cowl area !

      Like 1
  4. JCA

    Looks like it came with a 3 speed on the column

    Like 5
  5. EPO3

    The shifter looks like if you slammed 3rd gear you would bust your knuckles.And have fun changing all eight spark plugs

    Like 2
    • Mr.BZ

      Always fun on the Torino/Cyclone 390!

      Like 1
  6. DON

    And this one looks to have that same cowl rot. Back in CT. in the mid 80s we went to pick up a 69 Torino wagon that had been sitting in a guys yard. When the cable from the flatbed began to pull the car , it tore in half right at the dash/ cowl area !

  7. James

    Yeah the floors are gone the cowl looks really questionable and my cyclone gt has a gt on the dash by the cyclone I highly doubt it is a gt the only way is by the vin. and I didn’t see that listed

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