Tire Twister! 1970 Mercury Cyclone 429 SCJ Drag Pak

Nearly every cool Ford has a Mercury counterpart, usually with fewer sold, more original options, and a higher chance of having the only one at a given event. This 1970 Mercury Cyclone in St. Charles, Missouri features the 429 SCJ (Super Cobra-Jet) 429 cid (7.0L) V8 with factory Drag Pak, four-speed manual transmission, and 4.30:1 gears. Despite its running and driving condition, relatively straight appearance, being “98% original,” and wearing all the factory goodies needed for quarter-mile action, this Cyclone can thank “the Mercury curse” (lack of popularity compared to Ford) for capping the asking price at $20,000. Thanks to reader Pat L. for spotting this green machine here on craigslist.org and to automobile-catalog.com for some details.

If you think this “boat” is too big to be fast, consider that it weighs 3918 lb. or about 100 lb more than a 2019 Mustang 5.0. Featuring the hottest setup available in 1970, this Mercury goes beyond the healthy CJ (Cobra-Jet) to the SCJ (Super Cobra-Jet) package. The SCJ could only be paired with 3.90 or 4.30 gears and received upgrades like a four-bolt main, forged pistons, and more. Rated on paper at 375 HP, dyno tests have yielded almost 500 HP. Check out hemmings.com for more details.

Generally a Mercury depicts a step up in trim from its Ford counterpart. In this case, acres of black plastic and vinyl keep things “all business” inside.The Hurst T-handle and giant tachometer suggest more time spent frying tires than driving relatives to the Fish Fry.

The functional ram-air setup only graced the SCJ, so there’s no hiding this Cyclone’s sporting intentions from anyone with a sharp eye. The grille design tends to polarize enthusiasts. Like a real cyclone, it seems aerodynamically unfriendly, with a side-order of “call me ugly again; I dare you.” Note how the gun-sight center flows into the raised hood section. Personally I’d prefer the optional concealed headlamps. What price would suck you into buying this Cyclone?

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  1. KSwheatfarmer

    This is the top dog engine and transmission,body looks to be above average and the Kelsy-Haze wheels are a desirable option. To bad it doesn’t have gauges in the dash,bucket seats or console. Smokin the tires would be fun,but risky. My brother has one of these that suffered a fly-wheel explosion,took out a lot of vintage parts.

    • Miguel

      For me it is too bad it doesn’t have covered headlights.

      Those always double the cool factor for me.

  2. Natec

    I think I read somewhere that the round hole in the center of the grill made it easier to remove the cam without taking out the entire grill section. Supposedly this was for the drag racers in mind. Maybe it was a myth, I don’t know…… Has anyone else heard of this as a design feature on the Cyclones? Very cool car by the way!

  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    The center of the grill always reminded me of an outdoor loudspeaker. Thanks for the Friday reminder Todd, I will be heading out for some Wallye later today. No shortage of fish fries here in Wisconsin!

  4. Ted

    And no pictures of what he calls rust in the usual places………..right…………..so if I’m interested and l live here in White Rock BC I guess I’d just imagine what the damage is before I wire the money? Anyone want to go in with me to open an online teaching forum for aspiring curbers and car sellers? We could go over the usual things like don’t take pictures on a trailer, show defects instead of a pic of the fuzzy dice, how to use a vacuum and Windex, pump up tires, and how to properly focus a camera. I’m thinking there’d be a line up for students…………..I could buy this car this instant but you get tired of the same lame attempt to cloak damage or not show it at all, so I can’t be bothered to show any interest. And yes I get that it needs work, but show the work it needs, not a pic of the steering wheel and the dirty carpets.

    • Lawrence Otte

      Grumpy old guy… answer the ad and get more info…..

      • Scott

        Wait to give it to him Larry!!

  5. Joe M

    Perfect sleeper especially in green, bet this suprised a lot of racers in its day

    • stillrunners Stillrunners Member

      Somebody’s going to steal this one.

  6. John P

    As a Cyclone owner-albeit just a ‘70 GT with 351/4v….. I support how awesome this car is.. particularly-i like it since it’s barely a step above a Montego and has all the go-fast options.. Super obscure muscle car in grandma green..

  7. Chuck

    This might have been a stoplight to stoplight racer, however anyone serious about the 1/4 mile would have removed all the smog equipment, and eliminated the vacuum retard line on the distributor! And that’s just what I can see. In that era, (and I’m from that era) it was not unusual to see 4.56 & 4.88 rear ends on the street. I even knew of one car that had a 5.14 on it, just for the street! Actually, by 1970, street racing on Woodward Ave had slowed down quite a bit due to the amount of traffic, and a very heavy hand by law enforcement! Also, all the smog crap on the engines was really choking them, and horse power ratings were dropping like flies in a bug zapper!

  8. Chris

    Solid drivetrain, really one of the ugliest Ford designs. Terrible lines from front to back. None the less it would be a hell of a fun car to rip through the gears down the quarter.

    • 433jeff

      Sometimes things are so ugly they are beautiful, and unique, at 500 hp with 430 rear , its special

      • Chris

        I agree, it’s a monster with that drive line. But the design was one of the worst Ford designs. So “special” would apply here lol

  9. SteVen

    Natec, actually, it wasn’t the hole that facilitated cam changes, it was the fact that the entire center section was easily rotated up and out of the way. Of course you still needed to remove a lot of other parts, too, but at least you could change the cam without pulling the whole motor.

  10. SteVen

    A couple of minor clarifications:

    The ad says “matching numbers 429 SCJ Drag Pack Option Car with Ram Air, Black Bench interior and 4.30 Traction Lock Rear end”
    Well, if it came with the Drag Pak (not “Pack”), it would indeed have the Traction-Lok (not “Lock”) differential, but it would have a 3.91 gear. If it came from the factory with the 4.30 gear, it would have had a Detroit Locker differential and would have made this a “Super Drag Pak” car.

    The author of this piece writes “The SCJ could only be paired with 3.90 or 4.30 gears and received upgrades like a four-bolt main, forged pistons, and more.” Not exactly. It was the selection of the 3.91(not 3.90) or 4.30 gear options that triggered the inclusion of the Super Cobra Jet engine mods to the regular Cobra Jet mill. The Drag Pak link the author includes actually does a great job laying this out.

    I always liked these underrated Mercs. This looks like a great car for street and strip duty. Thanks for the posting and GLWTS.

    • Lawrence Otte

      I added the build sheet to the ad.

  11. Scott

    Jimmy Durante would be proud of that proboscis.

  12. Triumph1954

    Nice car and good price!

  13. Woody

    Vintage and cool Merc., ram-air big block,four-speed,and a/c! wow.

    • SteVen

      A/C? I missed that in the pics. If it does, it was either added post-factory or the car is just a CJ, not a SCJ.

      • Chuck

        Sorry SteVen, upon closer looking, I now realize that the lines I thought were A/C are actually the engine oil cooler! Thanks for correcting me!

      • SteVen

        No worries, Chuck.

        I always wondered why most of the top muscle cars seem not to have been available with A/C.
        Was it due to something about the engines themselves, or was the restriction related to the rear gear ratio, and it was just that most of the top engines were only available with the deeper gears?
        I’ve heard various reasons, from burning up a/c compressors to something about the amount of vacuum generated.
        Does anyone know?

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        It robbed horsepower, added weight, throwing belts off high reving motors. Not to mention the extra cost.

      • CATHOUSE

        I cannot speak 100% to the Cyclone but in 1971 the Cougar was also available with the 429 engine in CJ and SCJ form. The reason A/C was not available for the 429 Cougar was tires. Yes, tires. With the A/C added there was not an available tire in a size that would fit the car that would meet the government requirements of weight load. The same is most likely true for this Cyclone too. I have no idea if this crosses over to GM and/or Chrysler products.

    • Chuck

      The 429 does not have A/C. The pic of the one showing the tilt up center grill does have A/C. Two different pictures of two cars!

  14. Troy s

    Ford/Mercury had a solid runner here, expensive option but weren’t they all? Ironically, they also winded up having the least cubic inches in an era that claimed there’s no replacement for displacement. Well, except for American Motors.
    It’s a neat car, surely seen some action, and the price tag is about the same as a rusted out Road Runner with three tires. Hahaha. Wonder how many people would even know what kind of car it is parked in front of my house. Hmmm.

  15. Woody

    Looking at the dash vents it could have came with a/c…..

  16. Steve S

    I would like to have this car with that monster 429 scj and 4 speed manual transmission it would be really fun to drive and take to cruise inns

  17. Glen Riddle

    I was really interested so I reached out to the seller, Larry Otte of Moscow Mills, MO.
    The good news is that it seems to be a Super Drag Pak car rather than just a Drag Pak car.
    He sent some pics of the build sheet and a Deluxe Marti Report but things got weird when I asked for a full picture of the Marti Report(the pic he included, above, had the date section and statistics section cut off).
    He got real defensive and then started talking about concern about scammers and wanting a bunch of personal info about me and didn’t want to provide anything more other than on the phone. Smelled really fishy.
    He says he has a bunch of these cars, but didn’t seem to even know what he has(Drag Pak vs. Super Drag Pak; Detroit locker rear vs. Traction Lok, etc.).
    I looked up him and his business(Pro Basement Inc.; he remodels basements, not cars) and lots of complaints and bad reviews popped up, so I decided to pass. He got pretty abusive in his e-mails, too, calling me a scammer just because I wanted unaltered info and didn’t want to give a seller a bunch of personal info. Not sure what his deal is. Maybe he’s legit and has just been burned by scammers, but I didn’t appreciate his treatment of this potential customer. Shame as I was very interested in the car.

    • Glen Riddle

      Build sheet the seller sent me.

      • Glen Riddle

        Another pic. Sorry it is showing sideways; I posted it upright.

      • CATHOUSE

        That is not a Ford factory build sheet. A build sheet will show part number prefixes for a lot of different parts of the car and it will show color codes on certain parts like what color stripes were on the front coil springs. It is one of the copies of the factory to dealer invoice. This paper shows the cost to the dealer for the car and each option and the suggested retail prices for the same. It also has the original dealer information that the car was sent to.

      • Glen Riddle

        Thanks CATHOUSE,
        Although I have always had Pontiacs(since I got my license in ’61), I always liked these Mercs and am looking for a project. After my e-mail exchange with the seller, I was completely turned off though. I guess it’s a sign to stick with Pontiacs! :-)

      • CATHOUSE

        You’re welcome Glen. Keep looking, there are plenty more cars out there. For the record the paper that is shown in your post is called an Eminger Report. It is named after Lois Eminger, a Ford employee who had the foresight to save all those old invoices many years ago. Before she passed on she turned all the remaining invoices she had over to Kevin Marti. Kevin continues to offer the invoices to the owner of the vehicle.

    • Steve4290

      I would block out info on a marti report if it was a car I was keeping, but not if I was selling !

      Most importantly, i would rather have good pictures showing its rust damage than its marti.

      • Lawrence Otte

        Marti report is on Craigslist now.

        Adults with money call and set up an inspection or request other pictures.

        The parts are worth more than the asking price!!!

  18. Jeff

    Looks like a totally smokin deal, wonder why it has not sold yet.

    Someone that has a 429 Cobra-Jet Mustang missing the drive-train should have snapped this up in a heartbeat.

  19. Steve

    Would be a shame to cut / part this car out.

  20. Larry Otte

    Glen Please stick with Pontiacs

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