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Youstabee! 1969 Mercury Cyclone CJ 4-Speed

I’ve had a Mercury jones thing going on lately, having covered a 1946 Sedan-Coupe and a 1960 Commuter station wagon. Let’s continue the trend with this 1969 Mercury Cyclone CJ find courtesy of Larry D. The Big M built some notable cars over the years, but like all fallen flags, the memory starts to recede as the years continue onward. In addition to being a Mercury, this looking-a-bit-rough Cyclone CJ was a top-drawer muscle car back in its day so let’s see what’s still here. Located in Louisville, Ohio, this fastback is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $2,050 with the reserve not yet met.

Not all Cyclones were created equal. There was the Cyclone and then there was the Big Kahuna, Cyclone CJ. Neither were all that popular as total production was only about 9K units with a scant 3,200 wearing the “Cobra Jet” moniker.  What the CJ package spelled out, besides “CJ” badges was competition handling suspension, 70 series tires, a blacked-out hood with optional Ram Air scoop including locking hood pins, and a visually dressed-up Cobra Jet engine.

And speaking of that engine, that meant a 335 gross HP, 428 CI “FE” V8 with, in this case, a four-speed manual transmission. But alas, that’s not what’s happening here – a 1967 vintage Mustang 390 is currently holding court under the hole in the hood and it sounds like a mishmash of 390 and 428 parts. The listing title is misleading as it proclaims, “1969 Mercury Cyclone CJ “R” Code 428 Cobra Jet 4 speed” Wrong! It’s an R-code car but that’s where the Rs end. Oh, and it’s a non-runner to boot.

The body has a sort of dent-o-rama thing going on under a faded, ragged primer-like black finish overlaying what was once a maroon hue. The Ram Air scoop is gone, leaving an open circular hole and it’s joined by bent and missing trim, a banged-in front bumper, and a black painted rear bumper. The seller does forthrightly include, “some serious damage to the driver and passenger front frame rails, the front suspension, the radiator support, and the driver floorboards/rail” and then further adds, “The car will roll and steer but it will need a lot of work“.  For more visuals, be sure to check out this video.

Inside, the black vinyl bench seat upholstery is fair at best. The driver’s side seat bottom is ripped and the instrument panel gauges are dull and grimy. We are told that the headliner will need to be replaced as will the windshield. The dash pad and door panels look OK, however. No telling what happened to the gear shift boot.

The seller has a Marti Report attesting to what this car was, but without its “R Code” engine, so what? The bidding started on November 19th and three days later has only reached its current unfulfilled reserve of $2,050 – not surprising. The come-on of the listing is bothersome but the seller does, after doing some digging, give an honest assessment. My honest assessment would be to keep looking, what’s yours?


  1. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    Here’s what’s great about the site, many look at these photos and gasp in horror, as we’re so used to seeing pristine examples you could eat off the air cleaner, when in fact, THIS, my friends, is what most looked like in my neighborhood. I know, but, but, but, it’s a CJ Cyclone,,yeah, yeah, by the 80s, these cars ran their course( pun intended) with every subsequent owner, having their fun, to the point you see here. Not just Cyclones, across the board, 396 Chevelles( not 454s), 383 Darts( not 440 or hemi) and so on. “Regular” high performance cars, not specialty wheel standers, stuff the pump jockey had. They were merely beaters, $500 tops, and the next stop was “shredding time” to make new Toyotas, I think this car has more of a chance than say, a 1941 Plymouth, as this was a sharp car, even though a bit spartan, but typically equipped. The 390 shouldn’t deter a sale. I think a small block would be more user friendly, or go the “maybe worth it someday” route, and literally pour your savings into making it original. All the rage today with old timers that want to relive their 428, 4 speed Cyclone days before they die, but I can’t imagine it would be popular beyond that. They offered a lot of fun for $500 bucks and this is what was left,,true story.

    Like 24
    • Avatar photo Mike G.

      Howard, you are a legend in your own mind!!!

      Like 5
  2. Avatar photo FordGuy1972 Member

    Back in the early ’90s, I bought a project Mercury, a ’68 Cyclone GT. The body was rust-free, the bucket seat interior was really nice, but the original engine was gone. I was told it originally had a 390 but the seller had a re-built 302 ready to go in. All for $1,000. Well, that idea got shot all to hell a few months later when the wife took off and we got divorce. I had to sell the Mercury and the motor; another dream killed by a woman! At any rate, I hope this car gets brought back as I always felt the ’68 and ’69 Cyclones were better looking than their Ford cousins. Considerably rarer than them, too.

    Like 12
    • Avatar photo Howard A Member

      Well. FG, if there’s any comfort in this, you aren’t alone. We hear about my particular gripes on that every time a Diamond T comes up. I guess it comes to the point, what’s worth more, the classic car or the “chainsawing” of the old lady? It retrospect, I should have kept the Diamond T,,

      Like 8
    • Avatar photo Big Al

      Funny story. I found and bought my son’s dream car. A 1969 Chevelle Nomad wagon. I got it restored. We where at a store with it when a man came over to look at it. He told my son, who was 17 yrs old at the time, ” If your wife tells you it’s either her or the car, tell her to pack her bags “. I laughed sooo hard !!!

      Like 17
      • Avatar photo Gary

        He was absolutely correct. Women come and go but your dream car may only appear once.

        Like 6
  3. Avatar photo ThunderRob

    If you ca get it for under 10k it’s a steal,saw one at B-J go for over 100k a 1969 Cyclone CJ.

    Like 2
  4. Avatar photo gaspumpchas

    Yes a ruffian but I’ve seen worse underneath. The frame damage might get you. Got a 390 4 speed , whats wrong with that if you are just going to drive it? Full restor and then some, if you are willing to take it on might be a good project. Plenty of work here. Of course it all depends on what the reserve is; you would have to buy it right. Just an ol grey hair with rose colored glasses on this glorious day! Happy thanksgiving!!!

    Like 2
  5. Avatar photo Mercury Man

    A parts car at best. The financial commitment and amount of labor that would be needed to bring this example back to life would be disastrous.
    Back in the early ‘80’s I bought a similar Cyclone CJ, non ram air but a four speed, all original and unmolested. It had been sitting in the parking lot of a housing complex for months, one day I started knocking on doors until I found the owner. A brief conversation and $200 cash changed hands I was holding the title. The Rotunda tach on the steering column was worth what I paid for the whole car. I eventually sold it to someone who had big plans for it.

    Like 5
  6. Avatar photo Mike

    I love FEs, but having to tear them down to find out exactly what it is, has always been a PITA. I am way interested in the car, tho…it could be a lot of fun, when road worthy again…

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Mike

      I just looked at the ad on Ebay….I need to rephrase my above comment. Looking at the pics on ebay, between the rust, and all the bent sub frame parts….I see a parts car, that’s actually worth more than the whole…

      Like 1
  7. Avatar photo scottymac

    Not sure about other FEs, but the 428, drop the pan, if the crank is stamped 1U, you’re golden. The CJ was 1UA or 1UB. Grew up just down the road from Louisville, before dropping any money on this one, see if it’s hiding any bondo under the primer. In that part of the country, if there’s little rust, guy’s price isn’t out of line.

    And for you, Jim, here’s some Big M equipment from back in the day.


    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Morley Member

    A good car in bad shape, I am an old fart now, so I think I will pay the 100 large and enjoy the drive—-but this thing would have been a wonder.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo AMCFAN

    In my early days of junkyard scrounging I was hanging with a buddy who was a die hard Ford guy. We went on a road trip several towns away. When you are 16 this was a major trip. Got there and it was on a wooded hill side. It was mostly all Ford.I remember row after row of 67/68 Mustangs. Up by the main garage was a black 69 Super CJ like this only it was sitting on the ground being boned out. So in the early 1980’s obviously not too special. They were great parts cars low production or not.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Freespirit

    I hate to see these beautiful cars

    treated so badly. Ford, GM, Chrysler, and even AMC used to build some fine muscle cars. I loved them all. By the time I was old enough to drive, they were all but gone. They will never come again. I would rather have something like this than buy anything they offer now shame it’s in such bad shape.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo Pete

    Definitely worth restoring. 428s with a 4 speed is a rarity. Has staggered shocks,etc. A keeper.

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo George Birth

    I agree with Mike G., Howard A likes to spout a lot of hot air. This cyclone is going to cost some one a bundle to restore. Right now it’s only a glorified parts car, worth maybe $500.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo CATHOUSE

      $500 does not even pay for the transmission or the 9 inch traction loc rear.

      Like 0
  13. Avatar photo BA

    In high school I saw everything from a GTO with snow tires on the back( rust on all panels to a pristine 340 demon to a Gremlin X 304 but most were just used cars some got treated with love & some were just used up so this vehicle looks like some I saw back in the day . My own father trashed 1970 Chevelle with LS6 cowl induction hot rodding it and lost control & that was that junk yard in 1 year .

    Like 0

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