Mercury Cyclone was produced by Ford Motors from 1964 to 1971. It was introduced in 1964 as the Mercury Comet Cyclone. Mercury Cyclone replaced the S-22 as the sports-oriented version of the Mercury Comet model line.
Mercury Cyclone became a well-known and most desired performance car name in the latter half of the 1960s and early 1970s.
Mercury Comet Cyclone was slotted in between the Cougar and the Marquis and Marauder full-size two-door coupes.
The Cougar was the most accomplished out of the two, but Cyclone positioned itself as one of the top-performing muscle cars of its day.
First-generation Mercury Comet Cyclone
1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone
Mercury introduced the Cyclone for the 1964 model year and it featured a sleek sporty look. It came with a 7-liter (289 cu) V8 engine delivering 210 horsepower. It had a spoke steering wheel, bucket seats, and chromed engine parts as standard.
1965 Mercury Comet Cyclone
The Mercury Cyclone now came with a reworked engine. A four-barrel carburetor was mated to the 289cu unit of the previous year. The engine power output was now 200 horsepower despite the carburation.
It also came with several performance options such as a handling package, a special cooling fan, a power transfer rear axle.
To make it more unique looking, a black-out, stand up grille, chrome-plated wheels with lug nuts, bucket seats with sewn-through pleats, a center instrument console, chrome engine dress-up kit, a vinyl rood in black or white, unique insignia, a Powerpack gauge cluster for the heavily padded instrument panel.
Second generation Mercury Comet Cyclone
1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone
For the 1966 model year, the Mercury Cyclone went through manor styling changes.
The body panels were sculptured to look more unique. The Cyclone was now based on the Ford Fairlane 500 / Torino two-door Mercury Cyclone GT.
There were three powertrain options.
6.4-liter (390 cu) V8 engine was now available with a two-barrel carburetor, delivering 265 horsepower. This was the first engine option.
The second engine option was the same engine mated to a four-barrel carburetor system, delivering 275 horsepower.
The third option was the GT option. The 6.4-liter engine was reworked to deliver more power and then mated to a four-barrel carburetor system. This powertrain setup delivered 335 horsepower.
GT variant came with unique side stripes, a fiberglass hood with two air scoops.
1967 Mercury Comet Cyclone
The 1967model was produced with several engine options. the standard engine was the 4.7-liter (289 cu) V8 which delivered 200 horsepower.
GT variant was equipped with a 6.4-liter (390 cu) V8 engine. This engine delivered 320 horsepower.
Some Mercury Cyclones were equipped with the optional 7-liter (427 cu) Ford FE engine. This engine delivered 410 horsepower.
Small chromed badges on the sides of the front fenders were the only indication that these cars came with this monster engine.
Third Generation Mercury Comet Cyclone
Mercury decided to drop the Comet model name and all the new cars were simply named Mercury Cyclone
1968 Mercury Cyclone and Cyclone GT
The Cyclones had a mid-tire level body tape stripe while the Cyclone GT came with an upper-level body stripe.
the Cyclone GT came with bucket seats, upper body level stripe, wide whitewall tires, special wheel covers, the special handling package, and an all-vinyl interior as standard.
The Cyclone GT was named the fastest car of the year after setting a world record for a production car in 1968 with a top speed of 189.22mph (304.52 km/h) at Daytona.
There were several engine options for Cyclone cars.
The 4.9-liter (302 cu) engine was the standard. The same engine was also available with two-barrel or four-barrel carburetor setups.
The two-barrel carbureted 4.9-liter engine delivered 210 horsepower while the same engine with four-barrel carburation delivered 230 horsepower.
The 6.4-liter (390 cu) V8 was the standard powertrain option for the Cyclone GT. This engine was also available as an option for the Mercury Cyclone with either two-barrel carburation or four-barrel carburetion, delivering 265 horsepower and 325 horsepower respectively.
The limited production 428 Cobra Jet engine became available in the mid-model year and delivered 335 horsepower. The number of Mercury Cyclones that came with this engine fitted was extremely low due to it being a mid-model year introduction.
1969 Mercury Cyclone
The 1969 model year received minor cosmetic upgrades.
The powertrain options were a 4.9-liter (302 cu) V8 engine delivering 220 horsepower, a 5.7-liter (351 cu) V8 engine with either two-barrel carburation or four-barrel carburation, delivering 250 horsepower and 290 horsepower in order.
The 6.4 liters (390 cu) V8 delivered 320 horsepower. This powertrain was the standard powertrain option for the Cyclone GT.
Mercury Cyclone Spoiler
Mercury Cyclone Spoiler was a variant of the Cyclone which came equipped with a reworked 6.4-liter V8 mated to a 735 cfm Holley Carburator. This was a high-performance S code engine. This powertrain delivered 325 horsepower.
Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II
Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II was produced by Mercury in early 1969. This car was a special, more aerodynamic variant of the Mercury Cyclone.
Mercury Cyclone was explicitly made to take part in NASCAR stock racing. To comply with NASCAR homologation rules, it was required to produce and sell at least 500 cars to the public.
Mercury Cyclone was built in two trim packages.
The Cale Yarborough Special, a white car with a red interior, red exterior decals, and a red vinyl hood.
Dan Gurney Special, a white car with a blue interior, blue exterior decals, and a blue vinyl hood.
Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II was based on the Mercury Cyclone SportsRoof (fastback) two-door hardtop.
The regular Mercury Cyclone came with a fashionable inset grille and headlights. Mercury Cyclone Spoiler I had a new more aerodynamic front fascia instead of the stock. This front fascia extended the car’s length by another six inches with a flush-mounted grille from a Ford Cobra. This was identical to the grille used on the Ford Torino Talladega.
The close-fitting bumper was from a rear bumper from a 1969 Ford Fairlane. It was then cut, narrowed, shaped in the center, and filled on the ends to act as a front lip spoiler, further improving the aerodynamics.
Mercury also lowered the suspension about an inch by reshaping and rolling the rocker panels. This improved handling and top speed due to a lower center of gravity as well as the reduced resistance.
All production cars came with a 351 Windsor engine, a C6 six-speed automatic transmission, and front bench seats. 351 Windsor engines was chosen due to smooth power delivery, higher reliability, and lower cost of maintenance.
The racing variants were fitted with a Ford FE 427 side oiler engine that Ford used as their top-performing engine specifically developed for NASCAR racing.
This engine was a high revving engine at lower rpm levels making it more suitable for endurance racing.
Later in the 1963 season, NASCAR homologated the Boss 429 engine and after that, the Boss 429 engine was also used to power the cars.
Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II was successful in racing events and ended up winning eight Grand National races during the 1969 and 1970 NASCAR seasons, matching the total wins recorded by the 1970 Plymouth Superbird.
Ford completely abandoned any factory support racing involvement following a Congressional hearing regarding the research and development costs versus improving fuel economy and safety.
Many NASCAR teams still ran their Cyclone Spoiler II cars in 1970 even without factory support due to the aerodynamic superiority it had over other competitors.
NASCAR banned all the aero cars with engine capacity over 305 cubic inches of displacement, after the 1970 season. This resulted in effectively the end of the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II car racing involvement.
The Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II was produced in limited numbers and achieved great success during a short time period. Examples in good conditions are extremely rare as many cars were used in racing and therefore received a lot of wear and tear. The production cars were mostly neglected and rusted away in the decades to come.
There are rumors about the exact number of cars built by the Mercury as well. To comply with NASCAR homologation rules, they had to build and sell at least 500 cars to the public.
According to some experts and insiders, Mercury built only 351 out of the reported 503 units. They tricked the officials by building 351 extended D-nosed cars parked in the front and on the edges of a parking lot. they took 152 normal W-nosed Cyclone Spoilers and parked them in the middle of all the Spoiler II cars in the parking lot. When NASCAR officials counted the cars, they never looked close enough to identify the trick.
The lack of enough examples further fuels the rumors.
Mercury Cyclone Cobra Jet
Mercury added a new model to the Cyclone line. Mercury Cyclone Cobra Jet was powered with a 7-liter (428 cu) V8 engine. This powerplant delivered a healthy 335 horsepower before any modifications.
The Ram Air option was also available for the engine. This Ram Air package mated the engine with a 735 cfm Holley four-barrel carburetor and added a functioning hood scoop to act as a cold air intake.
Mercury Cyclone Cobra Jet came with a 3.50:1 rear axle ratio, and a competition handling package as standard.
The blacked-out grille, dual exhausts, engine dress-up kit with chromed parts, hood stripes made the car stand out from the Cyclone and Cyclone GT.
Fourth Generation Mercury Cyclone
1970 Mercury Cyclone
The fourth-generation Mercury Cyclone was unveiled for the 1970 model year.
The Cobra Jet variant was dropped from the lineup due to low demand.
The Mercury lineup, therefore, featured the Cyclone, Cyclone Spoiler, and Cyclone GT.
The standard engine options for the base Cyclones were the 5.7 liters (351 cu) V8.
A 7-liter (429 cu) V8 engine with four-barrel carburation and dual exhaust was available as an option. The latter powertrain setup was the standard engine in Mercury Marauder X-100 and was available in other full-size Ford and Mercury models. This setup featured 575 cfm carburetors.
Another powertrain option was the 429 Cobra jet with four-barrel carburation and dual exhaust with Ram Air induction. This powertrain setup delivered a 370-horsepower maximum output. This package included a 720 cfm Rochester Quadrajet 4 BBL carburetor.
This engine was also available as a part of the Drag Pack option. The Drag Pack option featured the engine with four-barrel carburetion and dual exhausts. It had 780 cfm Holley four-barrel carburetion. This setup delivered 375 horsepower.
Mercury Cyclone Spoiler
The Mercury Cyclone Spoiler was a high-performance variant of the Cyclone.
It came with a front lip spoiler and a rear spoiler, thus justifying the name.
To make it stand out from other Cyclones, it was given black or white racing stripes that covered the whole length of the car, nose to tail. Vinyl bucket seats and dual racing mirrors also came as standard.
A functional hood scoop with Ram Air induction, a unique speedometer with 140mph top speed along with a four-gauge suite including an 8000rpm tachometer with adjustable rpm redline, and a competition suspension package came as standard.
The standard engine option was the 429 Cobra Jet with Ram Air. However, the 429 Cobra Jet with Drag Pack and Super Drag Pack were also available for extra money.
Drag Pack setup delivered 375 horsepower.
Super Cobra Jet option upgraded the four main bolts and provided a mechanical flat tappet camshaft and the carburetor was changed from a 720 cfm Rochester QuadraJet to a 780 cfm Holley. This option also included the mechanical components of the Drag Pack. The Drag Pack added a front-mounted engine oil cooler and a 3.91:1 gear ratio.
Super Drag Pack replaced the 3.91:1 gear ratio with a 4.30:1 gear ratio and added a Detroit no spin locker differential.
The front lip spoiler and the rear spoiler also came in few color options. Competition Yellow, Competition Blue, Competition Gold, Competition Green, Competition Orange, and Pastel Blue. Ford offered a “Color of your dreams” program to paint the spoilers in any color the customer wanted and only 31 custom-painted cars were produced for 1970.
Ford intended to continue the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II for the 1970 model year with an even more aggressive aerodynamically efficient front fascia. Only a clay model was built and the project was canceled due to Ford’s decision to withdraw from all racing activities and factory support for racing following the Congressional debate regarding research and development cost for racing versus safety and fuel efficiency.
1970 Cyclone GT
The Cyclone GT was aimed at the people with street performance in mind. It was more about arriving in style rather than raw speed and power. The Cyclone Spoiler was a proper track car as well as a drag strip monster.
The Cyclone GT was all about good everyday practicality with enough performance to do some street racing.
The Cyclone GT was equipped with a 351 Cleveland small-block V8 with a two-barrel carburetor and a three-speed manual as standard.
The 351 Cleveland small block V8 was also available with four-barrel carburetion.
The 429 big-block V8 Cobra Jet engine was also available with Ram Air Induction. This engine was available with the Drag Pack and the Super Drag Pack.
The transmission options were a four-speed manual and a C6 six-speed Quad O Matic automatic transmission.
The base GT came with comfort weave bucket seats, dual racing mirrors, a full-length console, hideaway headlight, three pod tail lights as standard. It also came with an upper-body stripe that ran from the front fascia to the tail as standard.
A virtually integrated hood scoop that could be made functional when selecting the optional Ram Air Induction package.
Boss 429 engine was also listed as a powertrain option for the 1970 model year Mercury Cyclone, but not a single unit was built with this engine installed.
Action Special Package added bench seats, performance handling package, anti-sway bars, stiffer springs, etc. Only 933 cars were made with the Action special package installed.
1971 Mercury Cyclone
The 1971 model year lineup had minor styling updates. the spoiler received a revised stripe package and the rear spoiler was painted flat black.
Base Cyclone also came with an integrated hood scoop like the GT and Cyclone Spoiler variants.
Super Cobra Jet, Drag Pack, and Super Drag Pack were discontinued due to lack of demand.
The base engine for the Cyclone was the 351 Cleveland with four-barrel carburetion.
Ram Air induction came as standard for the Mercury Cyclone. But now this feature was listed as an option.
Fifth Generation Mercury Cyclone
1972 Mercury Cyclone
Mercury Cyclone was reverted to a performance package for the Mercury Montego, Mercury Montego MX two-door, and Mercury Montego GT.
For the 1972 model year, Mercury Montego went through a complete redesign with the body on frame construction. It also received front and rear coil spring suspension.
Ford also decided to use a separate wheelbase for the two-door models and a separate wheelbase for the four-door models. This helped the engineers to use many body panels for both wheelbases without any compromises. It was also easy to convert a two-door variant to a four-door variant using this new architecture.
The Cyclone Performance package included either of the two engine options.
The first powertrain option was a 351-small block V8 with four-barrel carburetion mated to a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission, delivering 205 horsepower.
The second powertrain option was a 429 Cobra Jet V8 with four-barrel carburetion mated to a C6 Quadra O Matic six-speed automatic transmission unit, delivering 248 horsepower.
This package further included a functional Ram Air Induction through twin integrated hood scoops, traction Lok limited-slip differential.
F 70-14 tires for the 351-small block V8 and G70-14 tires for 429 Cobra Jet were also included in the package.
Only thirty cars with this package were produced for 1972. 29 out of the thirty were Montego GT Cyclones and the other was a Montego MX Cyclone.
Twenty cars out of the thirty were equipped with the Cobra Jet engine.