Saturday, December 14, 2013

Danville Street Sighting - 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Cale Yarborough Edition


I've never been a huge fan of NASCAR. Actually, when I was a kid I liked it somewhat; Dale Earnhardt Sr. was my favorite driver. Then in 2001 he was killed at Daytona and my interest in the sport died with him. But long before stock car racing was generic bodies with restrictor plates and heavily regulated 358 cubic inch V8s running the same official fuel, NASCAR was a very different landscape. One of my favorite race cars is the ridiculous high-winged 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, a car that could hit 200 mph on a high-speed oval. It was a very tough car to beat. Combating the Daytona was a pair of fastback twins from Ford, the Torino Talledega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler.

The Cyclone Spoiler was a homologation special that effectively served one purpose: to sell just enough street versions to qualify for NASCAR competition. The car came in two flavors, the Spoiler and Spoiler II. The more hardcore Spoiler II had an extended aerodynamic front end borrowed from the Torino, and a modified Fairlane rear bumper mounted on the front. Regular Spoilers could be outfitted with whatever options an owner wanted, and were available as a Dan Gurney Special or Cale Yarborough Special in blue over white or red over white, respectively. Many subtle changes were made on these cars that set them apart from a standard (Montego) Cyclone Sportsroof. Somewhere between 300 and 500 Spoiler IIs were built. Regular Spoiler production totals are unknown, but rumored to be approximately 152. A Hemmings article published in 2005 states that 54 of these short-snout Spoilers were known to exist at the time of publication.
This Spoiler has the 428 Super Cobra Jet option and a 4-speed, making it a pretty potent car. Assuming it's a legitimate Cale Yarborough Spoiler, that's a very rare combination. It's very clean, either a restoration or a remarkably preserved original. I'm guessing the former. I've seen this car at shows in the area for years, and it seems the owner finally decided it was time to move on. The big Merc sat down the street from my local Costco for a few days with a for sale sign on it and I haven't seen it since. It's the only short-nose '69 Cyclone Spoiler I've ever seen.

3 comments:

  1. Jay, my mouth waters. This is a real beauty whether restored or original. I believe the red over white was representative of the Wood Brothers colors. Nice photo work there young man.

    You mentioned NASCAR then and now, and even though it's way safer you're right about the cars. Faceless blobs with NO character, NO FACES! That's what I love about those years when I was your age, the cars and the drivers had character in spades.

    Keep up the good work, I do appreciate it. And it would be nice if other people who visit this blog would SAY SOMETHING TO!

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  2. Thanks! I always appreciate your comments. And I must apologize for the image quality recently. Google is trying to force users to "upgrade" to Google+ by ruining the image quality of their uploads thanks to "auto-enhance" features. I'm trying to fix that, but it's a very disingenuous way for them to get people on board.

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  3. Jay, what the hell is it with these search engines that they have to wreck a good thing by "improving" it. What's the old saying? "If it ain't broke, DON'T FIX IT!!!" Yahoo recently screwed up the e-mail service that was working fine but they apparently felt it needed a change. You should see the hate mail they got on that one. Thing is, these establishments don't even consider giving the folks an option even though the technology is available. Jerks.

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