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Information about a 1969 Mercury Cyclone Fastback, 4v Automatic?

This would be my first car, as I am just turning 16, and I haven’t exactly been all that enthusiastic about plain and boring sedans with no lines, plastic bodies, and weak engines. No thanks. The Mercury has the classic yellow paint and black rally stripes on it, fastback, a V-8 engine and the rarer automatic transmission. It’s in the condition that I could just drive away in it and not do much of any work, maybe a detailing, but that goes unsaid for any used car. It’s listed for $8500 but I think I could talk the guy down to $7k. Thoughts, opinions, and any information about the car would be greatly appreciated!

Neat car, but plenty of new cars will be as fast or faster, handle much better, get better mpgs, and be waaaay safer, all at the same time.

This car will require frequent tuneups - do you have the tools?

This is a great car for you to buy if you’re looking for a hobby - spending your weekends learning how to repair old cars.

If you’re looking for a vehicle with any reasonable reliability to it, get something that isn’t 41 years old. It was a great car in its day, but at 41, it will need nearly continuous care and feeding ($$$$).

If you can deal with the terrible gas mileage on a day-to-day basis, have a ball.

Not sure how that 1969 fuel system will tollerate ethanol, though.

I’ve never minded working on cars and I certainly have all the tools, at least, my dad does and there’s enough duplicates in there to make up about 2 and a half full mechanics sets. I’ve replaced or repaired everything except a full transmission or engine rebuild across a number of cars far more complex, new, and compact than this (Ford Escort, Explorer, Chevy Venture, Chrysler Town and Country, Mitsubishi Lancer) and I built a VW Bug from the ground up (minus paint) out of junkyard parts and turned it around at a profit on Craigslist, something totally unheard of.

As for gas mileage, it’s not that big of a deal, as it’ll end up being more of a weekend car than anything. Work, school, starbucks, pool, etc are all in walking distance. My estimate is that whatever car I get wouldn’t gain more than 4k miles a year.

OK, then you want to know a good price. What I do is go on ebaymotors, look at ‘completed listings’, and see what similar Mercs and Ford have been bid up to.

No real way for us to tell, it comes down to condition. Rust is a huge problem with these Fords, don’t let a fresh paint job fool you. Check everyplace, especially the floorboards, trunk, and suspension mounting points.

I’m not sure if the price is a good deal or not, but it sounds like a OK car. I’d rather see it in the hands of an older driver. At 16 you could easily get in over your head on this car. It has the power, but the handling and braking are pretty bad by modern standards. It’s hard to see a kid with this car taking it easy, but if you buy it show some responsibility in driving it.

Actually the gas mileage won’t be too bad, you could get around 16- 18 mpg, but it needs premium fuel. You can turn back the timing a notch and run regular. You will need to learn how to install and set point and rebuild a carburetor.

This model is pretty easy to drift using power only, but be careful here. If you use good modern radial tires, the speed at which it starts to drift will be higher than it was in the days of bias belted tires. It can get you into trouble faster. Back in the day, I had a 69 Montego, 2 door which was like the Cyclone but without the fast back. I only had the 302 2v with the more common C4 auto.

One warning, do not open this thing up until you’ve been driving it for 6 months, really get to know her first.

Keith - giving a new, unknown driver instructions on drifting an unknown car???

I drove a 68 Torino with a 427 that would get squirrelly at the drop of a hat but none of the 351s ever seemed to have what it took for such a show. But they were all very strong. Even the Ws. Of course rear end gears make a great deal of difference.

texases, you call that instructions? You think he wont try drifting with or without instructions? He’s going to try it, I was just trying to warn him.

Keith, just thinking back to the trouble I tried to get into in my '65 Mustang, with all of a 170 cid six. I hope pjskeleton has more sense than I did.

pj - while checking the body’s important as far as how much to pay, if you end up getting it the first thing to fix are the brakes and tires. They have to be 100% to go into modern traffic.

The only place I’d be drifting is my high school parking lot on weekends, and they allow that as long as you ask first and there’s nothing going on. Since it’s a large lot (school has 2k students) and has no stop-blocks or medians, it’d be perfect. Not that I would, without a lot of instruction and practice at low speed anyway.

I’ve done brakes and tires, the only question is getting the right parts, which would be more difficult than the repair itself. I haven’t messed with re-timing an engine, but I should learn at some point anyway, and with gas as high as it is I’d love to not have to buy premium.

I could stiffen up the brakes and get performance parts to fix the weak braking, but then I’d be running into more expense than I could reasonably afford.

The car has the Windsor engine, so I’ll assume that’s what you meant by W’s, but 300bhp isn’t bad.

be sure that the fenders don’t look like they’re trying to pinch the hood. Those unibodies would give out from the weight of the engine if you had the Cleveland block. The structure of those bodies were crap. If I am mistaken and the body is the large Galaxie type, those had problems in other areas. Age related too.

Is this “Cyclone” the same car as a Torino Talladega? (extended nose, flush-mounted grill, body lowered about 3 or 4 inches? If so, it’s worth a lot more money than the figures you are quoting…When these cars were raced, they all had the 427 racing engine installed. But the ones sold to consumers through dealerships had much more mundane engines, at least the Torinos got 428 CJ motors but I think the Mercury’s had to make do with the even more mundane 351’s…NASCAR rules at the time (the Homogulation rule) allowed racing teams to install ANY engine available across the entire product line…So the Torinos and Cyclones were raced as stock cars even though you could not buy one with the 427 racing engine factory installed…But you COULD buy that engine in a Mustang or Fairlane Thunderbolt if you had enough money and contacts inside a Ford dealership…

The special hand-made bodies the Talladega’s and Cyclones shared are almost priceless today as restorers bring them back to Holman & Moody racing trim and sell them to wealthy car collectors at fancy car auctions…

No, this Cyclone was just a model name for the Montego with a fastback, which was the Torino equivalent. One could be optioned as you describe as a Cyclone CJ. Too bad this isn’t one of them. Read all about it here:

The car described below is basically the same as the Torino Talladega…

"For 1969 a special model was introduced named the Cyclone Spoiler II which had an extended nose adding an addition 19.5 inches. It had a downward angle of thirty-five degrees and located at the back was a fixed spoiler. Re-rolled rocker panels gave the allusion of the vehicle sitting about an inch lower.

NASCAR homologation rules stated that at least 519 examples were needed. Mercury planned on producing at least this amount and possibly fitting them with a 428 Cobra-Jet option. When introduced, the vehicles were given a 351 cubic-inch Windsor engine that produced 290 horsepower. A FMX automatic transmission was also standard. To honor two of Mercury’s greatest NASCAR drivers, the vehicles were offered in two commemorative editions, the Dan Gurney and the Cale Yarborough edition. The Dan Gurney edition was in Wimbledon White while the Cale Yarborough edition was in Candy Apple Red and Wimbledon White.

Sounds kind of like what they did for the Charger Daytona/Plymouth Superbird. How much would a Spoiler go for these days?

Drifting in a 69 Merc! What a vision! You guys are a riot!
I forget, did we even have antisway bars back then?

If I were you, I’d get some cheap front-wheel-drive beater to drive in the winter if you live in the snow belt. Cars older than the mid 80s just weren’t rustproofed very well, if at all, and your cherry Mercury will start looking like swiss cheese after only a couple of seasons of this. Though if you do have to drive this when the weather turns colder, find a nice empty parking lot after a snowfall, and do donuts, practice drifting sideways and recovering, etc. to your heart’s content. This will give you a great idea of what to expect in your RWD car, plus it’s fun!