Car of the Week: 1969 Mercury Cyclone CJ

Ben Williams October 2, 2020 10 No Comments


Cyclone small Keeper

Jim Peterson made a take care of his bro Irving again in 1973 that has labored out fairly nicely. Irv had a gorgeous 1969 Mercury Cyclone CJ 428 that Jim needed, and Jim by some means satisfied his sibling {that a} ’70 Cyclone could be even higher.

“He bought it almost new. I fell in love with it myself when he had it and he let me drive it, so that’s how it started. I told him if ever wanted to get rid of it, I wanted it and wanted to keep it in the family,” remembers Jim, a resident of Waupaca, Wis. “Well, the ’70 Cyclone was fairly good, too. I mentioned, ‘You buy that one and I’ll purchase this one from you,’ so he obtained that and that’s after I purchased this ’69 from him, and I’ve had it ever since.

“We had numerous good instances, me and my bro. We every had [a Cyclone] and we’d go throughout collectively. We have been very shut.”

The Mercury Cyclone CJ was a hot, one-year-only version of the 1969 Cyclone GT. It was big for a muscle car, and there was a lot to love for guys like Jim Peterson, who has owned this one since 1973.

The Mercury Cyclone CJ was a sexy, one-year-only model of the 1969 Cyclone GT. It was large for a muscle automotive, and there was so much to like for guys love Jim Peterson, who has owned this one since 1973.

Irv handed away just a few years again, however Jim has saved the great instances rolling along with his lovely, muscular Mercury. He is a fixture at space automotive flashes and he’s simple to identify — he has the one darkish blue ’69 Cyclone GT round his a part of the world, and you may hear that 428 Cobra-Jet howling by means of the twin exhaust from fairly a methods away.

“People would think it wouldn’t have that kind of power because it’s a big car, and it is a big car, but she will still whoop you if you don’t know what you’re doing,” he warns. “And it’s obtained that good Torino model. That’s principally what it’s.

“I simply appreciated the model of automotive and the ability. It had numerous good energy.”

A look at the fastback roofline

A have a look at the fastback roofline

The Cyclone has now been within the Peterson clan for 5 many years, and it’s by no means regarded higher. It began to flash its age about 10 years in the past, and that’s when Jim determined to let it snap on a full restoration at a neighborhood physique store that took greater than 5 years to finish. “It was stored away right from the beginning,” he says. “I didn’t drive it in the winter … but I drove it every year. It started getting bad. It needed to be updated, especially the interior. It was getting wore out.”


Mercury had lengthy been extremely thought to be a “factory hot rod” model of the Ford, however its picture was at all times keyed to sexy full-size automobiles. In truth, within the mid-’50s the automobiles carried the maker’s first preliminary of their grille and have been promoted as “Big M” fashions. By the early ’60s, Mercurys have been greater and extra highly effective than ever, however that wasn’t what the booming youth market needed in a automotive. Big engines in a smaller physique was the development.

If you wanted go fast, look good, ride comfortably and not be driving something everybody else had, the ‘69 Cyclone CJ was a great choice. They were equipped with a bench front seat, although buckets were available.

If you needed go quick, look good, trip comfortably and never be driving one thing everyone else had, the ‘69 Cyclone CJ was an amazing alternative. They have been geared up with a bench entrance seat, though buckets have been obtainable.

In the center of the 1964 mannequin yr, Lincoln Mercury Division determined to carry out a real muscle automotive carrying the Mercury Comet nameplate. The new Comet Cyclone high-performance mannequin arrived in showrooms quickly thereafter. The Cyclone went for a “serious street performance” picture and featured much less chrome than different Comets. There have been skinny moldings over the wheel wells and below the doorways and “C-O-M-E-T” lettering appeared solely on the rear fins. “Cyclone” entrance fender badges, completed in the identical model used on the full-size Marauder, sat low on the fenders.

The commonplace engine supplied within the first Cyclone was the four-barrel, 210-hp model of FoMoCo’s 289-cid small-block V-Eight with a 9.0:1 compression ratio. The Cyclone additionally featured 14-inch chrome wheels. Camera-case-grained black vinyl changed wooden trim on the instrument panel. The sexy Comet additionally got here with new, pleated black bucket seats and a middle console with color-keyed vinyl trim in particular colours. A particular possibility was a “convertible” model vinyl roof overlaying. Cyclones supplied a three- or four-speed handbook transmission, plus Merc-O-Matic. Promotions for the automotive have been tied into the 100,000-mile endurance run at Daytona.

A total of 3,261 of the hot Cyclones wore the CJ decal on the rear quarterpanel.

A complete of three,261 of the sexy Cyclones wore the CJ decal on the rear quarterpanel.

As examined in Car Life (April 1964), the Cyclone listed at $3,027 with a typical array of choices. The journal listed 0-to-60-mph instances of 11.Eight seconds with automated transmission and 10.2 seconds with a four-speed gearbox. The quarter-mile was lined in 16.5 seconds at 73.Eight mph by the Merc-O-Matic-equipped Cyclone and 16.four seconds at 77 mph by the four-speed Cyclone

Mercury raised its personal bar in 1966 when the Comet underwent a significant restyling. The new physique was primarily based on the Ford Fairlane and had a contour line that ran the size of the automotive. The new 390 Y code with a two-barrel carburetor produced 265 hp, whereas the 390 H code had a four-barrel carburetor and cranked out 275 hp.

The sport new GT model featured a 390 S code engine that drank by means of a four-barrel and was rated at 335 hp. The sporty new GT wore stripes and had two air scoops that poked out of a fiberglass hood.

For 1969, FoMoCo decreased the GT to an look package deal on the Comet, however the excellent news was that the a barely re-trimmed fastback returned for the brand new mannequin yr. There was additionally one very sexy, all-new Cyclone CJ mannequin.

The ’69 Mercury Cyclone CJ was a one-year-only surprise. It was type of a fastback Charger and Road Runner wrapped in a single package deal. It got here with Ford’s big-block 428-cid/335-hp Cobra Jet V-Eight as commonplace gear. Also included have been a four-speed handbook gear field, a contest dealing with package deal and a plain entrance bench seat inside.

335-hp version of the 428 Cobra Jet V-8

335-hp model of the 428 Cobra Jet V-8

The Cyclone CJ featured a stylish blacked-out grille insert that was framed with shiny steel. There was a single chrome piece within the center, operating from every finish of the grille with a Cyclone emblem within the heart. Additional options included entrance and rear wheel opening moldings, a twin exhaust system, a 3.50:1 ratio rear axle, an engine dress-up equipment, a hood tape stripe and a competition-type dealing with package deal. A Sports Appearance possibility group with bucket seats, a racing-style remote-control left-hand outdoors rearview mirror, turbine-style full wheel covers and a rim-blow steering wheel was non-compulsory for the Cyclone CJ at $149 further.

The Cyclone CJ bought for $3,224. That was only a tad greater than a daily Mercury Cyclone V-Eight with the 302-cid base engine (which had a base retail worth of $2,771). It was clearly aimed on the budget-priced muscle automotive area of interest that the Road Runner had carved out. The CJ may additionally have been essentially the most fascinating Cyclone for 1968, no less than initially. Only 3,261 examples have been constructed for the mannequin yr, making then not solely very cool, however comparatively uncommon. Then, at midyear the Cyclone Spoiler II got here alongside, additional fortifying Mercury’s muscle automotive menu.


Peterson had no downside convincing himself that his sexy Cyclone deserved to be restored. Finding any individual that had the time and ambition — and skill — to do it proved to be one other matter.

It was easy to confuse the Cyclone CJ with a Torino. The Cyclones, Torinos and later Cougars all had similar sculpted noses and classy grilles with designs that seem to come from FoMoCo’s full-size cars like the LTD and XL. Of course, the prominent scoop and hold-down pins made it pretty clear there was something serious lurking under the hood.

It was simple to confuse the Cyclone CJ with a Torino. The Cyclones, Torinos and later Cougars all had comparable sculpted noses and stylish grilles with designs that appear to return from FoMoCo’s full-size automobiles love the LTD and XL. Of course, the outstanding scoop and hold-down pins made it fairly clear there was one thing severe lurking below the hood.

“I’d say 10, 12 years ago, I started looking around,” he says. “I was waiting, trying to find somebody with the time to do it. A lot of body shops don’t want to do the old cars anymore. The guy who did it owns his own body shop and he has old Mustangs and Fords and he said he’d tangle with it.”

The ’69 Merc went into the native East Side Body Shop and obtained labored on every time the proprietor had time. The five-plus years that it was out of fee handed slowly for Peterson, however it additionally gave him time to do elements chasing. Eventually he discovered substitute bumpers, a brand new windshield and loads of chrome bits and small hard-to-find gadgets. “It took a long time to get done because we I couldn’t’ find parts,” Peterson admits. “I had a hard time finding things, because the people that did have them didn’t want to get rid of them. Then I found another parts car and bought that. I got that out of California, so I got most of what I needed from there.”

Classic BF Goodrich radial T/As are timeless

Classic BF Goodrich radial T/As are timeless

The 428 V-Eight and operating gear have been all rebuilt and restored. The authentic Dark Blue Poly paint and white stripes have been replicated and every part Peterson may presumably handle obtained introduced again to like-new situation.

“The only thing the shop didn’t do was the interior,” he says. “I had one other girl from Weyauwega [Wis.] do this. She re-did all of the seats and every part. She made all-new seat covers from scratch. I’m nonetheless ready on the headrests. Everything is simply love the unique — headliner, the entire 9 yards.

“I needed to put new doorways on it, and all new climate stripping. Basically every part else inside is authentic. The steering column is authentic. The tach is one thing I put in. It’s an aftermarket tach… I [installed] completely different tires and rims on it. It’s obtained American Racing Magnum 500s on there now. It’s nonetheless obtained the unique posi rear finish and top-loader four-speed. Some got here with the bucket seats. This one has the bench seat. And, in fact, it’s obtained the Ram Air. That’s manufacturing unit. And that’s principally about it. They do include louvers and the spoiler on them. I had the spoiler for the again finish, however I haven’t put it again on. They had a spoiler for the entrance finish, too, however they have been all completely different. It is dependent upon the way you ordered it.”

Peterson additionally has a stunning 1955 Ford Crown Victoria that he has owned for a few years. He figures he’s obtained the most effective of each worlds — a candy ’50s cruiser when he needs a sedate, nostalgic trip, and a large, muscular beast for the times he feels quick and loud. He has no reservations about driving both automotive any time there’s not rain or snow within the forecast.

Jim and his Cyclone CJ

Jim and his Cyclone CJ

“[The Cyclone] handles great and has the power when you want it. It does great on the highway, but she’ a gas hog!” Peterson laughs. “I put premium in it. That’s the only thing I can put in or it will ping. I put the good gas in it.”

The automotive does undergo from a little bit of an identification advanced at instances. Even at automotive flashes, folks scratch their heads a small and attempt to bear in mind what it’s. “Some people have never heard of it, but yeah, they love it. A lot of people think it’s cool,” Peterson provides.

“I think it’s cool, too.”


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