Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II Dan Gurney Special – Sounds Hot, Doesn’t It? Names Can Be Deceiving

shot and posted by Tim Finn

NASCAR homologation specials are not exactly the specialty of the CC house. But today we make an exception, for several reasons. The first one is that this is a paper tiger, as it has a very prosaic 351 V8, column shift automatic and bench seats. The interior looks just like Mom’s Montego wagon. Despite having a unique and handmade aerodynamic nose to homologate it for NASCAR, these were not based on the hot Cyclone CJ 428, but just run of the mill Montego Cyclones. If it had come with a six, it would really be our cup of CC tea.

The back story of these is worth sharing and reading, including how Mercury tricked NASCAR into thinking they’d built 500 of them when in reality only 351 had been built at the time NASCAR wanted proof.


As a frame of reference, here’s a Cyclone Spoiler Dan Gurney Special. No “II”, and no special “ant eater” elongated and droopy front nose.


Ford was determined to up the ante against Chrysler and their NASCAR special, the Dodge Charger 500, which had a flush nose and a smooth fastback, unlike the tunnel-back of the regular Chargers. Those aerodynamic changes made it the terror of the high speed tracks.

Ford’s solution was to create that longer, lower front end, and graft it on both Torino (called the Talladega) and the Mercury Cyclone. 500 would have to be built to satisfy NASCAR.

But according to the story, when NASCAR came to see the 500 Spolier II’s, Mercury had only built 351. So they took 152 regular-nosed Cyclone Spoilers and parked them in the back of the block of 500, with their noses right up against the ones in front of them. NASCAR apparently fell for the ruse. But the additional genuine articles were eventually made, as Marti Reports says that 503 Spoiler IIs were made.

The fastback was already well suited for high speed work, and the combination with the new front end made it very effective. It won eight Grand National races in 1969 and 1970, equaling the record of the 1970 Plymouth Superbird, which of course was the ultimate–and final–of the aerodynamic specials. NASCAR put an end to that by requiring them to have a much smaller 305 CI engine compared to the 7 liter engines. Game up.

The Ford and Mercurys started the 1969 season with the venerable 427 side oiler, but then switched to the new Boss 429 after it was homologated early in 1969. Ford completely pulled out of racing later in 1969, so the teams just kept the ’69’s for the 1970 season.

Here’s that interior. Oh my; it’s a genuine poseur. How odd.

The lack of fender call-outs confirm that this has the 351. The 390 and 428 were optional, as well as bucket seats and floor shifters. But given that these were all built in a short window at the beginning of the 1969 model year, it appears they were built this way to be sent to dealers, and not special ordered.

The front bumper was actually a rear bumper from a 1969 Ford Fairlane that had been cut, narrowed, V’ed in the center, and filled on the ends to do its part in enhancing the aerodynamics of the car at high speeds.

These have not appreciated anywhere near like the Super Bird, so if you’re hankering for a mild-mannered NASCAR special, here’s your chance.