As you know, the Ford Talladega Family Reunion being held in conjunction with the Forge Muscle Car show in Kingsport TN on Oct. 1 and 2 will feature two cars in addition to the Ford Talladega. One is the 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler and the other is the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II. The visual clues may appear very similar but in reality the two cars are very different.
1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II; How and Why was it Built?
In 1969 NASCAR raced Stock Cars; these race cars were built from cars straight off the show room floor! It was the time of the AERO WARS on the new Super Speedways. The manufactures went to their engineers and race teams for help in designing faster cars. The results were the Ford Talladega, Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II, Dodge Daytona, and Plymouth Super Bird.
In 1968 Ford showed up at the race tracks with the new Mercury Cyclone & Ford Torino aerodynamic fastback bodies. These new shapes put the MOPAR and Bowtie drivers to shame. Fighting back late in 1968, the Dodge Boys modified a stock 1969 Dodge Charger to be more aerodynamic. The new limited production 1969 Dodge Charger 500 with its flush mounted grill and reworked rear window was going to be the new Aero King. The Dodge Boys were so excited with their new creation they couldn’t stop talking about it. Meanwhile, Ford quietly went back to the drawing boards with help of race car builders Holman and Moody. These guys were wizards and came up with some new aerodynamic tricks for the already slippery Ford and Mercury fastbacks.
Kar Kraft, Inc. built 5 Spoiler II prototypes for Mercury but none are know to exist today. Between February 1 and March 31 of 1969, using its Lorain, Ohio plant, Mercury produced only 218 Dan Gurney and 285 Cale Yarborough Production Spoiler IIs. The Gurney cars were Presidential Blue over Wimbledon White while the Cale cars were Candy Apple Red over Wimbledon White. Each Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II had approximately 6 additional inches of new sheet metal added to the front of the car. Contrary to common beliefs the better known Ford Talladega shares no common exterior sheet metal with the Spoiler II. Although similar in appearance the Spoiler II is actually more aerodynamic than the Talladega due to its slightly longer and more steeply raked front fenders. Prior to assembly, the original Cyclone front fenders were modified by cutting the front portion off just in front of the radiator support and grafting on an entirely new, sloped nose front section. Another critical change missed by most observers is the modified rocker panels. They were “re-rolled” to provide a shallower rocker panel. To determine how low a race car could be for the track NASCAR Inspectors measured the distance from the bottom of the rocker panels to the pavement. Due to the re-rolled rocker panels the Spoiler II could sit 1″ closer to the ground giving it a lower center of gravity and thus better cornering ability. Holman and Moody took the rear bumper and placed it up front but not before sectioning it in three locations. This allowed the new bumper to tuck in close to the fenders catching less passing air and acting as a front spoiler
All Spoiler IIs came with a rear spoiler and special Spoiler II decals. However, these were dealer installed items and some were never installed. All Spoiler IIs were reported to be identical except for the paint variations. However, one Cale car and one Gurney car are confirmed to have been built as “heater delete” cars. All production Spoiler IIs received the 351 cubic inch Windsor engine rated at 290hp, a FMX automatic transmission, and non-posi 3.25:1 rear end.