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Finding Car’s original owner

Back around July of 2010 I got a call from a friend in California saying there was an elusive 1969 Mercury Cyclone Dan Gurney Spoiler for sale. These cars are extremely rare and he knew I had been looking for one for years. He said the seller did not believe it was real but rather a high quality clone. Never the less, I immediately called the seller and made arrangements to fly out and see the car. Long story short, I inspected the car, it definitely was real (I do the Talladega Spoiler Registry), it was more than I expected, and I bought it with plans to simply get it back on the road and make a good driver out of it.

1969 Mercury Spoiler Dan Gurney edition with 428 CJ Ram Air with Drag Pac 4-Speed; one of 5 built! This is what I brought home form California.

The car was very solid with minimal rust. The best part? It was a 428 SCJ, 4-speed, 430 gears, with black buck seat interior in perfect condition! This had to be a one-of-one car! When I got the car back to Tennessee and the more I looked the car over the more I knew it deserved a concours restoration. My wife and I have several collector cars and it seems there was always a more important project. We knew a concours restoration was going to be very expensive and the car could not be driven regularly after such a restoration. As a result the car sat in our storage building for several years. I did do extensive research in an attempt to locate previous owner, especially the original owner. The Marti Report showed that it was originally owned by the Regional Ford District in the NE. Why would Ford order such a car for a regional employee to drive?

Marty Burke’s restored 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler SCJ as unveiled at MCACN.

As the years past we had an engine built for the car but also reached the conclusion we were not going to finish this project to the level it deserve. As my wife and I discussed what the next step was there were only two options, keep the car in storage and do the best possible restoration, or find a buyer who would do it. We only could think of one person we knew could and would restore the car the way it deserved. The rest of this story is told in the words of Marty Burke, the person we selected to purchased our prized vehicle.

The following portion of the article was supplied by Marty Burke. Marty is a good friend and exceptional member of the Ford Community. He is the Chief Judge for the Fairlane Club of America, provider of much needed Fairlane restoration parts and owner of some very exceptional and rare 68/69 Fords and Mercury’s.

We all know that every car has a story, and some are a lot more emotional than others. Back in 2018 I was able to acquire from my friend, Richard Fleener, a very rare 1969 Cyclone Spoiler Dan Gurney Special. This car was one of five DragPak Gurney cars and the only one of the five with a black interior.  A Concours restoration on the car was then performed on the car by Billups Classic Cars in Colcord Ok using a lot of my NOS parts that I collected over the past 40 years.

We unveiled the Cyclone at MCACN (Muscle Car And Corvette Nationals) in November of 2019. The Mercury has taken an abundance of awards since then, making it the most awarded Cyclone in the hobby.

The original owners reunited with this very special 1969 Mercury Cyclone Dan Gurney Spoiler SCJ!!

When I bought the car, Richard had done some tracking on the previous owners and at the time we thought we had all of them.

The car initially was a Ford corporate car assigned to the Ford Parts Warehouse in Teterboro NJ. We knew it was raced in New Jersey by the Class Win stickers on the rear window. The Cyclone eventually made its way to California where Fleener found it, and there the story pretty much ended……..until now!

Marty Burke (on the right) shows the original owner, Fred Metzler, some of the car’s historical documentation.

Several years ago at a Fairlane National  Meet fellow member Ted Lupu mentioned to me that he had a friend that thought the he could be the guy who was the first owner. I really didn’t think much about it as what are the chances?

Ted’s friend lives in Michigan, the car started its life in New Jersey & moved to California, and there are only five of these cars ever made!!!

Low & behold last Fall I received an email from Fred Metzler in Michigan.

In Fred’s email he told me that he believes that he is the first owner of the Cyclone. He mentioned seeing a picture of the car before restoration and noticed a dent in the passenger rocker panel which he put there running over a tree stump {in the snow} on a hunting expedition!!! After a couple more emails a phone conversation ensued and there was no question Fred was the original owner! Fred was an executive at the Ford Teterboro plant and had several choices of a company car from the small fleet at the facility. No one wanted the Cyclone because the clutch was too heavy and the 4:30 gears made it a beast to drive!

Fred happens to have a son, Steve, who lives in Texas. While visiting his son, Fred asked me if he could come and see the Cyclone. He said he has so many great memories of the car and wished he would have kept it. On March 11th Fred with his lovely wife Marie and son Steve came up to see their old car. Fred & Marie dated in this car, and Steve was brought home from the hospital in the Cyclone. Both Fred & Marie told me stories of the Cyclone being driven all over the Northeast part of our country. Ski trips, hunting expeditions and Fred doing a little stop light to stop light racing along with a little track time.

Fred eventually sold the Cyclone to his nephew and then it got sold to a security guard at the Ford warehouse . So now we have the complete ownership history of this rare Mercury. The attached photos show Fred behind the wheel once again and Marie in the copilot seat after 50 years. The other photos show Fred & I together going over all the documentation of the car and finally a picture of the first retail owner & the cars current caretaker.

Fred did mention that it was very emotional for him to see the Cyclone again and he thanked me for having done a great restoration. For both Fred & Marie seeing the car brought back so many good memories.  I told him, it is amazing how two tons of steel car stir up so much emotion? He whole heartily agreed, and after all that’s what this hobby is all about!

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at http://www.LegendaryFarms.com.

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