Among other changes to the 1969 Mercury Cyclone GT, the GT was demoted from an official Cyclone model to a mere appearance option group, while the dramatic fastback came in base and CJ trim.
Closely related to Ford's performance-packed Cobra, the CJ measured two inches longer. CJs wore a black-out version of the revised Cyclone grille, with protruding center segment and a slim silvertone center bar.
But the real goodies lay behind that grille: a standard 428-cid V-8, its 335 horses eager to blast a CJ off the mark with the greatest of ease. Ordering Ram-Air induction for $138.60 added a hood scoop to gulp in the fresh, cold air demanded by the four-barrel carburetor, plus a set of hood lock pins. A four-speed was standard; Select-Shift optional. Both a tachometer and bucket seats cost extra.
Did performance match the CJ's assertive stance? Definitely! Car and Driver needed only 5.5 seconds to hit 60 mph, and just 13.9 seconds to slam through the quarter-mile. Even in 1969, that was traveling.
This is not to say, however, that its predecessor was any slouch. A year earlier, Motor Trend took just 6.1 seconds to dash to 60 with its automatic-equipped Cyclone, also running the quarter in 13.9 seconds.
Cyclones performed well not only at the drag strips, but around NASCAR ovals as well: notably the 1968 Daytona 500, won by Cale Yarborough at an average 143.25 mph. No matter how hard Mercury tried, though, customers weren't exactly beating down the doors for a chance at a Cyclone. Production would rise in 1970, but sink to an even drearier mark in 1971, the final season for these quick but overlooked remnants of American muscle.
Rarest of all is the Cyclone Spoiler II, which must be mentioned before leaving the Cyclone series in the dust. Only 519 were built, for NASCAR homologation, wearing flat front ends like the Talladegas that did similar duty for Ford.
Read detailed specifications for the 1968 and 1969 Mercury Cyclone GT on the next page.