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Riding Shotgun

We recently started a new Feature on our sister web site,, call Riding Shotgun. The first Episode features our 1969 Cale Yarborough Spoiler. This is our first attempt at this kind of feature but we have many more planned with a lot of different kinds of cars. Since we used our own Spoiler for the first test Episode we though you might like to see how it turned out. Give us some feed back if you would like to see other cars from the Registry featured in this kind of format.

The Car

Rather than experiment with strangers’ cars we decided to do our very first Riding Shotgun using one of our own cars. Katrina and I purchased this 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Cale Yarborough Special out of Iowa in the spring of 2005. At the time it was an average quality driver car. It had previously sat for many years having been sold new out of Marshalltown, Iowa and then spending time in areas around Oskaloosa (my hometown) and Ames (where I attended college). Although I lived near by where this car pounded the road back in the day, to the best of my knowledge we never crossed paths until 2005.

Why this Car

We had previously acquired a 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II Dan Gurney car. The Spoiler II has the extended NASCAR nose similar to a Talladega. We were getting tired to trying to explain the differences between a Spoiler and Spoiler II at shows. The solution? Find a Spoiler and park them next to each other at shows! Since Mercury only made two versions of the Spoiler and Spoiler II, one a Dan Gurney and the other a Cale Yarborough we decided that we should look for a Cale version of the Spoiler. The Gurney Spoiler II was a 351 like all other Spoiler IIs so, of course, we wanted the biggest, baddest engine we could in the Spoiler.

I began running Nation wide classifieds looking for a 428 CJ Spoiler. In two years of running ads I received only one reply and that was this car. At the time we found the Cale Yarborough Spoiler Katrina and I were living in Southern California. I had a friend in Iowa inspect the car and I agreed on a price with the seller. Then, I made a quick trip back to Iowa, loaded the car on my trailer and headed back to the left coast. The car was a big hit out there. I never did cross paths with another one while we lived there.

Our Cale Yarborough Spoiler is powered by a 428 CJ Ram Air with C6 transmission. This combination was only installed in 22 Cale Yarborough Spoiler cars back in 1969. Of those, I only know of a couple of other survivors. Other options on the car include hood pins, red vinyl bench seat, F70x14 white letter tires (now replaced with BFG T/As), hood scoop, PS, PB, AM radio, tachometer and sport mirrors.

On the Road

The video below does two things. First, it shows you one of three cameras we use to bring you the Riding Shotgun Episodes and demonstrates how they work. Second, it gives you an idea of what this collector car drives and rides like as well as provides a good example of the exhaust sound.


Although the car only has a little over 55,000 original miles we did a rotisserie restoration on the car between 2007 and 2008. Even though the car was on a rotisserie we did the restoration for driving and not authenticity or concourse. In other words, we weren’t concerned with everything being as it left the factory but we didn’t want to highly modify it either; we wanted a solid driver that was a reasonable representation of the car as new. Today, the car drives great and is dependable and does see regular road trips but remains local show worthy.


This is suppose to be about Riding Shotgun so how does it ride and drive? These are fast cars but they were built with 3.50 open rear ends so they were not intended to be drag racers. The 428 CJ has lots of torque and the car is responsive at all speeds. These are still 60s vintage cars without overdrive transmissions so you are turning approximately 3,000 RPMs on the highway and that translates to some additional noise in the cockpit. It also means drinking large gulps of $4 per gallon (at the time this is being written) high octane gas. Part of what makes old cars so much fun; you are not wrapped in a quiet, comfortable cocoon. You experience the car and the road; you drive the car and you feel the car.

There are some detail photos of the 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Cale Yarborough car in the video below.


The cars are interesting but the owners are also part of the experience. In each of our Riding Shotgun Posts we will provide you with a brief video interview of the owner’s words about his or her car. These will be the owner’s own words about what excites that owner about the car. It might be the technical aspects of the machine or the long family history of onwership or maybe it is just the sheer beauty of the car’s lines. Here is my comments about our Cale Yarborough Spoiler.

Quick Facts

Car: 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Cale Yarborough

Condition: Original Restored to be driven; approximately 55,000 original miles

Engine: 428 CJ Ram Air, 335HP

Transmission: C6 automatic

Gear: 3.50-1

Options: Spoiler Package, Cale Yarborough; F70x14 white letter tires; Ram Air; Power Disc Brakes; Power Steering; Hood Pins; AM Radio; Tinted Glass-Complete; Color Keyed Racing Mirriors; Tachometer

Production: 617 Cale Yarborough Spoilers produced (22 with 428 CJ Ram Air and C6)

Specs: 116″ wheelbase; 207.2″ overall length;

Value (Old Cars Report*): Condition: 1=$45,000 / 2=$32,500 / 3=$20,250 / 4=$9,000 / 5=$5,400 / 6=$1,800

*Note: no value is listed for Spoiler only CJ V8; However, a 70% premium is listed for 428 CJ and 100% premium for Spoiler II.



Some of my first and strongest memories from my childhood relate to cars. I still remember when things happened based on what car I was driving at the time. I grew up and lived in Iowa for nearly 40 years before moving to Southern California and now live in Tennessee. I was a Corvette fanatic for years but then re-discovered vintage American Muscle. My wife, Katrina, and I decided we wanted to focus on unique and rare muscle cars. After a lot of research we fell in love with the Ford Blue Oval Aero Cars. These were only built in 1969 and and aerodynamics became an important part of winning races. The only purpose of these limited production cars was to win NASCAR races using the Boss 429 and 427 power plants complimented with a special, wind cheating, aerodynamic body. The Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II are terrific and historic cars. This site is devoted to these car and their owners past and present. We provide an Online Registry for recording the long term history and ownership of every remaining Talladega, Spoiler and Spoiler II.

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