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1968 Cyclone GT 500 – Is this the final word?

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It seems like we are getting very, very close to cracking the questions surrounding the 1968 Mercury Cyclone GT 500. This all started out several years ago when we ran a Marti Report for a Cyclone we had just acquired. The Marti Report came back saying it was a 1 0f 60 Mercury Cyclone GT 500! I had never heard of one, what the heck is a GT 500?

This all led to a lot of emails and speculation. A lot more research and questions. As stated in our last post on this topic we got confirmation that the Driveaway program at the Atlanta Motor Speedway was for the Cyclone GT 500. It was very successful and something similar was being considered for the Charlotte 600 in May of 1968. This made a lot more sense since our GT 500 was built May 4, 1968 much to late for the Atlanta race. Why would Mercury build promotional cars after the event was over?

We were just provided with this newspaper ad for a GT 500 promotion for the Charlotte 600.

If you can’t quite read the fine print here is what it says:

“The two cars shown above are being made ready for delivery now at the track in Charlotte, North Carolina. The lucky purchaser of either car, along with his wife or a friend will be the guests of Antietam for the weekend of May 25th. You leave Washington National Airport via Delta jet at 1:11 p.m. and arrive Charlotte, North Carolina, 2:14 p.m.”

“Reservations have been made for you at Charlotte’s famous Golden-Eagle Motor Inn. Sunday morning you have breakfast with Mercury’s drivers at the track. You take part in the winners’ parade, paced by Cale Yarborough in his #21 Cyclone. You then watch the running of the World 600. Then you enjoy the drive home in your NEW 68 Cyclone or Cougar. Sound Great? It can be YOURS!”

This ad not only provides a second documentation for the Cyclone GT 500 but also introduces us to the Cougar 500!
This ad not only provides a second documentation for the Cyclone GT 500 but also introduces us to the Cougar 500!

The dealership putting on this great promotion was located in Antietam Maryland.

This does bring up an interesting side note. There were two batches of GT 500s manufactured. The first of 126 cars for Atlanta and the second of 60 for Charlotte. All of the Charlotte Cyclones were believed to be Vermilion (Calypso Corral) with some of the 126 Atlanta cars painted Vermilion but most were Polar White. All of the Cougar 500s for Charlotte were Polar White.

At this time it appears that even less is known about the 1968 Cougar 500. They have 68 Cougar script on the rear quarters followed by the same block 500 letters then a Cyclone style checkered flag. They were also sold in the Atlanta and the Washington, DC DSO areas. According to Marti Reports they were all standard Cougars. and there were only 54 Cougar 500s built. 38 were 302 ci cars, and 16 were R-code 428 CJs. All were Polar White with red or black interior. Either manual or auto  transmissions were available.The Cougar 500’s were all scheduled to be built on May 1 or May 2 of 1968. 

085Fix

 

 If you have photos or any more information please pass it along to rfleener@comcast.net

 

 

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Richard

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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4 Comments

  1. If you need any additional info on the gt500 I have one in the shop, it is actually the same one you have pictured above I do believe.

  2. I just saw a ’68 Mercury Cyclone GT500, yesterday, in Portland, Oregon. From a distance, I thought it was a Fairlane. When I got closer, sure enough, I saw the Cyclone GT500 script on the rear quarter panel. It was one of the white ones. It was beautiful!

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