There is far more information available regarding the 1969 Ford Talladega than any of the comparable Mercury Cyclone Spoiler or Spoiler II cars. This is very unfortunate and leaves a lot of gaps in what we know and what we presume regarding the Mercury cars. Having owned both the Fords and Mercurys I can attest that the lack of information on the Mercury cars makes me even more interested in their history than that of the Talladega.
Earlier this year I was contacted by a professional collector car appraiser who had a very difficult job of trying to put a value on a 1969 Cyclone Cale Yarborough Spoiler. This can be a very daunting task in the best of circumstances since there are so few of them around and comparable sales figures are difficult to find. It seems that Cale Yarborough himself had requested the appraisal. He wanted to donate his Cale Yarborough Spoiler to a local museum and needed an appraisal for tax purposes.
I was requested to help verify the originality of the car and the authenticity of the Spoiler. My first if several phone conversations proved very interesting. Future calls were were just as interesting with one even including a discussion with Cale himself. The appraiser had a fair basic understanding of the Aero Cars as well as the Cale and Dan Specials. However, he was justifiably confused over some of what he was finding on Cale’s car. With just the basic information I was able to discount this car as a real Spoiler. Think about this for a minute. How would you like to tell Cale Yarborough is Cale Yarborugh Spoiler is not real?
The appraiser had told me about some orange paint under the red and white Cale colors. He also mentioned that some of the other details on the car were a little funky. I asked about the Marti Report he had and it added some clarity but not without raising some additional concerns. First off, the car in Cale’s possession was scheduled to be built July 4, 1968. It was actually built August 13, 1968 and sold the same day to Ford Marketing in Dearborn, MI. It was the 47th Mercury vehicle scheduled for production at Lorain! In addition it was painted Competition Orange. I have never seen a list of options on a 1969 Cyclone like this one has. Look at this list.
- 428 CJ
- Four-Speed Close Ratio Transmission
- 4.30 Traction-Lok Differential
- Courtesy Lights
- Electric Clock
- F70x14 Wide Oval Belted Tires
- White Sidewall Tires
- Ram Air Induction
- Power Side Windows
- White Knit Vinyl Bucket Seats
- Power Front Disc Brakes
- Power Steering
- AM/FM Radio
- Intermittent Windshield Wipers
- Rear Seat Speakers
- Deluxe Belts/Warning Light
- Color Keyed Racing Mirrors
- Styled Steel Wheels
What does all this suggest?
I believe it is obvious that this was to be a very special car from the very beginning but these are my conclusions and not fact. Its first life was to be that of a promotional piece. It could have been a magazine car for road tests or a show car for unveiling the new line of 1969 Mercurys. This would likely have been a rather short useful life span of just a couple of months. Then what would happen to it? Sent to a dealer for retail sale or possibly put it into the Corporate Fleet for future use?
Remember, the car was built in mid-August and the Cale Yarborough and Dan Gurney Spoiler production began January 1, 1969. There were production Color Code cars built beginning late summer of 1968.
What if, at this point the folks at Mercury knew they wanted a special tribute production car to honor Cale Yarborough and Dan Gurney? What would they do? Build a prototype of course. Would they pull a new car off the assembly line or simply go out to the Fleet lot and take an existing “used” Cyclone for a test bed? I would like to think the latter would make the most sense. Now let’s take a closer look at Cale’s car based on this premise.