The following story is from a regular contributor, Chris Vick. It has been slightly edited by the editor but remains his story.
I wasn’t looking for a car when the Cale car I bought came to my attention. A little background on me first. I am 60 years old and a Ford guy my whole life, thanks dad. My dad liked to drive Mercs so I was always looking that way. My pay grade does not allow me to buy a rare muscle car, but my skills allow me to build my own.
I was working on a car guy’s swimming pool I know. He is a Mopar dude and had a very rare 69 Charger 500. I asked how good of a job the factory did on the back window area compared to the long nose Ford cars’ fenders. He showed me the quality (LOL) of the workmanship and then told me he knew somebody who had a 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II Cale Yarborough car for sale. He stated it was kind of rough with the short block in the front seat, but the price was right.
There is one other thing about me, I am HUGE Wood Brothers fan. Of course I was stoked to talk to the owner. I called and he started talking and talking and talking, I had to stop him just to ask if it was still for sale, and it still was. My brother-in-law went with to look at it. It was sitting in a field with other parts cars that could go with it! A deal was made.
A good friend of mine also knew about the car and said nobody wanted that rusted hulk, but I am not afraid of a challenge. When went to get the car, in December, we were met by the owner but he had a sad look on his face. I asked what’s up and he said go back and look. Well, where I live the ground freezes, really freezes. When he tried to pull the car out from the rear with his backhoe, the tires were frozen into the ground and when they finally let loose the car shot the car back into the backhoe! There was not much left of one quarter panel, and do to the rusty front torque box, the front fender buckled. As a result another parts car came home to help with the damage repairs.
Although I originally was planning on building the best car that I could so having crappy parts didn’t bother me too much because if it wasn’t brand new I was going to replace or rebuild it. The only parts missing were the inside hood release and cable. They were some of many NOS pieces I found for it.
The car sat for a long time while I collected parts. In the meantime I restored my first Cale II for a friend and used mine as the template for assembly. His car came to me as a rolling chassis with a bunch of boxes. I then went on to restore my car. It has already been in Muscle Car Review in the Rare Finds section. Jerry gave me 95 out of 100 bonus points for restoring it. That was a surprise. The car is now done and I am showing it. This summer it will get shot for a feature in Muscle Car Review. It is “A Rare Find” that got finished.
I am now on my 3rd Spoiler II, Cale car restoration and again my car is the guide to reassembly because this car also came as a rolling chassis with a bunch of boxes.
I finally own a low production car, restored to the highest level I can, ( I don’t have Jay Leno’s money or Chip Foose’s skills) but to the right people they are impressed. Lots of people don’t know what it is but that’s ok because I know what it is.