For Katrina and I, the feature car at the 1969 MCACN show had to be Marty Burke’s 1969 Mercury Cyclone Dan Gurney Spoiler SCJ. The back story on this car is fascinating but the restoration is absolutely over the top.
If you have been a long-time visitor to this site you already are familiar with the car. This link is when we bought the car. This link will take you to when we sold it to Marty. Briefly, we had been looking for a big block Dan Gurney car for over five years when I got a call from Lou Whitfield telling me about a Dan Gurney car for sale in Southern California. I made a phone call, flew out and looked it over and it was the real deal. It was an SCJ, four-speed with a black bucket seat console interior and very sound. The deal was made and the car was shipped to Tennessee.
Our immediate plans were to keep it as a survivor since it was so sound. Other projects kept getting in the way and the reality hit us that the car was too important to the Talladega Spoiler Family to not restore. Did I mention it is one of five SCJ Ram Air 4 speed Gurney cars built? It is the only one with 4:30 gears. Having just completed a very extensive restoration on one car we really were not up to the challenges of another but we made a reservation with Billups Classic Cars to do the car. They were the most highly recommended shop for the car.
After a lot of soul searching and discussions, Katrina and I decided we would consider selling the car if we could find someone who would do the best possible restoration on the car, one better than we could ever do. Marty Burke was the only name we came up with. I called Marty, he had seen the car and knew it well. I asked if he would take the car if and when we decided to sell it. He immediately said yes, but only if we would not regret it later. He wanted to make sure we really were willing to sell it. Several months past, the decision was made. Katrina and I happily sold the car to Marty. We knew we would miss the car immensely but also knew it was the right thing to do.
Marty already had a car scheduled for restoration at Billups which usually has a two year waiting time. The shop gave him my spot and the car immediately went to Billups. Marty’s goal was to unveil the restored SCJ at the 2019 MCACN show in Chicago.
Marty told me he has been collection NOS Cyclone parts for over 40 years. He knew someday he would find the car that would be his ultimate project and all the NOS parts would be used on it. The Gurney SCJ was the selected recipient of these valuable parts.
To say that this car is the rarest best restored Mecury 1969 Spoiler in the World is not an understatement, in my opinion. What is equally shocking, considering all the NOS parts on the car, is that the seats, door panels and dash (not the gauges) are the factory originals and not restored!
Unbelievably, Billups and Marty still want to do more details to the underside of the car and display it on a lift at the show next year! This Dan Gurney SCJ is truely a milestone car that can be used as a standard to judge all others by.
Congratulations Marty and Billups for a job well done and thank you for making our dream a reality.
How did the car do? It received a Gold in Concours Judging and Celebrity pick from photographer Al Rogers. PLUS, it was the Best Mercury at the Show! Picking one trophy at MCACN is an honor, picking up three trophies the first time out is outstanding! Well done Marty!