The Mercury Cyclone was a sales failure, but did it deserve better?


In the early 1960s, Mercury was suffering from an identity crisis. After the Edsel debacle, the mid-level FoMoCo brand moved down-market for several years until it regained its footing. Around the same time, Ford instituted its “Total Performance” assault on global racing.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/10/24/mercury-cyclone-was-a-sales-failure-but-did-it-deserve-better


What this article fails to mention, is there were 3 or 4 Ford Dealerships to every Mercury dealerships. Mercury’s share of auto sales was small because the other brands far outnumbered it.


I owned for a short period of time in the latter 70,s a 1966 Cyclone great car turned heads Mercury was a bit of a oddity in our neck of the woods but i thought it was cool.R


Pontiac had far fewer dealerships than Chevrolet, yet the GTO holds the all-time muscle car sale record (in 1966). What reason should I give for this?

No, the number of dealerships is not a good explanation IMHO, especially when the Buick GS was outselling the Cyclone and Buick had no racing support.


It was too bad that Ford/Merc did not offer a true high perf. big block engine options like GM did with the GTO and the Chevelle SS 396. The only big block option was the 335hp/390 which was not a high performance engine. Had they built an optional 390 similar to the 1961 375-401HP 390 with aluminum intake, Holley 4bbl, solid lifter cam, free flowing exhaust, a performance ignition which was similar to what the Chevy’s 396/375 hp it would have been a much different story


I know it’s not a Cyclone but here’s my 64 Comet. This story reminded me how much it is related to my friend’s 69 Cyclone. It’s fun being the “different” car on the street and at cruise-ins.


When I was in high school a friend of mine had a 64 with 289hp 4speed and 411 rear end. We had an short track behind an Arlens and Western Auto parts store and that car would beat just about any thing it raced back then. I would guess it was about 800 feet before you had to climb on those good old manual drums. I have been looking for a 65 for years now but they were notorious for rust in the floors and have been unable to find a good one.


A friend had a 1965 Cyclone 289-225/4speed back in the day. Burgundy over black it was one of my favorites even though I was a GM guy. We use to race it at Riverside drag strip and there was another that towed up from Portsmouth , black on black. He would beat us every time in our class [N/Stock?], rumor mill said it was a 289/271 Hi-Po but we never had the $100 bucks to tear it down.


I still think the Cyclone’s could have done better but they came out the same time as the Mustang and just couldn’t compete with that.


I do not care how many cars the built . The first time I saw a 65 Cyclone coming down the street with the scoops in the hood and the front suspension extended I was hooked.


I had a 65. It was a great car, wish I still had it. Dummy me traded it in on a new 68 GTO, always regretted doing that.