Thursday, April 10, 2014

1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler spins heads, stops heart after glance into overgrown yard

The perfect storm. “Unlikely” is what we thought when we found this hidden treasure. Jody and I traded phrases like, “No way!” and “You gotta be kidding me!” We had spotted an elusive 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler in the wild. 
  These redesigned street bullies, offered in 1970 and 1971, blazed the blacktop at the height of the muscle car wars. The bare-fist, horsepower brawl fought in Detroit went into a full-tilt, glory grab for 1970. This recently unearthed ’70 Mercury Cyclone was equipped with all the necessary armor for street battle. A cagey buyer checked off the right boxes to build this unique looking Baton Le Yellow (Alabama speak for yellow stick). So, for those not so familiar with Mercury’s weapon of choice, it breaks down like this: 
   Mercury wanted an eye popping muscle machine to compete with everyone. Nascar, NHRA, and anyone else located in Red Light, USA. And the new, for 1970, 429-cubic-inch monster would do it.

Junkyard Life’s first glance at the 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler – a storm warning was coming our way!

 Cyclones rare in Alabama and everywhere else
   We at Junkyard Life would bet that Mercury only sold 1,631 Cyclone Spoilers because they only built 1,631 of them. Cyclones joined a select few Ford-based engines equipped with a Rochester Quadrajet. A highly-tweakable, four-barrel carburetor that was experiencing great success, with (get this) GM. Cyclones even had a “Ram Air” type air cleaner. (Gear head note: Another option would have been the Super Cobra Jet engine featuring a Holley Carb) 
   To build the Cyclone, Cyclone GT and the featured Cyclone Spoiler, Mercury used many popular, muscle car era, styling cues. In this Cyclone Spoiler, we  spotted design elements from Mercury Montego, the Ford LTD, and seats that reminded us of Chevrolet’s “Houndstooth” pattern. Jody also noted how the tail lights would appeal to the Mopar crowd, Challenger fans specifically. 
  This Cyclone was a winner, all around, but unfortunately, it would not be a hit to many muscle car fans in 1970. Only a few Mercury Cyclones have been seen and enjoyed on the streets. This may be the only one we, at Junkyard Life, have ever seen and it has been off the road for 20 years. 

Houndstooth, black and white seats compliment the ’70 Cyclone Spoiler’s interior.

These unsuspecting clowns, Ron and Jody, studiously examine a 429 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler. That’s putting it nicely. We were dumbfounded, but ready to learn!

Spoiled all over
   Despite my theory that the car was named Cyclone due it being a lot of muscle car cues “whipped up” into one car. That probably wasn’t what Mercury had in mind when they named this car. It was more likely named because a cyclone is a powerful storm that is known to do damage, much like this would do to the ego of the drivers of lesser cars. We do know that the Cyclone Spoiler was named appropriately due to the spoilers on the front chin and rear deck wing, like our feature car.

1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler’s rear spoiler shoves the car down on the road for better stability (in theory) at HCS (High Cyclone Speed).

We spotted power brakes, power steering and an owner added Holley mounted to the 370-hp 429-cubic-inch engine for more throttle-stabbing fun.

Wish I had thought of that 
   The owner of this Mercury, found in Alabama, had a gut feeling that Cyclones would be something to hold onto. The owner did one better than that, he bought every one that he found during the last three decades. He now owns four Cyclones. Two 1970 models and two 1971 models.
   This fantastic Cyclone Spoiler in Competition Yellow also has a Traction-Lok rear with 3.50:1 gears, and an automatic C6 transmission. It is also an air-delete car, with manual windows and an AM radio. It was factory equipped with power brakes and power steering. 
   An air-delete 429 that spins both tires? We know what this car was born to do-hopefully, it will be doing it again soon if we have anything to do with it!
Happy Hunting! 

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life

“That’s a lot of motor for a guy!” Our dad would have said that.

Competition Yellow paint, body stripes, 429 engine, Ram Air hood along with front and rear spoilers add up to one mean muscle machine circa 1970.

Well-preserved interior features a factory tachometer canted toward the driver, from the center of dash, and a wide sweep speedometer, in front of steering wheel. A lot of divisions had a problem combining the two, but Mercury had no issue giving us what we want. Junkyard Life loves factory tachometers.

One-of-very-few 1970 Cyclone Spoilers seen in the wild.

Ron Kidd moves in for a closer look at the 1970 Cyclone Spoiler. Notice the Mopar-influenced tail lights?

Know a junkyard that we need to visit? Got a car story?  
Send emails to Ron at or Jody at

Thursday, March 20, 2014

1977 Buick is Regal no more; Scrap metal dealer claims another GM Colonnade model

Complete, red 1977 Buick Regal sold to scrap dealer in Birmingham, Alabama.

Scrap yard eats 1977 Buick. If you are a Buick fan, you usually arrived there because of their hook in the automotive industry. Luxury or performance, and often times known for both. Buick has been referred to as “The Gentleman’s Muscle Car”. When you seek out Buick knowledge,
a wealth of stories and photos can be found on the stealthy Buick GS or the bright GSX. Maybe you prefer the Darth Vader appeal of the Grand National? The Riviera has even carved out a bit of recognition because of their luxury class appeal with the punch of a muscle car. But I’m not talking about any of those, now. I’m talking about the little-to-no muscle, late 1970s era, fan club that may just consist of Jody and myself. We are the beleaguered fans a 1977 Buick Regal that is a soon-to-be scrap yard victim. 

Junkyard dream car found at scrap dealer in this complete 1977 Buick Regal.

Battered Buick
  An abused child to be sure. No cloth bucket seats, no power windows or door locks. This Regal for sure rolled out with factory air (long gone) and I am pretty sure it had a tilt wheel. It saddens us that these era cars seem to find their way to the scales. Junkyard Life cannot be the only ones guilty of loving these cars. We need to find a way to at least give someone the opportunity to rescue these situations and prevent them from become shopping buggies or beer cans.

Regal history
  Introduced to the car buying public in 1973, the very word “Regal” refers to royalty. The Mad Men of Madison Avenue were digging deep for a hot name in the dark era for the automotive industry. If you wanted a sporty version of the Century, look to the Regal. The counterparts across the street were Chevrolet’s Monte Carlo and Pontiac’s Grand Prix. By 1977, the last year for the medium size Colonnade body style, conformity reigned. Being somewhat lost in a sea of comparable models, nothing (much) was super grand or regal. No one ever thought of this 1977 Buick Regal to be story worthy, but it is to us. 


No Buick buyer
  Someone once again decided that a few hundred dollars and no more Buick sounded better than five hundred dollars (which it said on the windshield) and having a Buick. I hate the scrap place. This is what I saw as I passed by recently. A 1977 Firethorn Red Buick Regal with all four Buick Road wheels (or whatever name they became by 1977). 

Buick engine mystery
  This Regal had an “H” in the V.I.N designating the engine code. Two sources indicated varying opinions. One claimed “H” was a 350 C.I.D, but was unclear which engine. GM was swapping Buick, Olds, Pontiac and Chevy power plants around the board like Fleetwood Mac. All makes had their own 350-V8 that could have been installed here. The other source said “H” wasn’t a V8 at all in 1977. It was listed as a bullet-proof Buick 231-cubic-inch V6. 
  My guess is either engine was long gone and the happy swapper decided on a 350, of Chevy persuasion, that was completely intact including an aluminum intake and an Edelbrock (Carter style) carb. The engine bay was so complete, that the only thing that didn’t raise its hand in roll call was the A/C compressor. Outside that the paint code hinted to a beautiful color Buick called “Firethorn”, otherwise known as paint code #36 going down the assembly line. 

Along with the aforementioned Carter-style Edelbrock carb, the one who abandoned the Buick also gave up a heavy duty 3-row radiator. Someone needs this.  

Junkyard Life Note: My family had two of these Colonnade Buicks over the years. Both were this same color - Firethorn Red. My Dad bought one new in 1976 and loved it. My cousin, Mike, bought one around 1977. He almost bought a 1977 Trans Am instead, but the Pontiac was leaking something underneath, so Mike went with the Buick. We all loved that car.

Happy Hunting! Wait, strike that – Sad Hunting, and the bearer of bad news.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life 

Complete Buick Regal grill and emblem has a few days before it meets the crusher.
Complete 1977 Buick Regal grill and emblem will soon meet the crusher.

1977 Buick Regal wears four factory rally rims in the scrap yard.
1977 Regal wears four factory chrome, rally rims at the scrap yard. White wall rolling stock and the original Buick wheels with the centerpieces
indicate it was not always intended for it to end it all at the recycler. This Buick just fell into the wrong hands.

We’ve patched together worse project cars and driven them home.
Friends don’t let friends scrap complete chrome-bumpered cars. This 1977 Buick Regal deserved a better fate.

Know a junkyard that we need to visit? Got a car story?  
Send emails to Ron at or Jody at

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cars in Yards: Bumping into a 1973 Chevelle SS

1973 Chevy Chevelle SS sport big, fat bumpers that are unstoppable and inloved.

Bad to the bumper. Like a clenched jaw ready for a fight. The beefy, front bumper of a 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle SS juts out from beneath the grille. That bumper was an unstoppable force and the unfortunate face of automotive design from 1973 through the early-1980s. The super-sized, shiny under bite was the result of federal bumper regulations enacted by Congress and the NHTSA for the ’73 model year. 
  Few would argue that these bumpers could not dish a fatal blow to newer, plastic-bumpered automobiles. However, no one is clamoring to restore these heavy, slow dinosaurs from the 1970s. Could it be the 3-inch offset between the cowcatcher bumper and the body? Hard-to-find filler panels that fill the gap between bumper and body? 
  Did these bumpers spell doom for a black, 1973 Super Sport that has spent decades rim deep in the north Georgia mud? The Chevelle’s body will rot into two halves before those bumper show any signs of wear.

Big bumpers and fastback roof make 1973 Chevy Chevelle SS look fast sitting still.
Olds wheel on rear, Buick wheel up front? That's the way we roll in a junkyard 1973 Chevelle SS.

Safety first, insurance companies a close second
  Automobiles became safer and cheaper to repair due to new regulations in 1973. Federal bumper regulations mandated that passenger car bumpers withstand 5 mph front and 2 mph rear impacts against a perpendicular barrier without damage to certain safety-related components such as headlamps and fuel systems. Something tells me that the sturdiest American bumpers ever bolted to the frame were produced for the 1973 model year.
  Wrecked – meaning pushed in toward the body – shock absorbing GM bumpers can be pulled out using a chain hoist and a tree. Little, or no damage is evident after they are lined-up in their original position. These bumpers may not have the energy-absorbing performance of modern cars but they are a heck of a lot cheaper to repair.  

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life

1973 Chevy Chevelle SS in a junkyard next to a 1981 Renault LeCar.
Four, round tail lights and a unique decklid make the redesigned ’73 Chevelle an easy bet for savvy car spotters.

Massive bumpers signaled the 1973 model Chevelle.
Wide mouth ’73 Chevelle SS grille extends to edges of the massive front bumper. Yes, that’s a Corvair behind the SS.

Four tail lights and a unique decklid are found on 1973 Chevelles.
North Georgia is home for this neglected Super Sport.

Cars in yards: A 1973 Chevy Chevelle SS found next to a 1981 Renault LeCar.
Stationed beside the 1973 Chevelle SS sits a 1981 LeCar by Renault. First time a LeCar has been photographed in the wild in over 12 years.

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