Charley Lillard’s 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler
Charley Lillard wasn’t looking for another restoration project when he bought this 1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler. “It wasn’t even on my radar,” Charley says, “and then somebody pointed it out. It looked like a great survivor.”
Charley recognized the Super Cobra Jet-powered machine as an exceptionally rare and complete example of Mercury’s stylish muscle car when his friend brought the online ad to his attention. Charley figured it might be a good candidate for a simple paint job refresh before enjoying on the road.
“It appeared to be a really good survivor,” Charley says. “It wasn’t, but all the good parts were there. I ended up doing a full-blown restoration.”
Charley turned to Randy Archer in Phoenix for the restoration work – the same guy who had restored Charley’s ’66 Pontiac Bonneville, which was a Muscle Car of the Year finalist in 2018. “I just wanted to paint it and clean it up a little,” Charley says. “And then things got carried away and Randy did what Randy does – because he’s never satisfied.”
The restoration did include new Competition Blue paint – a rare color for a Cyclone Spoiler – plus a fresh white vinyl top and striping. Charley says that with an unusual car like this, it’s the little things that can hang you up – like damaged wheel opening moldings, which are not available in reproduction form. “I managed to find a set and restore them,” Charley says.
The rare 429c.i. Super Cobra Jet engine was in good shape – clean enough that Charley and Randy believe the 53,000 miles on the car’s odometer are original. Fresh gaskets, paint, and detailing were all that was needed to get the engine back to showroom condition. It’s fed by a Ram Air hood and four-barrel carb, breathes through dual exhaust, and is backed by a Toploader four-speed transmission sending power to a 3.91-geared Traction-Lok rearend. Charley located NOS hubcaps and trim rings and correct sport wheels, wrapping them in reproduction Firestone Wide Oval G70-14 tires. The original spare tire in the trunk has never been used.
The white vinyl upholstery on the high-back bucket seats is a nice contrast to the bright blue body. A console, Hurst shifter, and woodgrain wheel add to the sporty appearance, with a dash-mounted tach and other gauges keeping Charley informed on what’s happening under the hood.
Though it was an unintentional restoration journey, Charley is understandably happy with the outcome. “It’s probably the nicest one on the planet,” he quips. Not bad for a car that was only supposed to get a quick paint job.
Photos by John Jackson