“What wins on Sunday sells on Monday,” they say, but it wasn’t always true—take a look at the Mercury Cyclone. While a popular presence in NASCAR, Cyclone sales were always among the lowest in the muscle car wars. By 1971, in the twilight of high-compression engines, Cyclone sales were downright pitiful. Because they’re so obscure and rarely seen, this 1971 Cyclone GT is our Pick of the Day. It is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private dealer in Clearwater, Fla. (Click the link to view the listing)
There were three Cyclone models in 1971: the standard Cyclone (the performance value), the Cyclone GT (the sporty one) and the Cyclone Spoiler (replete with stripes, spoilers and striking colors). The hot models — the Cyclone and Cyclone Spoiler — had their standard 429s downgraded to a 351 four-barrel, while the Cyclone GT kept its standard 351 two-barrel. The most noticeable physical change for the Cyclone GT was the GT letters in the gunsight grille. It also was the most popular Cyclone model with 2,287 GTs built.
This 1971 Cyclone GT is equipped with the optional 351 four-barrel, as signified by the “M” in the 5th character of the VIN. What makes this vehicle stand out from others, however, is the color combo: Light Gold metallic with Medium Ivy Green Houndstooth cloth/vinyl interior with buckets up front. Light Gold looks like it would be more at home on a Monterey than a sporty Cyclone, and the green interior only adds to the earthtone element that was popular at the time. The Marti Report shows that only 50 Cyclone GTs were painted this color, and only three of those were equipped with this paint and interior—that’s out of 2,287 GTs built in 1971! But since this is a Cyclone, it’s what’s under the hood that counts, and the M-code 351 was the first engine option to qualify as muscular; only 799 1971 Cyclone GTs featured this engine.
Other options as shown on the Marti Report include Select Shift Cruise-O-Matic, F70 x 14 whitewalls, electric clock, power steering and front disc brakes, air conditioning, AM radio, Deluxe belts and warning light, and tinted glass though, strangely, the dark green vinyl roof is not listed (it islisted on the window sticker, however). Of course, since it is a Cyclone GT, it came standard with the Special Instrumentation group that featured angled gauges in the middle of the dashboard.
The dealership is asking $34,990 for this 70K-mile 1971 Cyclone GT, which is not unattractive considering the market is somewhat nutty these days. But can you get past the color combination? It’s not for everyone, but it certainly screams 1971.