The Forgotten Muscle Car
We thought we might do something a little different this week. We recently received this story from a new member. Michael is the son-in law of Bruce Cole who owns this amazing car. Bruce unfortunately has had MS since 1990 but with the help of friends and family, his dream of restoring this car to its original glory came true, and after two years of hard work from some very dedicated people the restoration was finally completed. We just felt that this was an amazing story worth sharing with everyone.
First just a little bit about the car. It is a 1969 Mercury Cyclone 428CJ. They called it the forgotten muscle car, because as Michael mentions “who ever heard of a 69 Mercury Cyclone 428CJ Fastback Coupe? When you think Muscle Cars everyone remembers the Torino, Cougar, Camaro, Mustang, Challenger, Pontiac GTO, Plymouth Road Runner, and the Chevy Chevelle, but a Mercury Cyclone???”
The truth is that this is a very rare car for a few reasons. This body style was built for only 1 year. There was 3,261 Fastback Coupes built in 69. Of those 260 were equipped with a 428 Cobra Jet generating 335 hp (most came with the 351 Windsor and 4sp transmission). This car is one of only 152 made with the Automatic Transmission. It is one of 14 made with both the 428 Cobra Jet with an Automatic transmission, this means in not only had the 428, but it had the working Ram-Air functioning hood scoop instead of the 428 without Ram-Air. There are just about a dozen or two of these Cyclones left in existence here in the States. It has been guesstimated that this car would be valued somewhere from $90,000 to $125,000 and maybe as much as $150,000. However, as much as the dollar value might be, the car is simply priceless to the family and would never be sold. Michael mentions the plan is to handed down and keep it in the family.
Bruce was stationed in the Air Force in Great Falls Montana when he saw this car at a dealership. It was love at first sight and he knew he had to have it. Bruce paid $3,295.00 he traded in a 63 Marauder with a $795 trade in value leaving him a balance of $2500. He moved back to Boise for years then to Salt Lake in 1985 for a couple years and then back to Boise. The car had always been his daily driver up until he got MS and could no longer drive it. The motor had been rebuilt locally it had about 500 miles on it when he stopped driving it. His fondest memory was driving it wide open on the highway at speeds over a hundred miles per hour. Back then Montana didn’t have a speed limit on its highways. He also enjoyed drag racing downtown and blowing people’s doors off!
The car had rested on the side of his house for about 18 yrs. They saw on KTVB-7 news one night where this organization called Wish Granters, a non-profit organization in Ada & Canyon counties that granted wishes to terminally ill adults. They had restored a 67 Camaro for an individual who we believe had cancer, but had passed before the car was complete. In honor of him and his wish the car was completed and given back to his family. They thought this was a wonderful thing and so Ann-Marie emailed them about her dad and his baby. Twenty minutes after sending the email she received a phone call from Doug Raper, the founder of Wish Granters. Doug said he was interested in doing the wish and about 4 months later in April of 2010 the car got under way.
It was quite a long bumpy road during the restoration of this car as one thing got fixed there were three more things that needed to be fixed or replaced. Parts were quite difficult to find for this car. It had been at several different shops in the valley, each one doing something for it. First step was getting the car running. It had 2” of sludge built up in the gas tank from where the old fuel had jelled up in it. It had to be boiled out. Next was brake work. It had new brakes prior to it not being driven anymore, but they had rusted and froze up. Then it made its way to the body shop. They sent the car to Nampa to have it Media Blasted. So now it’s stripped down no paint with the doors, hood and trunk removed and all passed around the shop so all the guys could have a hand in it. Because they were a busy reputable shop donating parts and labor they worked on it as they could so it took a little while there. The bumpers were sent off to Salt Lake to be slightly straightened and re-chromed. The windshield was replaced. The factory rally wheels were sandblasted down and repainted. One wheel ended up being bent and was eventually replaced. Then the car had some transmission work done, the Holley carburetor was rebuilt. It had come factory with a 735 Holley, Bruce had replaced it with a 785.The steering had some issues so there were repairs and new parts needed there. The exhaust was redone as well. The exhaust manifolds were ground, gaskets all replaced and new pipes and muffler. The interior was redone. The guy claimed he couldn’t get the vinyl in the right color so he did it in a cloth that was the same color as original with the same stitching. It had to have a little more transmission work done. The dipstick shafts for both the oil and transmission fluid had to be replaced. The steering wheel was replaced as the original one had cracked and split. New tires were donated for the car. It took a long time searching for center caps for the car, but when we found these we thought they were perfect.
After 2 years, the car was finally brought back to it’s former glory. On Dec 20, 2012 Wish Granters got several of the people involved with this project together and surprised Bruce with his fully restored car. As any of us could imagine he was incredibly surprised.
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