So much of a car’s character can be determined by its face, the arrangement and styling of lights and grilles and sheet metal and bumpers that give a car its identity. The 1970 Mercury Cyclone GT deserves your attention, because there’s never really been a car face quite like this one, and, since we now care about not killing pedestrians, there likely never will be again.
The Mercury Cyclone was the performance version of the Mercury Comet, which started out as Mercury’s version of the Ford Falcon. By the fourth generation, the styling had gotten positively muscle-car Baroque, resulting in the glorious madness you see here.
I know the ad says it “looks like a racing car,” but the truth is no racing car looked as bonkers as this. The scoop on the hood was actually functional, but almost everything else is just done for drama.
The front end has headlights concealed behind false grille panels, but that doesn’t mean the designers felt lights should be hidden, since they added a duplicate set of parking lights/indicators in those vertical rectangular lights flanking that prominent proboscis, bringing the total to four when you count the original set in the bumpers.
That nose, though, that’s the magic part here. It extends out of the car a good foot and is capped with a gunsight-style intake. It looks like an angry red laser beam could be shot out of that central circular hole, there.
In stock form, the Cyclone GT didn’t really live up to its looks, coming with the smaller 351 Cleveland engine with just a two-barrel carb and a three-speed manual. Luckily, you could get it with a 429 engine and a four-barrel carb and a four-speed manual, or, if you’re lazy, an automatic.
But that didn’t really matter, because so much of what made these cars memorable is when they’re sitting still right in front of you, that crazy-ass beak pointed right at your gut.