1968 Cyclone GT
The 1968 Cyclone GT was one of the top performing muscle cars of the era. It ranks in the top 50 fastest muscle cars of all time on many lists and was a popular name for the Mercury car brand. The division of Ford brought out the Cyclone name in 1964 as the Mercury Comet Cyclone. It kept this naming structure through 1967, after which the Cyclone came into its own.
One of just eight model years, the 1968 Cyclone GT came out towards the end of this short-lived muscle car brand. Unfortunately for Ford, the Cyclone had not been selling well for the previous couple of years, and they designed the 1968 Cyclone GT to bring sales back up to a successful level. In doing so, Mercury created a car that shared a lot with the Pontiac GTO.
In terms of performance, the copycatting worked because the 1968 Cyclone GT set a world speed record that year at Daytona. A few engine options were available including the base 302-cubic inch, 210-horsepower V8. Additionally, buyers could select bigger engines including two different 390-cubic inch V8s with either four- or two-barrel carburetion. To really go big the 427-cubic engine was an option for part of the year, but Mercury replaced it with the less expensive 428. The difference between the two in terms of horsepower was 390 for the former and 335 for the cheaper option. All choices could be coupled with the Select-Shift Merc-O-Matic transmission.
As for appearance, the 1968 Cyclone GT also had good looks. The body styles included the popular fastback with a large rear quarter. The notchback hardtop also had an appealing look, but it did not sell nearly as well as the fastback and was dropped the following year. The 1968 Cyclone GT was not enough to bring sales up and it became the last year for the GT option. Mercury replaced it with the Cyclone Spoiler II and the Cyclone Cobra Jet.