2014 Catalog Cover Car
The beautiful vehicle you see above is Dr. Bill Hill’s 1965 Mercury Cyclone and our 2014 Catalog Cover car.
Bill’s Cyclone is a rare, completely rebuilt factory muscle car. One of only 12,347 produced by Mercury (according to Hemmings Muscle Machines), and only about 400 exist today.
While searching for a Falcon Futura, Bill came across an ad for a 1965 Cyclone on Craigslist. After doing some research, he and his wife Susan decided to go look at the car. What they found was the ultimate barn find. A matching numbers car that had been purchased new and owned by the same family for 44 years. Half of that time it resided in protected storage! Upon inspection, Bill discovered the original build sheet inside the glove box. This verified what he had hoped might be an authentic Mercury Comet “Super” Cyclone. The build sheet gave him the perfect formula to follow in order to renew the “fresh from the factory look,” matching exterior paint and interior fabric codes.
No stranger to Ford history, Bill decided to keep as much of the car original as possible. He began a total restoration which would take three years to complete. He disassembled the interior and began the process of cleaning, refurbishing, painting, plating, and polishing every piece of the car. A trip to the dip tank showed there was absolutely no rust on the body. He and his wife then selected the interior, a NOS white pearl Naugahyde, stitched to the original factory pattern by SMS Auto Fabrics in Canby, Oregon. All the knobs, gauges, and trim were redone, along with the factory tachometer, steering wheel, and AC vents.
The body and suspension components were then brought back to life with new bushings, a modern Borgeson power steering box, and restored ’65 disc brakes.
The stock 4-speed transmission and 8″ rear axle were rebuilt, and a new Hurst shifter installed. One-piece cast aluminum wheels from West Coast Classic Cougars with Diamondback Redline tires replaced the factory rolling stock. The car’s body was painted with PPG “mile deep” Black Onyx and reassembled by Jack Britto of Hot Rod DreamWorks in Canby, Oregon.
The engine work came next, and Bill felt a compromise was in order. After weighing the cost of rebuilding the tired 225 horsepower 289 versus the performance of a new Ford Racing X302 crate engine, he opted for the modern engine, setting the original engine aside the in the event he might want to return the car to a strict numbers matching restoration in the future. The new 302 runs a Quickfuel 4bbl carburetor, fired by a Pertronix Igniter Three System, while exhaust gases exit through Sanderson FF6 block hugger headers connected to a 2.5″ exhaust system using Magnaflow mufflers. A trip to the dyno tuner showed over 320 horsepower at the rear wheels!
Once the Cyclone was reassembled and completed to perfection, the cruising began. The Cyclone’s first showing was at the March 2014 Portland Roadster Show, where it was judged Best in Class. Since then, the Hill’s have enjoyed driving it to other local shows and rod runs, where it always draws a crowd and new awards.
Photo by Bob Byington Photography, Lake Grove, Oregon