Randy Bolig Editor
September 1, 2001

In 1968, the heat on the NASCAR circuit meant you either built a better mousetrap or the mouse beat you to the finish line. With that in mind and the philosophy of "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday," Mercury designers came up with a better mousetrap in the form of the Mercury Cyclone.

Even though Mercury had to make the Cyclone a production-line-built automobile to meet NASCAR guidelines, it was by no means a production-line puppy. Boasting such go-gettum goodies as a 428ci Cobra Jet engine, the 350-cogged rearend feels the smack every time the four-speed grabs a gear.

The example you see before you in eye-grabbing Porsche Red (although not original) is a fine example of the racing heritage of Mercury. Ronnie Cranmer of Hughesville, Pennsylvania, is the proud owner of this Bow Tie and Pentastar butt-kicker and is not afraid to prove that. Being the proprietor of Cranmer's Auto Repair, Ronnie is well rehearsed in the art of automobile resurrection. He purchased this car at Carlisle in 1989 from a gentleman who pulled it in from Utah. After completely disassembling the car, he put it back together again to exacting standards, covering the sheetmetal with Imron Porsche Red paint.

Those of you in the know will probably recognize the stripes, spoiler, and scoop from a '69, but if you're going to build a 'Clone, you might as well add the touches you like.

For rolling stock, he put 14x7 Magnum 500 wheels wrapped in 225/70R14s on the front and 15x7-inchers with 275/60R15s on the back. The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering helps him get a "feel" for the road, and the disc/drum brake combination gives him the whoa power when the road doesn't feel so good. The Cyclone wasn't built as a luxo-cruiser, but with a deluxe interior the cockpit of this highway flyer is as comfortable as need be. To handle the motorvational needs of this 'Clone, the 428 CJ was bored .030 over and the holes filled with 10:1 slugs. Other than that, the CJ is built to stock standards.

So, if you're ever on a dark highway at night near this quiet little town, watch your rearview mirror 'cause you may just get snake-bit. Plenty of unsuspecting prey can testify to it.