When Mercury originally introduced the Falcon-based Comet Cyclone in 1964, it was merely a moderately-priced compact car with a sporty four-barrel 289 (4.7L), a floor-mounted three-speed manual, bucket seats, “rally”-type steering wheel, chrome wheel covers, and other trim. It was many things, but it was hardly a muscle car. By 1966, however, the Comet had grown up to be a proper mid-size car, and the Cyclone was — for the first time ever — powered by a big-block. Due to this and a number of other factors, the fine folks of Indianapolis Motor Speedway chose the 1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone GT convertible to pace the Indy 500 that year. This one for sale on eBay is touted as being one of the authentic replicas.
When the 1966 Cyclone made its debut, it was available as a regular Cyclone and a hotted-up Cyclone GT. The base Cyclone was a sporty Comet with a mild 289 (4.7L), but the GT came standard with a four-barrel 390 (6.4L) rated at 335 horsepower exiting from dual exhausts. Ordering a Cyclone GT with an automatic equipped the car with a handling package, a Sport Shift Merc-O-Matic that allowed drivers to shift themselves just as they would using a Hurst Dual-Gate shifter, a fiberglass hood scoop, and racing stripes along the rockers.
All the Indy pace cars were red with white interiors and red appointments. Thirty-three were built for track duty, with “supposedly” 100 more built for retail; we say supposedly because the latter figure is undocumented. The unit being sold on eBay lacks the nifty dashboard tach that’s often seen on these cars, and it also has aftermarket wheels; other than that, the seller claims that this Cyclone GT has received a $130,000 restoration. Only 2,158 Cyclone GT convertibles were built in 1966, and if this is a real pace car, it could be a bargain at a Buy it Now price of $42,500. You can also try your luck by bidding on the auction, which is currently at $15,000 and has yet to meet its reserve.