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Car Lust Classic--1968 Mercury Cyclone 428 Cobra Jet

This post was originally published on Oct. 5, 2007--to comment, please visit the original post and comment there.

When it comes to muscle cars, I'm not generally a Ford man--the major exception being the Mercury Cyclone 428 Cobra Jet.
The Cyclone Cobra Jet teases my imagination like no other FoMoCo muscle car. For starters, the Cylone Fastback has just the right look for a muscle car--obviously muscular without being too tastelessly overt. It's bluff and tough in front, but with sweeping, elegant flanks terminating in a tasteful rear fascia. The Cyclone was one of the early wave of slightly more aerodynamic muscle cars built to jockey for dominance in NASCAR--a philosophy that led to its ultimate expression in the form of a former Car Lust, the Plymouth Superbird.
Beneath the skin, the Cyclone looks even better. Many Ford engines of the time were simply outgunned by their GM or Mopar counterparts. While the typical 390 big block was a fine engine when considered on its own, it was too small and too tame to compete with the Hemi, 440 Six Pack, or the GM big blocks. Meanwhile, the ruffian of the family, the racing Ford 427, was too raw and uncivilized to allow for acceptable drivability on the road.

The Ford 428 Cobra Jet was the perfect answer. Big-hearted, torquey, and happy either purring along or in full snarl, the Cobra Jet was a world-class engine worthy of legendary status--not its current anonymity.

The Ford Torino and Mercury Cyclone were near-identical twins, but I chose the Cyclone here because it's more unique and, I think, more stylish. Either car in fastback trim, with the 428 Cobra Jet, were legendary but overlooked muscle cars with style and speed to burn.
This specific Cyclone has the 390, not the 428, but it still looks good. Kudos for the photo go to Carter's Classic Muscle Cars, which has a mouth-watering array of, well, classic muscle cars on offer.
--Chris H.
 This post was originally published on Oct. 5, 2007--to comment, please visit the original post and comment there.


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