Not all Spoiler IIs are the Same!
It is often stated that all Dan Gurney and Cale Yarborough Spoiler II cars were built identical with the exception of the difference in the two paint schemes. I believed this until the day I received my Marti Report on our Dan Gurney Spoiler II. My first reaction was that the Marti Report was in error, after all our car had a heater! I threw it down in disgust and figured I would sort it out later. In a few days I came back to it and figured maybe it was right and I best do some research before calling them up and complaining. First, let me tell you a little more about the car.
Katrina and I had been half heatedly looking for a Ford Talladega for many years and had come close but never closed the deal. While browsing the Internet for muscle cars I stumbled onto an ad for a Cyclone Spoiler II. It is very similar to the Ford Talladega we had been looking for but much flashier and profound. We had never really considered a Spoiler II because they are so difficult to find. The Talladega has a bigger motor but is very plain and can easily be lost in a crowd.
In 2004 the Mercury I spotted was interesting but located in Tennessee (we lived in California at the time). Katrina and I had just returned from there four weeks earlier while on vacation. We talked about the car, sent some emails to the seller and eventually decided it was worth a flight to Nashville to investigate if it was as advertised. (It reportedly had been in a museum for the past 15 years.)
We arrived in Murfreesboro, TN around 1:00 AM on Saturday morning (October 2004) and by 10:00 AM we were standing over our soon to be Spoiler II. We looked it over carefully, took it for a drive and asked lots of questions. The car was everything we expected. It was original with all numbers matching, never repainted and original interior iwth the exception of the carpet. We closed the deal and arranged to have our new acquisition shipped to California in an enclosed semi car hauler.
Sometime prior to acquiring the Spoiler II Katrina and I had decided we wanted to move from California. We had spent considerable time researching and traveling around the Country to find the perfect place. Prior to the acquisition of the car from Tennessee we had never heard of Murfreesboro, TN. However, as we continued to look we agreed that we liked Murfreesboro better than any other place we found. In January of 2006 we moved to Murfreesboro and returned our Mercury Spoiler II to the hometown were we found it! Needless to say the seller was surprised to see it again.
The person we purchased the car from had owned the car since 1997 when he purchased the car from the third owner in VA. However, the car was registered to his business in FL. Because the person we purchased the car from owned a used car dealership in TN he never registered the car in TN, it remained on an open FL title. (This is procedure is required by the State of Tennessee for used car dealers.)
The car was picked up for shipping by on October 15, 2004 and arrived in Upland, CA on October 21, 2004. The car was never removed or moved inside the transporter during its long haul from Tennessee to California.
One of the first things I do when acquiring one of these cars is get a Marti Report. As I stated above the Report on this car stated that it was a heater delete! Very strange, these cars were all built alike, right? Well, maybe not. I decided to see if I could contact the original owner. I did an Internet search and there he was!
I placed a call to the original owners, Carl and Betty Tout, we had a long talk and it was the first of many converstations. He stated the car was sold new to Carl and Betty Tout in Kailua, Hawaii from Pflueger Lincoln Mercury in Honolulu. Although the car was scheduled to be manufactured on March 11, 1969, its actual date of construction was March 13, 1969. However, it was not sold until April 17, 1970, over a year latter and months after the new 1970 Mercury Cyclones went on the street. This unique 1969 was certainly a “left over close out” and was the only Spoiler II sold in Hawaii. The dealer had advertised the car as a close out and when the Touts went to the dealership they took him to a warehouse were the car was stored. It had the back of the front seat removed (it had been used to replace a damaged seat in another new car it was starting to be used as a parts car!). It also was shipped without a heater.
This car is documented to be the only Dan Gurney Spoiler II ever built without a heater. I had a MartiAutoWorks report prepared from Ford production records. In this report it is listed that this car was built as a “Heater Delete”. It has previously been thought that these cars had only one option, AM radio. I subsequently went back to the folks at Marti and had them do some additional research. They reported that there was only one Dan Gurney and one Cale Yarborough Spoiler II built as heater delete cars. Where is the Cale Yarborough car? I do not know its VIN. Does anyone know of any other Spoiler IIs that were built different from the other cars?
So how did it end up with a heater? This was the Tout’s first new car and they affectionately named it “Bullet”. Both worked for the military and had always owned old cars that they restored. When their three children left the house they splurged with the purchase of the Spoiler II for Carl and a Mustang for Betty. However, when it was time for them to move to the mainland, only the Spoiler II made the trip. Once on the mainland in Washington they had a used heater installed and fitted a trailer hitch to the Spoiler and hooked up a 15′ trailer for the move to Florida. (When we received the car in October of 2004 we found the four holes that were drilled into the floor of the trunk for the trailer hitch. We plugged them with four bolts and undercoated them.)
Carl believed in selling a car before it was out of warranty. In those days new cars came with a 50,000 mile warranty. In 1974, with just under 50,000 miles, they sold the car to a private party in Florida for $1,000 and purchased a new, left over, 1973 Riviera.
The car remained on a Florida title. I spoke with the third owner, John Scanelli regarding his ownership of the Spoiler II and he stated it always had a heater and all Spoiler IIs were built the same. He stated that Greg Donahue, business associate and nationally recognized muscle car expert and restorer had maintained and stored the car. I call Donahue about the heater and he too stated that the Marti Report had to be wrong and no Spoiler II were ever built with options especially heater delete. Donahue stated that he had spotted the car driving around in Clear Water, Florida on several occasions. However, one day it had a for sale sign and he jumped on it. Donahue wrote the book “How to Restore Muscle Cars” and did a monthly article for Car Review Magazine. The Spoiler II was used in several “how to” articles such as restoring the engine compartment. The car was also featured in two different magazine articles in the late 1980′s. After our ownership the car has been featured in Hemmings Muscle Machines magazine, Muscle Car TV, PowerBlock TV and ESPN2 Mothers Car Show as well as having been invited to the 2013 Keeneland Concours d’Elegance in Lesington, KY.