Although the car was produced by Mercury until 1977, the 1960s were the years that gave rise to the Comet. Originally planned to be a model of the Edsel, the Comet was to be one of the Ford Motor Company’s new projects for the 1960s and was labeled simply “Comet” until it received its Mercury badges in 1962. Although it was originally conceived as a new Edsel model, the Comet is in fact the twin sister to the Ford Falcon. The Comet shared many chassis, engine, interior, and body components with the Falcon, however it was bigger and more luxurious.
Sales were brisk for the Comet, reaching over 100,000 in its first year of production. Comets were available in different body styles: 2-door sedans, 4-door sedans, 2-door wagons, 4-door wagons, and 2-door convertibles (convertibles were not introduced until second-generation comets, in 1963). Until 1962, the higher end Comets were labeled as “Customs.”
In 1962 there was also an S-22 model introduced (available in all body styles) which offered more standard features than the base model Comet, and sported the S-22 badges, bucket seats, and different tail lights. The Comet came standard with a six-cylinder engine that gave the compact car plenty of kick without sacrificing gas mileage. The Comet became available with a V8 in 1963 when the engine compartment was designed for expansion. This car also came with 2 available transmissions: an over-the-wheel automatic transmission, or 3-speed manual (3 on a tree) transmission.
The third generation of Comet (after 1965) became a midsized car, evolving from its compact origins. The headlights were now over/under instead of side by side (the over/under headlights originally used in ’65), and the chassis was more relative to the Ford Fairlane model. Now standard was a 390 V8 engine. Standard was a 2-barrel carb, but optional was the more powerful 4-barrel. The Cyclone model offered automatic transmission standard. The Comet was continually evolving, and by 1966 the convertible model was honored as an Indianapolis 500 pace car. In the later 1960s, the Comet became the midline model, with the Montego and the Montego GX models rising above it, featuring more luxury characteristics as standard equipment. By the end of the 1960s the Comet had made its mark, and it remains an interesting collectible to this day.
Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer