A Brief Look at the Mercury Comet
The Evolution of a Classic: A Comprehensive History of the Mercury Comet
The Mercury Comet, a classy and refined compact car, has gained much popularity since its appearance on the automobile market in 1960. The car, which wore the Mercury badge but was derived from the Ford Falcon platform, was first introduced as an answer to General Motors’ successful compact cars. Over the years, the Mercury Comet underwent significant makeovers, both in design and engineering, resulting in quite a few variations throughout its history. Let’s dive deep into the history and evolution of the Mercury Comet.
The First Generation of the Mercury Comet: 1960-1963
The first-generation Mercury Comet hit the market in 1960, the same year as the Ford Falcon. The car was an entry-level compact, which was presented as the replacement for the Mercury Meteor. The Comet was created in response to the success of the Chevrolet Corvair and Ford Falcon. Initially, the Comet was available only as a two-door sedan and station wagon models.
By the time 1961 rolled around, Mercury added a four-door sedan to the Comet lineup, as well as a convertible. In 1962, with a restyling in design, the Comet underwent some significant changes. The wheelbase got longer by two inches, and the car was now more prominent overall. The model line expanded to include the S-22, which was a sportier variant of the Comet.
For 1963, Mercury redesigned the front fascia of the Comet, giving it a more chiseled, angular look. The owner also had more options that year, with the availability of a 260 cu in V8 engine.
The Second Generation of the Mercury Comet: 1964-1965
For the second generation of the Comet, introduced in 1964, the car received an even more extensive redesign. This time, the Comet was fitted with a redesigned chassis which increased the wheelbase by five inches. The car now had more space than before, both inside and out.
The styling of the Comet was again updated, creating a more elegant and streamlined profile. As for the powertrain, Mercury offered a range of engines, including inline-six and V8 engines, making the Comet more versatile to drive.
In 1965, Mercury revamped the Comet’s suspension, adding a new front-suspension system that made the ride smoother and more comfortable. Additionally, a new Cyclone performance model was introduced that year, and it came with a 289 cu in V8 engine.
The Third Generation of the Mercury Comet: 1966-1969
The third generation of the Mercury Comet was introduced in 1966 and continued until 1969. The dimensions and design were largely similar to its predecessor, with only minor tweaks being made. It was sold as a four-door sedan and a four-door wagon featuring split-folding rear seats as standard equipment, while a two-door coupe, similar to the Cyclone, replaced the two-door sedan.
Mercury introduced a GT package in 1967, which was now available with a manual transmission. This package included front bucket seats, a blacked-out grille, and a vinyl top.
In 1968, the Comet underwent an extensive facelift. The car was given a more muscular look, with square edges added to the front fascia, and the taillights were moved from the rear bumper to the rear panel of the car. The GT became the Cyclone GT, which was largely unchanged from 1967.
For 1969, the Comet Cyclone came with a 302 cu in V8 engine as standard equipment. Despite changes, the third-generation Comet remained popular as an affordable option.
The Fourth Generation of the Mercury Comet: 1970-1977
The fourth and final generation of the Comet debuted in 1970. This time around, the car was more focused on luxury than performance. The Comet was rebadged to be the Mercury Comet GT model, which focused primarily on comfort. The GT did have a sport-tuned suspension, but it no longer had the aggressive exterior styling from the previous generation.
By 1972, the GT was replaced by the GT-1. It was upgraded to the new Comet GT-1 along with the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler models. Both the GT-1 and Spoiler had a more aero-friendly look and could produce up to 380 horsepower.
In 1975, the Comet was fully redesigned once more, and it now wore subtle, yet elegant styling. A new LDO package was introduced, which had bucket seats and a premium vinyl roof. A flush-mounted windshield, new grille, and lowered hood made the Comet look much larger than it was. A mid-cycle facelift was given to the 1976 Mercury Comet as well.
Finally, in 1977, the Mercury Comet marked the end of the line of its production, having left three decades of artistry, performance, and design innovation.
Over the span of four generations, the Mercury Comet remained a reliable and versatile car. It underwent many changes throughout its life, transitioning from an affordable and niche vehicle to one focused primarily on luxury and comfort. Its performance, style, and design made it a popular choice that is fondly remembered today. Though the Mercury Comet is no longer in production, it remains an icon of American automotive history.