6 Generations of the Mercury Comet
Lincoln-Mercury, a division of Ford, debuted the Mercury Comet in 1960 as a car comparison to the Ford Falcon. Although still considered a compact car, the Comet was one foot longer than its counterpart. Back then, it was called a “senior compact”; however, many automotive historians now recognize the Comet as being first midsized car. To get an idea of this illustrious history, read on for more information about each generation from 1960 through 1977.
The History of the Mercury Comet
Mercury Comet (1960-1963)
From its production start in 1954 until 1956, the Comet had no Mercury division badging and was sold only at Lincoln-Mercury-Comet dealerships. In total, there are six different generations of Comets. The car size increased from being a compact to fit under the Ford Fairlane and Torino chassis’; however, it went back to being classified as a compact by sharing the Ford Maverick platform. By the end of its manufacturer run in 1971, 1.6 million units were sold globally.
The 1960 Comet came with one engine option, the 144 cubic-inch straight-six cylinder powerplant (dubbed the Thriftpower by marketing executives). This engine had a Holley one-barrel carburetor and made 90 horsepower.
In 1961, another Thriftpower six emerged with increased displacement to 170 cubic inches and 101 horsepower as a response to customer complaints of insufficient power.
In 1962, the Comet was donned with Mercury's official badge. Along with this change, the exterior received some of Mercury's style cues to make it look like a part of the company. Finally, after years of being overlooked, the Comet went through some changes to its suspension and chassis which allowed for a 260 cubic-inch V8 engine. Topped by a two-barrel carburetor, the V8 made an earth shattering 162 horsepower! Nowadays when we think about going fast, we think 'Mercury'.
Mercury Comet (1964-1965)
The exterior of the Comet was given a more squared-off look in 1964, making it appear like a miniature Lincoln Continental. The base engine was replaced with a 170 CI powerplant, and then the 289 CI V8 replaced the 260 early during assembly line production in 1964.
The Thunderbolt, Ford Fairlane's cousin, was unbeaten in drag racing's super stock class. To keep the cousins from competing against each other, Mercury built 50 high performance Comet Cyclones with 427 engines and entered them in the more modified A/FX class. The Cyclone triumphed in A/FX.
Mercury Comet (1966-1967) & (1968-1969)
For the third and fourth generation Mercury Comet, exterior styling was completely new. The car also increased in size as it now shared an intermediate platform with the Ford Fairlane and Ford Torino. Just one engine was available during those two years; a 390 cubic-inch big block V8. There were five models total: a two-door convertible, two-door sedan, two-door hardtop, four-door sedan, and a four door station wagon.
For the 1967 model year, Mercury renamed their base model Comet 202 simply to 'Comet.' The other subseries models became the Caliente, Capri, Cyclone, and Cyclone GT. They also had two station wagons which they called Voyager and Villager. The latter of the two had simulated wood side panels.
The 1968 and 1969 models experienced another exterior makeover. While remaining on the midsized Fairlane and Torino platform, the Comet and its variants took after the full-size Mercury models in appearance. Additionally,Mercury changed the Capri and Caliente names to Montego and Montego MX, respectively. The number of available engines increased from one too five: a 250 CI six , as well as 289 CI-, 302 CI-, 351 CI-, 428 big block V8s . Lastly, Mercury retired their venerable 390 mill engine .
Mercury Comet 1970
For the 1970 model year, the base model Comet was renamed to Montego. The exterior received a significant restyle though it remained a midsize vehicle.
Mercury Comet 1971-1977
Mercury resurrected the Comet name for the sixth and final generation of the brand; however, the car was downsized. It now shared Ford Maverick's compact platform. The latter was introduced in 1969 and became popular; though not to Mustang's level, it still sold well. A two-door or four-down sedan were available with two straight sixes (170 CI or 200 CI) or one V8 (302 CI).