The Mercury Comet began life in the 1960 model year on the same platform as the Ford Falcon. Originally intended to be a model of the Edsel, the Comet only bore the Comet moniker, without the Mercury name, for the first two years of its life. The Comet carried the same running gear as it's Ford Division sibling, but had a slightly longer wheelbase and a more refined, luxurious interior. The only engine choice for the first generation Mercury Comet was the 144 CID inline six-cylinder, backed by either a three-speed manual column shifter or a two-speed automatic. The models produced were a two-door coupe, four-door sedan and two and four-door station wagons.
Complaints about the lack of power brought an engine change in 1961 to the 170 CID power plant, which also included a four-speed manual transmission. Officially a Mercury in 1962, the Comet received some welcome upgrades. A convertible and two-door hardtop models were added and a 260 CID V-8 was optional. The 1964 model was redesigned into a more squared shape with more engine and performance upgrades. The top-of-the-line Mercury Comet was now the Cyclone, a performance model with V8 power. Next in line were the Caliente, the 404 and the base 202 model.
While the Ford Division was producing its high performance, racing oriented Thunderbolt" in 1964, the Mercury Division produced its own high-performance street racer, tagged with the Cyclone moniker. The Cyclones were powered by a 427 CID V8 with dual four-barrel carburetors, backed by either a heavy-duty four-speed manual or an automatic transmission. While its Ford cousin, the Thunderbolt, ran in the NHRA A/FX class on the specified seven-inch, wide-wheel rims, the smaller, but similarly powered, Cyclone ran in the AA Stock class on ten-inch rims. They both dominated their classes.
In 1966, the Mercury Comet grew from a compact to a mid-size car. It was now a direct crossover to the Ford Fairlane, but better appointed. The base engine had a 200 CID six and there were three small block V8 options: a 289 with a two-barrel carb (200 hp); a 289 with a four-barrel (225 hp); and a high-output 289 with solid lifters, a hot cam and large four-barrel carb (271 hp). Also available were three big block, 390 CID V8s, respectively producing 265 hp (two-barrel), 275 hp (four-barrel) and a high-performance 390 with 335 hp.
In 1967 and 1968, the Comet received another facelift and the 351 CID and 428 CID engines were added as options on the top models. The Comet model was dropped for the 1970 model year, but was revived from 1971-77 using the Ford Maverick platform. The Comet model was discontinued in 1977 to pave the way for the Mercury Zephyr.
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