The Ford Maverick and Mercury Comet twins of the early 1970s received some serious tongue-lashing (or was it tongue-in-cheek lashing?) here about a year ago for being dull designs cobbled together on the old Falcon/Mustang platform. The Comet–with nothing but a different grille and taillights to distinguish it from the Maverick, and a name rhyming with one of every kid’s least favorite things–received especially strong negative reactions. Debate is one thing, but the sight of one of these cars on the street can brighten one’s day. One such instance was on a cloudy Thursday morning here in Washington, DC.
In today’s automotive landscape of cars–all seemingly painted black, silver, or white, except for taxicabs and a few Ferraris and Lamborghinis–a bright orange anything certainly grabs attention. Although not Grabber Orange, the orange hue of this 1974 Mercury Comet does it for me. I found myself compulsively turning my head toward it, and so did others, including a passing bicyclist, several pedestrians and the drivers of some dull-colored pod cars.
This one appears to be a Comet GT, with the dummy hood scoop, twin racing mirrors, high-back bucket seats and the dual side stripes included with the GT package. It’s difficult to imagine anyone bothering to clone a Comet GT, so this must be genuine.
The passage of almost forty years has been kind to this Comet: It has little visible rust (the driver’s side A-pillar had the only bit of rust I saw), all major body and trim pieces are present and intact, and no major dents in the body are apparent. Only a patched grille, one missing styled wheel, a dented rear bumper, and a stance a bit low in the rear detract from its stock appearance. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to talk to the owner and learn how the car has survived in this condition – perhaps spending its entire life sitting in the garage of a racy little old lady, a repaint/restoration replicating the original stripes, or some other course of events.
The owner (in the white hat in the last two photos) looked like she would have been far too young to drive when the car was new, so she most likely is not the first owner. She has a car that may be quite average by 1970s standards and not given much respect today; even so, her Comet is a survivor that turns as many heads as any more-coveted collectible while still working for a living–and a true Curbside Classic.