Cohort Outtake: 1964 Mercury Comet 404 – Pretty In Portlandia Pink – And A Bit Of 260 V8 History


CC reader Teddy has been posting a cornucopia of his curbside finds in Portland at the Cohort for some time. Needless to say, Portland is chock-full of goodies, with a decided tendency towards the out-of-the-ordinary, consistent with the general local vibe. Here’s a good representative: a ’64 Comet sedan in pink.


This shot clearly shows how the Comet came about its 5.5″ wheelbase stretch over the Falcon donor-mobile: the rear axle was moved back, resulting in an awkward gap behind the back of the rear door, which was of course shared with the Falcon. Unlike previous Comets, in 1964 and 1965, they even had to share the Falcon’s exterior sheet metal to a considerable degree. The vee’d side sculpturing is identical on the doors, but the Comet’s different front and rear fenders allowed it to begin and end with some difference. But in reality, these Comets were a very barely disguised Falcon main body, with some differences in front and back, unlike the original ’60 Comet, which had almost totally different styling from the Falcon.


Under the hood, there were bigger differences. Unlike the Falcon, the ’64 Comet had two brand new engines available: the 200 cubic inch six, with seven main bearings and a whopping 116 hp rating, and the rather rare 210 hp version of the 289 V8, which had a four barrel carb but regular-gas compression. That was a 1964-only engine, and also available as an option on the early 1965 MY (“1964.5”) Mustang.


The 260 and 289 V8s were also available with the new three-speed “Multi-Drive” automatic (C4), whereas the 200 six came only with the two-speed Merc-O-Matic. The 260 could also be had with the Merc-O-Matic. The 170 six wisely was only available with the three speed manual. The Falcon had to do with the 164 hp 260 V8, and the two-speed Ford-O-Matic. A bit arcane. And: the 289 and 200, as well as C4, may not have been available at the beginning of the model year, but possibly were a mid-year intro.

Minor detail I never knew before: the 1964 version of the 260 V8 shared the exact same heads as the 289, which had larger valves than the 1961-1963 versions. Yet its horsepower rating stayed the same.


More 260 V8 tidbits: there was a high performance version version (“HP-260”) rated at 260 hp @5800 rpm, built by Ford for the Shelby Cobra and the specially-prepared rally versions of the Falcon Sprint. No wonder the very first Cobras, with this engine, were already brutally fast, given their light weight. But: not all early 260 Cobras got this engine; some came with the basic 2V 260; jazz legend Herbie Hancock’s Cobra came that way and still has it. And there are some variations of the HP-260 engine; not all came with the exact same parts and specs, mainly in terms of their intakes. And it appears some had special heads, other not. They did have a mechanical cam, the same grind that was also used in the HP-289. And it had special forged rods and a few other goodies, but used the 260’s stock crankshaft, although with a higher nodular iron content.

So that 260 hp number needs to be seen as a ballpark, at best.  Somewhere between 110- 200 of the HP-260 engines were ever built; 75 went into Cobras. And one of these days, we need to do a full story on the Windsor V8.


Looks like this one is sporting the automatic, but there’s no visible sign of which engine it’s mated to. If it’s going to be a true hipstermobile, it needs to be a six.


As best as I can tell, this was not a factory color choice. Maybe it was an early Mary Kate car? Nope; she only did Cadillacs. Someone decided to paint this Comet pink. Hey, it is Portland, after all; got to keep it weird.