Curtis Perry Outtake: 1963 Mercury Meteor S-33

Here’s something of an exotic catch. The 1962-1963 Mercury Meteor was an unqualified dud. It sold 69k in ’62, and 51k in ’63 before it was retired. And looking at how Comet sales dipped those two years and then bounced back for ’64, most of those Meteor sales obviously came out of its tail (beard, for you Brits).

And all of 4,865 of these S-33 hardtop coupes were sold in 1963,  which means only the wagons were rarer. The S-33 was the bucket seat top trim of the family. That doesn’t mean it was genuinely sporty; the standard engine was the rather feeble 170 CID Falcon six. Unlike the Fairlane and Falcon, which had V8 badges when thusly equipped, the Meteor apparently didn’t, so no way to tell. But then even the available V8s weren’t exactly breathtaking.

The 221 inch V8 sported all of 145 hp, and the “Lightning” 260 inch V8 upped that to 164. Transmissions were either a non-synchro first three speed (with optional overdrive) or the two-speed Merc-O-Matic. Not exactly meteoric. But it did have precision front ball bearings!

But Ford went to the trouble of extending the Meteor’s wheelbase (at the rear) by one whole inch from the Fairlane, its otherwise platform and body buddy. That was presumably done to give it a bit more gravitas from the 114″ wb Comet. Oh well; it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.