They built this Mercury Comet the year I turned six, so my recollection of these models is buried quite deep in my memory banks. Still, there were plenty of these around through my teenage years, so I’ve got a pretty solid feel for what a Mercury Intermediate ought to look like, and this one looked a bit strange. The tail lights and side sculpting read as Mercury, but that roofline screamed “Falcon.” Gathering shots for the article, I wondered what was going on. Had someone grafted Mercury body parts onto a Falcon? Or was this just another variation of Ford’s prolific Falcon platform, one that escaped my notice back in the day?
If it helps, here’s a close-up of the roofline. I recall this on the squared-off Falcon in 1966, not on a Comet in ’67. This chunky C-pillar looked good on the Falcon, improving the overall body lines. The roofline looked much more ’65 Mustang, and much less 1960 econo-penalty box. But with the Mercury body panels, this car looked a little… cheap.
Here’s the (hardtop) roofline I recall on the Comet. More Fairlane than Falcon, and kind of cool.
Once I arrived home, a quick Google image search established that the roofline was indeed common to the Falcon, confirming my memory banks, and calling into question the Comet’s pedigree. Turns it shares that whole center section of its body with the Falcon, but sits on a 116″ wheelbase, compared to the Falcon’s 110.9″ wheelbase. That wheelbase stretch is very visible in the distance of the rear wheel from the back of the front door.
Sure enough, an online check of Mercury’s line up for 1967 established that the roof line resided on one trim level of the Comet line: The Comet 202 Two-Door Sedan, Mercury’s only two door sedan in 1967.
This car represented the entry-level Mercury, and was actually the best-selling variation of the Mercury intermediates (at 14,251 units). That’s probably because it was the cheapest Comet made that year, and this car maintains a whiff of K-Mart feel throughout. The wheels are aftermarket, and use cheap stamped wheel centers, instead of alloy castings. Even the white paint fits the budget look.
But there are opportunities for praise. The Comet front clip breaks free from the budget Falcon look. In the early sixties manufacturers used quad headlights to identify their upscale models, and the complicated cast grille also differentiates the car from the cheaper Fords. I’m sure the blue stripes on the hood were not factory options, but they provide a nice “American Race Team” look. Clearly, I like the front of this car better than the middle section.
Inside, we see this car maintains an original look, although the upholstery material is a common but not authentic replacement. It’s obviously got an automatic transmission. I like what I see here as well. While some might feel that a bench seat falls under the heading of “cheap car,” I approve for two reasons: More seating capacity with the family along, and closer seating options for you and your beloved. These simple Falcon-based interiors provided a column-mounted shifter, high-mounted dashboard, and relatively small transmission tunnel- Everything you need for a Friday night date.
Other than the stripes and wheels, and the missing front fender “202” badge, these 302 V8 badges on each front fender were the only non-original touch I found on the car. In addition to the 200 CID six, these Comets were available with the 289 Windsor V8 (200hp), a 390 CID FE V8 (270 hp), and the rather rare and expensive 427 FE V8, in either 410 or 425 hp trim. So the owner is either bragging up his small block by thirteen cubic inches, or possibly a 302 was swapped in and he wanted the world to know it. Unless the heads and camshaft saw a significant upgrade as well, a 302 would not significantly change the performance over a 289.
Either way, it’s a nice find. A V-8 powered Comet 202 Coupe would provide a nice platform for a warmed over small block, since it was the lightest Comet offered in 1968. But I still want that fastback roofline!