CC Literature: Secret Classified Documents Revealed–“The Comet Story” (1960)

I classify these documents as “secret” because I have searched the internet for “The Comet Story”  several times over the years and have never found any reference to it.

I obtained these copies from a 1986 issue of the American Comet Club newsletter.  When I first started driving, I “inherited” Mom’s ’62 Mercury Comet, and I somehow discovered there was a national club for Mercury Comets, “headquartered” in Alexandria, Indiana.  So of course I had to join, and I would get these newsletters in the mail.

I still have my ACC-USA club shield pin, plus a plastic promo model I picked up somewhere.


In two of the newsletters, the Comet Club had reprinted this public relations bulletin from the Lincoln/Mercury Division, dated 11/25/59, announcing the arrival of “a new kind of luxury ‘convenient size’ car”–the Comet!  This is a very interesting read, and you learn a lot about car design, engines, transmissions, suspensions, chassis, and other automotive engineering aspects.

Since this document is so hard to find, I thought I would reproduce it here, making these (to my knowledge) the only internet copies available *EYES ONLY*:

*Click images to make full screen and enlarge, if desired*


This, by the way, is a MUTT (Military Utility Tactical Truck).











1960 Ford Fairlane they were comparing the Comet to.


1960 Comet 4-door sedan



What’s also interesting is what the report doesn’t say:

–The Comet is described as a unique, independent project, with no mention of the fact that most of its body, chassis, and mechanical components are to be shared with the Ford Falcon.

–The Comet is never described as an Edsel, or a product of the Edsel Division.

–Little mention is made of interiors, which were colorful and upscale for a low-priced economy car.

1961 Comet S-22 interior (photo from Old Cars Weekly)


The 1960-61 instrument cluster had that futuristic flair . . .


. . . and became even more elaborate and jewel-like in 1962-63!


If I could make one criticism of the Comet Design Objectives, it would be that L/M emphasized economy too much.  The 144 cubic inch six was inadequate at propelling this car with any sort of briskness, despite the weight reductions achieved.  The 1961 170 six was a little better, and the small V-8 which came later improved things even more.  And while the steering was light when moving, it was far from easy if you had to turn the wheel while stopped.  Power steering would be a welcome addition, along with a faster ratio.  A 260 V-8 engine was offered beginning in 1963, and power steering would arrive in ’64.

1960 Comet front end was decidedly Mercury-like, but about 10″ narrower. Those “Gunsight Fender Ornaments”–gotta love ’em!  (Photo from flickr by John Lloyd)


So as you can tell, I kind of like Comets.  I have a ’58 Ford Custom 300 which shares quite a few features with the first generation Comets:


1958 Ford and 1962 Comet–same fin!


Same directional lever and gearshift knobs.


1958 Ford parking brake handle, brake pedal and accelerator;  window cranks and door handles–all used again on the early ’60s Comets.


This 1958 Ford Custom 300 is considered a “full-size” car, but it is only 7″ longer and 8″ wider than a “compact” Comet.



I’ve been thinking about getting another first generation (1960-63) Comet.  I like the looks and it would bring back a lot of nostalgic memories.  Finding a nice one today will not be easy, especially since it’s been 50 years since the vast majority of them were scrapped.  My original ’62 somewhat beat the odds, lasting until 1989 when an accident caused it to finally bite the dust.


1961 Comet six cylinder engine. (Photo from Old Cars Weekly)


I’ve gone on YouTube to try to find a recording of the “Thrift Power” engine running–it had a very distinctive sound that I instantly recognized.  (It sounds markedly different from the 223 Ford six in the ’58).

So maybe I’ll be driving a Comet again someday.  Granted, it won’t be fast, but I’ve also owned a ’62 Mercury Monterey with the biggest V-8 (390 4 bbl.) so I’ve experienced both extremes.  The car above looks great in Twilight Turquoise Metallic and Sultana White.  It reminds me of another “lost puppy” Comet I couldn’t save.   It was being unloaded from a flatbed in front of a junkyard in Whippany NJ, circa 1990.  The body looked good, but it was destined for the crusher and I didn’t have the resources to rescue it.

It’s been a long time, but that’s my Comet Story.