Car: Mercury Comet Cyclone
What makes it special: Both the 1964 and 1965 Mercury Comet Cyclone transformed Mercury's Comet line. Mercury was ready to turn toward some real muscle, hoping to wind up with a rock-solid reputation for machines that could move. A cleanup of the body sides gave the 1965 Mercury Comet Cyclone a neater look, along with vertically stacked headlights and a wide, uncluttered rectangular grille of horizontal bars.
What made it famous: Mercury Comet Cyclone's standard 289 cu in V8 was given a boost to 225 bhp and 305 pounds/feet of torque, with a 4-barrel carburetor and 10:1 compression as opposed to the standard two-barrel, 200 horsepower Comet. The ultimate driveline option was the 271 hp, 289 cu in high-performance ( Hi-Po) V8 and 4-speed manual transmission also used on the Ford Mustang. Cyclone's also had a performance handling package with more responsive steering, modified shocks and higher-rate springs, and a "Rally-Pac" gauge cluster that put a vacuum gauge and elapsed-time clock atop the dashboard, along with the tachometer.
Why I would want one: Like AMC's SC/Rambler, early Cyclones are ranked as "sleepers" in the muscle car arena, and are hardly noticed behind GTOs, Hemi offerings and Super Sports that grab the applause. It's the underdog. I love underdogs.
Fun fact: The Comet line was based on the Ford Falcon and the Ford Maverick in later years. As a Mercury, early Comets received better grade interior trim than Falcons, and a slightly longer wheelbase.
( 1965 Mercury Comet Cyclone photo from cargurus.com )