Car: Mercury Comet Caliente’ Convertible
What makes it special: The Comet was produced by Mercury from 1962–1969 and 1971-197, variously as either a compact or an intermediate car. It was initially based on the compact Ford Falcon, then on the intermediate Ford Fairlane and finally on the compact Ford Maverick. As a Mercury, early Comets received better grade interior trim than concurrent Falcons, and a slightly longer wheelbase.
What made it famous: For 1965, the Comet received updated styling front and rear, including stacked headlights, similar to what Pontiacs and Cadillacs would use at the same time. The base 6-cylinder engine was increased from 170 cid to 200 cid. Still using a single-barrel carburetor, it produced 120 hp at 4400 rpm. The base 8-cylinder engine was increased from 260 to 289 cid and, using a 2-barrel carburetor, it produced 200 hp at 4400 rpm. The standard transmission continued as a column-shifted 3-speed manual transmission. The optional automatic was changed to a “Merc-O-Matic” 3-speed automatic transmission, essentially a Ford C4 transmission. The 289 V8 was available in three horsepower ratings, base 2-barrel 200 hp, 4-barrel 225 hp, and the premier driveline option was the 289 cubic inch, 271 hp, high-performance engine and 4-speed manual transmission found on the Ford Mustang.
Why I would want one: Well, this one’s not to hard to figure out. I love Falcons, Fairlanes and Mavericks, so it’s no surprise that I’d also want the Mercury variants of those sister models.
Fun fact: The “Comet” name was trademarked to Cotner-Bevington as the Comet Coach Company, building ambulance and hearse commercial vehicles. Ford bought the name in 1959.