AJ’s Car of the Day: 1961 Mercury Comet Sedan

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1961 Mercury Comet Sedan

Car: Mercury Comet Sedan

Year: 1961

What makes it special: The Comet was produced by Mercury from 1962–1969 and 1971–1977 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: Introduced in March 1960, initial body styles were 2-door coupes, 4-door sedans and 2- and 4-door station wagons. Two trim levels were available, standard and “Custom”, with the custom package including badging, additional chrome trim and all-vinyl interiors. In response to complaints about the low performance of the 144 cid engine, a 170 cu in straight-six with a single-barrel Holley carburetor producing 101 hp at 4400 rpm was released for the 1961 model year. A new 4-speed manual transmission was also an option, consisting of a Dagenham without 1st gear synchromesh. The changes to the 1961 Comet were minimal such as moving the Comet Script from the front fender to the rear quarter as well as a new grille design. The optional S-22 package was released. Available only on the 2-door sedan, it was billed as a “sport” package, although it shared the same mechanicals as regular Comets, with the only changes being S-22 badging, bucket seats and a center console.

Why I would want one: Actually, had a 1963, ( and still regret being forced to sell it, nearly 39 years later. ) As a Ford Falcon “fanatic,” it’s only natural to want the sister-version of the iconic Ford economy model as well.

Fun fact: The Comet was initially released without any divisional badging, only “Comet” badges, similar to Valiant which didn’t have Plymouth badging at first. It was sold through Mercury-Comet dealers, but would not be branded as a Mercury Comet for two more years. This was similar to Ford’s treatment of the Meteor and Frontenac of Canada, sold thru Meteor – Mercury – Frontenac dealers.
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