The Truth About Cars » Comet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:37:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Comet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com American Graffiti – X http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/american-graffiti-x/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/american-graffiti-x/#comments Sun, 15 Dec 2013 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=679594 Click here to view the embedded video.

Way back in 1973, a relatively young and inexperienced director by the name of George Lucas made a movie that starred a whole bunch of nobodies. Called “American Graffiti,” it turned out to be the little movie that could. Co-Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and Gary Kurtz for just $775,000, it went on to become one of the most profitable films of all time, making an estimated $200 million dollars and, in the process, turned several of those “nobodies,” people like Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfus, Suzanne Summers, and Cindy Williams, into bankable stars. In 1995, the National Library of Congress declared it to be “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation by adding it to the National Film Registry.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin the story by revealing any of the finer points of the plot. Generally speaking, it is the story of teenage angst and antics set amid classic cars and punctuated by great old-time rock and roll music and the action follows several teens on a hot August night in the far away year of 1962 as they cruise their cars around the California town of Modesto in search of action and adventure. The movie hit theaters just as the first wave of the baby boom generation, people born between 1946 and 64, began to close-in on the ripe old age of 30 and to see it now is to look back upon the days of their youth through the rose colored glasses of nostalgia.

It has taken me a long time to appreciate it. I was all of 7 years old when American Graffiti went into theatrical release and didn’t actually sit down and watch it until VCRs became commonplace in the American home sometime in the early 1980s. Frankly, I didn‘t get it. For me, a founding member of Generation X who was born in 1966, the movie seemed a cloying tale of ancient silliness that had long since been wiped away the decades that had followed them. I think now, however, that the real problem was that, even though I was the same age as the kids depicted, I would never have done the things they did. Having nothing real in common with any of the characters, I ended up listening to the dated, but admittedly wonderful, soundtrack and watching that old Detroit iron endlessly circling the town. In that regard, at least, the movie reflected a reality that I actually knew. That’s because, despite the 20 years that had elapsed between the action depicted in American Graffiti and the tawdry days of my own youth, virtually nothing had changed.

Yours truly, master of the pin-stripe tape.

Yours truly, master of the pin-stripe tape.

I got my driver’s license in early 1983 and by my senior year of high school, 1984, my Nova and I were a regular part of the street scene. My car, armed with a six cylinder and a three on the tree, was never competitive but, thanks to my ability with pin stripe tape and a set of rallye wheels that came from my brother Tracy I had a good looking little cruiser that was both reliable and about as fuel efficient as I could get. It was my buddies who had the heavy iron, Rick with his Javelin at first and later a 69 Charger and Denny with a 340 Demon, who carried the honor of our small group. Even so, we were never the “fast guys.”

The fast guys were older than us. Already working solid $4.00 and hour jobs 40 hours a week, they had real money to throw at their cars. There was Jim, who had an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser with a 442 front end grafted on. It wasn’t fast, but it was custom. Then came Dave, whose father owned a local body shop, who had a wickedly fast 68 Camaro but who spent most of his time selling and smoking pot rather than actually racing. Next was Bob, who had a custom bodied Comet Caliente that mounted square headlights above a front spoiler do big we called it “The Bulldozer.” And finally Tye, our own local hot-rodder who had finished school just a year earlier. His 68 Mustang had none of the shine or polish the other cars enjoyed, but he worked relentlessly to make it just a little bit faster each week.

Perhaps it was because their cars were so similar beneath the skin, or perhaps it was because, when everything was said and done, they were both a couple of jerks way down deep inside, but for some reason Bob and Tye who should have been, in my opinion, friends were instead mortal enemies. I remember them now, a couple of wanna-be toughs in greasy pants and with cigarettes dangling from their lower lips as they glowered at one another from opposite ends of our local video game arcade’s parking lot. They got there early and staked out their spots, their supporters filling in around them while the rest of us endlessly circled around like a giant school of fish.

Like stags in the rutting season, each boy was compelled to trumpet his prowess in the loudest way possible and every so often, one or the other would jump into his car to start and rev his uncorked engine. If we were lucky, the other boy would respond to the challenge and a burn off contest would ensue. Back and forth it would go, the pressure of imminent conflict gradually increasing by the hour as the witching hour drew nigh. Then, just before midnight, when most of us had to be home, both boys would lead their troops to the battlefield.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

We had a special spot close to the Everett Boeing 747/777 assembly plant. The factory is immense and tens of thousands of people work there. Every shift change floods the roadway with commuters and as a result the plant is served by its own 6 lane wide highway spur. At one end, close to the factory gate is a stoplight to control ingress and egress from the huge parking lots that line the roadway and approximately ¼ mile away is a giant overhead sign that directs traffic onto the main highway, East to Mukilteo or West to Everett. The course was wide, safe and, at anytime other than shift change, totally desolate.

The two caravans of cars, and those of us who had dared to break our curfews to become hangers on, would converge on the spot just prior to the main event. Looking back on it now, the local police had to know what we were doing but for the most part they left us alone. Generally they were good to us so long as we were good to them and, unlike the movie (spoiler alert!) we played no shenanigans. Usually we would get about 30 minutes on-site before a single cruiser would roll through with its lights on reminding us that we needed to go home.

In that 30 minutes we had, however, the ritual was unvaried. Bob and Tye would stage up singly and make a practice run while the other watched. Final adjustments would be made and burn offs would follow. At last, the night culminated as they came to the lone, door handle to door handle.

The stoplight switched to green and both drivers hammered the gas. The sound of their Fords’ engines pounded the night and reflecting back at us off the wall of the factory as the two cars accelerated. Bob hit his shifts perfectly while Tye’s automatic did the work for him as they came out of the hole and ran up to speed. It was neck and neck and then, slowly the Bob’s Bulldozer began to inch away. He stretched out his lead to one car length as then two before they passed the finish line. The winner would slow and turn, making a victory lap along the line of kids while the loser, unwilling to face the jeers of the masses, would continue up the on ramp and onto the freeway.

With the main movers done, the rest of us would take our own turns. Rick or Denny would take on all comers, sometimes winning sometimes losing, while I looked for someone whose engine was as deficient in acceleration as my own lest I be beaten to a pulp every time. There was never money involved, we never had more than a few dollars in our pockets anyhow, it was all for fun and, perhaps, just a bit of pride. And then, as he 30 minute mark would approach, that single police cruiser would come and, as quickly as it started, it would end.

At the end of the movie, we get to find out what happened to the kids those “nobodies” played. As the credits rolled, a single subtitled line told us their fates. Without ruining for you, all I can say is that some of them went far in life and some of them didn’t. I would imagine it is the same for the kids I knew too. Some of us have found our way to places no one would ever have believed we could go while others of us still struggle. The one thing we have in common now are those nights and the heady days that came at the ends of our own childhoods. Maybe one day, someone will make a movie about that.

Snohomish High School Auto Shop 1983/84

Snohomish High School Auto Shop 1983/84

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast, he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Mercury Comet Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1975-mercury-comet-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1975-mercury-comet-sedan/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2012 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=437116 A Maverick in a junkyard is a rare sight indeed these days, so you can imagine my surprise when I found this badge-engineered Mercury Maverick just a few rows down from yesterday’s ’75 Ford Maverick Junkyard Find. There wasn’t much difference between the Maverick and the Comet, though the Comet was marketed as being somewhat classier.
You aren’t going to see a sticky vinyl interior in this weird green color these days.
Check out these futuristic taillights!
The 1975 Ford Maverick four-door listed at $3,025 with 200-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine. The 1975 Mercury Comet four-door listed at $3,236, with the same engine. It’s hard to imagine the tiny margin of bragging rights the Comet might bestow over the Maverick, but some felt the extra $211 was worth it.
The 1992 Sci-Fi Channel button on the inside of the C pillar is a nice bit of personalization.

22 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 01 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 02 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 03 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 04 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 05 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 06 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 07 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 08 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 09 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 10 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 11 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 12 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 13 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 14 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 15 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 16 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 17 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 18 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 19 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 20 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 21 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 1975-Mercury-Comet-thumb-courtesy-of-Phillip-Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1964 Mercury Comet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1964-mercury-comet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1964-mercury-comet/#comments Sat, 03 Mar 2012 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432245 Some of our sharper-eyed readers noticed that the car parked next to yesterday’s Junkyard Find (this 1965 Mercury Park Lane Breezeway) was also a mid-60s-vintage Mercury. It’s the upscale version of the Ford Falcon, the car that the Edsel Jihad still hates as a symbol of Robert MacNamara‘s misplaced— and probably Communist-inspired— priorities. Yes, Ford CEO MacNamara killed the Edsel in favor of the Falcon, right before he masterminded the not-real-successful war effort in Vietnam; the Edsel Jihad can forgive the latter but never the former.
I found these two doomed Mercurys side-by-side at a Northern California self-service yard last month. Both seem quite restorable, but more complete Park Lanes aren’t too expensive and nobody seems to want Comet sedans. Next stop: Chinese steel factory via the Port of Oakland!
This one is free of serious rust, but: four doors.
Comet V8 options in 1964 were 260- and 289-cube Windsor V8s, but this looks like a more recent swap. 302, probably.
Whenever I see these old factory radios, I have to resist hoarding impulses. They’re just so cool-looking, but hoarding car clocks is bad enough!
It’s possible that this car was driven by Apple Computer’s oldest employee in 1990… but I doubt it. Still, Cupertino is upscale enough that it’s hard to imagine an original-owner Comet being driven there.

15 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Car Collector’s Corner: 1965 Mercury Comet-Rescued From Pasture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/car-collectors-corner-1965-mercury-comet-rescued-from-pasture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/car-collectors-corner-1965-mercury-comet-rescued-from-pasture/#comments Sun, 26 Feb 2012 09:37:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432732

One of our favorite stories is boy-meets-car, boy-sells-car, boy-finds-long lost car, boy-buys back-long lost-car. George Ouelette was able to make this storyline have the same happy ending in his life. He purchased his 1965 Comet 2 door hardtop back in 1966 when it was a solid courting car that he used on dates.

Things kind of worked out for George because he ended up with both the car and a new bride in 1968. The three of them were along for the honeymoon together and thus began a beautiful relationship. However a honeymoon two-door hardtop car is a little less practical as a family-hauler, so the car was traded away in 1971.

It was a moment of instant seller’s remorse for George, but he was a practical man with family obligations, so bye-bye Comet. In the early 80s, George decided that he wanted another Comet as a reminder of the first one that was so important to him in his younger years with his future bride.

Little did George know that he would find his own beloved Comet alone and unloved in a farmer’s pasture. The years had not been kind to his old friend-it had no hood, no engine, and no hope for a better life until George found it.

It was definitely his car-some of his old ID was still in the car. The Comet had spent some hard years on that farm hauling calves to town and rocks out of fields, so it was a major restoration project. But George was a lucky man because his lovely bride also had a soft spot for the long lost Comet.

It required a major financial commitment from both of them to restore the car back to its former glory. The Comet had to look just like the day it took them on their first date. George even managed to locate original factory upholstery for the car. The Oullettes wanted the Comet to be perfect.

The original engine was a six cylinder and the replacement was also a period six banger with the Blue Oval pedigree. The results of this restoration were nothing short of spectacular for the Comet because it is exactly like the first day George drove it in 1966.

The biggest highlight of the Comet’s post-restoration life was its place of honor at the Oullettes’ daughter’s wedding in the early 90s. It seemed fitting to invite this old family friend to that family wedding.

For more of J Sutherland’s work go to mystarcollectorcar.com

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Trio of Doomed Fords Destined To Become Geely Hysouls, Universe Keeps Expanding http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/trio-of-doomed-fords-destined-to-become-geely-hysouls-universe-keeps-expanding/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/trio-of-doomed-fords-destined-to-become-geely-hysouls-universe-keeps-expanding/#comments Wed, 08 Dec 2010 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=376148
After being away from the quick-turnover self-service junkyards of Northern California (where Guangzhou-bound container ships full of crushed vehicles leave the Port of Oakland every day) for a few months, I decided to check out one of the biggest when visiting from Denver last week. I found a ’62 Comet, a ’65 Fairlane, and a ’72 Mustang huddled together in The Crusher’s waiting room.

I’ve always preferred the Comet to the Falcon, and not just because Charles Bukowski drove a ’62 Comet. The first-gen Falcon was built in Argentina until 1991, but early Comets— even six-cylinder sedans like this one— are quite rare. In a couple of weeks, the number of ’62s will be reduced by one, because Schnitzer Steel will be mashing this battered-but-not-particularly-rusty example into a cube and shipping it off to China.

As I contemplated the demise of the Comet, I saw the snout of another vintage FoMoCo product peeking out from the endless line of Tauruses and Tracers. Is that an early-70s Mustang?

Why, yes, it is! About 125,000 ’72 Mustangs were built, which makes it rarer than the ’62 Comet and much rarer than its mid-1960s predecessors. Still, a higher percentage of these cars survives today, plus many of the components on this one have been harvested to keep living examples on the road, so I’m still more bummed about the Comet sedan.

Holy crap! Whoever did the bodywork on this car must have bought Bondo by the 55-gallon drum.

Is it possible that there’s a third old Ford nearby?

This 1965 Ford Fairlane coupe, complete with V8 and Cruise-O-Matic transmission, looks like it was in fairly decent shape… before someone decided to take an orbital sander to the paint. How? Why?

One rainy Bay Area winter is all it took to complete the damage. Next stop, Chinese steel factory!

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