By on March 3, 2012

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.

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21 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1964 Mercury Comet...”

  • avatar

    All the 65 year Fords got that squared off front treatment, ending the era I like the most. The Fairlane was similarly styled.

  • avatar

    Check out these Junkyard pics!

  • avatar

    Murilee…take the radio…take it….take it…what’s one more car part…take it.

    As for me…I’m off to the Sun Valley El Pulpo to see what BMW E28 goodness lurks amongst the chaff

  • avatar

    I remember these Comets well. Our family car in the early to mid 60’s was a gold 1963 Comet convertible that my parents bought new. My dad liked it so much that he went out the following year and got a white 1964 Comet 2dr sedan to use as a work car. Both cars were pretty basic with 6 cylinders, but fun anyway. I always like his ’64.

  • avatar

    What was wrong with 4-doors again?

  • avatar

    The Falcons, and their derivatives, were solid cars and a good value, that’s why they sold in such huge quantities. The Falcon chassis produced one of the best ROI’s in auto history. The original Falcon begot the 60’s version of the Fairlane. It also morphed into the Comet, Mustang, Maverick, and Granada. The first gen tooling was exported to Canada, Australia and South America. You could buy a new South American made Falcon, with the first gen body, into the 1990’s!

    As for Bob “Kill Ratio” MacNamara, his theories about building cars were validated with the Falcon. Unfortunately these same theories didn’t transfer so well to the business of war.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    An uncle of mine had a 65 Comet Callente 4dr which was the loaded model. Silver with a black top. Nicer trim better seats and the optional 289 w/A/C. I guess they did not care about the Spanish translation Callente meaning hot. You figured the HiPo model would be called that but that was the Cyclone. I remember he had 2 of those rubber strips hanging from the back bumper apparently to prevent static shocking. Anyway a great car.

  • avatar

    McNamara also came within a whisker of killing off the entire Lincoln brand. It took a very concerted effort by a lot of FoMoCo people to convince him to go ahead with the classic 1961 Continental. Had that car failed, Lincoln would probably have died.

    I like the 1964-1965 Comets. They still had the tidy size dictated by the stretched Falcon platform, but they were trimmed far, far nicer than the Fords while losing the stylistic gorpiness of the earlier Comets.

  • avatar

    Another nice find and this one looks to have been repainted at some point too. It looks like it was once blue.

    Around the front, you can see more evidence of this, outside of the missing Comet badging on the hood but places around the grill perimeter as the white paint flaked off to reveal the original color underneath.

  • avatar

    Dad had a 60 Falcon 2-dr, which he drove 4 years. Times were better in 64, so he went for a 64 Cyclone. The car was great, and we enjoyed it for 5 years. A common problem on V8 powered Comets was the fading paint on the hood, caused by heat build-up in the engine compartment. Our hood faded from metallic blue to dull grey in 2 years. Had it repainted, and the problem never arose again. I passed my drivers license test in that car, and it is fondly remembered for it’s reliability and sporty good looks.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Forty days and forty nights!

    It was the ’64 Comet which set a new endurance record at Daytona, running 100,000 miles at an average speed over 100 miles per hour. Yes, that included time spent during refueling stops, driver changes, maintenance and minor repairs. I don’t recall if any other automaker since has performed such a test with their stock automobiles.

  • avatar

    The unibody on these cars was flimsy, especially the front shock tower setup with no crossmember underneath. They had problems keeping a front end alignment.

    • 0 avatar

      Hence why the first wave of Falcons built in Australia to US specs fell apart on the rougher Australian roads. To Ford’s credit, they recognized the problem and fixed it quickly — and effectively, as the Falcon became an Australian icon.

  • avatar

    That Cupertino parking permit is for the “Senior Community Center.” So this Comet was probably driven by some early Apple employee’s grandma.

  • avatar

    I don’t think that’s right, that Ford CEO MacNamara killed the Edsel in favor of the Falcon. The Falcon was pretty much planned to be in addition to the Edsel, as a response to the increased numbers of small cars being sold in the U.S. in the mid and late 1950s. Cars like the Nash Rambler, the Volkswagen and even the small English Fords like the Anglia, Prefect, Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac sold by select Ford dealers.

    The story I’ve always heard was that originally the Comet was supposed to be part of the Edsel line which went out of production in the fall of 1959 after a short run of 1960 models. The Comet was introduced as a “1960 and a half model” and supposedly received a hastily redesigned front grill, that replaced a split design that had a styling resemblance to the larger 1960 Edsel.

    The tail lamps of the 1960 and a half and of the 1961 Comet bore a strong resemblance to those of the 1960 Edsel, but placed at a 45 degree angle instead of up and down like on the Edsel. It turns out that the tail lamps and their lenses were not the same though, and they were not interchangeable.

    The 1960 and a half and 1961 Comets were sold as “Comets,” that being their “make.” Not unlike the way the first 1960 Valiants were “Valiants” and did not become Plymouths until the 1961 model year. Comets did not officially become Mercurys until the 1962 model year although they were sold by Mercury dealers.

    BTW, while this 1964 Comet shares a lot of styling cues from the full-sized 1964 Mercurys I also see some 1964 Lincoln Continental in the grill.

  • avatar

    90 year old lady with a 1964 Mercury Comet, over 500,000 miles on it.
    She’s pretty hot!

  • avatar

    A friend purchased a blue Comet 202 coupe with 200 six and auto with only 40K miles from an old guy last Summer and drove me to many a car cruise in it. I was always surprised how well that car rode and handled but boy was it slow as hell. I too have seen the 500K plus Comet with the 90 year old lady on Youtube. Both her and her car are quite something. I believe her car has the 260 V8 if I’m not mistaken.

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