Beautiful restoration, 302/auto/power steering, great colors, ready to rock!
- Make: Mercury
- Model: Comet
- SubModel: Caliente
- Type: Coupe
- Year: 1964
- Mileage: 1,425
- VIN: 4T23F532848
- Color: Red
- Number of cylinders: 8
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: Automatic
- Interior color: Black
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
1964 Mercury Comet Caliente
The Ford Falcon is well known, mostly for being the organ donor for the Ford Mustang, but what about its upscale Mercury cousin, the Comet? The 1960s were a time that was ripe for a mid-sized car that was fun to drive but thrifty, easy to buy and inexpensive to own, but with plenty of style and practicality. I’d argue few cars balance all of the above better than the Mercury Comet. Bigger than the Falcon but with a trim wheelbase just a shade longer than its corporate cousin, it remained the right car for the right time and with V8 power, it was still formidable. In fact, a few Comets equipped with 427 power were slipped out the back door, intended to do combat on the drag strips of America and bolster the Mercury brand. If you haven’t considered a Mercury Comet, the only rational response is, “Why the heck not?!?”
This bright Carnival Red Mercury Comet Caliente is one of those awesome cars where someone has spent far, far more than the car’s value on the restoration. Obviously a labor of love, it is one of the very finest examples of its breed we’ve ever seen. There’s easily $50,000 or more wrapped up in the restoration, with every bit of the car treated to an expert’s touch and nothing short-changed in the interest of saving money. The bodywork is fantastic, with super straight quarters and excellent panel gaps that are quite likely better than new. This particular Comet was originally code Z, Medium Beige, but I think you’ll agree the upgrade to Carnival Red was a good idea, because it just sizzles. It’s the right red, not orange, not pink, but bold and vivid and absolutely irresistible out in the sunlight. The Caliente was second from the top in terms of trim packages, and offered that dramatic strip of stainless down the flanks, trim that’s original and in excellent shape (remember that reproduction stuff just isn’t available). It has a few styling cues from its big brothers, including the hood ornament and “vents” at the leading edges of the front fenders, and if you squint a bit, you can see some Lincoln Continental in the grille. The chrome has been refinished, the stainless is polished, and the ‘Comet’ and ‘Caliente’ script badges are crisply rendered. There’s a lot of eye candy to enjoy here.
The Mercury’s upscale vibe is most apparent inside, where the well-dressed black interior has better materials and expensive-looking trim that you wouldn’t find in a Falcon. The door panels feature stainless, wood, and black vinyl all working together to dress things up, and the rectangular pattern on the bench seats is similar to that found on Lincolns of the period. There’s a woodgrained wheel that really warms things up and the Comet offers a fairly comprehensive array of instruments. Along the way, someone has added a tachometer under the dash, which is always a nice feature, but it otherwise remains quite stock. There’s no aftermarket radio, just the original AM unit that could probably stand an upgrade, and if you’ve driven a vintage Mustang, you’ll recognize the heater controls immediately. Both the front and rear seats feel spacious, even for full-sized adults, and the back seat may very well be original and in amazing condition, looking almost showroom fresh. And please take a moment to admire the headliner, which uses chrome header bows to really add a high class feel inside. The Comet’s extra length translates to a positively huge trunk, which includes a correct full-sized spare and jack assembly with no secrets hiding underneath.
If you check the VIN, you’ll see that this Comet is a real V8 car, originally equipped with an F-code 260 cubic inch V8. Thanks to the wonders of Ford’s small block powerplant, a later 302 cubic inch unit drops right in and looks identical from the outside, so nobody will ever see the extra 42 cubic inches until it’s too late. Dressed in proper Ford Blue with ‘ Ford’ valve covers that were a staple of the 1960s, it’s got a perfect performance look. The chrome valve cover is a ‘289’ decal away from completing the illusion, and details like the cast iron exhaust manifolds and heavy-duty radiator up front help with the OEM look. There’s a Pertronix ignition system inside, which ensures quick starts and crisp acceleration and there’s a modern alternator stashed down low. It runs a factory-style mechanical fan but there’s also an electric fan on the front of the radiator, just in case (the owner reports that he’s never had to use it). Clean inner fenders, new wiring, and great attention to detail are additional evidence that someone did this car right.
The C4 3-speed automatic transmission shifts crisply and smoothly, a great complement to the torquey 302. The door tag says it should have 2.80 gears out back, but somewhere along the line it got a set of 3.00 cogs that are a little punchier but still easy on the highway. The car cruises easily at 70 MPH, the 5.0 burbling through a custom dual exhaust that includes both Flowmaster mufflers and a set of glasspacks out back, delivering a great tone without the droning, so it’s a great long-distance traveler. Factory power steering is a welcome addition and the original brakes are plenty for such a lightweight package. It probably wore steel wheels and hubcaps when it was new, but today a set of 15-inch Torque Thrusts offer a period performance look and those fat 205/70/15 blackwall radials that really give it some attitude.
We’re smitten with this car, mostly because it’s far, far nicer than any car in this price range ever is. Tight, smooth, quiet, and totally sorted, you couldn’t build this car for the asking price. If something a little out of the ordinary is your thing, this Comet delivers smiles everywhere you look and you’ll be able to stand out while still fitting in. It’s a great little car with exactly zero bad habits. Call today!