The 1964 Mercury Comet saw a substantial redesign from the 1963 models, with softer curves were replacing the earlier aggressive squared lines. A two-tone paint job was available, accenting the arrow-shaped metalwork that stretched the entire length of the car. Swept wheel arches and a pillarless hardtop coupe design added to the look of speed and performance.
Much like the Ford Falcon, with which it shared a common compact unibody platform, the 1964 Comets were available as a two-door sedan, four-door sedan, four-door station wagon. A special two-door hardtop coupe or two-door convertible was available in the top “Caliente” trim level, and the performance “Cyclone” trim level was offered in the two-door hardtop coupe format.
Body styles remained the same for 1965, but in classic transition style, the body received another major revision. Where 1964 models came with horizontal dual headlamps, the 1965 version stacked the headlights, and further squared off the body. Trim levels included the base 202 level, upgraded 404 level, and the top of the line Caliente and Cyclone models. As is typical, the trim levels are not widely different from each other , with the biggest difference between a 202 and 404 being the side trim molding on the fenders. The Caliente was billed as “every bit as hot as it looks,” and it featured a padded dashboard and loop carpeting.
Engine options in this era started with a 170-cid inline six-cylinder engine at 101 hp for the 1964 model year, growing to 200 cid and 120 hp for 1965. Optional engines in 1964 included the 260-cid V-8 at 164 hp, replaced mid-year with the new 289-cid V-8 at 210 or 271 hp, depending on carburetion. A very few factory-built racing Comets were produced with Ford’s 427-cid big block engine at 425 hp. The Cyclone received the 210-hp 289 V-8. For 1965, engine options included the 289-cid V-8 at 200, 225, or 271 hp, depending on carburetion.
Transmission options always started with a base three-speed column-shift manual, a Merc-o-Matic automatic, or a four-speed floor-mounted manual transmission as produced for the new Ford Mustang.
The 1964 and 1965 Mercury Comet models are classic transition era cars, but one that should be attractive to collectors and 1960s auto enthusiasts. They are handsome, and have great performance potential. Mercury Comet collectors will want to gravitate to the Caliente and Cyclone editions with V-8 engines – the more powerful the better. The Comet and Cyclone were on the leading edge of the muscle car era, and the more muscular the better. If you can find one of the 50 factory lightweight cars with the 427/425 engines, it would be a good idea to buy it.