The Durable and Powerful 1964 Mercury Comet

A bit of automotive history tells us that the Mercury Comet was supposed to be an entry level compact  Edsel. After the Edsel’s non stellar performance, the Comet was reassigned to the Mercury line. From the very first the Comet was a success with sales of more than 100,000 vehicles it’s first year. Second year sales were 185,000.

1964 mercury comet

1964 Mercury Comet

Mercury essentially had two types of automobiles for the 1964 model year. These were the full size Monterey, Montclair and Park Lanes and the compact Comet, although the 64 Comet was a bit larger than the generic compact. The Comet started to approach intermediate in size.

The Mercury Comet went through a few concept changes since it’s inception in 1960. During that year the Mercury Comet came as either a sedan or station wagon. The Comet was a relative of the Ford Falcon. Both automobiles were designed at the same time. As car collectors are aware, the Ford Falcon chassis went on to become the underpinnings of the Ford Mustang. Because of it’s relationship with the Falcon, the Comet was more compact than intermediate.

1964 comet

64 Comet

Changes to the 1964 Mercury Comet

At first the Mercury Comet was marketed as a compact and economical automobile. For the 1964 model year, the Comet model was redesigned with a sporty style. Also offered were more  V-8 engine options. The 64 Mercury Comets had power. New models for 1964 were the series 202, 404, Caliente and Cyclone. The Cyclone was Comet’s performance model and replaced the previous S-22.

Body styles for 1964 included a two door coupe and convertible and a four door sedan and station wagon.

1964 mercury comet grille

64 Mercury Comet grille

Comet Gets a Boost from Competition Successes

The performance image for the Mercury Comet was aided greatly when a fleet of Comet Caliente hardtops averaged more than 105 mph for 100,000 miles in Daytona.

Customized drag racing Comet’s with 427 cubic inch big blocks were also catching a lot of attention. After results of the endurance run were advertised, sales of the new Comets began to grow dramatically.  Mercury also competed in the East African Safari to solidify it’s durability attributes.  The East African Safari was known as the most demanding rally with about 3,200 miles of the worst roads in the world. The Mercury Comet didn’t win this rally but it certainly proved that it could take some of the most brutal punishment any car would ever encounter anywhere. The durability of the Mercury Comet was a given.

1964 Mercury Comet Specifications

The Mercury Comet came out in 1964 with two Inline Six engines, a 170 and 200 cubic inch, and two V-8′s. These were a 260 and 289 cubic inch design. Horsepower on the sixes were 101 and 120 respectively and for the eights, 164 and 210.

Transmission choices were a three speed automatic or a four speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel self adjusting.

Front suspension was made up of an independent ball joint and coil springs. Rear suspension were longitudinal leaf springs.

1964 mercury comet tail lights

Comet tail lights

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1964 Ford Falcon Convertible

1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 114.0 inches and an overall length of 195.1 inches. The car had a width of 71.4 inches and a height of 55.3 inches.

Mercury produced a total of 231,000 vehicles for the 1964 model year. Out of that number there were a total of 188,000 Comets built.

The Comets VIN should be found on the inside of the left fender.

Mercury Comet as Collector Cars

The Mercury Comet has a lot of history attached to it notably coming out at a time when the American automakers started to compete with compact cars. It’s also notable that the vehicle at first was intended to be a compact Edsel.

mercury comet dashboard

64 Comet dashboard

Auction and asking prices for first and second generation Comets vary of course by model and condition, mileage plus degree of restoration. In the case of the 1964 Mercury Comet, the car represented the first of the second generation Comets and had a total redesign.

You may see an asking price range running from $7,000 to $30,000. The S-22′s have some of the higher asking prices as do finely restored convertibles. The Cyclone produced in 1964 took the place of the S-22. The Comet S-22, which had been added along with the Custom models in 1963, had six bullet shaped tail lights and the regular Comets four oval lights. The 1964 Comets had six round taillights as shown in the photo above.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

A Finely Restored 1936 Ford Woodie Wagon

What could be better than a finely restored 1936 Ford Woody Wagon? The 1936 Fords are considered among the most attractive of the era. In 1936 Ford Motor Company sold 7,044 Woodie Wagons. This is out of a total 1936 Ford Motor Company production of about 973,000 vehicles.

1936 ford woody

1936 Ford Woodie Wagon

Early Station Wagons

Starting out being named “depot hacks“, early station wagons were at first more commercial than private vehicles. They were especially popular with hotels, resorts and rural lodges. Station wagons would meet arriving guests at the train depot and transport them and their luggage to big city, lakeside, ocean, or mountain resorts as well as country clubs. This was a time when most people traveled distances by train. For those who could afford a station wagon during the early years, owners used these vehicles to transport family and friends to their lavish summer estates.

It’s interesting to note that the first station wagons were advertised along with the company’s commercial trucks. It would be to about World War Two before the station wagons were considered real non-commercial passenger vehicles.

1936 ford woody

Finely restored 36 Ford Woody Wagon

In the beginning, coach building companies such as Murray and Baker Raulang plus others took delivery of a complete chassis and added the wooden bodywork before returning it to the factory.

The very early station wagons were seasonal vehicles in as much as they didn’t even have glass to protect against the elements. Instead they had primitive side curtains. Glass windows really came about for these particular vehicles during the mid to late 1930′s. In regards to the wood on the bodies, the winter weather was quite hard. The first open woodies were really adapted more to southern California and Florida.

The first woodie wagons were really utility vehicles and creative design was not exactly forefront plus they were built in relatively small numbers. It would be many years later that the station wagon would be synonymous with transporting families and their children. After World War Two, the middle class found mass-produced woodie wagons perfect for family travels. These were the vehicles that eventually morphed into the SUV.

Ford Led the Way in Woodie Wagon Production

After coming out in 1929 with the first wood bodied station wagon built by one of the Big Three, Ford then became the predominant builder of wood-bodied wagons. As an example, it wasn’t until 1939 that Chevrolet came out with their first woodie. With that being said, construction of woodie vehicles was not a big profitable endeavor.

In their heyday, woodies were often the most expensive cars offered by a manufacturer. The Woody bodies have the rear body constructed of wood framework and infill wood panels. This type of construction is time consuming meaning that it’s expensive.

See more classic automobiles on the AutoMuseumOnline links below…

1946 Ford Woody Wagon

1949 Chevy Woodie Wagon

A very good book regarding the Ford Woodies is…Famous Ford Woodies: America’s Favorite Station Wagons, 1929-51 by author Lorin Sorensen and

Their construction of these vehicles was very labor intensive and almost hand built to a point. There as a lot of craftsmanship that went into their construction. In Ford’s case, they actually bought a forest near Iron Mountain, Michigan for lumber used on their vehicles. In 1936 Ford opened its station wagon assembly line at its Iron Mountain mill.

36 ford woody grille

Closeup of 36 Ford Woody Wagon grille and headlights

The 1936 Ford Station Wagons

The 36 Ford Station Wagons kept with the same basic body adopted in 1935 however some changes were made during the production year. These included new safety glass  available in rear doors and quarter panels. The 1936 Fords also had a new front end resulting in the engine moving forward about eight inches.

The 1936 Fords are considered by many to be the better looking of the era. Much of this is restyling in 1936 was credited to Holden “Bob” Koto of the Briggs Manufacturing Company. It’s been said that around this time the Ford station wagons were beginning to be seen as passenger cars as opposed to merely commercial utility vehicles.

ford woody wagon interior

Interior view of this beautiful 36 Ford Woody Wagon

1936 Ford Woodie Wagon Specifications

The 1936 Ford Station Wagon came with a 221 cubic inch V-8 engine that delivered 85 horsepower.

Transmission was a three speed sliding gear manual.

Dimensions for the 1936 Ford Woodie Wagon included a 112.0 inch wheelbase,

The Ford Woody Wagon is a Great Collector Car

With a Ford Woody Wagon in your collection you’ll be the envy during your next trip to the beach, car cruise or car show. The 1936 Ford Woody Station Wagon is a rare automobile and it’s a guaranteed head turner.

ford woody fenders

Classic front fender and whitewall tire

The most valuable Ford Woody Wagon is the one that’s most original and a 1936 Woodie that’s nearly all original will not be inexpensive to add to a collection.

As of this writing we see a fully restored in mint condition inside and out 1936 Ford Woodie Wagon with an asking price of $79,000. Another sold at auction for $65,000. e also came across a 1937 Ford Wagon that sold at auction for a bit over $200,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)