289 V8 and 4-Speed: 1966 Mercury Comet Caliente

The seller says that this 1966 Mercury Comet Caliente has been stored for over 30 years, hopefully it wasn’t stored outside for over 30 years. In fact they do say that it has been in a garage since the 1980s. It’s listed on eBay and is located in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. The seller is asking $1,200 or you can make an offer. Oh yeah, it’s a factory 289 V8 and 4-speed car. Let’s check it out.

This is a heck of a car, or it was and it could be again with a lot of elbow grease and money spent on it. You can see that’s sitting in a field now but there’s no word on how long it’s been parked outside. They say that it was “in storage for 30 yrs” and that it’s “been in a garage since the 80s.” There’s a fair amount of rust on parts of it but then again some other parts look solid.

Like the RR quarter, it looks rock solid, I’m guessing that it has had some body work done on it due to being a different color than the rest of the car is. Both front fenders appear to have had work done on them, too. It’s strange that there is only one overall photo, the first one shown, and there are no other photos showing the driver’s side or really anything but a couple of detail photos of the exterior. At least what is shown looks pretty good for a car that has apparently been stored in a garage in Pennsylvania since the 1980s.

That’s what I always like to see, a 4-speed manual transmission! The third-generation Comet was only made for the 1966 and 1967 model years. What an era, I really, really, really miss that era when a car company would totally change their cars every 2-3-4 years. I’d like to see the condition of the floors and frame. One thing I noticed in the photo of the trunk is that suspension seems to be coming through the trunk floor on the right side? That’s never good. Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing there?

The Comet Caliente is sort of a Mustang for people with a family. The optional (on the Caliente) 200 hp 289 cubic-inch V8 would have been a nice upgrade especially with a 4-speed manual transmission. Are those shock towers looking a little ragged at the bottom? I would want to check this one out in person. Hagerty is at $10,600 for a #3 good condition car so the next owner will have their work cut out for them on this restoration. I think this would be a fun car to own in it’s engine / transmission / body style configuration but I’m worried about the structure on this one. Is it worth the $1,200 that the seller is asking for it?

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  1. Cadmanls Member

    Looks a little too rough to bring back, neat that the car is a 4 gear car but has some serious rust underneath, yep that’s a spring in the trunk.

    • Miguel Member

      What do you see that is too rough to bring back.

      From the pictures here it looks like it just needs paint and body work.

  2. DaveMc

    $1200 is the “asking” price.
    I believe if a guy waved 7 $100s at him you would have a car. If not, walk.
    Another victim of the Cal wildfire.
    A ’55?

    • Uncle Bob

      Down to the last three hours and the BIN has been dropped to 1k even,,,,,,,,maybe only 5 Bens would do it, and probably be fair. Projects are tough to move in today’s market, especially what look like field cars.

  3. Will Fox

    ? I’m not so sure this `66 Comet is a “Caliente” model. It’s base 2dr. post, which I know as being a model 303; not Caliente. Calientes are hardtop coupes/cvts. This is just a base model with a 289/stick.

    • DaveMc

      Maybe they meant inside the car without a/c? I think caliente does mean” hot”.
      My brother in law had a new ’66 hard top Caliente. Quick car.

    • DaveMc

      Isn’t that emblem on the rear quarter a “303”? Seems that I remember those.

    • Uncle Bob

      The 62A on the data plate identifies as a model 202 tudor sedan

  4. DaveP

    I was thinking the Caliente was only a hardtop. Any Mercury guys know? Good thing this isn’t close by, as I’m dumb enough to think I could have my own rat to daily. The biggest problem would be where to sleep once it appears at our home.

    • dweezilaz

      DaveP: 2 door hardtop and convertible and four door sedan.Cyclone was only offered in hardtop and convertible.

      I had a 66 2 door hardtop. First car I ever bought. Ivy gold under Earl Scheib
      avocado green metallic.

      It had been delivered with a 289, but at some point it had been replaced with a 302.

      Funny,after a drunk wiped out three parked cars on the street where I was living [my Comet included],it got a left front fender from a 202.

      A few years later the transmission went out and I had to sell it. College car and no money to fix it.

  5. Alexander

    The three arrows on the front fender indicate base model Comet. DaveMc, looks like a 55 based on what little is shown of the front grille by the fender arch. Sad.

  6. Dave Patten

    That spring shackle inside the trunk is a HUGE red light.

    Having owned several 65-69 Mustangs in my youth, this was a common problem that was not a simple fix. It usually sent the car to the crusher.

    Seeing the spring poking into the trunk, I’d say the balance of the car was under severe attack too. Take a look at the lower section of the spring towers in the engine bay photo. Its a poor picture but sure looks like some major rust issues there as well.

    If it were a equally equipped 66 Mustang Fastback, it might be worth saving, but a 2d Comet just isn’t on the that par. This is a good parts car at best.

  7. Angrymike

    My father had a Comit (as his winter car, I loved it. Red on red with a 289 auto. Image looks just like it ! To
    I love the body style

  8. Miguel Member

    This car will probably end up as a drag car.

    The post and the 4 speed would be perfect for that.

    Plus there probably won’t be another one on the track.

    • Steve R

      Probably not. Decent turn key bracket cars are cheap, $10,000 will find one without much effort. Turn key grudge night of T&T cars can be found for significantly less. It makes no sense financially to build something like this into a “race car”.

      Steve R

      • Uncle Bob

        You sir, are a wise man, that explains much of the “old car” collector segment. I frequently hear the same comment over and over at swap meets, car events, and elsewhere wherever old cars are for sale. The sellers, particularly the ones who are over priced, and chasing the market with meager price drops, will often utter a phrase something like “you can’t build it for my asking price!” That’s one of those statements that is 100% accurate at the same time that it is 100% irrelevant (if a sale is the objective). There are just too many completed cars on the market compared to the number of actual buyers looking for them.

      • Miguel Member

        Steve, even though you might be right, I have two observations.

        A lot of people don’t want to buy a car somebody else has built as they don’t know the quality of the build or how safe the car would be.

        Second, half of the fun of owning the car is the build itself and the ability to say “I did that”.

        I say it would be a good race car because it is a post 2 door and most people want a hardtop for cruising.

  9. Troy s

    I really gravitate towards these 66-67’s, either Ford or Merc. I like the stacked headlights, some people don’t. Matter of personal taste I guess.
    I am not sure how well these sold back when new, but a nice one was a rare treat for me back in the eighties or even the nineties for that matter, of course I’m talking speedy built rides here. I always felt that mid size Ford’s for some reason or another didn’t survive as well as their GM counterparts through the lean years. Maybe they just weren’t popular in so cal. Dunno.

  10. Joe Backer

    Its gone off ebay now. could we delete this post now. Waste of my time.

  11. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Didn’t look like a factory floor hump….

  12. EJB

    Had a chance to buy one of these to replace my first ever car. The girl that owned it had inherited it from her grandmother and really wanted it gone. The price was a very negotiable $650 (1989). I was commuting to school and wanted something “newer”.

    Wound up buying a 79′ Grand Prix.

    Still wish I had bought the Comet.

  13. Alexander

    Does the center of the steering wheel say Caliente or Comet? There has been this exact car (same color, post coupe, blackwall tires and poverty caps) driving around the south side of Nashville, Tennessee for years. Daily driver. Not sure what’s under the hood but I’ve given the thumbs up to the brother who’s driving it all these years. There was also a Montego station wagon in similar guise roaming the streets of Nashville for decades but seems it got parked in a carport near my old house about 5 years ago.

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