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K-Code 289 V8: 1964 Mercury Caliente

When the Comet debuted in 1960, it was a standalone brand. It had intended to be an Edsel model, but that division disappeared from the scene almost as quickly as it came on. Beginning in 1961, the Comet became an official Mercury product and soldiered on through 1977. The second-generation Comet arrived in 1964 and the Caliente edition would be the upscale offering. Until the Cougar came along in 1967, the Caliente was as close to the Ford Mustang as Mercury had. This ’64 coupe is in Golden, Colorado, and available here on craigslist for $10,555. Another tip from Barn Finder Gunter Kramer!

In 1964, the Caliente accounted for 67,500 cars on the Mercury balance sheet, and 31,200 of those would be the 2-door hardtop, like the seller’s car. The cars would be a little bigger than their predecessors, although it was still a Ford Falcon under the skin. V8 engines were available and for the first half of the model year, the 260 cubic inch motor was offered. From that point forward, the 289 would be the choice and would be a part of the Ford/Mercury line-up for another five years.

The seller’s Mercury must be from later in the 1964 run as the K-Code 289 is under the hood. We’re told it’s paired with an automatic transmission and the entire package has at least 100,000 miles on it. The seller has owned the car for 23 years and it comes with a Colorado Horseless Carriage Plate. While the appearance looks fine at first, there’s an area in the passenger side quarter panel that needs attention. It looks as though a big patch of old Bondo has worked its way loose.

Inside the car, everything is tidy although there are some aftermarket seat coverings on the front buckets. This suggests that what lies below is some upholstery that needs to be redone. This Mercury has air conditioning, but we don’t know if it’s “factory” because the A/C on these cars was never integrated into the dashboard. If the bodywork doesn’t get carried away, this could be a nice vintage Comet. Cragar wheels and all!


  1. sakingsbury20

    not really up on ford/mercury, but an auto trans, AC equipped K code….don’t sound right to me…I don’t think the seller knows what a K code is if you read craigslist ad, says K code for 4v, heckava lot more than just 4v …..Seems to me you’d want to show the main attraction……

    Like 5
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    Just noticed – this is the same seller as the Cyclone.

    Like 1
  3. Gord

    K Code in a 64 Comet means it’s equipped with a low compression 289 4 bbl rated at 210 hp – just like the D code Mustang. That was the standard engine for the 64 Cyclone and is why you see K code Comets with automatics when Ford didn’t offer the HiPo 289 with an auto until the 1966 model year.

    Like 16
    • tiger66

      Correct. This is not the K code Hi-Po 289 that was in the Mustang. Mercury’s use of the K engine code makes for some confusion, but it’s just the regular-fuel 4 barrel 289 that was the D code engine in early Mustangs.

      Like 7
      • sakingsbury20

        well that explains that……never too old to learn about the hobby I’ve loved for the last 55+ yrs….

        Like 5
  4. Sam Shive

    I see a lot of FOMOCO cars in the pictures. Might need to see what else he had for sale.

    Like 2
    • Eric B

      Indeed. If you copy and paste the phone number exactly as it’s written from the Caliente ad into Denver’s CL, a 66 mustang convertible they’re also selling will come up. Shows some more of their strictly fomoco fleet in the background.

      Like 0
  5. HoA Howard A Member

    Caliente= HOT, HOT, HOT,,,a Falcon on steroids, like most Mercury cars, a notch above a Ford, even though it was pure cosmetic. Nice car.

    Like 6
  6. CFJ

    Thought the 1964 Ford Fairlane was an option with a “K” Code engine…. Thunderbolt….

    Like 0
    • tiger66

      The ’64 Fairlane Thunderbolt used the 427, not the 289. The K code 289 Hi Po engine was introduced in the ’63 Fairlanes midway through the model year.

      Like 1
  7. Bunky

    Neat car. Can’t pretend to justify owning it because I already have a ‘63 1/2 Comet S-22 2 door hardtop with a 260 waiting for my attention.
    Nice article, but some of the info is inaccurate. Comet was not designated a Mercury until the ‘62 model year.
    Also, minor point re: the 210 hp. 289- it was not low compression. There was squabbling between Ford and Mercury because Ford execs didn’t want anything to steal the limelight from the upcoming debut of the Mustang.
    I have seen, and regrettably did not buy, an all original ‘64 Comet with a solid lifter 271hp 289, 4 speed, and 9 inch rear- they did make them, but rare as hens teeth.

    Like 4
    • tiger66

      AFAIK, the 289 Hi Po wasn’t offered by Mercury until 1965. The 210 hp “K” 289 in the ’64 Comet had a 9 to 1 CR, same as the Mustang D code, and was advertised as using regular fuel in the sales literature. Supposedly, it had a larger carb than the Mustang version for better performance.

      Like 0
  8. Gary

    Wonder if he sold the Mercury?

    Like 0
  9. 19sixty5 Member

    At first glance all I can think of is Dyno Don Nicholson!

    Like 2
  10. Jackie Hollingsworth

    I really like the 1964-65 Comets…..Beautiful cars.

    Like 3
  11. Rich

    The seller didn’t even finish his phone number to send a text. And where’s the photos of the engine? Very fishy.

    Like 0
  12. Jim

    Crazy about a Mercury

    Like 2
  13. Brian

    I’ve owned two 64 Caliente hardtops and restored the second one from the ground up. Virtually all of these cars were equipped with the 260 and not the 289 which was available but I think they were exclusive to the Cyclone. There are no K code 289s for 64 in part because the engine wasn’t released until mid way through the 63 model year. The 289 was the entry level V8 for the Galaxie and also powered many Fairlanes.

    Like 1
    • Gary W. Weldon

      I am certainly no authority on Mercury Caliente K Code Comets, but I believe you misspoke when you said they didn’t make any in 1964. My ’64 Caliente has the K code V.I.N. and the secondary V.I.N. stamped into the left front fender, under the hood. I have always understood that to mean, as many others have said on this forum, that my Comet was born with a 210 horsepower motor, from the factory. However, my Comet is a true 289/271horsepower motor, because it came out of a 1967 K code Mustang Hipo. Not an original 289/271…but now a true Ford Hipo.

      Like 0

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