302-Powered Barn Find: 1971 Mercury Comet

The seller refers to this rust-free, 302 V8-powered 1971 Mercury Comet as a barn find and it sure looks like a nice, solid project car. It can be found here on eBay in Altadena, California. The current bid is $1,585 and there is no reserve with just a day left to get your bids in. This would really be a great first project car for someone, especially at this price.

The fifth-generation Comet was, of course, based on the Ford Maverick and the similarities are unmistakable. The taillights, grille, and hood were different from the Maverick and, like both the Pinto and Maverick of the same era, the bumpers on the 1971 Comets were visually appealing – i.e., nice and small. The seller mentions that some rascal (this is a family show otherwise I could think of a better word than rascal) broke into the trunk so that’ll need a little help. And, this car used to be white but it was painted blue at some point.

They mention adding photos of the rear seat and the odometer but I don’t see them on the eBay listing, maybe they’ll be working before this auction ends. Not that any potential bidders would shy away from this otherwise enticing Comet because of how the back seat does or doesn’t look. They say that this car was purchased new 33 years ago (?) and then sat when the owner was unable to drive. They don’t say how long it’s been sitting, was it 32 years or 32 hours? We don’t know but a quick message to the seller should clear it up.

Here’s the big deal with this car, Ford’s 302 cubic-inch V8 engine which would have had 210 hp. This one also has AC which is great. Of course, it’ll need to be gone through as much as the rest of the car will need to be gone through, but what a great project. I don’t know when I’ve seen a more perfect first project car: a small car with a V8 in rust-free condition? That’s as good as it gets. (Waiting to hear your thoughts on a better first project vehicle for this amount of money.) Hagerty’s lowest value is $4,840 so this could be a good deal. How much is this Comet worth in its present condition?


  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Get in touch with your inner librarian and buy this thing!

    Like 4
  2. Classic Steel

    Nothing spoils selling a car than stating
    remove it within 72 hours .
    It’s like be here in person with cash to buy

    I guess it helps rule out 45plus states immediately to purchase or consider when that’s a prime audience not wanting rust.

    Could be a nice car for the California dreamer that’s local to rush over and remove fast.

    Like 4
  3. Steven Ligac

    You mention that the car has AC. No belt is driving the compressor, however. Very dark & foreboding gotta-figure-1K$ reality.

    • Steve R

      A friend recently sold a 70-72 Comet, roller, less engine and transmission for his full asking price of $1,000 in less than 24 hours. It was straight and had faded green paint the a pink slip in his name. A dozen years ago, this would still have been a good deal for $1,000. The only thing that might hold this car back from a probable $3,500+ sale price is the seller, without his restrictions I’d be surprised if it didn’t sell for $5,000.

      The missing AC belt isn’t a big deal as long as the rest of the system is there.

      Steve R

      Like 5
  4. stevefed

    Blech, everything that was wrong with American cars long before emission standards were to blame, crush it and be done with it.

    Like 3
    • Dan

      The above opinion, I’m sure, will not be popular. I wholeheartedly disagree with it!

      Like 27
      • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

        @Dan I am with you.
        . Stevefed may be an unemployed official from Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers” …..

        Like 15
      • Troy s

        Goin’ with Dan on this one,,,…nothing different here than an early Falcon or Dodge Dart, Nova.

        Like 1
    • TimS Member

      You know what this site is about. Why are you even here?

      Like 6
  5. Dan

    Very cool car! However, I doubt I could have it off the seller’s property within 72 hours. If I lived a little closer, I’d be very interested.

    Like 4
  6. Bob C.

    The 302 was an awesome little engine for this car. That is, until you had to change the spark plugs, &#%@!

    Like 5
    • Karl

      I have run a few 302 Ford engines from 69 in mustangs and those engines never disappointed me and definitely showed guys with a lot more cubes what the little Ford was about. It also sure didn’t take much to wake that motor up. Headers intake carb ignition timing is all I ever did great engine. IN A MUSTANG!!!!

  7. John Calabro

    Yeah, crush this one–what this world needs is another cliche ’57 Chevy. Zzz Zzz Zzz.

    Like 2
  8. Troy s

    Sporty little compact, throw on a set of mags and a 4barrel intake, dual exhaust with the latest greatest muffler’s and it’s high school all over again. If it can be had on the cheap there’s lots of potential here.

    Like 4
  9. stevefed

    Sorry folks, was feeling a bit too grouchy and not fair to hate on this oldie that obviously could find someone to love.

    Like 6
  10. pwtiger

    I was disappointed when I saw the door jams, it looks like one of Earl’s paint jobs. It’s up near 2K probably will hit $3,000. These cars weigh in around 2500 pounds, with a built up 302 or maybe a 347 it would make a great little sleeper capable of 11 second 1/4 mile ET’s

    Like 1
  11. TimM

    This car is definitely worth saving especially with a small block!! My neighbor that lived down the street from me growing up had this model with the same motor and a three speed on the floor that was originally on the column!! It was a fun little car to drive!!! Of coarse it’s not a Chevelle, Nova or a Mustang but it’s still a nice entry level car for someone to have some fun with!!!

    Like 2
  12. Del

    Neat little car


    I would

    Like 1
  13. Dan

    Sold for $2,810. Someone got a good deal!

    Like 2
  14. PatrickM

    Sold. $2,810.00. Listing arrived too late!! Car on wrong Coast!! Would have loved to have this car. Perfect for my needs. Rats!! Missed, again.

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