302 V8 Swap Bargain? 1963 Mercury Comet

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The age-old debate between Ford and Chevy goes back a little more than a hundred years now, but were there ever rivalries between different car divisions made by the same company? I’ve always wondered how people thought about a Ford Falcon compared to a car like this 1963 Mercury Comet. This example can be found here on Craigslist in Vernon, Connecticut. The seller is asking $4,000 for this upscale Falcon. If anyone would know about the Ford vs. Mercury question it would probably be Fordguy 1972 who sent in this great tip. Thanks, Fordguy!

As the last year of the first-generation Mercury Comet, this would be a car on my master wish list. I personally prefer the rounded lines of these early cars but that’s just me. This is a fantastic design, in my opinion, it’s both space-age and rooted in the 1950s at the same time with the tail fins. The Comet started out as a possible entry-level model for the Edsel line but with Edsel cars going away, it was added to Mercury’s lineup. They didn’t receive the official Mercury Comet status until 1962, however, they were just badged as Comets, not Mercury Comets.

And, there are the fins, nicely done. They’re the mama bear of tail fins, just enough but not too much. This is either a Custom or a base model with four taillights as compared to the top-line Special which had six tail lights. This car has had a lot of work done on it, including “New tires, new 2.5″ dual exhaust, new leaf springs, new rear bushings, new rear u-bolts, new upgraded dual master cylinder, new brake lines and hoses”. That’s a lot of work to not have to worry about for a $4,000 asking price!

I can’t get over how good this car looks for four-grand. Sure, there is some rust visible and it’s obviously been repainted. This is it for interior photos and it’ll need some help, but soft surfaces are relatively easy and cheap. The hanging ignition is a little worrisome wondering if there would be other electrical work to do. The trunk is Sopranos-approved, look at the size of that thing for a compact car! For some sort of pricing reference, Hagerty is at $5,900 for a #4 fair condition two-door hardtop Comet with a 260 V8. $8,700 for a #3 good condition car. That’s a lot of room to make this a little jewel without being upside down on value.

This is where things get a bit unusual, the original 260 cubic-inch V8 and three-on-the-tree manual has been replaced with 1973 302 V8 and C4 automatic! That’s a bummer, at least for us original-spec nerds. I have to wonder if that the new setup is easier to drive and makes this car a bit faster and more reliable and easier to use, however. Or, I think that it would? It has a “new battery and a fresh carb rebuild.” This would be a fun project car and I love the look with the black steel wheels and blackwall tires. Nice. Any thoughts on this Comet over a similar Falcon?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. grant

    So Barnfinds is a paysite now?

    Like 10
    • St. Ramone de V8

      Apparently. I’ve enjoyed this site for a long time, put up with ads, and considered membership. Not so sure now. View limits?

      Like 11

      i think its crazy. this website became my new addiction when i found it. there is enough advertisements that should cover it.

      Like 6
      • grant

        Was just my guilty pleasure at the end of the day. Look at cool stuff I’ll probably never have.

        Like 4
      • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

        Banner ads are not as lucrative as people think. Our costs have gone up as the site has grown. We crank out over 500 articles per month and surely provide more entertainment value than the asking price. So, why not show your support and become a member?

        Like 1
  2. Todd Zuercher

    I must not look at as many cars as a lot of you – I haven’t seen any warnings/countdowns, etc. when I look at them.

    Like 8
  3. Jeffry Harris

    Looks so much like the one i bought in the 80’s for not to much. Mine was an S-22, 170 ci? 4 speed, lipstick red interior and heavily faded metallic blue, which looked gray. I wet sanded much of paint, but not all of the car down to the original white. With feather bed, not to be confused with the Triumph motor cycle frame, suspension, it was so soft a ride we dubbed it “the cloud car” or sometimes because it looked questionable “Car Bomb”. When it was 1/2 restored and i had moved on to a NEW truck i sold it to a girl just out of HS who was a car nut and wanted a Nova but didn’t have that much money. She loved it. Painted it a beautiful pearl white and finished it. She still has it as far as i know.

    Like 8
  4. Troy s

    Being a bit of a Ford fan, Mercury’s are fine with me…same blood lines, somewhat different styling but still powered by Ford. Not like comparing a Chevy to a Pontiac or Olds which despite shared platforms ran on their own blood. No Z28 dude ever gave the thumbs up to a Tran Am owner, maybe the finger.
    Neat car here has that mild street cruiser vibe with a lower than usual price tag.

    Like 3
    • SlickB

      that is true… being a trans am guy I have gotten the finger many times. and not all were deserved :)

      Like 3
  5. Snotty

    Nice lil Merc. right here,would of kept the manual trans. Mercury’s seemed to have more factory gauges than Ford. Had a 67 Caliente, 289 auto. nicer than it’s Fairlane brethern I.M.O.

    Like 4
  6. Dean

    I look(ed) on my PC, my work PC and now on my cell, which will no doubt be blocked. I’ve enjoyed the cars and comments… y’all have fun and take care.

    Like 8
  7. Ken Elshof

    Comet was more compareable to the Ford Fairlane.. Years ago an oldtimer told me a Merc was just a Ford with lock washers,, Sorta explains the difference

    Like 3
    • Paul Melchert

      That’s the difference between a GMC and a Chevrolet….lock washers….LOL…. from another old guy, too….

      Like 0
  8. 71FXSuperglide

    One of my first cars was a ’61 Comet, albeit with the anemic small six and cat-eye taillights. Always had a soft spot for these.

    I’d keep the 302 but swap a 4 speed back in.

    Like 2
  9. 64 Bonneville

    we had a 63 Comet, 2 door post. small 6 cylinder (144 C.I.) 3 on the tree, radio and heater the only options. Wifes’ grandparents let us have it as a “wedding present” for $100.00. Wasn’t to fast, 65 was pushing it hard in hilly country. But 22 m.p.g. in town and 29 on the highway, saved us a boatload of money in gas, even with gas wars” getting the price down to .17.9 a gallon (18 cents!). finally couldn’t get it to pass state inspection due to rust out. hated to give it up.

    Like 0
  10. Ric
  11. Guy W. Gilmore

    Wish I had the money to buy it. Id would probadly get it the paint job it needs first off. Then fix the ignition back into the dash, seats, carpet, haeadliner and then call it done and just enjoy my little lavender comet. My Mom always wanted a lavender car. But never got to before her passing so I would do this car for what my Mom always wanted???

    Like 0
  12. David Scollo

    I had a S-22 back in the day and I wish I still had it. Great little car with the 260 V-8.

    Like 0
  13. stillrunners

    Looks good at that price for the east coast….

    Like 0
  14. Del

    Nice car. Great price

    Like 0

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