390-Equipped: 1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone GT

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This 1966 Comet Cyclone GT shouldn’t exist as a Mercury. Ford developed the Comet alongside its Falcon as a compact offering in the fledgling Edsel range. However, when the fledgling flew in precisely the same way that a brick doesn’t, the Comet was sold as a standalone vehicle for its first two years. It eventually became part of the Mercury range, with the Cyclone GT as the high-performance variant in 1966. This classic presents beautifully, features a healthy V8 under the hood, and is ready to find a new home.

Mercury released its Third Generation Comet in 1966, marking a significant change for the badge. Previously marketed as a compact, the Comet became a mid-size model. The range-topping vehicle was the Comet Cyclone GT, with our feature car from that first production year. It wears Alpine White paint with subtle Dark Blue lower stripes and the optional styled chrome wheels. The seller describes it as meticulously restored, and nothing obviously deserves criticism. The paint is spotless, the panels are laser-straight, and the underside shots confirm it is rust-free. This Cyclone features the distinctive fiberglass twin-scoop hood that is free from cracks and other problems. The trim and chrome are exceptional for their age, and the tinted glass is crystal clear. This Comet has a sense of presence that guarantees it would draw admiring crowds at a Cars & Coffee.

I might receive criticism for saying so, but I don’t believe this Comet’s interior meets the same standard as its exterior. It isn’t horrendous or festooned with aftermarket additions beyond the console-mounted tachometer. That last feature is interesting because I am unsure whether the tach is a factory unit. I have seen an identical tach in another ’66 GT, but those are the sole examples in my experience. It will be fascinating to gauge your feedback. However, the stretching and wear on the driver’s seat are unexpected. The passenger side door trim also exhibits wrinkles, but the remaining upholstered surfaces are pretty impressive. There is no carpet wear, the dash is spotless, and the console appears perfect. This car focuses on performance, with the AM radio the sole nod to luxury.

This Comet features a drivetrain combination that is guaranteed to provide exceptional performance. The S-Code 390ci V8 produces 335hp and 427 ft/lbs of torque, while the three-speed automatic transmission and power steering reduce driving effort. With a curb weight of 3,520 lbs, the Cyclone isn’t heavy for a vehicle of this size. Therefore, the 14.8-second ¼-mile ET and top speed of 121mph are not unexpected. We’re flying slightly blind with this classic because the seller doesn’t state whether it is numbers-matching. However, they indicate it is in excellent mechanical health, describing the driving experience as exhilarating. Therefore, it is ready to embark on adventures with a new owner behind the wheel.

The seller listed this 1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone GT here on eBay in Clearwater, Florida. Respectable bidding has pushed the price to $23,700, which is below the reserve. Recent successful sales results suggest the current figure should be close to the reserve, although the sometimes unpredictable nature of the classic scene means a higher price is possible. There is one final point to ponder regarding a discovery I made while researching this story. I located this car listed on another website with a BIN price. The figure? A cool $54,900! If that is the seller’s expectation, the bidding has a long way to go, and I would be surprised if it gets there. Do you agree?

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Comments

  1. BleedNRed

    I owned a near identical burgundy version of this car. It had factory exhaust cutouts. I did something stupid and threw a rod through the block. I sold it when I couldn’t find an acceptable replacement engine… occasionally, we do dumb stuff then double down on stupid…

    Like 13
    • mick

      Live and learn.

      Like 3
  2. Johnny Calabro

    Not crazy about that grill. Looks like a driveway trench drain.

    Like 1
  3. Bill Martens

    I had a ’66 Fairlane GT, identically equipped. Although the Cyclone hood is cool, I still prefer the Ford rear-end styling over the Merc. The comet looks like they ran out of styling ideas.

    Like 1
  4. MercuryMike

    The tax on the console is not stock.
    I owned an all original 66 cyclone GT. 390 automatic. I was a kid and was building a 1967 comet Caliente that I still own. The factory tac was dash mounted and quite a bit smaller. I still have the tachometer as well as many of the parts. My regrets are huge. But I love my 67 as much as I did the day I bought. Much like me it’s old and rusty and has some parts missing. It’s a beautiful car! I have seen at least 1 flip in the high 40,000’s and that was years ago.
    Thanks for all your great work posting cars!!!
    Mike M

    Like 1
  5. AzzuraMember

    Mercury released the mid size Comet in 1965. I owned a 2 door 65 Mercury Comet Caliente with a 289.

    Like 2
    • Bunky

      While l’m sure that ‘65 Caliente was a great car, ‘65 models were mildly warmed over ‘64s. 1966 models were larger. Comets started with an identity crisis, and it continued throughout their production. Sadly, culminating with the “Mercury badged Maverick”, with giant chrome railroad tie bumpers and smogmotors for the ‘77 model year.
      Don’t misunderstand, I have loved the quirky Comet since my late Sis bought a ‘61 2 door in ‘63. I have owned several myself; including a ‘63 convertible, and a ‘63 1/2 S22 V8 hardtop.

      Like 3
  6. al

    wow great write up most people don’t know that the original 1960 comet was a Edsel that’s why there is no brand name on them just the name comet them it became a mercury great job

    Like 8
  7. Big C

    IMHO, the ’66-’67 Comets were the best looking of the bunch. This is a beautiful car, and I’ll bet he’ll get his exorbitant price. A sign of the times.

    Like 5
    • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

      Agree…..bunch of folks here don’t know that……

      Like 0
  8. Rick Shaw

    Are those original wheels?

    Like 1
  9. Tiger66

    BF writeup: “It wears Alpine White paint with subtle Dark Blue lower stripes and the optional styled chrome wheels.”

    Nope. Those are ’67-’68 Cougar wheels so obviously could not have been “optional” on a ’66 Comet Cyclone. There were no optional styled steel wheels for ’66 Comets — the closest thing to sporty were Cyclone-only wheel covers that simulated the look of chrome reverse wheels. Mustang styled wheels will fit, but they weren’t on the option list in ’66.

    BF writeup: “Therefore, the 14.8-second ¼-mile ET and top speed of 121mph are not unexpected.”

    Not unexpected, maybe, but certainly not accurate on the 1/4 mile time as it is yet another computer simulation (simulation ©automobile-catalog.com). Actual road test data from R&T sister publication Car Life (April 1966) showed a best average of 15.2 in the quarter. However that car had custom headers and the 15.2 time was with the headers open. Closing the headers added 1/2 to 1 second to the ET, so 15.7 to 16.2 then. Which seems credible given the 16.5 time of a similar Fairlane GT/A and given that stock exhaust manifolds would add a bit to the Cyclone’s ET.

    Like 3
  10. CarbobMember

    Like Bunky I owned a 1963 S22 hardtop. It had the 260ci V8, four speed and bucket seats. Fun first car. I drove it from Baltimore to Key West and circumnavigated the Florida panhandle and back home in 1969 to celebrate my high school graduation. It performed flawlessly. I did learn the hard way that a black car left in the Florida sun for a few hours with the windows rolled all the way up creates a car seat that will fry your keester and a steering wheel that will cause a quick hand removal. A coworker bought the same year and configuration of the Fairlane. It was a four year old used car that someone else had beat on before he got it but it was still a runner. His had the four speed which would be my preference in this Mercury. But a very nice car all the same. GLWTS.

    Like 1
  11. Gord

    The factory tach was dash mounted not on the consul. I know the brochure doesn’t list styled steel wheels like the Cougar or Mustang but I have a 1966 Cyclone GT magazine add that features a set on it.

    Like 3
    • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

      Yep….remember the ad’s…..

      Like 0
  12. Jim Helmer

    I remember a guy in the town I grew up in that had a black 1965 comet 289 4 spd, headers what a beautiful car.
    I’ll never forget the mellow sound of that car going past my house.

    Like 0
  13. mr haney

    NEED TO SEE # INFO ON ENGINE, PLUS ID # ? WRONG BREATHER , VALVE COVERS , WHEELS , TACK IS WRONG , WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE , REAR , TRANNY ? HAVE KELSEY HAYS BRAKES? NEEDS INTERIOR WORK , I WOULD SAY $20 k LARGE OVER PRICED

    Like 0

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