BF Auction: 1972 Mercury Comet 302

Bid to: $3,601View Result

  • Seller: Jason F laming
  • Location: Fresno, California
  • Mileage: 60,000 Shown
  • Chassis #: 2K31F21410
  • Title Status: Clean

UPDATE – The seller has decided to relist this Comet with a lower reserve! Be sure to take another look and leave any questions you might have in the comments section below.

The problem with choosing an earlier Mercury Cougar as a project candidate is that even rough and rusty examples can be prohibitively expensive. However, there are alternatives available that offer the same level of performance and fun and can cost significantly less. This 1972 Comet is a perfect example because it is a solid classic with a healthy V8 under the hood. It is a diamond in the rough, but it could be the ideal vehicle for an enthusiast wishing to be hands-on with their project. The seller has returned it to a driving state but wants it to head to a home where someone can recapture its lost youth. Therefore, they have listed the Comet exclusively with us at Barn Finds Auctions.

Mercury released its Fifth Generation Comet in 1971, and following previous practice, it chose to produce an upmarket version of an existing Ford model. The company selected the Maverick, which featured crisp styling and proven underpinnings. This Comet rolled off the line in 1972, with the current owner recently discovering it hidden away in a neighbor’s garage. Inspecting the Comet revealed it to be rock-solid, although a previous owner performed a color change to the existing Black from its original Medium Yellow Gold. The owner admits the work is second-rate and that the buyer will probably perform a strip and repaint. However, the process shouldn’t be demanding, and an enthusiast with enough workshop space should have no trouble completing the work themselves. The panels sport minor bumps and bruises, but addressing these would be straightforward. Examining the photo gallery confirms the worst spot is in the passenger-side rear quarter panel, but the damage likely isn’t bad enough to demand panel replacement. The door on the same side was replaced at some point, but the rest of the Comet retains its original and solid steel. Most of the trim is easily acceptable for a driver-grade build, the glass looks excellent, and the aftermarket wheels add a sense of purpose.

Buyers could order their 1972 Comet with a six under the hood, but this car’s original owner went straight to the range-topping 302ci V8. Shifting duties fall to a three-speed automatic transmission, while power steering removes some of the driver’s physical load. Owners had 143hp and 243 ft/lbs of torque at their disposal, and with the Comet weighing only 2,888 lbs, performance was markedly better than a Mustang Hardtop or Grande with the same drivetrain configuration. The first task facing the current owner once he liberated this beauty from his neighbor’s garage was to bring it back to life. He rebuilt the carburetor, replaced the fluids, and that sweet little V8 immediately fired up. It runs beautifully, and the car is driveable. The owner believes it needs a tune-up, which is another task where the winning bidder can be hands-on as they return this classic to its rightful place on our roads. He includes a set of tie-rod ends, allowing the buyer to tighten up the steering. The aluminum radiator should keep temperatures under control, and a new owner unconcerned about total originality could buy components off the shelf to unlock more ponies and improved performance from this Mercury without breaking the bank. This project is one where the world will be the winning bidder’s oyster.

The Comet’s interior doesn’t make a great first impression, but a close examination reveals plenty of positive news. Most cloth and vinyl upholstered surfaces look pretty good, although the front seat has seen better days. A slipcover would hide the worst issues for a buyer on a budget, but I found a supplier selling a complete front and rear cover set in the correct material for around $500. The pad has succumbed to age, and the new owner could choose between replacement at $400 or a high-quality cap for $170. Caps have improved dramatically in the last few years, and good ones are hard to tell from the genuine item. A set of front armrests might be the final piece of the puzzle, but these sell for under $40. The carpet and dash look excellent, and the car features an aftermarket stereo. However, the factory unit is included for those who prefer authenticity. The original owner equipped this classic with air conditioning. The system is complete, but it needs new bearings for the idler pulley before it will operate again.

Some enthusiasts will abandon their dreams of classic car ownership or performing a build due to prohibitive costs. They acknowledge that these cars are a luxury, not one of life’s necessities. They dream of an affordable candidate, and many crave the performance and sound that only a V8 can produce. This 1972 Mercury Comet ticks those boxes and is different enough to stand apart from the crowd when its restoration is complete. I can’t spot any tasks that would be beyond the abilities of a competent new owner, meaning they could perform the work on a reasonably tight budget. Combine those thoughts, and this Mercury is a project worth far more than a brief glance. It is worthy of receiving your bid.

Bid On This Vehicle

High Bid: $3,601 (Reserve Not Met)
Ended: Jan 12, 2024 10:00am MDT
High Bidder: dapperdumpsterbear
  • dapperdumpsterbear
    bid $3,600.66  2024-01-12 09:56:58
  • Jimbobbillyjoe bid $2,500.00  2024-01-07 22:25:26
  • JEE bid $1,000.00  2024-01-06 09:34:46
  • Bukbuk123
    bid $750.00  2024-01-06 09:14:55
  • RamIt23 bid $640.00  2024-01-06 08:55:01
  • Clarence McMillan bid $500.00  2024-01-05 22:12:07
  • KC
    bid $200.00  2024-01-05 17:27:23


  1. Cooter Cooter Member

    This has great potential provided it doesn’t get bid out to left field. Always liked the headlights and tail lights on these better than the Maverick, which had the small, square “glued on look” rear lights shared with the Pinto. Choose your paint scheme with this one and treat her well!

    Like 31
  2. BigDaddyBonz

    Mavericks and Comets of this era made for some beautiful drag cars. I was thinking of ‘Dyno’ Don Nicholson, Eddie Schartman and others. Not only good looking but ran like gang-busters. Btw, I have no idea why this hers s is at the end of my sentence. It won’t let me erase it. hers s. ..

    Like 21
    • Robert West

      Love love love the Maverick and Comet body style . . If bidding doesn’t get out of hand it would make an excellent starting point .

      Like 21
      • John Woods

        Neat car for a hobby. Being honest it concerns me about the seller being totally honest about the car because he felt it would sell better by wetting it down so that it looks a lot better than the oxidized paint. Cheap trick.

        Like 3
      • Donnie L Sears

        From the front wheels back it looked great. But looking at the front end was tormenting. Great body style though.

        Like 0
  3. Bama

    Nice looking small bumper Comet. Parts availability has improved the last few years, so shouldn’t be hard to get this one straight. The hard to find Comet specific parts, bumper, grill, and tail lights look good. Already a V8, so hopping it up will be easy enough with over the counter performance parts. Makes me wish I’d kept my little Maverick hot rod I built up a few years back.

    Like 21
    • Robert

      I’ll never forget the little blue Maverick my dad had when I was about 6, it was a Grabber and had the 302 with a 4-speed. I always thought it was cool because of the V8 rumble and the white racing stripes. I remember my dad running horribly late for work one day, and he came blazing down our long gravel driveway while I was waiting for the bus, and when he hit the pavement he turned that little thing loose and smoked the tires for about 100 feet! I remember wishing that my bus had been coming down the road and all my buddies could have seen that smoke show.. I was so impressed with my dad that day, I come from a long line of lead foots… This car definitely raises an eyebrow and brings back memories!

      Like 34
    • John Kleist

      Slip covers, caps, cover-ups… can the individual reporting on this potential purchase for me just stick to the facts?

      Like 5
      • bill tebbutt

        Sanka. It may be worth a try John…..

        Like 5
  4. BA

    Worked with a guy who bought a maverick with a built 302, Camshaft, headers & shift kit and it was running 12s in the quarter! Thing was a beast! It was geared pretty low but man that 302 was fast !

    Like 21
  5. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    The Good: The V8, A/T and A/C. The Bad: The Maverick’s gussied up sister, so under the skin, it’s still a Maverick. The Ugly: The interior and paint are rough, that rear quarter and rear valence show evidence of poorly repaired impact damage, and the aftermarket stereo has to go! The 302/5.0L and the have lots of performance parts available, but I don’t know how the rear end will hold up under additional abuse. These can be great in a straight line, but when all’s said and done, the cheap underpinnings, flaccid steering, lousy brakes and chassis flex will do this car in. Fixing all of those issues can be done if you have enough cash, but in the end, you still have a Comet/Maverick, with the cramped back seat, poor driving position, uncomfortable front seat and poor visibility to the rear through the smallish rear window. The solar glare off the fastback rear window without the rear window shade doesn’t help either.

    The bucket seats and floor shifter might be more comfortable, and front power disk brakes might feel better than the four-wheel drum brakes most of these came with (no mention as to what this car has for brakes), but again, when you’re all done, it’s still a Comet/Maverick under the skin. If you can get it cheaply enough, maybe, but IMHO, if you pay more than $5k, you paid too much!

    Like 19
    • Yblocker

      How bout some cheese with that whine?

      Like 4
  6. Kent

    I think it has a lot of potential if gotten for the right price. Quite a few performance parts available for the 302 and the C4 automatic. Not sure of the rear axle. If it has a small unit in it, I wonder if the 8.8 unit would fit. he

    Like 8
  7. MrBobbbb

    If I remember correctly, the V8’s required the engine to be raised around 4″ to change the plugs. Dealers did it for free the first couple of years. Had an opportunity to buy a one owner ’72-’73 Maverick in 2001 for $1200, original owner, less than 30K miles. I had 6 kids and no money. Looked almost new, blue over blue. Oh, well.

    Like 12
    • piper62j

      MrBobbb. You’re correct about raising the engine to change the plugs on some of the later models with the A.I.R. system for emission control.. The exhaust manifold air injection tubes got in the way.. We remove them and plugged the holes.. None of the Maverics or Comets that I can recall had engines larger than a 302, so plug access was free.

      Like 12
      • Robert Atkinson, Jr.

        I don’t think that Air Injection Reactor (A.I.R.) systems became a requirement until later on 49-state cars. CA cars may have gotten it earlier. As I recall, the AIR system was a stopgap measure until electronic fuel injection came along. The idea was to inject air into the exhaust stream in the exhaust manifold, just below the the exhaust valve, which would burn any remaining unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust. There were a number of issues with this, however. First, there was the expense of the engine driven air pump and all of the related pipes, valves and fittings that came with it. Then there was the parasitic drag on the engine from the pump itself. Finally, and most importantly, while the system did reduce unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust, it also greatly increased the oxides of nitrogen present, as the high temperature from burning the unburned fuel greatly increased the formation of NOx in the exhaust. It wasn’t until EFI and three-way catalysts became a thing, was the problem of NOx formation finally solved.

        Like 8
      • MrBobbbb

        The issue was the inner fender panels. Only 1/2″-1″ clearance on each side. I got a nice ’67 Nova wagon at a yard sale for $200 with all smog garbage missing, exhaust tubes were crimped off, late ’80’s. Could not get it smogged, showed proof that parts for that 283 were not available, got a lifetime exemption from CA DMV. Worked out great for the next owner.

        Like 6
  8. John Robert Leahy

    WOW that is an awesome ride to dream about, here in Canada 🇨🇦 I have the cash 💸 and the maverick is on the other side of the country 😀 👍 I had a 1973-4,given toto me back in the day and never got on the road. To many dreams and not enough brains then 😴 😪 😕

    Like 6
  9. Joe Member

    This car could only still exist in California or the west coast. It is tough enough to see an old Pinto let alone the similar bodied Cougar on the east coast! It’s always interesting to see these odd survivors on BF. Good luck to everyone in the likes and finds!!

    Like 3
    • Bunky

      Always liked these. Good entry level collector car. Most parts are readily available, and you’ll likely be the only one at “Cars & Coffee” with one of these. 👍🏻

      Like 4
    • Kirk

      It’s funny I just seen a white one with some blue stripe going down the road today here in NS Canada around year as this one the not so funny is the pavement is as white as the car was from all the dried road salt . All I could think was why why why is he driving that old car today.. hopefully he was on his way to the nearest rust check franchise to get it fully undercoated. It also had cragars and looked to be in fine condition. Lots of old car around here but they don’t usually come out to play until May when all the salt is washed away

      Like 3
  10. Barto

    I bought a 1970 Maverick from a friend for 900 bucks in the 90s. Replaced the 6 cyl. with a 302 and added a bunch of bolt-on performance. With the stock gearing the car would scoot to 60 – until I blew up the motor! I always favored the simple style of the early Maverick to the Comet.

    Like 3
  11. Richard McElwee

    Sad that a 72 302 only had 143 HP from the factory. The 70 model had 200 HP. The government emissions rules killed HP and gas milage. Shame.

    Like 4
    • Steve R

      Most of the difference in horsepower rating between 1970 to 1971 was due to how the ratings were reported, not a mechanical change, except for GM which dropped compression ratios for 1971. Horsepower ratings switched from gross to net starting in 1971, which entailed rating the engine with its accessories hooked up and functioning. The real changes started in 1973.

      Steve R

      Like 6
      • Jack

        I believe that the gross to net was in 1972, not 1971

        Like 2
      • Terrry

        and while getting bad in ’72, performance would only get worse in the following years. By 1975 when unleaded-fuel only was mandated, most engines were truly anemic.

        Like 1
  12. PL

    These things are picking up in value,
    especially the early examples. Years ago SSDI did a road test on a ’71 GT. With the rear springs clipped and front shocks loosened a bit, but otherwise in stock form, it would pull the front wheels off the ground.

    Like 5
  13. Big C

    We had a ’73 Comet. 302, halo roof, deluxe interior and no rust. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The best $500 I ever spent on a car.

    Like 8
  14. RobbyME

    Hi, my dad traded in 67’Impala for a 71′ comet 302…dealer demo…not many mi. he opens the hood. I was 15. all the blue and newness was cool! dad says don’t tell mom! I was near my license. it was coated w/rusty jones. exactly what it did!! they didn’t last long. the car was not normal. dealer prepped !? drove this car to get my 68’400! collum 3spd auto comet. at 120mph it needed another gear! very responsive! that car could stay w/400 for a while! my guess is fac drag car! bought the 400 got police to allow me to drive it home. 400 had no exhaust past manifold.VERY loud. aswe pulled onto t.pike comet behind me nailed it…other side tropper had a car pulled over! he was freaking out! that was a good day. rusty jones destroyed this car!! I hated beating gm’s! thought about buying it but rusty prevailed.

    Like 2
  15. TomD

    Too many pics of its “good side”. Not enough of the “repaired” quarter. Also a confusing mix of before and after pics. The passenger door indicates the whole right side got wiped out. Needs an in-person inspection for sure. No sale and reduced reserve is a red flag too.

    Like 3
    • Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      Note the red strut tower braces that are the same color as the salvaged passenger side door. It looks like the entire passenger (right) side of the car was wiped out, then repaired (badly). I think that this car has a date with a frame table for a straightness check, at a minimum. God knows what’s under that bad paint on the right rear quarter. Bring a magnet for a Bondo check!

      Like 2
  16. C Force

    The guy i bought my 70′ Maverick from was a collector.He had a 75′ 302 car with a grabber hood and Comet tail lights.It was a Maverick from the front and a Comet from the rear.You should try changing plugs with a set of long tube headers in the way…

    Like 2
  17. Timothy wasiela

    I see no buy it now reserve price?

    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      That’s because it’s an auction…

      Like 0
  18. William Carl Harris

    I purchased a 1970 Maverick 4-door 250 six auto for 450 in 77 it had 145000 when i purchased it i put another 150000 on it gave it to my mother another 60000 and the darn thing was running when the scrap man hauled it off

    Like 2
    • Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      Good for you! I wish I could say the same about mine! It went away on a flatbed after the second motor threw a rod! I think it had about 180k on the clock when it committed suicide.

      Like 0
  19. wes johnson Member

    Price is right, just would cost just as much to get it to PA.

    Like 0

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