California Convertible Down Under

Last licensed in California in 1997 according to the black plates on the car, this 1963 Mercury Comet convertible has made it all the way to Altona North, Victoria, Australia! It is being sold here on where the buy it now is AU$21,998 ($16,795 US today) but lower offers are being considered. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Adam T45 for this unusual find!

Despite its solid appearance in the top picture, there are some corrosion issues with this convertible. Nothing that can’t be handled, though. It looks like it’s been repainted at least once in a slightly different red from stock. Those of you with excellent vision will be able to see that this Comet has only 13″ tires–that’s not a lot of rubber for a car of this size and power. I’m hoping Adam will tell us in the comments how rare this car is in Australia.

There are several inside the trunk pictures included and the car looks very solid there. It does look like the bumper will need some repair prior to chroming, but I’d still rather have a repaired and rechromed original than a reproduction. Aren’t those “space age” tail lights cool?

What’s this? Air conditioning? I’m sure it will need lots of work, as does the rest of the interior. And look at that four speed manual floor shifter! This seems to be a pretty desirably optioned car!

I don’t see an air conditioning compressor under here sharing space with the 260 cubic inch V8, but I think those may be the lines for it on the right of this picture. With the dash unit in place, at least a good shop should be able to install either a refurbished or modern compressor (I’d go with a modern one and use R134A myself). Honestly, I think this would be a fun car to work on–get it running and safe first and then gradually work on the rest–or not, and just drive it and enjoy it! What would you do?


  1. 68 custom

    Red convertible with a V/8 and a third pedal, plus A/C, I dig it.
    strange it was never converted to right hand drive down under?

    • Tony C.

      68 custom and AdamT45, anyone who converts an American car here in Oz is nuts, as soon as you do it’s no longer an American car, it’s a ‘nothing car’, never built or sold as RHD so no longer original and you just lost a heap of cash, the conversion will cost 15 grand or more on top of the resto costs and no one wants a RHD American car, there’s no such thing, it’s part of it’s identity. We have over 130 American cars in our club and less than 10 are converted. On a club run once on a country highway when the road was clear we all swapped over to the right hand side of the road just to see what it was like to have the white line under our left elbow, cool, until a truck came the other way.

      • Adam T45 Staff

        That’s cool Tony C. I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve seen plenty of US imports, and most haven’t been converted. I wouldn’t convert it myself. The ones that I’ve seen converted are cars that get a fair amount of use, and the owners haven’t been comfortable with being on the left……which begs the question: Why buy a lhd car if you don’t like being on that side of the car?

        I’m currently visualising you driving down the wrong side of the road and coming face to face with a truck. Since I’m a bus driver I can be pretty sure that you got back onto the correct side pretty quickly!

  2. sunbeamdon

    ?erutcip siht htiw gnorw s’tahW

    • JW454

      .wonk t’nod I

    • Woodie Man

      You’re dyslexic?

      • Howard A Member

        Dyslexics of the world untie.

      • Adam T45 Staff

        Dyslexia lures ko!

      • Adam T45 Staff

        For anyone who is reading this and has been diagnosed with dyslexia, I apologise unreservedly for my comment. It was insensitive and I know better than to make jokes like that. No offense was intended.

  3. Adam T45 Staff

    Just looking at the comments above made me laugh. You are sad, strange little people (to quote Buzz Lightyear)!

    To answer a few questions regarding this car. This would had to have been a privately imported car, as Mercury did not have a market presence in Australia. I have traveled extensively throughout the country (1.5 million miles behind the wheel), and while I have seen a handful of Comets in my travels, I have never seen a convertible. So this is an extremely rare car Down Under.

    The other question that has been raised is why it was never converted to right hand drive. This is a good question, and I must say that I’m a bit surprised that it never has been. Many of the required parts would’ve been interchangeable with the locally produced Ford Falcon, so that does seem a bit strange.

    All-in-all though, a rare car Down Under that appears quite solid. It would be a fantastic project that would stand out when completed.

    • CanAm

      My guess is that it is a recent import ?

      • Adam T45 Staff

        I would say that you’re right CanAm. If it doesn’t return to the US (which I doubt because the cost would be prohibitive) I will be interested to see if it gets restored and converted to right hand drive. Australian Falcons from the same era had identical dash shells, so that wouldn’t be a problem. Even replacing the steering for rhd conversion is an easy job.

  4. Bill J.

    Years ago, I bought a 63 S-22 convertible (Rarer than the custom model ) for $500.00 ( The guy didn’t know what he had….5757 produced)
    Kept it for 8 years but needed rotisserie restoration….So I decided to sell it and by then, the book value was about $4500.00 but I sold it for $4000.00
    due to the work she needed…. I do miss those summer cruses to the beach in it but making a profit is ok too!

  5. Rustytech Member

    This is a stealth Mustang GT. It would be a decent project, unfortunately most of the restoration budget would be spent just getting it back to the USA then to the east coast.

  6. gardener

    For those of us dyslexics not funny have to work on it for life so not funny

    • Adam T45 Staff

      My apologies for that. It was silly of me.

  7. Wayne

    Michael and his brother import a heap of cars from the States. I’d be more surprised if had been converted to RHD than left as is. They’ve got a bunch of cars with some pretty high prices. I think they’ll have this for a while until the right buyer comes along.
    BTW, I’ve got a panel shop next door to me. They had a red Falcon convertible for sale back in November for $24k.

  8. gardener

    It’s ok thanks for the apologies.That’s why I didn’t get a home computer till I retired and needed more to do wish I would have started on them in the 80’s man would I be a typing monster better then my 2-3 finger style now.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Hey, don’t knock the 2-3 finger typing style mate. It works fine for me. I have a number of friends and former workmates with dyslexia, and have seen the struggles that they go through.

      I’m more angry with myself because what I said was insensitive. I have incurable cancer and know how upset I was when I heard someone say that people with cancer should get on with their lives. I feel that my comments were hypocritical.

      You have my admiration my friend.

  9. Tony C.

    Talking about Aussie/American cars, tonight,(Saturday), there’s an American car cruise in Adelaide Sth. Oz. we’ll probably get about 400 – 450 American cars, street rods and Harleys turn up, most if not all will be pre 1975 so there’ll be chrome and bright colors as far as the eye can see. We start at a shopping mall somewhere and cruise across the city to another one and then on to another one for our final stop about 10pm. This happens monthly from Oct. to April the guy has been doing these for the last 27 years and it’s almost getting too big to find a mall that will take us all. If you’re interested check out “Zippel Cruises” on Google.

  10. Robert Hinojosa

    I remember my dad having a red,2 door Comet with the3 on the tree and piling up all us kids in it… I’m not sure what year it was but it had cat eye looking tail lights,I really liked that little car. Can anyone tell me what year it might have been?

Leave a Reply to Adam T45 Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.