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One Family Owned: 1971 Mercury Comet GT

Ford had a hit on their hands with the Maverick, so it was logical that Mercury would quickly get a version of their own. 18 months after the Maverick debuted, the Comet was introduced for 1971. It was a Maverick with a different grille, taillights, and hood. Both the Maverick and Comet were built off a platform that began with the Ford Falcon in 1960. This 1971 Comet GT has a 302 V-8, making it the closest thing to a muscle car it would get. It was previously owned by a single family, can be found in League City, Texas, and is available here on eBay where the bidding sits at $6,800 with the reserve still looming.

The Comet started out at Mercury as a compact, switched to an intermediate and then back to a compact again with the sixth-generation Maverick era (1971-77). The Grabber was Maverick’s version of a muscle car, but it would largely be in trim with a low-output 302 V-8. Mercury counterpart to the Grabber was the Comet GT, a 2-door fastback sedan that came with the same engine as the Ford, a blacked-out grille, dual body-side tape stripes, high-back bucket seats, wheel trim rings, dual racing mirrors, bright window frames, black instrument panel, deluxe door trim panels, and a simulated hood scoop. While the Comet would see total 1971 production of about 70,000 units, more than 13,000 of them would be the GT model.

This 1971 Comet GT was recently acquired by the seller from the original owner’s family in Colorado and the clean title is still in their name. The car appears to be totally original, and the paint has been buffed out along with homemade paint that had been applied to the hood scoop. The GT seems to be mostly rust-free, with a pinch or two in the lower rear quarter panels. Evidence that the rest of the car may be fine is that the floor of the trunk is as clean as they come. There is a small ding in the roof.

The odometer reflects just over 1,200 miles, so it likely has already turned over. The interior looks more like a car with the lower mileage, but it’s not perfect. There are a couple of splits at the seams in the front seats and the headliner has separated in one place.  While the plastic interior panels look good, the dash pad has developed a couple of pesky cracks.

Mechanically, the car seems quite capable. We assume the engine and automatic transmission are original to the car. It was tuned up along with a fluids change not too long ago and is said to start and run nicely. There is a stumble under acceleration when it’s cold, which suggests some tinkering with the carburetor is probably in order. Also, some exhaust system work will also be required. Besides the V-8, it’s a basic car with manual steering and brakes and no A/C.

The Maverick/Comets seem to fetch good prices these days. Hagerty says they’re worth $6,000 in fair condition and up to $15,000 in Concours. Not bad for a car that sold for a fraction of that new 50 years ago. This looks be a nice beginner’s vintage car; just fix the little bit of rust and take it to Cars & Coffee on the weekends!


  1. Al_Bundy Al_Bundy Member

    This is about exact as my first car. Only difference was my seats were all black vinyl and the mock hood scoop was black to match the tape stripes. The 1972 Comet Gt in sad shape featured last week…

    Copy/paste of my love for this car…

    Such a delight to see this featured ! 1987 ranks among the best summers ever for me. I turned 16, got my license and my $300 1972 Comet GT. Red with black vinyl interior and all the trim as described. Drums at all 4 corners ! The 302 had plenty of zip for an inexperienced driver and the stock non-posi rear end would spin rubber off the drive wheel with ease. Almost every night me & my friends would go “thrashin” in it. We’d burn the rubber down to the cords of the 195/14 tires and just rotate them as needed, then get more rubber at the junkyard every couple weeks. The funniest part was the car always filling with rubber smoke since the quarters were rusted allowing all that smoke inside. We’d run it out of oil, overheat it and it just kept on running great. After owning 9 months it finally gave up after all the neutral slams/ reverse into drive shifts at speed. Amazing the C-4 didn’t die sooner. Ended up driving it home about 4 miles in reverse and it sat in my parents driveway and rotted while I would borrow the family Volare. Fuel and brake lines finally rusted through and I put together funds to buy a 1979 Capri 5.0 which I didn’t beat too hard. The insurance company forced me into a 4 banger fox less than a year later as I had a penchant for collecting traffic citations. Thanks for the write up, nice to relive the summer of ’87 in Columbus, OH. What a year and summer 2020 has been, ugh…..

    Like 16
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Looks like a nice Comet. Even with the up-spec GT package, those trim rings/hubcaps give it a very plain look. If I had it I would wake it up with some Magnum 500’s or similar. If in decent shape like this one, these make for simple, easy collector cars, with bulletproof drivelines and ample parts availability.

    Note to Al: Interesting to read of adventures of your younger days. I’m assuming you now treat your automotive machinery with a bit more respect…!! ?? !! …..

    Like 11
    • Phlathead Phil

      No kidding. I never “Smoked” a car with such ‘attitude.’

      Like 0
  3. David

    What a nice car. I think I once saw a BF write up of a similar Comet GT , but that one was a 302 2V , 3 speed manual transmission.

    Like 0
  4. Steve R

    Very nice car with potential at what is currently a reasonable price.

    Good luck to the new owner.

    Steve R

    Like 6
  5. MorganW MorganW

    Nicest Comet I’ve seen in a while! The 302 was an option on the Comet GT (and the Grabber). Base engine on both was the 170 six. There would have originally been a patch of matte black paint on the hood just ahead of the scoop.

    Like 6
  6. Darrun

    I drove one like this in High School. Only difference, mine was a 3 speed Standard on the floor.

    Like 2
  7. Frank

    Remember seeing this and the Maverick version at the NY Auto Show and desperately wanting to trade my 68 Falcon for one.

    Like 0
  8. Bob C.

    The only problem I found the with the 302 in these cars is changing the spark plugs were a bear.

    Like 0
  9. Phlathead Phil

    Dats a nice un! Two piece hood too.

    Price is CORRECT!

    Like 0
  10. PRA4SNW

    Ended at $8,100 with Reserve Not Met.

    Like 1
  11. JoeNYWF64

    These “special editions” in ’71(& ’70-’71 grabber) should have had a 4 barrel carb & dual exhaust avail at least optionally, if not std. I would not want to be beat in 1 of these(if this was a 6) or matched at a stoplite by a plain jane one with the same corresponding motor – that grandma was driving. lol

    Like 1

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