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Original 302: 1973 Mercury Comet

I’ve always found the 1973 Ford Maverick and Mercury Comet fascinating vehicles. Although the First Generation Mustang was in its final days of production, these cousins were closer in design philosophy to the early Mustangs than the Mustang II would prove to be. This was especially true if the original owner ordered their new toy with a V8 under the hood. That is the story behind this 1973 Comet, which has remained in the care of only two people during its fifty years. It presents well for its age, with no glaring problems or apparent needs beyond a new home. The seller listed it here on eBay in San Ramon, California. They set a BIN of $25,000 with the option to make an offer. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for referring this gem to us.

Around two years ago, the seller purchased this Comet from its original owner in Portland, Oregon. It is unclear whether it received any restoration work, but if it hasn’t, its condition suggests it has led a pampered life. The Saddle Bronze paint shines deeply, complemented by the White vinyl top. The panels are as straight as an arrow, and there is no evidence or mention of existing or previous rust issues. The original owner selected tinted glass that looks flawless, with the same true of the trim and chrome. Our feature car rolls on a set of shiny Cragar wheels, and while I generally favor originality, these don’t look out of place. Combined with the dual exhaust poking out the back of this classic, it suggests there probably isn’t a six lurking under the hood.

Comet buyers in 1973 could order their new car powered by a 200ci six, but this classic’s original owner went to the top of the class by specifying the 302ci V8. They added a three-speed automatic transmission and power steering to create an effortless driving experience. With emission regulations biting deeply, the V8’s power output of 138hp seems modest. However, it allowed the Comet to cover the ¼-mile in 17.4 seconds. To place that figure in perspective, a similarly equipped ’73 Mustang Hardtop took 18 seconds for the same journey, while the best an owner could extract from the following year’s Mustang II was 18.3 seconds. It provides interesting reading if we rewind the clock and compare the Comet with a 1965 Mustang. There is little to separate the pair under the tape measure. With an A-code 289 under the hood and 200hp to burn, the ’65 galloped through the ¼ in 16.5 seconds. Admittedly, the older car was slightly faster, but the Mercury offered improved comfort and refinement. The seller states the car runs and drives well and is a turnkey classic ready to provide its new owner with motoring pleasure.

If the Comet’s exterior impresses, its interior continues the theme. It is trimmed in Tan vinyl, showing no wear or other problems. The back seat is spotless, as are the dash and carpet. The wheel is a later addition, but I can’t spot other aftermarket items. The original owner ordered the car with air conditioning, and while the system is complete, it doesn’t blow cold. The seller suggests it needs a service, but it is possible that a few of the seals have seen better days after fifty years. The only other optional item is the AM radio to relieve boredom on long journeys.

Some readers will question my statement comparing the 1973 Mercury Comet with the early Mustang, but it deserves consideration. Only a few inches separated the pair in wheelbase, overall length, and width. Both were available with a V8 engine, and although the Mustang was faster, the Comet acquitted itself well in an era of tightening emission standards. The price is at the top end of the market, but the car’s condition and specifications mean the figure is not unprecedented. Twenty-one people are watching the listing, and it will be fascinating to monitor the situation to see whether any will hit the BIN button. Do you think they will?

Comments

  1. Moparman Moparman Member

    This is a nice looking car, although I never cared for this iteration of the “halo” vinyl top. It also has the weird low mounted interior door handles. This would be a good start for someone looking to get into old car ownership, and a lot of Mustang performance parts could enhance its’ performance. GLWTA!!

    Like 7
    • Robert West

      Considering how many Mavericks that used to be on the street they are now few and far between. The Comet is a pretty rare find in 2023. No telling how many Mavericks they sold for every Comet that sold. They are one of the more affordable classic cars on the market but I think $25,000 is rather steep for a car that most people still don’t look at twice. It’s not a classic Mustang.

      Like 21
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        I agree. However nice the car may be, $25k is expensive! For a car to be that expensive, you’d have to be either a Lincoln, a Cadillac or an Imperial.

        Like 1
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Beautiful exterior but why didn’t they carry over the work to the engine compartment? One of the best examples I’ve ever seen but is that BIN a bit high or not?

    Like 17
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Looks like a nice example. Would be a low-stress kind of collector car. I like the period-correct colors. I’m with bobhess, it could be a fun and fulfilling project to refurbish the engine compartment, to complement the clean exterior. BIN seems high.

    Like 12
  4. Bick Banter

    These were very attractive cars 2-door form with the various sport appearance packages (Maverick Grabber and Stallion, Comet GT). Most of them were more plebian though, and they never got a performance engine option.

    Like 6
  5. Connecticut mark

    Beautiful but is it really that shiny? Or is it wet too, I can not tell.

    Like 4
    • CCFisher

      It’s wet. A cheap trick used by this seller to justify that ridiculous price.

      Like 10
  6. Ray Dixon

    What happened to the engine department detail 🤦‍♂️ and original correct steering wheel ? A nice car otherwise 🤔

    Like 9
  7. Big C

    We owned a ’73 Comet, back in the mid 90’s. White, with the tan halo roof, the tan interior and the V-8. Bought for $600, zero rust, faded paint, a perfect interior and 50,000 miles. My wife drove it as a winter beater! I sold it a couple years later for $1800, in the same condition as we got it in. I shoulda’ known!

    Like 3
  8. Bob S

    This is like my 74 maverick that I had, if I’m not mistaken, it has the LDO package. Nice looking comet, but I think the seller is a little optimistic.

    Like 4
    • Gene Perkins

      Yes, definitely looks like LDO to me! Nice car but not at that price!!

      Like 2
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        Absolutely! $25k is insane money for a car like this, however nice its condition may be. For a car like this, along with the Ford Maverick, I’d pay between $5k and $10k.

        Like 1
  9. Robert West

    One thing I am surprised by is that this car is 50 years old and still has a 2 barrel carburetor. Upgrading to a 4 barrel carburetor is usually the first upgrade, along with running a true dual exhaust system.

    Like 3
  10. Tom F

    I owned a 75 Maverick Grabber with a 302……worst year with the bogged down 302 motor which looked nice but ran like the pollution down motor it had in it. Got horrific gas mileage. Would take a 73 or earlier. Nice car this comet

    Like 4
  11. Howie

    Been a long time since i have seen one on the road, yes the seller is dreaming at that price!!

    Like 5
  12. Richard Mcdonald

    It is a nice car and with the 302 it should be fairly quick i remember when they were just cheap used cars although i prefer the styling of the granadas and monarchs released in 1975 this still is a nice car

    Like 3
  13. Howie

    Wow!! It now says Sold, best offer accepted.

    Like 3
  14. OCBear

    My high school car (77-80) was a ‘71 Comet that I purchased from my mom, the original owner, for $700. Straight-6 bullet-proof motor was not my idea of perfection at the time after I found out she could have ordered a 302. Chalk it up to my cheap dad. Still enjoyed the heck out of that car as it took me & my friends on surf outings every weekend.
    This is a really nice car but the seller is asking waaaay too much for her. I’m sure they’ll get a pretty penny from someone willing to overpay. Better investments are out there.
    OCBear

    Like 3
    • Denny N. Member

      Ah, another survivor from the vinyl top era.
      I never could understand that fad or why it hung around so long.
      In the late 60s I was a parts mgr for a Buick dealer. They had an Electra 225 in the showroom without a vinyl top. Nobody wanted that car! They finally took it to a specialist shop and had an aftermarket vinyl top installed. It sold soon after.

      Like 3
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        Right? I’ve never understood the whole vinyl roof thing. Whatever were they trying to do?

        Like 1
      • DON

        The same could be said for tailfins and opera windows – it was just something that made the car stand out. I never had an issue with any of them, its something from that period of automotive styling

        Like 1
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        I would’ve bought an Electra 225 with or without a vinyl roof. I’ve always thought the vinyl roof looked tacky.

        Like 0
  15. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I’ve always loved the Ford Maverick and Mercury Comet. I don’t get why neither were popular for collectors. I find the Comet the best looking of the two. My only serious complaint of the two is that neither were available as a station wagon. I’d have bought one if I could get one as a station wagon.

    Like 1
  16. PRA4SNW

    SOLD – Best Offer Accepted.

    Nice, but not 25K nice.

    Like 2
  17. Burt

    I know they sold a lot of mustang IIs but I always wondered what would’ve happened if they had based it on the maverick?

    Like 0
  18. Lance

    $25,000 for a 50 year old compact car should at least include a functional air conditioning system. Color is not my favorite as early Mavericks were advertised in vibrant paint hues with catchy names. I still love the size, style and cosmetic condition of the Comet. It is sad Ford only sells the Musrang and no other other car models today. It is ironic that CAFE rules helped kill.V8 cars like this Comet only to be replaced by gas guzzling behemoth trucks and SUVs typically used more by commuters and families not just farmers and contractors who need truck based vehicles.

    Like 2
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. As nice as this car is, there’s no way in hell I would’ve been willing to pay $25k for a car like this, not even close! I’d willingly pay between $10k and $15k.

      Like 1
  19. GIJOOOE

    Let’s see, a 350hp 4 speed Corvette for $28.5k or a smog choked, 138 measly horsepower Comet for $25k? I really like the looks of the Maverick/Comet twins, but oh my how far the mighty had fallen in 5 short years. I’d love to have one with a built 302 and a 4 speed, but my absolute highest price would be $10k-$15k, and it better be in immaculate condition. $25k for this is insulting, especially considering how many badass cars are out there for similar money.

    Like 1
  20. Car Nut Tacoma

    @ DON: I agree. I’m more of a function kind of guy. Unless there’s a functional purpose to that styling, I don’t want to see it on the car.

    Like 0
  21. 64 Bonneville

    with the % added for the options of the 302 and air conditioning, even a #1 tops out around $13,000. The least seller could have done was steam clean the engine compartment. I don’t know what the best offer accepted was, but maybe somebody with more money than brains jumped all over it. I did flip a few early Mavericks and comets, but only cleared around $250 on each.

    Like 0

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