The Orphan Child: 1960 Comet

Originally intended to be released as part of the ailing Edsel product range, the Comet eventually became a Mercury model when Ford decided to end the Edsel experiment. However, from its introduction in 1960, through until 1962, the Comet was something of an orphan child. If you look closely at this particular car, you will spot numerous Comet badges, but not a single Mercury badge. Mercury was not keen to have the car as part of its product range, and only begrudgingly allowed it to be sold via its dealerships. However, it came to market at the height of the compact car boom, and the Comet outsold the rest of the Mercury range by a ratio of 2-to-1. Mercury had a hit on its hands, so relented in 1962, and the car finally wore Mercury badges. Barn Finder Ikey H spotted this Comet for us, so thank you for that Ikey. This particular Comet, which the owner refers to as a Ford, is looking for a new home. It is located in Gilroy, California, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a price of $5,000 for the Comet, and while he is firm on that price, he does state that the car will remain on the market until sold. However, he will be reducing the price by $500 per week until this happens. That’s where any potential buyer may have to gamble. Do you wait for the price to drop, and hope that you can beat any other potential buyers to the punch? Or do you minimize your risks and buy it now?

This is a nice looking old classic, and the condition is quite impressive. The owner says that the floors are nice and solid, and while there are a couple of minor rust spots on the body, these are very small, and can easily be repaired. There is also some minor damage just above the rear bumper on the passenger side, but this just looks like an old car that you could climb into and enjoy as it is.

The interior is essentially original and is in quite nice condition. The owner has fitted a Bluetooth player, but the control unit has been hidden in the ashtray, the amplifier is in the trunk, and there is a single speaker for it fitted into the rear parcel tray. The upholstery on the seats is free of rips and tears, but it is faded. New covers could be fitted to bring them back to life, although the next owner could either leave them as they are, or throw on a set of aftermarket seat covers if they want to preserve the car’s originality. The dash looks good with the original radio, which still works well, still in place. The rest of the interior looks pretty much as it did when it rolled off the production line, with the only other potential issue being some visible wear on the wheel.

The owner doesn’t provide any photos of the engine but does state that it is the original 144ci straight-six, which is backed by a 3-speed manual transmission. With only 90hp on tap, the car is never going to be a jet, but that’s not what this car is about. It was introduced as an economy car that was easy to drive, and that is precisely what this one is. The owner says that it drives like new and that it consistently achieves 30mpg, which is quite impressive for a car of this size and vintage. The owner also purchased a set of 14″ steel wheels with a view to upgrading the brakes to front discs, but after servicing the existing units and fitting a dual-pot master cylinder, he has found the braking to now be well and truly adequate.

For someone looking for a classic that is ready to drive and enjoy immediately, this 1960 Comet looks like a pretty good option. The condition is quite impressive, and there are only a few detail items to be considered, and these can be addressed at the new owner’s leisure. The big question would be whether to buy it immediately, or do you roll the dice, wait for the price to drop, and hope that it doesn’t get sold from underneath you? What would you do?

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Comments

  1. Ramone Member

    I always thought of these as Mercury’s version of the Falcon. Didn’t know they were sold as Fords originally. This thing is cool. The red and white just screams 1960. I would drive it as is, slowly, of course. Surely worth the money, I think.

    8
    • 71FXSuperGlide

      With that whopping 144 ci six, you’d have little choice but to drive it slowly, LOL.

      I had one of these, and just yesterday came across the original keys for it in the house. Three on tree, no power anything, those cat-eye tail lights, but a great car for a college kid.

      I’d spring for it at $5K if I was in the market.

      4
    • Bill W

      The Comet was not sold as a Ford, but just Comet in 1960 and 1961. In 1962 it became the Mercury Comet.

      And all Comets were sold at Mercury-Lincoln dealers. Ford dealers had the Falcon.

      And no 1960 Comets in Canada. In 1960 Canadian Mercury-Meteor dealers had the Frontenac – basically a Falcon with unique grille, tallights, trim and red maple leafs almost everywhere.

  2. Ralph

    When you learn these were originally were going to be Edsels you can see some of the Edsel styling cues in the cove down the side and the gauge cluster.

    7
    • David P. Reeves

      I also think that the tail lights on the 1960-61 models are the same as a 1960 Edsel.

      5
      • Ralph

        I forgot to mention the taillights and I think COMET was also chosen because it had the same number of letters as EDSEL so the holes for the emblems wouldn’t have to be changed.

        7
      • Will Fox

        I thought so too, but they’re not. The Comet’s lenses are larger. Same shape ironically, but slightly different in size.

        6
    • Sanityfactor@outlook.com

      The C ignition key was an Edsel E key with the center line removed….ford never sold these…they were Edsels under a new name just like Plymouth did w the Valient….

      5
  3. dave brennan

    I’d be all over this if closer!!

    3
  4. Krindall

    Most popular car in art school parking lots in the 80’s

    6
    • PatrickM

      lol!!!

      1
  5. Lemble

    The very first year or 2 of these came with a title that said Edsel. My brother had one in his hand reading it. If this was closer I would also be checking it out.

    7
  6. KSwheatfarmer Member

    Amazing, This is a baby Edsel,learn something new every day.

    4
  7. Fred W

    The 144 six rivaled the Mercedes 300D (non turbo) in agonizing slowness, at least with the 2 speed automatic. Never drove a standard but it couldn’t be that much better. 0-60 was in VW bus territory. Looks good though!

    2
    • Paul Hudson

      I got to drive my uncles Falcon with the 144 and three speed on the column. I had a 1977 F-100 with the 300 six and three on the tree and that was fun to drive. It was pretty quick too. The Falcon on the other hand almost has to be double clutched to keep up the speed between shifts. The thing that stood out to me was the shift lever felt to be just a little larger than and turn signal lever. It’s a fun car just in a slow way.

  8. Will Fox

    You just do NOT EVER find these `60 models around today!! If you do, they are usually far worse for wear than this baby. $5K? Even $4500., I’d snatch it if I could. I would have the red/white seats redone as per factory, add proper whitewalls, make sure the weak straight six and 3-speed were up to par, and make it a summer driver for shows!!! THIS would garner some looks, and I bet you’d have the only one for hundreds of miles!
    Oh…and being in Gilroy, I myself would time the pickup of this car with their garlic festival they have every year!! NIRVANA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3
  9. Tom

    I had one in 1964 the problem with it was the six cylinder would spin the bearings had it happen twice also you were constantly shifting because the gear ratio was close after having one I do not believe that I would buy another

  10. Mountainwoodie

    What a great ad………..thorough, direct and to the point missing only a pix of the engine compartment….and the seller is throwing in the wheels and rear end. Come On!

    Good for the seller. I hope someone buys it who wants to keep it just as it is.

    They’re only original ( as can be) once………

    2
    • 71FXSuperGlide

      Anyone else notice the seller stated he bought it for his wife as a daily driver, and it’s now being sold as part of the divorce settlement?

      Oops.

      4
    • Bob_in_TN Member

      I don’t spend much time on Craigslist, other than to look at car ads via links from this site. The quality of the ads is, with rare exceptions, abysmal. I guess people don’t understand how a well-written, thorough ad with plenty of pics will increase the chances of finding a buyer, and getting a good price. This is indeed a good ad.

      If one doesn’t have the skills to create a respectable advertisement, ask around for a seventh grader to help you.

      And, the car is pretty cool too.

      1
  11. boxdin

    Pissed her off lol

    2
  12. jetson

    So it will be free in 10 weeks? I’ll wait. Actually, it brings back memories of the early Comet wagon my brother had and loaned me when I was in college. I got pulled over by the CHP on a slight hill on a freeway somewhere outside of LA at 2 in the morning when I was 18. The CHP thought anyone driving that slowly and wandering in the lane that much must have been drinking. I wasn’t. That was as fast and as straight as that thing would go.

    5
  13. Bob C.

    I always thought these first generation Comets were awesome looking cars, with those cat eye taillights. I’m pretty sure they were the same ones used on the 1960 Edsels in their final year. Good thing it has a manual transmission for that underpowered six. The 170 would have been a better choice if it were available that year.

  14. glenn

    every one of these i have driven have had the finicky transmission stalk that you had to push up to start the car, anyone else have that experience

  15. Del

    Nice car

    Great price

    1
  16. 73 Xr7 PDX

    I don’t comment often, but I remember my father driving “the kids” in this color, year Comet. The car was his mother’s (grandmother), and this goofball and his two young sisters did not enjoy the trip.. from St. Louis to Kansas City..in July. 3on the tree, small 6, and of course no radio, or heater!! ( Heater was a $10 option in FL where she lived). Air conditioner?? Haha… seatbelts..burned into my memories

  17. Bob

    Price dropped to $4500! A real steel for a newbie hobbyist!!

    1

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