1964 Ford Mercury Comet Caliente Coupe (LHD)
Mercury's compact Comet series made its debut in March 1960, becoming the brand's first model powered by a six-cylinder engine. Sharing a common platform with Ford's Falcon, the Comet featured its own distinctive styling, with rear fins and slanted taillights and was sold in sedan, hardtop and station wagon guises. Over the next three seasons, the first generation Comet evolved into a stylish, well-equipped package that proved popular with Americans wanting a little more class than the equivalent Ford could muster. In 1964 Mercury unveiled its second generation Comet with sharper, more squared-off lines and a Lincoln Continental-inspired full width grille. Mercury also revamped the model line-up and the 1964 Comet was available in two different trim levels, the basic 202 supplemented by the more upmarket 404, the latter distinguished by full-length side moldings. The standard Comet engine was a 170-cid straight six rated at 101 horsepower, with drivetrain options including a 200-cid six rated at 116 horsepower and a 260-cid V8 with 164 horsepower on tap, most equipped with automatic transmissions. Two new additions to the Comet range for 1964 were the more luxury-oriented Caliante, also available as a convertible, and Comet Cyclone with a powerful 289-cid V8 under the hood and sleek hardtop styling. Described by Mercury's marketing department as “Every bit as hot as it looks!” the Caliente's distinctive brightwork was matched inside by a walnut grain dash with additional padding and deep pile carpeting. The Caliente Hardtop proved particularly popular, outselling both sedan and convertible models, and 31,204 were built in total. Although Mercury campaigned the full-size Marauder in NASCAR events, a stripped down Comet was built exclusively for drag racing in 1964, complete with 427-cid V8s under the bonnet and these lightweight Comet Cyclones dominated A/FX drag racing that season.