Tom Shaw
September 1, 1999

It was 1966 when Ford's intermediate Fairlane joined hands with the Mercury Comet and stepped into big-block land. It was the biggest milestone for the big-selling, if somewhat boring, compact since its introduction in 1960. The Comet began life as Mercury's answer to the Falcon, even though it wasn't badged as a Mercury until 1962. When Mercury consolidated its compact Comet and intermediate Meteor lines in 1964, the Meteor was dropped and Comet became the intermediate, but it was still limited to small-block power. That is, until 1966 when its dimensions were expanded to bring the Ford intermediates up to par with their peers from GM and Mopar that were kicking butt on the street and in the marketplace, thanks to their big-block power.

Funny thing, though--even though Ford offered its killer 427 in the Fairlane, they were few and far between. Which brings us to the Mercury Comet. Mercury offered identical drivetrains, but if 427 Fairlanes were rare, 427 Comets were whatever comes after rare. So what's a Chevelle or {{{GTO}}} driver supposed to think when he pulls up along- side this ultra-strippo Comet 202 that looks like it just escaped from the phone-company fleet? A quick scan reveals the absolute bottom-basement, two-door sedan with the homely B-pillar, black paint (called Onyx in the brochures), the complete absence of exterior brightwork, cheapo wheels with--hold the redlines or raised white letters--whitewalls, and not a white, nor red, but a tan bench-seat interior. Oh man, are you asleep yet? If you failed to catch the rumble of the dual exhaust (tailpipes are hidden) or hear the clickety-clack of the solid-lifter cam, there was one last red flag before you met your doom--that little badge way at the front of the fender with those three magical numbers: 4-2-7. The wise spotted this danger sign. Everyone else had to learn the hard way.

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This was Ford's ultimate weapon. It had all the good stuff--side-oiler block, forged pistons and rods, balanced crank, twin Holleys, 11.1:1 compression, mechanical lifters, long-tube headers, and an artful beauty that almost required lingering stares. Four-speed only on the 427. No Cruise-O-Matic, no three-speed. And to package this masterpiece driveline in the lowliest body that upscale Mercury dared put its name on was, depending on your perspective, either the greatest tragedy ever to befall the musclecar world, or its brightest stroke of brilliance. We'll take the latter. Think of it as Secretariat winning the Kentucky Derby in a donkey suit.

This magnificent 1967 Comet 202 is from the incredible Dick Bridges collection. All original inside and out, the Merc shows just 1,998.6 miles on the clock. That’s right; you’re looking at Super Diamond Lustre Enamel as applied at Ford’s Lorain, Ohio, plant. And naturally, being a Dick Bridges car, everything under the hood is original Ford issue. Repro parts? Perish the thought! Hoses, clamps, belts, plug wires--everything is OEM. The discussion of options, a favorite topic of musclecar aficionados, is real short for this car. It’s got only an AM/FM radio, power brakes, and whitewall tires. Dick bought it from Randy Hinson, another prominent collector from the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. Back in the years that this mighty Merc was active on the street, word got around fast about that innocent-looking Comet coupe... avoid it like the plague.