Pick of the Day: 1964 Mercury Comet Lightweight

One of the greatest things about my writing about classic cars job is that the more time I spend in the collector car hobby, the more I learn. Just when I think I have learned everything there is to know about old cars, I learn something new.

Take for instance the cars from Ford’s Total Performance Program of the 1960s. I knew about the Shelby cars, the Cyclone Spoiler, the Thunderbolt, and the Torino Talladega. I have driven most, if not all of these cars, and thought that outside of pure race cars (such as the GT40 and Indy cars) that was it. Then I came upon the Mercury Comet Lightweight A/FX cars.

You see, in the 1960s Ford, GM, and MOPAR were in an all out war to see which manufacturer reigned supreme in the racing arena. This was because they learned that the idea of “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” was a real thing. People would see cars win at the track, and then buyers would go to dealerships seeking cars like the ones they saw winning the weekend before. At the beginning of this war for speed Lincoln-Mercury had not participated but seeing the sales results of the program in 1964 they decided to go all in.

Not only did then enter the fray, they went big. They decided to start in drag racing, and not in the stock or super stock classes. They wanted to start at the top in the NHRA’s new A/Factory Experimental class. Doing this allowed Mercury to avoid direct competition with the Ford Super Stock Thunderbolts and be able to take advantage of the reduced production requirements in A/FX, meaning they did not have to meet street production requirements and could instead create a purpose built drag car. Seeing what Ford had done with the Thunderbolts, Lincoln-Mercury contracted with Dearborn Steel Tubing to modify a fleet of 22 new 427 Hi-Riser Comets for the new A/FX class. The formula was perfect from the start. Mercury would use Ford’s 427/425 hp High-Riser engine in conjunction with a Hurst-shifted 4-speed manual transmission and the same 9-inch rear seen in the Thunderbolts. In addition they used fiberglass instead of steel for the front bumper, hood, fenders and doors. They also used lightweight glass to reduce weight and allow the 427 to better show what it could do. The interior was stripped of radio and heater, and it was fitted with lightweight Bostrum bucket seats and a dash-mounted tach. The cars were completed with the Dearborn Steel Tubing suspension tweaks and finished with Wimbledon White paint over red interiors.

The formula worked and put Mercury at the top of the NHRA A/FX class.

The Pick of the Day is one of these 22 cars, a 1964 Mercury Comet A/FX Lightweight located in Greenwood, Indiana.

According to the seller this 1964 Mercury Comet A/FX lightweight has been restored to its original McCoy Mercury livery as it was raced in the A/FX class when new!

This Mercury’s exterior looks to be perfect and looking over the photos in the galley you can see that all the parts are the way they are supposed to be, including the fiberglass hood, fenders, and bumpers. The restoration work appears to be perfect and the fact that it is painted in its original race livery only adds to the appeal.

The interior is the same with everything accurate and correct. There are few amenities other than manual windows but this is not a car for amenities. This Comet is a car that was built to do one thing and that was win at the track, which it did frequently.

There is great documented history for this car as well. This 1964 Mercury Comet Lightweight was first owned and raced by Rising Sun, Maryland, racer Ron Riley and sponsored by McCoy Mercury. Riley later sold the car to Al Hinkle who installed an injected Chevrolet 327 and a straight front axle, campaigning the car as the “Hairy Canary.” Ralph Hindley of Monticello, New York, then acquired the car and later sold it to Randy DeLisio, who restored it to its original configuration before selling it to collector Don Fezell.

If you are looking for a genuine classic 1960s Ford Motor Company factory built racecar, you may want to seriously consider this Comet Lightweight. Yes the $255,000 asking price puts it at a high tier of the market, but then again this car was always at the top of its game on the track so that price makes sense to me. Think of it as the ultimate Ford powered muscle car.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see the library of stories at Pick of the Day.