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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale August 18th – 20th, 2016 at Russo and Steele’s 16th Annual Monterey, California Auction. Please contact us for more information.
While Mercury had already offered the performance-oriented, NASCAR-inspired Marauder on the full-size Mercury Monterey platform, the Ford Motor Company division entered the fast-growing youth market with the intermediate Comet Cyclone in January 1964. Based on the newly restyled Comet, with its Lincoln-style front end and crisp overall styling, the Cyclone was initially available as a 2-door hardtop coupe with an aggressive attitude courtesy of reduced bright trim, chrome reverse-style wheel covers, and 289 small-block V-8 power. Other sporty Cyclone features included contoured bucket seats, special nameplates and full lower bodyside mouldings, available vinyl roof coverings, plus a floor console, tachometer, and three-spoke steering wheel. Underhood, the Cyclone’s engine included special chromed valve covers, air cleaner, dipstick, and chromed oil filter and radiator covers.
If anyone mistook the Comet Cyclone for a high-style poser, the little Mercury carried plenty of punch. In fact, the car’s basic design was proven over the highly publicized Comet Durability Run, with a team of Comets racking up 100,000 miles on Daytona’s legendary oval. On America’s dragstrips, supercharged Comet racecars ran in A/FX, the wild stock-bodied precursor to AA/FC Funny Cars, in the hands of Sox and Martin and Jack Chrisman, while their Ford Fairlane stablemates ran in Super Stock. Of all Comet models produced, the Cyclone was quite rare when new with just 7,454 built in all for ’64. However, while Mercury was a successful jewel in Ford’s corporate crown, it had virtually no marketing budget for 1964, with all available marketing resources monopolized by the Ford Mustang’s launch campaign. However, Mercury’s racing director Fran Hernandez overcame the corporate rivalry with massive free press generated from the upstart Ford division’s racing success.
Ford’s hot solid-lifter “K-Code” 289 V-8 engine was initially advertised by Mercury for the ’64 Comet, but after tooling was already made and dealer brochures printed, Ford limited Mercury to the 210-horsepower “D-Code” 289. Hernandez instructed his engineers to improvise, so they took the plentiful 600-CFM Autolite carburetor from the parts bin and upgraded the Mercury 289 into a deeper-breathing, hot-performing rival to Ford’s K-Code 289, which was limited by its smaller 470-CFM carb. Interestingly, this special and rare Mercury-only 289 engine was given the “K” code and it slipped right under the noses of Ford’s top brass! Also known as the “Cyclone Super” V-8, this special “K” 289 turned the lightweight Comet into a street and strip terror capable of humbling many far more powerful “on paper” opponents. Unlike Ford’s top 289 in the Fairlane, Mercury’s “K” engine was also available with the C-4 automatic transmission, causing many buyers to choose a new Mercury instead.
Carrying the “K” digit in the fifth position of its VIN, this very rare 1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone is confirmed as a top-of-the-line, factory-built Cyclone Super 289-powered car with the special 600-CFM Autolite 4-barrel carburetor. It is California-titled, with history dating to its original sale when new by G.K. Hardt Lincoln-Mercury of Santa Rosa, California to A.J. Anderson of Kenwood, California, as confirmed by the original warranty information. Highlights include recently re-upholstered seats, power steering and brakes, a Merc-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission, and the very rare and correct Mercury Comet Cyclone air cleaner assembly. This very rare and highly desirable K-Code Comet Cyclone has remained in sunny and dry California for its entire lifetime and it is further complete with the original owner’s manual, plus a great collection of original Mercury Comet posters, articles, and sales brochures. As such, this Cyclone Super 289-powered 1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone convertible stands as truly outstanding, investment-grade example of one of Mercury’s hottest and most desirable 1960s models. It is also far rarer than any variant of the Ford Mustang, Falcon Sprints, and even Mercury’s Comet Cyclone and Caliente models, marking an outstanding opportunity to own and collect one of the rarest and most interesting cars of Ford Motor Company’s “Total Performance” era – in open-air form, no less!