The 1964-1965 Mercury Comet joined the parade as stacked headlights became an industry styling trend that started picking up steam in 1965. The quad-light treatment, with high-low beams at the top and high-beams only on the bottom, fit into the outer edges of the grille, which looked much lower than one would think possible.
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All Comets but the Villager adopted triple front fender dashes.
Meanwhile, stacks of fine horizontal bars fostered a look of width. Bodyside sculpting was modified, narrowing considerably in the front fenders. The tubelike detail found the rear quarters of 1964s was eliminated, as was the pointed design of the upper rear. In fact, the rear quarters and edge of the decklid now angled forward -- which contributed to a loss of some usable trunk space. The treatment altered the appearance enough to let someone seeing a 1965 Comet in profile know that this was a new model.
All Comets but the Villager adopted triple front-fender dashes. Some series saw brightwork shuffles from 1964. On 404s, a thin chrome strip highlighted the upper portion of the bodyside sculpturing.
Calientes moved their sparkle down low, where a wide band ran from behind the front wheel opening to the rear bumper. Bodyside trim was essentially unchanged on 202s and Cyclones, but the latter did get its own grille treatment in which the bars at the top, bottom, and far ends were blacked out. Also, at midyear, a limited run of fiberglass hoods with twin low-profile scoops were made available as a Cyclone option.
Out back, a total redesign further departed from any of the other divisional offerings. On Calientes and Cyclones, five horizontal ribs ran the width of the car, over the flush-fitting taillight lenses and around the edges of the quarter panels.
When ordered, parking lights were fitted at the very corners of the car.
The instrument cluster was changed, trading a strip speedometer for a circular speedometer/odometer as the central gauge. It was still flanked by round dials for fuel level, coolant temperature, electrical charge, and oil pressure. Upholstery patterns were revised as well.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd
A circular speedometer/odometer replaced a strip speedometer as the central gauge.
An unchanged range of models was powered by a pared-down roster of engines. The 170-cid six, 260-cid V-8, and 271-bhp 289 were dropped. All but the Cyclone now came standard with the 200-cube six, which, thanks to a half-point compression boost, pumped out an impressive 120 bhp. V-8 power began with a 289-cid two-barrel-intake engine rated at 200 bhp. Standard in Cyclones -- and optional in other Comets -- was a four-barrel 289 with a 10.0:1 compression ratio and an advertised 225 bhp.
The two-speed automatic was no longer available, but all other transmissions were carried over from 1964. In a side-by-side test of a Caliente with the 200-bhp engine and automatic and a 225-horse four-speed Cyclone, Motor Trend achieved lower 0-60 times than comparable 1964s, but quarter-mile runs took longer.
Options for 1965 were pretty much in line with the rest of the industry: air conditioning for all models, AM/FM radio, power steering and brakes, a limited-slip axle, and safety items such as retractable seat belts, four-way emergency flashers, and remote controlled outside rear-view mirrors. The standard tachometer in Cyclones could be replaced by a “Rally-Pac” that included the tach, an elapsed-time clock, and a vacuum gauge in pods that sat atop the dash. (A tachometer was available as an option on any Comet with a V-8.) Cyclones could also be ordered with beefed-up suspension components.
Read about the market endurance of the 1964-1965 Mercury Comet on the next page.
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