For the 1967 Mercury Comet, L-M management decided to abandon "durability" as a marketing theme and began calling it "The Man's Car." A dealer brochure that year proclaimed, "The man who loves the excitement of high performance will just naturally take to the Cyclone two-door hardtop or convertible. Man-powered with the Cyclone 289 V-8 ... this is the Man's Car with a heritage of performance. Mercury Cyclone -- for men who like their action big." And so it went.
In 1967, the Cyclone GT hardtop began
at $3,034, a $143 increase.
The Man's Car campaign might have been a deliberate slap at the women's movement, which was just then starting to get national recognition. "Women's lib" was viewed by the establishment as a fringe activity, as were the rising protests against U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The burners of bras and draft cards brought out emotions in everyone during that era.
By calling Mercury the Man's Car, Madison Avenue was giving the public a wink and a nudge and the message that in these rocky times, one solid institution was the Mercury automobile. What this campaign did for Comet sales to women can only be imagined.
The division also began backing away from the Comet name for its line of intermediates. Only the 202 sedans and Voyager wagon were still actively promoted as Comets; the others were advertised solely by their series names. Shared styling and furnishings kept the family bonds intact, of course. A full-width, single-element grille replaced the narrower two-section ensemble used in 1966. On coupes and sedans, vertical taillights ousted horizontal lamps and a slightly revised rear bumper added a half inch to overall length.
The basic 200-cubic-inch six and 289-cubic-inch V-8 remained unchanged. The two-barrel-carbureted 390s of 1966 were now consolidated in a single 270-horsepower version available with manual or automatic transmission. The Sport Shift autobox was renamed Select-Shift Merc-O-Matic and became the lone automatic trans.
Also, at the top end of the 1967 Comet line, the optional Cyclone GT Performance Group now started with a detuned version of the four-barrel 390. This engine delivered 320 horsepower instead of the previous 335 (though listed torque and compression figures were unaltered).
The most radical difference between 1966 and 1967 Comets was that two 427-cubic-inch V-8s joined the 1967 lineup -- or at least came out of hiding. At the bottom of the Comet power teams chart in the 1966 sales brochure, an obscure note indicated "An optional high-performance 427 CID engine will be available on special order after January 1, 1966." (The same engines were offered in the Fairlane, but installations in Ford Motor Company intermediates were exceedingly rare.) The following year, however, the 427s were openly listed in the Mercury catalog.
The "Cyclone 427" delivered 410 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 476 pound-feet of torque at 3,400 rpm; the "Cyclone 427 Super" was rated at 425 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 480 pound-feet at 3700 rpm. The former ran one four-barrel carb and the latter came with two four-barrels. Both were solid-lifter engines with six-quart oil pans and 11.1:1 compression ratio. The 427s, either of which added $1,129 to the tab for a V-8 Mercury intermediate, came only with four-speed gearboxes. But here's the kicker: They were available in any closed 1967 Comet two-door model (except the GT hardtop) -- yes, even the bobtailed sub-3,000-pound 202 sedan.
The 427 V-8 had the same 352-cubic-inch Y-block ancestor as the 390, but unlike the 390, the 427 was engineered strictly for all-out drag racing. All 427 castings and internal parts were heavier duty than the 390's, including pistons, rods, the forged-steel crankshaft, and the cross-bolted main-bearing caps. Even with their somewhat higher profile, a relative handful of 427s were ordered in 1967 Comets.
Of lesser interest, the 1967 Caliente four-door sedan became available with a Grande interior, with knitted nylon upholstery fashioned in a diamond pattern. It was a $105 option. An eight-track Stereo-Sonic tape player was new to the options list, as were power front disc brakes. Among the style and convenience extras carried over from 1966 were a vinyl roof, in-dash Whisper-Aire air conditioning, and a remote decklid release.
For 1968, the Montego and Cyclone nameplates replaced most of the Comet line, but that's an entirely different story. The 1966 model, and especially the 1967, marked the peak of the Comet line.
On the next page, find listings of models, prices, and production of the 1966-1967 Mercury Comet.
For more information on different types of cars, see: