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Thread: 1964 Mercury Comet

  1. #1
    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    Default 1964 Mercury Comet

    Figured it would be worth the while (however short it may be), to keep a running "story" about the Comet that a friend and I went half n' half on purchasing. The ideal plan is to flip, but it seems the more we get familiarized with it, the higher the chance it just won't leave. My friend is really starting to like it, but I wouldn't be against letting him "purchase" my half I have into it should he do that. However, this project is new, so only time will tell how all that goes. Fair warning, I'm going to get wordy as I usually do.

    We wound up with the car since a guy at work came in and was talking to a co-worker who jokingly suggested I needed another car. $500 was all he wanted, since the guy got it as part of a package deal for another vehicle he was getting, and didn't want the car, and he only had $500 into the car as it sat. I semi-jokingly sent the car to a friend, and then several bad ideas later wound up splitting the cost for the purchase cost for a car and a case of beer to move it to it's current home where we can work on it.

    Technical details: It's a '64 Comet 202 Sedan. Equipped with the 170ci I6 and 3 speed on the column manual trans. Manual brakes, manual steering, and nothing more. Car is about as basic as it comes. Doesn't even have a windshield washer or reverse lights. Options essentially are: Front lap belts, AM mono radio, dome light, cloth seats, and full size wheel covers. Odometer reads 16K, so I'd consider 116K, but 216K might not be improbable. Minor rust, nothing structural. Mostly just some ugly spots on the front floors and way down in the trunk sides, but mostly small in those places.

    It's a local car, and still has the original owner's manual with the original owner's information in the glovebox. Before being parked around 1990, it was definitely not living an easy life. Clearly involved in a fender bender, banged up fenders and dings in the rear quarter panels, but outside of a small missing quarter panel trim piece on the passenger side, everything is still either on or in the car. The exterior panels are solid, save for the hood where it does have some very small holes towards the front. The interior is wrecked from age and being parked for years and is badly deteriorated. Seats are torn, headliner is fallen down and separated. Some things are working, some stuff isn't, but that's to be expected for obvious reasons. Heater blower work, wipers don't, horn don't, radio turns on (speaker crackles, but seems shot), lights work, turn signals need bulb attention, and the windows still go up and down. I do need to get a brake light switch, as the lamps are stuck on when power is hooked up.

    Mechanically, the 170 seems good. We spent a good amount of time getting the ignition system squared up. New plugs, wires, coil, cap, rotor, points, and condenser. Plug wires were replaced at some point by 1965 Packard Radio ones, and two plugs had been changed (or maybe four, we got four with blue part numbers and W type logo, and two Autolites), but the rest of the system was original and essentially shot. Tossed on the cheapest O'Reillys special ignition components and some NGK plugs. The first issue was the coil wire with our wire set was too short, so we attempted to use that ancient Packard wire. Every once in a while it would sputter, but just give total crap. Our wire tester was showing a real weak flash. Thought we had an issue with the coil, but after ruling out the coil, we set about ensuring the distributor wasn't screwed up. Eventually the guy who's letting us keep the car at his place came out with some spark plug wire and terminal ends and made a new coil wire. That helped immensely and we finally had good strong spark and got the engine fired off and running for a few moments by shooting gas into the carburetor.







    Plans in the future are:
    -Fixing the clutch return spring, as you can move it up and down manually, but it won't return.
    -Rebuilding the carburetor
    -Replacing the fuel pump
    -Ensuring good transmission operation
    -Rebuilding brake system
    -Minor floor repairs
    -Minor front end straightening
    -Servicing all fluids
    -Replacing V-Belt
    -Replacing hoses
    -New tires
    -And likely other small things....

    Should be interesting to see how this one goes and it goes away with a new owner a few months from now or if it stays local.

    My Cars:
    -1964 Comet 202 (116K Miles) - Awaiting Resurrection
    -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
    -1997 Grand Marquis LS (222K Miles) - The Daily Workhorse & March 2015 + January 2019 POTM Winner

  2. #2
    Cult of Personality p71towny's Avatar
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    Too bad it's a 4dr but I could still do quite a bit with it.
    Chris - A 20th Century Man \m/ ^.^ \m/

  3. #3
    Stow It! GM_Guy's Avatar
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    Thats pretty cool acquisition.

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    I post a lot...
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    Being a 64 it probably only has a single circuit brake system. So if a line or hose pops all hydraulic brakes go out.
    "X" car 89 Colony Park LS Mods>Engine delete, SS duals magnaflow hflow cats, 2010 Must GT mufflers, auto air shocks, Posi, Tran cooler, big front brakes, 03+ rear disks, Large 3g alt, Tripminder, GS grill, 86 seats, 16" HPP wheels, winter boots=96 Cartier wheels, 215-65/16 Goodyear ULTRA GW3 snows, pi rear sway, alum driveshaft.
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    I post a lot... knucklehead0202's Avatar
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    That to me just screams "smog-exempt" and i'd be busily digging out every extra speed part to throw at it. Straight 6 would come right out. My brother and i have enough junk to put together probably 2 or 3 engines, yank the 5-speed out of his dilapidated coupe, minor brake upgrade and that thing would be a Roadkill hot rod. Just sayin....

  6. #6
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p71towny View Post
    Too bad it's a 4dr but I could still do quite a bit with it.
    Four doors for more... err... friends!

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
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    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
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  7. #7
    Member of the Orb Alliance packman's Avatar
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    Don't write-off the 4-doors. THat looks like an awesome project. Clean it up and rust proof what can be gotten to and go from there.

    I regret not parking my Malibu back in the day (at a friend's suggestion) and using it as a daily driver for the same reason (because it was a 4-door :-/ )

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    Nice car! I have always been a huge fan of Comets, as my first car was a ‘62 with a 6 and 3 on the tree like yours.
    I almost bought a ‘64 about 10 yrs ago but it was really rough so I passed on it.
    Glad you were able to get her fired up, and good luck with the project!
    ..

  9. #9
    Member of the Orb Alliance packman's Avatar
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    Just noticed; who has the square body Chevy in the background?

  10. #10
    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    Thread revival! I work at the speed of slow.

    Quote Originally Posted by packman View Post
    Just noticed; who has the square body Chevy in the background?
    Belonged to the guy who's property we originally stored the car on. Truck was totally rotten from sitting, it was parted out, but did spend time at the same property the Comet did after it got moved from his house. Wasn't much left last I saw of it.


    Anyway, after two years of doing nothing, a much worse looking Comet finally made its last trip hopefully on a trailer to my parent's place (I'm outta space at my place currently to work on another car ). It's been sitting out in a small town called Dearing, GA.

    Given its been sitting in the straight sun and whatever rain has reached it, its missing more paint that I last remember, but I guess that really doesn't matter.


    Rescue squad.


    What wasn't pictured was the unique way we had to get it pulled up onto the trailer. We took two very long recovery straps and ran one through the Comet's forward subframe, routed it around one of the forward bumper posts on the trailer, and used the wagon to pull about 160* in the opposite direction. We tried to push and use the starter in gear to get it on the trailer, but the ground was too soft and it lost traction, plus we have one tire that wouldn't hold air. Being on wet, soft dirt, the wagon struggled to try and move it on an open axle. On the third try, I had my buddy crank the car while in gear while I pulled, and that was just enough to get it up onto the trailer.

    Home.


    Now I don't have an excuse to put off trying to get it going anymore. The 200 I-6 that I picked up a while back is gonna be gone through and hopefully replace the 170. The reason behind it is that I can easily adapt the Duraspark II type distributor to the 200 to gain electronic ignition, plus it's a later 200 (from '71, IIRC), so there's some improvements over the earlier ones. Depending on how things go, I might pull the head off the 200 and have the cast intake machined properly to accept a 2BBL carburetor, but that'll be later on.

    I definitely need to go through currently and pull the interior apart and try to clean it to some extent and determine how much of the floor around the pedals needs patching.

    My Cars:
    -1964 Comet 202 (116K Miles) - Awaiting Resurrection
    -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
    -1997 Grand Marquis LS (222K Miles) - The Daily Workhorse & March 2015 + January 2019 POTM Winner

  11. #11
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    Slow? It took me 5 years to buy an engine for my Yukon, and this fall will be 2 years since I bought the engine.

    Glad to see something being done with this car. Neat looking car by the way.
    Vic

    ~ 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - new DD
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, summer DD
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon - wannabe winter DD - returning sometime in the 2020s, I finally have an engine
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - Rotting Retired Winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
    ~ 1988 Country Squire ~ 1987 Ford Crown Vic

  12. #12
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Betting that’s it’s first time in a garage in a while.

    The later 200 with the seven main bearings is a really decent engine. The intake manifold design is not so great, but that can be addressed. Or it could go V8...
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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  13. #13
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    don't some of that engine family have real intake manifolds rather than the cast to the head design? I'd probably be after one of those, or at least one of those head + intake sets. Would make porting all that for better flow far less difficult.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
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    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

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  14. #14
    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73 View Post
    don't some of that engine family have real intake manifolds rather than the cast to the head design? I'd probably be after one of those, or at least one of those head + intake sets. Would make porting all that for better flow far less difficult.
    From what I’ve read, all the small sixes have the cast intake with the head, but one could have the old intake milled off so the head could accept a traditional bolt-on intake. If everything works out, the plan is just for a easy cruiser that’s a little more responsive.

    My Cars:
    -1964 Comet 202 (116K Miles) - Awaiting Resurrection
    -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
    -1997 Grand Marquis LS (222K Miles) - The Daily Workhorse & March 2015 + January 2019 POTM Winner

  15. #15
    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    Finally had some time to start addressing what the body is going need in terms of repair. My minor rust inspection comment a while back was quite wrong. Nothing structurally has rotted, doors and such are good, but the front floor pans are ruined.



    The passenger side got it worse than the driver side from what I can tell due to a separation in the windshield gasket which allowed water to leak directly onto the floor. The floor covering was vinyl, which became petrified and cracked. Between the upper layer of vinyl was a fiberglass type fill for insulation and sound deadening, and the floor had a rubber liner... that also was petrified and cracked. Ergo, water leaked down, kept the liner soggy, soggy gets under the rubber, and presto, free floor board ventilation.

    I only noticed the passenger side seemed off when I started cleaning some trash out of the car and I pressed on the floor and the floor took to being on the concrete. That's when I decided to yank all the front floor liner. Luckily reproduction front pans are available, or even just fabricating a new flat section with some sheet metal is doable. The seat support and back is fine, but just the flat section checked out badly. I figure it sat for some time exposed, so whatever. It ain't about to break in half.

    I also cleaned the old rotten trunk liner out to find the gas tank has a hole in it (fuel tank makes up the majority of the trunk floor), and the rest of it is pretty soft. I kinda planned on replacing it, so here's an even better excuse. Also explains the old varnish smell I couldn't find to start with since the spare was sitting over the hole.


    Also, if anyone appreciates sketchy tires, I also needed to stick the spare on since one tire doesn't hold air, so I aired up this beautiful Fisk Safti Classic.



    E78-14 size. Interwebz says the factory tire was a 6.50-14, which once one does the conversions and yadda yadda, it's supposed to work out to be a C78-14 or a P195/70R14, but that seems way small for the sidewall using the factory tire measurements. I think if this thing ever gets rolling again, it'll get P195/75R14 tires, which seem to match the original 6.50-14 profile (and a E78-14) a bit better. That's gonna be a while though, but I think there's plenty of time.

    My Cars:
    -1964 Comet 202 (116K Miles) - Awaiting Resurrection
    -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
    -1997 Grand Marquis LS (222K Miles) - The Daily Workhorse & March 2015 + January 2019 POTM Winner

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    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Good thing about floor replacement: no one really sees your work so it's doesn't need to be pretty! Good place to learn to weld up some panels. Bad news is it still takes time.

    I've seen more ancient bias tires holding up in storage conditions than they modern counterparts. They are tough. Wouldn't want to drive on them.
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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    There was a time when people searching for classical tires in the EU had to use the NOS ones. I recall some cars driving a 25-year old set of tyres, brand new.
    We had a single, old Pirelli tyre used as a spare in my Passat, it was app. 20 years old, and still alive. I have finally switched it to be used with the craptrailer, and it died torn to shreds after one not particularly well carried out manoeuvrer.

  18. #18
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Awesome that floor pan pieces are available if you choose to get them. Id say it needs some kinda fix.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  19. #19
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    I have some 14” wheel covers if you are interested. Just pay shipping
    ..

  20. #20
    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by massacre View Post
    I have some 14” wheel covers if you are interested. Just pay shipping
    I actually do have the full set of hubcaps for the car, they're just in trunk at the moment. I popped them off for the time being since 1.) the valve stems are too short to clear the hole in the cover and I needed to add air, and 2.) I need to take the wheels off anyway and begin inspecting the brake system.

    I do appreciate the offer though.

    My Cars:
    -1964 Comet 202 (116K Miles) - Awaiting Resurrection
    -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
    -1997 Grand Marquis LS (222K Miles) - The Daily Workhorse & March 2015 + January 2019 POTM Winner

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