Brochure images from the collection of Terry Shea.
It’s little remembered today, but the original Comet — sold through Lincoln-Mercury dealerships as a standalone model for two model years — was intended from the start to be an Edsel; this explained its upmarket body design and trimmings, compared to the Ford Falcon upon which it was based.
The 1960 Comet four- and two-door sedans shared the Falcon’s internal body structure, cowl, and front doors, along with most of its mechanical components, and differed with new front and rear sheetmetal, a redesigned rear roof section, and a 4.5-inch-longer wheelbase.
The Comet station wagon (in both four- and two-door configurations) was more closely tied to the Falcon, and retained that compact Ford’s standard 109.5-inch wheelbase, while differing primarily in front-end styling.
Ford put a lot of thought into how they’d position this never-was Edsel near-intermediate against its domestic competition, evidenced by the small, 28-page brochure seen here. The Comet’s unique engineering attributes were highlighted, including that extra-long wheelbase and “Thrift-Minded” drivetrain, its atypical standard features listed, and the body styles were lined up against competing models from American Motors (Rambler Deluxe/Super), Chrysler (Valiant V-100/V-200), Studebaker (Lark Deluxe/Regal), Chevrolet (Corvair 500/700), and, shockingly, even the half-brother Falcon (all body styles). It was even compared to the full-sized Ford, Plymouth, and Chevrolet sedans and station wagons.
The take-away was that, considering the features and accommodations, the Comet’s cost ranged from $22 more, to $292 less ($182 and $2,415, respectively, in inflation-adjusted 2017 dollars), than all of the aforementioned cars.
Hindsight would show that more than 116,000 model-year 1960 Comets left the production lines — a fraction of the contemporary Falcon’s 435,000-plus figure — but this was enough to establish the model’s reputation and to keep it in showrooms for the entire decade.
Have you ever cruised in a 1960 Comet?
Click on the brochure images below to enlarge.