Since 1962, when DeSoto bit the dust, it’s been difficult for any of the three major US automakers to justify the existence of brands between top-of-the-line offerings (Cadillac, Lincoln) and “value” oriented marques (Chevrolet, Ford). GM dumped Oldsmobile and, more recently, Pontiac while Ford bid Mercury adieu two years ago; its earlier Edsel experiment was short lived (’58 – ’60 model years) — a car built to fill a market void that wasn’t there.
Mercury held on the longest, making its debut in 1938 and ceasing production with the last Grand Marquis (good movie title!) built in early 2011. There were 21 million sold over that span and one of the post-war era’s most significant Mercs was the Comet, an upscale compact car, based on the Ford’s Falcon but with more girth and design presence. We found a spiffy ’62 Comet S-22 (the bucket seat model) recently that’s a really nice “as is” example.
The Comet was so successful (accounting for half of Mercury Division’s volume) a larger car, Meteor (along with Ford’s mid-size Fairlane), based on Falcon/Comet’s underpinnings, was introduced in ’62. The bucket seat version was called S-33 and we found a sterling example, paint notwithstanding, a ’63, to share. Mercury’s biggest car, Monterey, also offered a bucket seat version called S-55. S-44 must be chopped liver because they never used that designation.
In light of Comet’s Ford Falcon DNA, we couldn’t resist throwing one in here, especially since it wears the same color scheme as the Comet S-22. It’s a ’63 Falcon Futura (once more, the bucket seat model).
The Ed Sullivan Show was sponsored by Mercury and Ed, himself, was the brand’s pitchman in this ’56 spot.
While Mercury was usually paired at dealers with the upscale Lincoln brand, there was just one Mercury-only dealer in the country. Video here, shot in Canonsburg, PA