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The World's Rarest Mercury Comet Is a Lightweight Quarter-Mile Beast

Introduced in 1960 as the company's take on the Ford Falcon, the Mercury Comet is not a hot classic right. Sure, there are a few high-power models produced while the nameplate was applied to a midsize car (1966-1969), but Comets from the compact era (1960-1965, 1971-1977) aren't very desirable. Except for the A/FX Lightweight, a limited-edition factory dragster built in the mid-1960s.
1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster 10 photos
1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster1965 Mercury Comet A/FX dragster
Based on the second-generation compact, the race-spec Comet was developed in 1964. The recipe was similar to what Ford did with the Thunderbolt: the Comet was stripped off of all unnecessary equipment and received a big FE V8 engine. Just like the iconic Thunderbolt, the Comet got the 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter), hi-riser side oiler, which was rated at more than 500 horsepower.

But while Ford took on the Super Stock division, Mercury opted to drag race the Comet in the A/FX series. Some say it happened because the companies wanted to avoid competing with each other, but some historians claim Mercury joined the Factory Experimental division simply because it didn't require a specific number of cars for homologation.

Built by famous race car fabricator Bill Stroppe, the Comet A/FX dominated the series with drivers like Ronnie Sox, Don Nicholson, and "Wild Bill" Shrewsberry behind the wheel. Come 2022 and the A/FX racer is the rarest Comet ever built with only eight cars put together by Bill Stroppe's shop.

The white example you're looking at is one of those vehicles. The seventh Comet built by Stroppe, it was campaigned by San Auxier Jr. for Moyer Lincoln Mercury of Maryland. And surprisingly enough for a drag racer, it managed to survive to see 2022.

Not only that, but now it's a wonderfully restored classic that boasts not only a perfect shell and a stunning interior, but also comes with a professionally rebuilt 427 V8. Fitted with modern internals and backed by a four-speed manual with a Hurst shifter, this Comet is ready to burn rubber at the drag strip like in the good old days.

But it needs to find a new home first. And it will try to do that at the upcoming Mecum Auctions Tulsa 2022 even on June 9-11. There's no price estimate for this auction (and you can bet there's a reserve), but vintage dragsters tend to fetch a lot of dough.

Granted, this Comet won't be as expensive as the custom-made 1951 Mercury Hirohata that changed hands for $1.95 million in January 2022, but it will probably fetch more than $400,000.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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