1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone GT: Past Blast

In 1964, Ford’s Lincoln Mercury Division introduced the Mercury Comet Cyclone, a compact coupe named after the renowned Cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island. Powered by a 156kW 289ci V8 engine, the Comet Cyclone offered an array of transmission options. The 1966 model year saw the release of the high-performance Comet Cyclone GT, built on the larger Fairlane chassis and equipped with a formidable 250kW 390ci S-Code V8 engine. With its distinctive features and thrilling performance, the Comet Cyclone GT captured the hearts of American car enthusiasts.

Unleashing the Power

The Mercury Comet Cyclone GT, resplendent in a captivating Tiffany Blue, caught my eye at The Healey Factory. Its stacked headlights, reminiscent of the ZC and ZD Fairlanes, added a touch of familiarity. This was a substantial car, measuring 5.15m in length and weighing 1570kg. In 1966, such dimensions were considered “intermediate” for American vehicles, highlighting the nation’s affinity for larger automobiles.

The Comet Cyclone GT’s exterior showcased timeless American design cues: a lengthy hood, a generous trunk, and shapely Coke-bottle contours. Its aesthetics exuded performance rather than ostentation. Stepping inside, I was greeted by a spacious cabin adorned with shiny vinyl—an embodiment of the simplicity that defined 1960s car interiors.

The Heart of a Detroit V8

Firing up the 390ci engine left no doubt about the Cyclone GT’s lineage—it boasted the unmistakable growl of a Detroit V8. The engine’s power delivery was silky smooth, accompanied by a pleasing rumble within the cabin. From a standstill, the GT exhibited impressive strength, courtesy of its abundant torque—579Nm to be precise. The car effortlessly commanded attention as it cruised through traffic, its presence undeniable.

A Word of Caution

Yet, caution was required when summoning the full might of the Cyclone GT’s power, especially on wet roads. With the slightest provocation, the rear tires would spin, propelled by the rear-wheel drive configuration and the substantial weight of the car. The steering, as is typical of American vehicles, felt over-assisted and lacked feedback. This meant that controlling the GT during spirited driving would demand unwavering attention and skill.

A Performance Cruiser

Handling tight corners was not the Comet Cyclone GT’s forte, particularly with its relatively narrow tires. While the front disc brakes provided stopping power, engaging in aggressive cornering akin to an MX-5 was not its intended purpose. Rather, this coupe was meticulously crafted for the art of cruising, allowing its occupants to bask in the glory of a bygone era.

Interior Simplicity and Performance Touches

The straightforward dashboard featured five gauges, with the central speedometer easily visible through the generously sized, thin-rimmed steering wheel. Adding a touch of performance, a tachometer was thoughtfully mounted on the dash pad. Acres of shiny vinyl enveloped the interior, inviting occupants to revel in the elegance and simplicity that defined 1960s automotive design.

Conclusion

The 1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone GT stands as a testament to American automotive prowess. Its powerful 390ci V8 engine, commanding presence, and timeless design captivated enthusiasts of the era. Though not tailored for sharp cornering, this coupe excelled at delivering an exhilarating cruising experience. As the Mercury Comet Cyclone GT roared through the streets, it left an indelible mark on the automotive landscape—a legendary reminder of the golden age of American muscle cars.

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