Ford Motor Co. launches sales of the compact Comet on March 17, 1960, through Lincoln-Mercury stores.
The Comet, a stretched version of the Ford Falcon, was created to serve as an entry-level, compact alternative to the Edsel, which Ford had just scrapped. The team that developed the Comet previously worked on the Edsel.
It was introduced with four body styles — two- and four-door sedans and wagons.
The Comet shared many mechanical parts with the Falcon, mostly in the station wagon, and was powered by a lightweight, 90-hp straight six-cylinder engine. The standard transmission was a three-speed manual gearbox. A Ford-O-Matic transmission was optional.
The Comet carried more uplevel interior trim and more carpet compared with the Falcon and cost almost $100 more than the Ford.
Hemmings called it "an economical choice for buyers who wanted a little more pizazz than what the Falcon offered."
The Comet was an immediate success, generating sales of more than 100,000 in its first year and outselling the rest of the Mercury line, though it wasn't officially designated a Mercury model until the 1962 model year.