CometOver the past weekend, we picked up a 1963 Mercury Comet.  Not just any Mercury Comet, but a custom convertible with a 170 engine.  The car is mostly original, with only about 76,000 miles on the odometer.  This will make a great project car.  It is our hope that we can fully restore this car to original condition, yet make it completely able to be used as a daily driver.

One of the first problems I encountered when researching the car was obtaining a shop manual.  You’d think Ford (Mercury) would produce a shop manual for each car, for each model year.  Unfortunately, this is not true.  After about five hours of research, I found that I need the following manuals to work on this car.  All were found at Faxon Auto Literature.

  1. 1960-1962 Ford Falcon Shop Manual
  2. 1961 Mercury Comet Shop Manual
  3. 1963 Falcon & 1962/1963 Comet Shop Manual Supplement

So instead of a single $40 book, I’m buying almost $90 worth of books to diagnose problems with this car.  Ouch.  There are manuals available online for free, but printing them out is not possible.  Using a web site in the garage isn’t the most convenient option.

7/19/09 – The car has been in the shop to have some transmission work done.  Of course, there is no direct “drop-in” transmission for this vehicle.  So, it will be rebuilt using a mixture of new and old replacement parts.  Nobody said this was going to be easy.

11/19/12 – The car has been fully restored, and an updated photo is shown below.  We found that the red paint on the car when it was purchased (used) was not an original color.

The fully restored comet, ready to ride.

15 comments on “1963 Mercury Comet Custom Convertible

  • wally

    Hi, great looking comet! Can you tell me what size of tire/wheel combination you used? Those really do look perfect.

    • Alligator

      I’m actually not sure. I know the rims were custom made due to the lug nut pattern, but the tires were added to the car by the business that did the restoration.

  • bob brimer

    My first car was a 63 comet and I loved it. I think it is beautiful.

  • Phillip Mast

    I currently have a 1963 Mercury Comet Convertible. It runs really rough at the moment even after a new carb kit was done. I think new spark Plugs and new points kit would be advisable but wanted to know what kind of issues you may have run into in restoring your Comet. Any tips or tricks you found helpful? Any information would be appreciated as I want to do a as close to original restoration.

    • Alligator

      We haven’t done much work on this engine – it runs well as it is. The only issues we have had are with the transmission and clutch. Those have been repaired several times.

    • R. H.

      I had a 63 Comet Custom Convertible with the 260 V8. First thing I did was points, plugs and all new fluids. Also, worked at a gas station near Cordova, IL that sold Hi-test 107 octane and would mix 1 or 2 gallons in with a full tank. Power steering pump had been removed, so I inadvertently ordered wrong parts when redoing the front end. Used Penzoil 10-40 and STP when oil got a little low between changes (maybe try an oil flush with Marvel Mystery Oil a couple of times). Flush radiator. Keep a very close eye on the brake fluid level. Check fluid in the Top motor behind the back seat. If you have the 260 V8 (I don’t know if it is the same part for the 6 cyl.), buy 3 fuel pumps. Put a new one in and keep 2 spares. They are mechanical and run off one of the lobes of the cam. The rubber diaphragm might be worn out on your current unit and the mechanical pump arm gets tired and sloppy after lots of high speed top down enjoyment! Drive it every day. Look at it later in your memories (like I do) for the rest of your life. Most beautiful Comet of any production year!

      • Alligator

        I agree! This is an excellent car, and a blast to drive on a nice summer day. Thanks for the excellent advice!

  • Hope

    Are you selling this car I would love to own it I’ve been looking everywhere for a car like this or do you know anyone who is selling a car like this ?

    • Alligator

      Yes, this car might be for sale if the right offer came along!

  • Don

    I’m the proud new owner of this car and can’t wait for the MSRA BTT50S But if anyone is interested it could be yours

    • Alligator

      Congratulations! Hope you have a blast at Back to the 50’s (BTT50S). I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve attended.

  • Don

    Back to the 50s is great. I also am the pop tab cordinater for MSRA. So can you tell wherw thw car came from.

    • Alligator

      This particular car was purchased in St. Louis, Missouri. The car was originally from Louisiana, and it actually survived hurricane Katrina by being parked in a parking garage on one of the upper levels so it avoided all of the flooding. It’s amazing at some of the history of the cars out there!

  • Don

    Thank you for the info. Did you do the restoration on it

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