The Mercury Comet was introduced in 1960 as a sister to the Ford Falcon. At the time, Mercury appeared to be searching for its identity, which began with the 1957 Mercury's and their space-age styling. This was followed by the practicality of the Comet, which was at odds with a brand that was in the medium-priced field. By 1961, the Mercury's - including the full-size models - were simply badge-engineered Fords. Things began to change starting in 1962, when Mercury appeared to get its mojo back. The Comet was given a face-lift and offered in a dash of sportiness. The new S-22 model offered even more with its bucket seat interior. Mercury cars began taking notice in the NASCAR circuit, and the 1964 A/FX Comet was doing damage in the NHRA competition. With the introduction of the 289 Hi-Po engine, Mercury had a proper muscle car in the Comet Cyclone.
Six 1964 Comet Calientes were prepared for the East African Safari Rally and each received the 289 Hi-Po motor and heavy-duty modifications to cope with the harsh terrain of the continent. These modifications included a reinforced frame and six-point roll cage plus full-size Mercury front rotors, calipers, and rear drums.
This example was built by a collaboration of a few enthusiasts. It has a correct date-coded '5 bolt' 289 Hi-Po motor connected to a Ford 'Top Loader' four-speed. In the back there is a nine-inch 31-spine axle with limited slip differential. Body panels have been 'seam-welded' and lightweight bumpers also have been installed. This fully street-legal Comet has participated in the Tarmac Rally and hillclimb.
In 2011, this vehicle was offered for sale at the Quail Lodge auction presented by Bonhams. It was sold for the sum of $45,045 inclusive of buyer's premium.Also photographed at :