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1967 Mercury Comet 427

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. If the quintessential muscle car consists of the most powerful big-inch V-8 in the lightest midsize body, then the Mercury Comet defines the breed. See more muscle car pictures.

If Ford had trouble winning respect on the streets in the mid '60s, Mercury had it worse. It was ignored. All the better, then, when the 1967 Mercury Comet 427 showed up. Talk about a sleeper of a muscle car.

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It took until '66 for the Comet to graduate from the Ford Falcon-based compact platform to the Fairlane's midsize chassis. Cyclone versions were available with Ford's corporate 335-bhp 390-cid V-8, but being even heavier than the Fairlane GT, they were stones.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. A four-speed gearshift in the spartan cabin was one of the few things that tipped the Comet's muscle car hand.

A few dozen '66 Fairlanes had been fitted with the no-excuses 427, but it wasn't until '67 that the engine became a regular-production option and was extended to the Comet line. Mercury made it available in any two-door Comet -- the Cyclone, Caliente, and Capri hardtops, and the bottom-of-the-line Comet 202 pillared coupe. The last was an interesting subject. It was a half-foot shorter than the hardtops and 100 pounds lighter. It was dumpier looking, too, with its Falcon-like roofline. Picture one with vanilla paint. Bench seats. Dog-dish hubcaps. No scoops. No stripes. Just a discreet "427" fender emblem. The perfect Q-ship.

As in the '67 Fairlane (where it was called the "Cobra 427"), the 427-cid V-8 was offered in two flavors. With a 780-cfm Holley four-barrel and 410 bhp, Mercury called it the "Cyclone 427." With dual 652-cfm Holley quads and 425 bhp, it was the "Super Cyclone 427." Both had 11.1:1 compression, solid lifters, and came only with a four-speed.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. The dual-quad 427-cid was a production option in Fairlanes and Comets for '67. Fewer than 300 were installed, and only five went into the entry-level 202 model, which was shorter and lighter than regular Comets.

Just 200 or so '67 Fairlanes were ordered with the 427, and even fewer Comets. With the Super Cyclone powertrain, plus well-considered extras such as a tach ($47), wide-oval whitewall nylon tires ($83), and power front disc brakes ($84), a Comet 202 would have retailed for around $3,200. Hottest big-block, lightest body, no frills -- not even a radio: This was the muscle car distilled to its essence.

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