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Rare Comet sighting on a cloudy day

October 29, 2016

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Saturday afternoon (October 29) I was heading south up Ontario Street, toward East Broadway Avenue, coming from the bottle depot on 7th Avenue, when the thing appeared in a blaze of yellow against the wet greyness of the autumn day.

Before me, on 8th Avenue, dusted with and surrounded by leaves the colour and shape of tortilla chips, was an ochre and rust-coloured Mercury Comet—an automobile once produced by the Detroit, Michigan-based, Ford Motor Company.

Ford actually stopped making the Comet many light years ago but the cars do still turn up from time to time.

Astronomers, as I understand it, chalk up these infrequent appearances to the fact that Comets can have orbital periods of many decades and that between times they can lurk in something called the Oort cloud, located in deep space—where cars are obviously less subject to rust.

Automotive enthusiasts just say that Ford made Comets to last.

When leather grain plastic was a feature, not a bug

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The Comet was lucky as new car models go—it nearly began its life as the 1960 Edsel Comet. But the deeply unpopular Edsel marque, begun two years earlier in 1958, was scrapped before the Comet could receive this certain kiss of death. Instead, in 1960, Ford came out with the oxymoronic-named Mercury Comet.

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As originally designed, the Comet shared a close kinship with the Ford Falcon.

Both the Comet and the Falcon were so-called compact cars, brought out by Ford in 1960 to compete with popular small import cars made by Fiat, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Ford manufactured the Falcon from 1960 to 1970 and the Comet from 1960 to 1977.

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The Comet that I saw blazing a stationary trail in a parking spot on Saturday looked to be the final fifth generation model that was manufactured between 1971 and 1977.

The fifth generation Comet borrowed many of its parts and much of its appearance from the Ford Maverick, a low-quality subcompact model with a fastback design.

The Maverick is described by Wikipedia as an “import fighter” meant to counter the Volkswagen Beetle, but it comes off sounding as much like a poor person’s Ford Mustang, which I guess means the same thing. Click the images to enlarge them.

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