This is an original picture from 1964 of his 427 A/FX factory Comet. For those of you not familiar with these beasts Mercury made 19 of these cars for match racing and they are very rare today with about 6 original cars left. His car was owned by Tom Coward Lincoln Mercury in Skokie Il. The car was ran as the Top Cat and driven by Joe Deaton.
Here is a shot of the car at Great Lakes Dragaway in spring of 1964. Note the bubble hood like the Thunderbolt Fords which was later changed to the twin scoop ram air hood in the other pictures. The ram air hood was given to car owners by Mercury to boost performance of the big 427.
Talk about a photo that captures the eraly days of racing. This is from Tom Coward's Mercury dealership from 1964. The A/FX cars came with a 427 high-riser wedge, 4-speed and a 9" rear which was a very potent combo in those days. Comet drivers included Ronnie Sox, Dyno-Don Nicholson, Jack Christman and Wild Bill Shrewsbury of LA Dart fame.
At the end of the 1965 season Tom Coward sold the Comet to Joel Kanios of Kenosha who re-lettered it and raced it for about 4 years through the Midwest. We have home movies of him flogging the car at US30 and other Midwest strips. In 1967 he cut the car up and made it into an altered wheel base car with a straight axle in preparation for dropping in a blown SOHC Cammer motor but never finished the project. Flash-forward many years and my boss picked up the Comet which was a rust case by then to restore it back to its original configuration.
Here is a picture of the Comet today. This is after a few thousand hours of work and many, many dollars later. The restoration posed many unique challenges and headaches due to the rare character of these cars. Time and neglect had not been kind to the metal or unique fiberglass pieces and required quite a few people's talents to save it. We will be heading out to the strip this summer to see if we can return this fine car to the life it was made for.
A face only a mother could love! The Comet sports it's original 427 and 4-speed and all of it's unique pieces including the multi-piece headers that were welded up so many years ago. We did update the roll-cage as the original was just a piece of muffler tubing and we figured NHRA tech wouldn't like that too much.