Created for the ’60s custom car show circuit, Mercury’s 1964 Comet Super Cyclone was one of a kind. Here’s some backstory to the wild factory custom.
It doesn’t appear there was ever any production intent for the Comet Super Cyclone, Mercury’s far-out fastback show car of 1964, but it’s still fun to wonder what if. Designed by Ford advanced stylist David L. Ash and his staff, the Super Cyclone was constructed by Dearborn Steel Tubing, a local Ford contractor that was also responsible for the Fairlane Thunderbolts, the Thunderbird Itelien concept, and other exotic skunkworks-type projects.
To create the Super Cyclone, famed designer-fabricator Vince Gardner and his associate Paul Shedlik, then in the employ of DST, started with a stock ’64 Comet Cyclone hardtop equipped with a 289 CID V8 and a Borg-Warner four-speed. After removing much of the factory sheet metal aft of the A-pillars, they modeled and constructed a new outer skin in fiberglass. The revised look sported radiused rear wheel openings to match the front and a radically sloped roofline to support a large, wraparound rear glass.
As we can see, the backlite bears a powerful resemblance to the one on the original 1964 Plymouth Barracuda, just then going into production. Though we have no reason to presume it’s anything more than coincidence, the similarity is striking. Other custom features included a complete interior in white naugahyde, Astro custom wheels with bolt-on knockoffs, and teardrop racing mirrors. The revised front end treatment featured a custom grille with fine vertical teeth and French Cibie headlights. The rectangular lamps were popular on the custom car scene in the ’60s but technically, they weren’t legal for street use in the U.S.
The Super Cyclone made its first public appearance at the Chicago Auto Show (above) on February 8-15, 1964. (We can’t help wondering what the Plymouth people thought when they saw it.) The fastback was also a regular feature of the Lincoln-Mercury Caravan of Stars, a traveling exhibition on the hot rod show circuit, and in the April 1964 issue of Rod & Custom magazine (below) it shared the cover with Ed Roth’s latest show rod, The Road Agent. We don’t know this, but since the Super Cyclone hasn’t been sighted in decades, we assume it was destroyed once its show career was over—the usual fate of show cars and concepts.