Triumph at Daytona: Mercury’s 1964 Comet 100,000-Mile Durability Run

This awesome 1964 Ford Motor Company film tells the story of the legendary Mercury Comet 100,000-mile record run at Daytona. We weren’t there to see it person, but here’s the next best thing. 



REVISED AND UPDATED—It’s too bad the Motor City automakers don’t do crazy,  wonderful stunts like this anymore. This adventure was one of many cooked up by the late Fran Hernandez, a pioneer hot rodder, Ford racing guru, and manager of the Lincoln-Mercury division’s performance program. The plan: Assemble a team of carefully prepared 1964 Mercury Comets, and then run them around the tall banking of Daytona International Speedway—then the world’s fastest race track—for days and weeks on end, setting a whole slew of international speed and distance records.

Wheeled by an all-star lineup of race drivers including Iggy Katona, Buddy Baker, Danny Byrd, and dozens more veterans (see how many you can spot) the four Caliente hardtops ran their laps at 112 mph day and night for 40 straight days, pausing only for pit stops and driver changes. At around 76,000 miles, the 289 CID V8 in one of the Comets suffered a valve spring failure, but the car was quickly repaired and sent back out to complete its 100,000 miles. There’s much more to the story, naturally, and this excellent film does a fine job of telling it. Video follows.


One thought on “Triumph at Daytona: Mercury’s 1964 Comet 100,000-Mile Durability Run

  1. Ford Australia did a similar thing at the You Yangs test track with XP Ford Falcons in from memory 65 or 66. For 70000 miles.
    The Falcon up until that model had a lack of durability so this endurance test was to prove the cars!
    Under the skin a similar car though the Aussie cars were a lot stronger. Though only six cylinders.
    The Ford test track was near certainly not as easy to drive as Daytona.

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