1961 Mercury Comet

This is a proper portrait of a very lovely young suburban Miss. She has a buoyant bubble hair-do, smart sailor dress and sensible ’61 Mercury Comet, all perfectly posed in front of a classic Southern California ranch-style tract home. The Comet, one of the first American compact cars, is most noteworthy for its spellbinding cat-eye taillights. This particular car, finished most handsomely in black with a red interior, is sporty and formal at the same time.

I grew up with the cars of the 50s and 60s. They made a really big impression as a never ending parade of them filled my dad’s used car lots when I was a kid. From what must’ve been just beyond my toddler-hood until I was eight or nine, I spent many a Saturday at the car lots going from car to car getting in every one pretending to drive it. I entertained myself that way for hours on end. Their space age cartoon style lines and shapes, endless palette of kooky colors and merchandisable model names inspire my imagination to this day.

In the realm of space age model names, Comet wasn’t the only one. There was the Mercury Meteor, Ford Galaxie, Hudson Jet, Dodge Dart and Plymouth Satellite. Fancy fish inspired a few. There was the Rambler Marlin, Plymouth Barracuda and Corvette Stingray. The Plymouth Roadrunner, Ford Falcon and Studebaker Lark were named for the birds. The wildlife continued with the Chevrolet Impala, Mercury Cougar and Buick Wildcat. Ford really got into the horse kick with the Mustang, Pinto, and Maverick. Weather conditions inspired a few. Remember the Plymouth Duster, Mercury Cyclone and Rambler Typhoon? For those racy types there were the Rambler Rebel and Dodge Dart Swinger. From the world of fantasy there was the AMC Gremlin and Kaiser Dragon. And yes, there was even a Dodge Phoenix.