|Class||4-seater sports car|
(only 2 produced)
2,158 cc Aquillon V8|
2,355 cc Aquillon V8
3,923 cc Mistral V8
|Length||4,620 mm (182 in)|
|Width||1,740 mm (69 in)|
|Height||1,420 mm (56 in)|
|Curb weight||1,290 kg (2,800 lb)|
The Ford Comète (also the Simca Comète) was a car built between 1951 and 1954 in France by the Ford Motor Company's French subsidiary, Ford SAF. Intended as the luxury model in the range, the Comète's bodywork was built by FACEL, who later produced the better-known Facel Vega luxury cars under their own name. The original engine was a 2.2 L V8 produced by Ford SAF of French design, also used in the Ford Vedette, and a Pont-à-Mousson 4-speed manual transmission was used.
The original model had a single, horizontal bar across the grille with a chromed shield or bullet in the center, somewhat similar to contemporary Studebaker products, among others, and steel wheels with chromed hubcaps. Although the car's looks, features and build quality drew admiration, the small engine rendered the heavy Comète underpowered and unreliable.
In October 1952, for the Paris Motor Show, the Comète appeared with an engine enlarged from 2,158 cc to 2,355 cc. Claimed horse-power was raised from 68 hp to 80 hp indicating that there was more to the engine upgrade than simply an increase in the cylinder bore from 66.0 mm to 67.9 mm. (The stroke remained unchanged at 81.3 mm.) The most obvious of several other engine enhancements at this stage was the increase in the compression ratio from 6.8 : 1 to 7.4 : 1, reflecting the appearance of slightly higher octane fuels. Torque and engine flexibility were also improved and the claimed top speed increased from 130 km/h (81 mph) to 145 km/h (90 mph).
In 1953, a new "Monte-Carlo" model was given a 3,923 cc V8 engine normally fitted to Ford trucks; this engine, befitting its truck heritage, delivered 78 kW (105 hp) but also plenty of torque. Performance was much improved, but the new engine did not endear itself to buyers; it was not only known to be a "truck engine", but its large engine displacement meant that its tax horsepower rating was 22CV, making for high road taxes in a country where government taxation policy, especially after 1948, savagely punished cars with angine sizes above 2 litres. This new model was fitted with wire wheels, a fake hood scoop, and a very typically Ford egg-crate grille (vertical and horizontal equally spaced bars). The French called this grille a "coupe-frites": a "french-fry cutter".
During the production of the Comète, Ford SAF was taken over by Simca, and the final year's production was under the Simca name.
- Ford S.A.F. Ford Comète Brochure. Reproduced by Facel-Vega.com, retrieved April 30, 2005. (French language)
- Ford Oldtimer und Motorsport Club Cologne e.V. Ford Comète. Retrieved April 30, 2005. (German language)
- "Automobilia", Toutes les voitures françaises 1953 (salon Paris oct 1952) (Paris: Histoire & collections) Nr. 14: Page 30. 2000.
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