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Mercury Comet durability run: 100,000 miles at 100 mph


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#1 HistoricMustang

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 22:37

Sorry, but I could not find another thread.

Forty two years after this event it still amazes me. I remember watching those TV commercials and thought it was the Comet down the street. Any idea on the modificatioins?

Mercury Motors, in an effort to boost sales of the Comet, put 5 Caliente hardtops on the track at sustained speeds of over 100 mph for 22 hours per day for 40 days. 30 skilled drivers (one was Buddy Baker) took turns working 6 hour shifts to cover 2500 miles per day. They had to drive well over 100 mph for 22 hours to average over 100 mph for 24 hours. The other two hours per day were for maintenance.

All 5 cars were standard 3 speeds with stock 289 4V (not k-code). All but one ran perfectly for the 40 days and it only had a broken valve spring. The total miles driven by each was 130,080. The cars broke over 100 world records for speed and endurance plus over 300 American records - according to the article.

After the durability run, the cars were taken back to Dearborn to analyze engine wear. The only significant wear on the engines were the piston pins. All other measurements were within production limits.


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Does anyone know who the other drivers were? My memory seems to think that Frank Warren may have been one of the drivers.

I also seem to remember that the cars kept going and the ads kept coming! Has there been a 'tougher" test of "stock" showroom automobiles?

Henry

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 22:49

Try Googling "Petite Rosalie" .....;)

#3 HistoricMustang

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 22:55

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Try Googling "Petite Rosalie" .....;)


Yes, this is rather educational:

The C series was successful commercially - a grand total of 360,000 cars were made by the time the run ended in October 1932. But potential for future development was poor, so that the company started again on a clean sheet of drawing paper for the next model. At the Paris show of 1932, the successors appeared for the first time - and they would be called the Rosalies, after their sturdy little namesakes which stormed around Montlhéry in search of international long-distance records, the most famous of which was Petite Rosalie, which spent 134 days on the track, totting up close to 200,000 miles at an average speed of 57.8 mph in the process. Once again, these Citroëns were a series rather than a single model: the smallest, the 8 A, used an engine of the same measurements, 68 by 100 mm, as the old B 2, but now producing 32 bhp at 3200 rpm. Then came the 10 A, using the engine of the C 4, and the 15 A, using that of the C 6. Bodies were stronger and even simpler than ever before, using a total of only four major pressings, and they came in four sizes: the smallest for the 8 A and 10 A, an interim size as an option for the 10 A and the two largest for the 15 A. Detail improvements were added in the usual way: after a year the 8 A had torsion-bar front suspension, adapted two years later for the 10 A. and both the 15 A and the larger version of the 10 A carried a freewheel system using patents bought by Citroën from Studebaker, which had brought them from Chenard et Walcker which had developed it ten years before. Ironically, Citroën himself had been given first refusal in 1922, but he now had to pay for his lack of foresight on this point by settling a much steeper bill with the American company.

Henry

#4 RTH

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 06:25

The merger of Austin with Morris in Feb 1952 brought with it a new engine for the Morris Minor an 803 cc OHV , - the 'A' Series

To underline the reliability of this new power unit a non-stop 10,000 mile ten-day trial around Goodwood racing circuit took place. The car never stopped day or night being serviced on the move in a specially built dry dock self propelled trailer.

Oil was sucked out and replenished , fluid levels topped up , refueling and even tyres were changed on the move. Drivers took 4 hr spells.

4264 laps were covered starting on 1st October 1952 over 224 hrs (10,148 miles ) average speed of 45 mph , average fuel consumption of 43 mpg . The engine never ceased running over 10 days and nights and the car never came to rest

#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 09:37

Originally posted by RTH
. . . in a specially built dry dock self propelled trailer.

Good Lord! Are there any photographs? :stoned:

#6 JohnB

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 09:38

There's a British Pathe film report of the Morris Minor 10,000 mile trial, with a free preview you can download - go to www.britishpathe.com and searching for 'minor goodwood' should find it.

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 09:48

There was another French marathon run in the 1930s: François Lecot and his Citroen (in French)

400000 kilometres on the roads of Europe!

#8 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 10:04

Originally posted by JohnB
There's a British Pathe film report of the Morris Minor 10,000 mile trial, with a free preview you can download - go to www.britishpathe.com and searching for 'minor goodwood' should find it.

Found it - thank you!

#9 JSF

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 01:42

Nice article. I work on the only Mercury Comet Cyclone racecar in Europe, which is a great car.

#10 chopper

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 11:24

Originally posted by RTH


Oil was sucked out and replenished , fluid levels topped up , refueling and even tyres were changed on the move.

sorry if its slightly off topic here but how the heck do you change tyres on a moving car ?.

#11 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 11:31

SAAB did something like this in the 1980ies, ran a number of cars constantly for months (I recall an article, must have been Autocar or something like that).

:cool:

Edited to add a link. It was 100000 km at Talledega.

http://video.google....255601283170352



#12 BRG

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 12:15

Originally posted by RTH
To underline the reliability of this new power unit a non-stop 10,000 mile ten-day trial around Goodwood racing circuit took place.

Going a little OT, a few or more years back (before the refurbishment of Goodwood for the Revival) there was a long distance attempt at Goodwood by IIRC an Austin Seven. They painted a white line around the circuit which was the shortest route round the track (something which confused dirvers of far faster machines!). Anyone remember the details of this?

Back on topic, haven't there been some very long distance runs at the Nardo test-track? Can't remember for sure, but it rings bells.

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 14:00

Originally posted by chopper

sorry if its slightly off topic here but how the heck do you change tyres on a moving car ?.

Presumably not on the driven wheels .....

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 14:21

If I recall correctly, the [i]Road & Track[i] article on Francois Lecot was entitled, "The Strange Passion of Francois Lecot".

He drove every kilometre himself and had strict speed limits and observers riding with him.

#15 HistoricMustang

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 00:50

Well, one of the drivers that took part in this two year project (Daytona and the trip to Alaska) was in my living room tonight. I must get some more details and share..............what a great adventure.

:drunk:

Henry