That is the phrase owner Roy Pool used to describe how much it cost to build his car: way too much. But that description could also be expanded to other facets of the build. His cam, in fact, could be called way too much. The compression ratio, a stratospheric 13.8:1, might be described similarly. But the most crucial factor is this: How much fun does Roy have driving it? You got it: way too much.
The "way too" theme ends, however, when we attempt to describe how long Roy has owned his Mercury. He's had it for almost half a century. We've said it before in these pages, but we love it when guys hang on to their cars. They get cooler as time progresses. Roy bought the car in 1967. At the time, he was in the Army, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He bought it from a second lieutenant who had upgraded to a family truckster for child-hauling duty. Roy began racing the Comet almost immediately at Manhattan Raceway Park near the base. Running in the Pure Stock class, the original two-barrel 289 and three-speed, column-shifted manual transmission combination was good for mid-15-second elapsed times. After his stint in the Army, he upgraded to a T10 and 7-inch slicks, and raced the car in Stock Eliminator at Lions Raceway.
Life intervened for a few years, and Roy used the car for daily-driver duty while his children grew up. But once the nest was empty, he got back into racing the car. He built it as a Pro Street car, adding the rollcage, slicks, and 3.89 gears. His best time in that configuration was a 12.84 pass.
The desire for more speed got the best of Roy, and soon he was building a new, big-cubic-inch, 289-based small-block. He plunked it into the engine compartment, backed it up with a sweet-shifting Jerico, and got serious running mid-10s with 128-mph trap speeds. He runs at American Nostalgic Racing Association events throughout the summer and is thinking of moving up to the Nostalgia Superstock; he'd need to build a big-block for that, though.
Even though it cost way too much, Roy has no regrets. Well except for one: that he doesn't get to drive it as much as he'd like. Half-filled with Hard Blok, the cooling system isn't up to the task of maintaining temperatures at around-town speeds. Even after 44 years of owning it, Roy can't fathom selling it. He's having too much fun with it.