As cliche as it sounds, some cars are simply impossible to walk past. Known as “The Instigator”, this ’62 Mercury Comet is one of those cars. True to its namesake, the car provokes you to take a closer look.
The gasser stance of this Comet gives it a nose up among the competition, but it is the paint that really sets it apart. Paint as wild as this doesn’t come without a story, so we hung around the car until we were able to find its current owner, Harry Lazechko.
Mercury Comet Gasser, “The Instigator”
Harry laid eyes on the car for the first time in 2015, and like us, he couldn’t walk on by. More than that, Harry knew he couldn’t leave Autorama without it.
When Harry first laid eye on the car, builder Glenn Botting had literally just finished the Comet. But, Harry was determined in his quest for ownership, and after a bit of negotiation, the car left the show under Harry’s ownership after showing up to the show under Glenn’s.
Under New Ownership
If you assumed the car was strictly a show car by looking at the exceptional paint, we wouldn’t hold that against you. The award winning paint job deserves to be surrounded by stanchions, but that was never Harry’s intent for the car.
To Harry, cars are meant to be driven, no matter how good they look, and drive it he did.
Left: 'The Instigator' in 2015. Right: `The Instigator` in 2017.
Comparing it to file photos we have from 2015 “The Instigator” looks largely unchanged from when Glenn first built it.
Originally a unibody car, Glenn fabricated a custom square-tube frame that allowed him to slide a Speedway Motors straight axle under the front and point the nose of the car to the sky.
One of the few changes Harry made after taking ownership was raising the rear ever so slightly. This was done to better clear the 15×10 smoothie wheels that sit in the rear.
Despite the fact that the rear fender arches have been reworked, Harry did have to raise the rear slightly.
Before painting the car, Glenn modified the rear quarter-panels as best he could, to make room for the Firestone “pie crust” cheater slicks. When Harry was driving the car, he realized his heavy right foot caused the tires to kiss the fenders every now and again, so up the rear went.
The dual carburetor set up mounted to a X-C8 Eldebock manifold is one of the things Harry changed
Aside from the ride height, the engine is the only other area Harry made a few drivability modifications.
The Ontario-built 355ci small-block Chevy engine that Glenn installed remains, but the intake set up has been changed. When Glenn had the car, he ran a unique Edlebrock X-C8 dual quad crossram intake manifold with two Holley carbs side by side.
There’s no denying the dual carb set up looked cool, but tuning it was a hassle, so Harry removed in it favor of a more traditional single carb set up.
The single carb made the car much easier to tune.
Those tweaks aside, the engine is unchanged, right down to the previously bright white Hedman Headers. Exiting through the fenderwells, the condition of these headers is a clear indication that Harry has put more than a few miles on this car.
The engine has aluminum cylinder heads, providing a 9.5:1 compression ratio, roller rockers, and dual valves springs. Additionally a Crane Cam sits in the block, giving the car a mean idle and smooth power delivery.
Dyno’d at in and around 400/400 (under Glenn’s watch) Harry saw no reason to tamper with a successful working formula.
Beauty More Than Skin Deep
Surrounding the factory interior and making its way through the firewall, is a period correct rollcage that Glenn built himself.
The stock instrumentation remains, supplemented by oil, water, temp, and amp gauges by Autometer. A Suntach tachometer keeps an close eye on the revs.
Surprisingly, the tilt front end on the car is not made of fibreglass. Glenn welded together a factory front clip and added the bracing necessary to safely tilt it forward.
Muscle power isn’t needed to open the frontend, as it is all done via electric actuators that are switched from inside the car.
Paint is this car’s defining feature, and that is so, because literally, everything that could be thrown at the car, was.
Sprayed by Ontario native Paul Dennison (of Heavy Metal Studios), and pinstriped by Danno (of Black Heart Designs), the car is a masterpiece. The work is so intricate and detailed, that doing it justice through text and pictures is nearly impossible.
You name it this car has it. Pinstriping, check. Lettering, check. Gold leafing, check. Scallops, check. Lace, check and checkmate.
The lace paint on this car is actually created not with traditional doilies ‘borrowed’ from Grandma’s table, but rather Halloween lace from the local thrift shop.
It is without a doubt one of the best paint jobs we have ever seen, and is a pretty stark contrast to the weathered frame underneath.
Time To Move On
When it comes to enjoyment, the saying goes that all good things must come to an end. To that note, Harry has deemed it time for him to sell the car.
Harry delivered that news to us on Friday of the 2017 Detroit Autorama, so there’s a good chance that the car once again rolled in under the ownership of one enthusiast only to roll out in the name of another.
Hopefully whoever has it now is enjoying the car like it is meant to be enjoyed.