The Truth About Cars » Mercury Cougar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:00:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mercury Cougar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com New York State Outlaws Posing With Big Cats, Chauncey the Cougar Snarls Somewhere http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/new-york-state-outlaws-posing-big-cats-chauncey-cougar-snarls-somewhere/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/new-york-state-outlaws-posing-big-cats-chauncey-cougar-snarls-somewhere/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:30:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893882 If a law recently signed into effect by New York Governor Andrew Coumo had been on the books in the 1960s, it’s possible that the Mercury Cougar might have been named something else. In that alternative universe, the law would also have likely completely changed the direction of the Mercury brand in the 1960s and […]

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Full gallery here.

Full gallery here.

If a law recently signed into effect by New York Governor Andrew Coumo had been on the books in the 1960s, it’s possible that the Mercury Cougar might have been named something else. In that alternative universe, the law would also have likely completely changed the direction of the Mercury brand in the 1960s and 1970s. A.9004/S.6903 prohibits exhibitors of big cats, lions, tigers, jaguars/panthers, and cougars (aka mountain lions), from allowing the public to have “direct contact” with the exotic animals. For the purpose of the law, direct contact includes both physical contact like petting or posing with the animal, proximity to it, as well as allowing photography without a permanent physical barrier between them, protecting the animal and the public. The bill was sponsored in the New York Assembly by Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), an animal rights advocate. Somewhere, Chauncey the Mercury Cougar snarls.

The act is primarily aimed at roadside zoos and traveling carnivals, things that have existed for generations. Rosenthal says that she became aware of the practice before people apparently recently started posting photos of themselves posing with big cats online, tiger selfies. It’s one of more than a dozen bills the assemblywoman has introduced on the premise of protecting animals.

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Without a doubt, had the law been in place when the Mercury Cougar was introduced in 1966, while it’s possible that Ford Motor Company might have still named the car the Cougar, the use of live animals in that model’s introduction and marketing probably wouldn’t have happened, at least the way it was implemented. Also, since the success of the Cougar car and the use of live animals in its promotion led to Mercury’s use of “The Sign of the Cat” tagline in overall brand marketing, that too would have been unlikely under New York state’s new legislation.

The name Cougar as a car model name at Ford predates its use by Mercury as it was one of the names under consideration for what became the Mustang. As a matter of fact you can see photos of a mockup of what looks very much like the Mustang II concept car from when Ford stylists were still trying out ideas in 1963 and it’s wearing badging with a big cat, not a pony.

ford-mustang-with-cougar-badge

Ford had used the name publicly on a couple of concept cars including the Cougar II, a potential Corvette competitor built on a Shelby Cobra chassis with a 289 V8 that was shown at the same 1964 New York World’s Fair where the production Mustang first debuted. Apparently, the idea for a “man’s car” to slot in below the Thunderbird in Ford’s pricing scheme had resulted in a project called the T-7, also predating the Mustang. When the pony car was introduced to huge success, the T-7 project and the Cougar name were moved over to the Mustang platform.

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Introduced as a 1967 model by Lincoln Mercury on Sept. 30, 1966, the Cougar’s launch had been preceded by an elaborate public relations campaign to introduce the car, and it seems that a particular large cat, Chauncey the cougar, was part of that campaign from the beginning. The idea to use a live animal is attributed to Gayle Warnock, Ford’s PR director, and his assistant, Bill Peacock. Chauncey, then three years old, had been born in captivity. It’s owners had fed it dog feed and a nutritional deficiency resulted in temporary paralysis and lifelong hip problems. It’s thought that Chauncey’s trademark snarl was a defensive mechanism to compensate for his lack of leaping ability.

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Animal trainers Ted and Pat Derby rescued Chauncey as a four month old kitten, nursed it to health and put him to work in their California business, Animal World, that supplied exotic animals to the television and movie industry. One of Chauncey’s stablemates, Roxanne the bobcat, was used to promote the Mercury Bobcat, that brand’s version of the Ford Pinto. In later years, big cats would be used to sell another small Mercury, the Lynx, a badge engineered Ford Escort.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Chauncey’s work in Cougar commercials is well known. The big cat appeared in commercials with the likes of Farah Fawcett and won the first of multiple P.A.T.S.Y awards in 1969. That was an award that was formerly given to animal performers in Hollywood. With changing attitudes towards animal rights and animal performers, that award has since been retired.

From the Suburbanite Economist on July 31, 1974: "A television celebrity with a flair for a snarl will appear Aug. 3 at Van Dahm Lincoln Mercury Inc . 10201 S. Cicero Ave, Oak Lawn. Chauncey the H-year-old cougar star of Lincoln- Mercury division's Cougar XR 7 and Sign-of-the-Cat commercials, and Christopher -- the two-month-old cougar cub featured in Mercury Comet commercials. The cougars are two of 150 wild animals orphans who live at Ted and Pat Derb's Love is an Animal, a 300-acre farm near Buellton, California"

From the Suburbanite Economist on July 31, 1974:
“A television celebrity with a flair for a snarl will appear Aug. 3 at Van Dahm Lincoln Mercury Inc . 10201 S. Cicero Ave, Oak Lawn. Chauncey the H-year-old cougar star of Lincoln- Mercury division’s Cougar XR 7 and Sign-of-the-Cat commercials, and Christopher — the two-month-old cougar cub featured in Mercury Comet commercials. The cougars are two of 150 wild animals orphans who live at Ted and Pat Derb’s Love is an Animal, a 300-acre farm near Buellton, California”

Chauncey and Roxanne also made public appearances, which is where the Derby’s would have run afoul of the new law in New York. The animals were put on display at Mercury dealers, where the public was invited to watch them walk around, climb up on the cars and hopefully reproduce Chauncey’s famous pose on top of a Cougar. Photography was encouraged, and the public was protected from the big cats by just velvet ropes and the Derby’s training and handling of the animals. Those dealer appearances lasted at least until 1975, when Chauncey went on to big cat heaven.

Click here to view the embedded video.

It’s not clear when Lincoln-Mercury ended the dealer visits, but they continued to use live exotics into the 1980s, with cougars appearing live at the Chicago Auto Show in both 1980 and 1981.

That velvet rope used to keep the crowd from the cougar (and vice versa) at the 1980 Chicago Auto Show would not pass muster in New York State today, which now requires permanent physical barriers between the public and live big cats on display.

That velvet rope used to keep the crowd from the cougar (and vice versa) at the 1980 Chicago Auto Show would not pass muster in New York State today, which now requires permanent physical barriers between the public and live big cats on display.

The Cougar more than doubled original sales expectations, selling more than 150,000 units in the first year it was on sale. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Cougar nameplate would go on to more or less keep the Mercury brand on life support for the next four decades. When the Mustang was downsized to the Pinto platform in the mid 1970s, Chauncey eventually got a bigger Cougar to lay upon as it moved to the midsize Torino platform to become a sibling to the Thunderbird. Chauncey became the face of the brand, sitting on dealer signs in brand advertising as he had lounged on the roofs of Cougars. “The Sign of the Cat” became the brand’s overall tagline, as mentioned, other Mercury models were given feline names, and Chauncey’s snarl graced most Mercury commercials.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Despite the Cougar’s success, the bean counters in Dearborn wanted to kill the model in the 1970s. Ben Bidwell, who later was the number two executive at Chrysler, was then in charge of Lincoln-Mercury and he didn’t want to lose the model. By then, “The Sign of the Cat” was being used to promote Lincoln-Mercury dealers, with whom the tagline, and Chauncey, were popular.

signofthecat

There was a meeting in Ford’s Glass House HQ presided over by Henry Ford II. While the source doesn’t say when, I’m guessing that the time frame was when Ford was busy creating the Mustang II and trying to decide what to do with the Cougar, still based on the large 1972-73 Mustang.

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Bidwell was in the minority at the meeting. Most of those attending thought the current, rather bloated, Cougar wasn’t very good and that it was going to be too expensive to replace it. The Deuce went around the room, asking for opinions, which were mostly negative. Finally he turned to Bidwell and said, “We haven’t heard from you yet, Bidwell. What do you think?” Bidwell replied, “I just have one thing to say, Mr. Ford. You can’t have a cat house without a cat.” After The Deuce started to laugh, the other executives joined in and the Cougar was saved. The nameplate survived until 2002, though by then it shared a platform with the front wheel drive Ford Probe.

Pat Derby seems to have changed her thoughts over the years about the use of animal performers. A year after Chauncey died she and Ted Derby divorced, reportedly over his use of cattle prods in animal training.  She always asserted that she used kind, humane training methods. Pat Derby continued to display live cougars for Mercury for a few years but by 1984 Derby had retired her own animals and Pat and her companion Ed Stewart started PAWS, the Performing Animal Welfare Society, a sanctuary for captive wildlife. Here is their mission statement:

PAWS is dedicated to the protection of performing animals, to providing sanctuary to abused, abandoned and retired captive wildlife, to enforcing the best standards of care for all captive wildlife, to the preservation of wild species and their habitat and to promoting public education about captive wildlife issues.

Pat Derby passed away in 2013 at the age of 70. Her ex-husband Ted was killed in 1976 by a neighboring rancher upset over the alleged killing of some livestock by Derby’s animals.

cougar029

Pat Derby, Ed Stewart and Christopher, Chauncey’s replacement, at the 1979 Chicago Auto Show.

In his day Chauncey became quite the star, he even had two “doubles” to keep up with the demand for appearances. However, in a 1975 interview with a local newspaper covering a dealer appearance, Ted Derby insisted that anytime you’d see a cougar with a Mercury car, a Mercury sign or a model like Ms. Fawcett, that was Chauncey. Besides his doubles, Chauncey was also reproduced as a plush toy in  a variety of sizes, both as promotional items and for sale. If I have the story down correctly, one  life-size version came as standard equipment with the first high performance XR-7 Cougars in 1967. Those big stuffed cougars were also used as part of showroom displays, resting on top of Cougars.

To give you an idea of what the 1967 Mercury Cougar looks like with the roof down, here's a survivor from the Mid Michigan Mustang Show.

To give you an idea of what the 1967 Mercury Cougar looks like with the hood down, here’s an original condition survivor from the Mid Michigan Mustang Show. Full gallery here.

While the white Cougar with a black vinyl top pictured here apparently came with a plush Chauncey, it’s not original equipment, the car or the plush toy. The car has been restored and the owner told me that his copy of Chauncey was new old stock from a dealer’s back room. The car is an XR-7 Dan Gurney Special and the photographs are from two different events, Greenfield Village’s 2014 Motor Muster and the 2013 Mustang Memories show. Gurney won races in Cougars for FoMoCo in TransAm and he was a member of the Lincoln-Mercury Sports Panel with other notable athletes like Jesse Owens and Byron Nelson.

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Dan Gurney and Cale Yarborough raced this Bud Moore prepared Mercury Cougar successfully in the Trans Am series. Full gallery here.

I’m not sure how many people or exotic cats New York’s new law will protect. The institutions it targets, roadside attractions and carnies, are not known for treating animals to the standards of Pat Derby, and wild animals don’t have thousands of years of domestication and breeding out of aggression, so it’s probably a good idea. Still, I wasn’t able to find any record of anyone being hurt in all the years that Mercury used live big cats at dealer and other public appearances.

If you attend enough car shows you’ll see how owners like to add magazines, documentation and scale models to make their cars’ displays stand out. The live sized plush Chauncey, because it came with the cars and was used by dealers, and even more so, because the real cat and its image was so instrumental in establishing the Mercury brand’s subsequent identity, not only helps the car stand out at a car show, it also reminds show visitors of some of the now deceased nameplate’s history.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Hammer Time : Saving An Old Cougar From Extinction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/hammer-time-saving-an-old-cougar-from-extinction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/hammer-time-saving-an-old-cougar-from-extinction/#comments Thu, 15 May 2014 12:10:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=820450 An unsellable car comes in many forms. The three-door minivan. The stickshift attached to a non-sporty wagon. The Daewoo. The conversion van with design graphics rooted in sexual fantasy. Then there is this car. A car designed in the Reagan era with a cheap plastic grille, an even cheaper plasticized interior, and a luggage rack […]

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cou2

An unsellable car comes in many forms.

The three-door minivan. The stickshift attached to a non-sporty wagon. The Daewoo. The conversion van with design graphics rooted in sexual fantasy.

Then there is this car. A car designed in the Reagan era with a cheap plastic grille, an even cheaper plasticized interior, and a luggage rack on the trunk that would do Lee Iacocca proud.

God I love this thing. What the hell is wrong with me?

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well that is true. But when you throw in a kindly old man with a love for old cars, it can get infectious.

This past weekend, I met this old fellow who wanted to get some witches brew to keep the transmission on his Cougar in shiftable shape.

“How many miles?”

“Oh, about 400,000 miles.”

“You’re kiddin’!”

“No, no, no… I take a lot of long trips. I like the seats and all I have to do is get it to 80 and let time take care of itself.”

Mark was about 80 years old and his life seemed to be the ultimate exercise in triumph in hardship. Five great kids, but not a lot of grandkids. A public pension, but not enough to handle the debts that came with esophageal cancer. A long marriage, and a recent death of a lifelong loved one. His Cougar had been the one enduring constant in his life for the last 17 years, and he wanted to keep it roadworthy for as long as possible.

“Hey, let me ask you?” He told me in a raspy voice that reminded me of the old boxing coach from Rocky, “Do any of these things work?”

A lot of you would assume that everything on the auto parts shelf related to improving a transmission is garbage, and over time, you’re right. There is no snake oil that can reverse the process of transmission wear.

But some of the solvents in these products (and many auto-trans and power steering additives) will soften and swell the seals to get the transmission’s internal seals to seal and hold proper pressure and shift properly.

At least for a while.

I told the guy, “Look, transmissions on these vehicles are as cheap to replace as a bad toupee. Here’s a site I use to find auto parts.”

I showed him the car-part.com site…. and it didn’t take. This guy was close to technology as we are to typewriters. So instead, I gave him three names and numbers to get a good used transmission. However, there was still a problem.

He didn’t have the money. Broke is broke, and at 80 years old, this guy simply didn’t have the means for those ends. I hate situations like this, but sometimes you just have to offer a temporary band-aid for a bleeding wound that will probably require further attention down the road.

“Let me buy this for you.” I pulled out some Trans-X. “If your mechanic tells you not to use it, then just return it.”

“No, no, no. I appreciate it. Really.” He gave me an aged smile and a pat just under my shoulder. “What you have already done is a mitzvah. Thank you…” and the rest of his words came out in a blur as I was too shocked to here a Yiddish word from an old man living in northwest Georgia.

I always like to kid about living somewhere between civilization and Deliverance. In truth, all my wife’s friends are smart. All my friends are experienced souls, and  my old life was one that I ran away from in much the same way as those with tough childhoods and troubled pasts move in the search for a better life.

Still I missed a lot. That line of thought is for another day, but sometimes the search for a perfect life can lead to imperfect consequences.

Later that evening, I saw that dealer queen at the auction.

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A  swan song 1997 Mercury Cougar that would likely be the biggest creme puff of an old man’s car that I would see in the forseeable future. Five pictures rarely tell you the whole story.

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cou4

 

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After looking at the Carfax history (1 owner, no accidents, 12 service records) and the Autocheck (nothing weird with the title), I wrote the following on my Facebook page.

“Mr. Sajeev Mehta… I have just found the perfect car to compliment the Conti. 61,185 miles and yes, it is indeed an XR7.”

My timing was bad, and the car Sajeev bought was far, far worse. Thanks to a rare, almost incurable disorder known as, “The Lincoln Syndrome”, Sajeev had just decided to double his investment in one of the most heinous cars ever made in modern times. The 1994 Lincoln Continental. A car so bad that it needs two prestigious emblems to help you forget the fact that you got a gasket chewin’ 3.8 and a tranny slippin’ AXOD.

conti2

Then again, at $900 to buy, and a $900 double-down to bring everything back to day “fun”  condition, it was too good of a buying experience for Sanjeev to pass up. Yes, his brother is a stakeholder as well in this hopeless pastime.

conti1

 

“There’s only one MN-12 for me baby, and I already got it.”

So the next day, I look at the Cougar. It’s a showpiece. Whoever owned it beforehand had it detailed at least twice a year and rarely took it out of the garage.

Someone would buy it.

I went to the sale that morning, and there was just a ton of weird stuff. A 2014 Chevy Impala Limited, old style, with about 13k miles that ended up selling for $14,200 plus the seller fee. A 2010 Dodge Challenger SE in Blue with some substandard add-ons that went for $15,800. An 04 Viper SRT convertible with 22k that had arbitrated for a bad differential at the prior sale. That one went for $36,100.

viper1

After the 8th Volkswagen and 13th minivan crossed the block, the Cougar was up for bid.

I made a fist and mouthed the word, “Fifteen” so that he would be in at $1500. I was betting that the other dealers would sit on their heels or try to lowball it at a thousand. Sometimes this tactic works. Other times, you’re in for a dogfight.

It didn’t work. Someone in the corner hit sixteen, a friend of mine went seventeen. I was hoping for the King’s Rule at this point where you look out for the other guy, and the other guy looks out for you. But with nearly a hundred dealers looking at one vehicle at a time, the market is too competitive and the King’s Rule doesn’t apply.

The auctioneer went back to me. A guy that I have known for 15 years and worked with back when I was on the auction staff at five different auctions. I was thinking about doing a big bump and flashing two fingers for a two thousand dollar bid. Then something happened.

In those few seconds, I was looking at a car that, to be frank, I truly didn’t want. I had already got rid of four unsellable cars the week before, and already had one brown minivan that I took on trade that wasn’t going to sell for a while. At $2k plus the $155 fee, I would be one major repair away from playing around with a car that had no profit in it. Ebay prices were already at play, and I would more than likely be stuck with what I call an “Almost” car. A car that everyone says they want on paper until they try to find the vehicle they truly love.

I didn’t bid. I walked. The surprise was that there were no more bidders, but even at $1855 ($1700 plus the seller fee), I was just out of love for a car that I never truly liked in the first place.

As I walked away, I realized something. Two guys had loved two Cougars. One had driven the car to it’s very limits of usefulness. While the other had kept it in a time warp and will hopefully pay it forward to another ‘keeper’ among the enthusiasts brethren.

The car world had a strange balance to it.

As for me, I now need to start shifting my own gears before I get stuck in my own version of a 17 year old Cougar. There is a squalidness that comes with shucking old and new metal. Somehow, I need to get away from buying one car at a time and applying myself towards developing a better mousetrap that will have a more enduring impact.

Author’s note: There are a lot of click friendly links to this article that will help you better understand a few of the terms. It’s all click friendly. Feel free to reach me at steve.lang@thetruthaboutcars.com .

 

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Mercury Cougar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/junkyard-find-1977-mercury-cougar/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/junkyard-find-1977-mercury-cougar/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2012 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=463944 We make fun of the personal luxury coupe now, just as we make fun of leisure suits, WIN buttons, and Freakies cereal. Still, the rest of the world (except perhaps Australia) never experienced the glory of the huge, inefficient, vaguely sporty coupe with floaty ride and deep-tufted velour interior, and this is their loss. You’re […]

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We make fun of the personal luxury coupe now, just as we make fun of leisure suits, WIN buttons, and Freakies cereal. Still, the rest of the world (except perhaps Australia) never experienced the glory of the huge, inefficient, vaguely sporty coupe with floaty ride and deep-tufted velour interior, and this is their loss.
You’re not going to see this no-apologies shade of green on any car interior made after about 1983, and that’s everybody’s loss.
You don’t want to know the horsepower output of this 351M engine . It will just make all of us feel vaguely depressed (hint: it’s less— a lot less— than the base four-cylinder in the 2013 Camry). The good news is that it churned out sufficient torque to get this 3,800-pound brute moving pretty well.
Ride-Engineered!
This car or the Cordoba?


Chrysler had Ricardo Montalban. Mercury had Cheryl Tiegs.

23 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1977 Mercury Cougar Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1997 Mercury Cougar XR7 With Florida-Style Faux-vertible Option http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1997-mercury-cougar-xr7-with-florida-style-faux-vertible-option/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1997-mercury-cougar-xr7-with-florida-style-faux-vertible-option/#comments Fri, 11 May 2012 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=443836 When I saw this car at a Denver self-service yard, I had to wonder if Ford really sank so low in the late 1990s as to make this godawful crypto-laundau roof a factory-installed option on the MN12 XR7. I haven’t been able to find any references to such an abomination in any of my reference […]

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When I saw this car at a Denver self-service yard, I had to wonder if Ford really sank so low in the late 1990s as to make this godawful crypto-laundau roof a factory-installed option on the MN12 XR7. I haven’t been able to find any references to such an abomination in any of my reference books, so it’s probably a safe assumption that we’re looking at an aftermarket conversion.
Not that we’re dealing with one of the better-looking iterations of the Cougar nameplate here.
The MN12 was a big leap into the future from the Fox Platform Cougar, and you can tell by the spoiler that Ford had embraced 1990s style for real.
OK. Florida. That explains the roof.

16 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 “Prowler” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1994-mercury-cougar-xr7-prowler/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1994-mercury-cougar-xr7-prowler/#comments Tue, 31 Jan 2012 19:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=428687 When the Cougar went from the Fox platform to the MN12 platform for the 1989 model year, it got an independent rear suspension and a longer wheelbase for even more personal luxury. The ’89-97 Cougar had style, and thus the Prowler Edition XR7 makes perfect sense. Other than a bunch of dudes who have named […]

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When the Cougar went from the Fox platform to the MN12 platform for the 1989 model year, it got an independent rear suspension and a longer wheelbase for even more personal luxury. The ’89-97 Cougar had style, and thus the Prowler Edition XR7 makes perfect sense.
Other than a bunch of dudes who have named their Mustang-based early Cougars “Da Prowler” on their websites, a 45-second painstaking Google search doesn’t turn up any reference to Prowler Cougars. The Standard Catalog makes no mention of a factory “Prowler package,” and the Special Edition Cougars site covers only Fox Cougars. Still, the lettering and spoiler look a little too professional to have been done by some guy with gold paint and a suitcase of Milwaukee’s Best; I’m guessing the Prowler XR7 was a dealer-installed setup.
This Cougar landed in a Denver wrecking yard in more or less fully-used-up condition.
Ford didn’t really think the XR7 would be stealing many sales from BMW, IRS or not, but drum brakes on a mid-90s car marketed as being at least somewhat sporty?
Still, it is a Prowler.
24 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 01 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 03 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 04 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 06 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 07 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 08 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 09 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 10 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 11 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 12 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 13 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 14 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 15 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 16 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 17 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 18 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 19 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 21 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 22 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden 23 - 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 Prowler Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Phillip 'Nash Kelvinator' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercury Cougar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/junkyard-find-1978-mercury-cougar/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/junkyard-find-1978-mercury-cougar/#comments Tue, 08 Feb 2011 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=383204 The Cougar name has been slapped on so many different Mercurized (Mercurated?) Fords that it gets hard to keep them straight. I never much cared for the over-gingerbreaded Mustang-based version, but the big Thunderbird-based late-70s Cougar seems properly Mercurial. I found this one in my local self-service wrecking yard, parked tail-to-tail with the Fear And […]

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The Cougar name has been slapped on so many different Mercurized (Mercurated?) Fords that it gets hard to keep them straight. I never much cared for the over-gingerbreaded Mustang-based version, but the big Thunderbird-based late-70s Cougar seems properly Mercurial.

I found this one in my local self-service wrecking yard, parked tail-to-tail with the Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas Press Bronco that we saw a while back. Check out that “Quartz Electronic” clock with calendar function! Sure, it probably stopped working by 1980, but I’m still tempted to buy it for my collection of vintage car clocks.

Remember those weird plastic-coated “mag” wheels Ford liked so well during the Malaise Era?

This one has the optional 166-horsepower 400M engine, which made a respectable 318 lb-ft of torque. It was quite thirsty, but got all that luxury moving pretty well.

And hey, Cheryl Tiegs did the ads for it!

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