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. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:21:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 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 […]

The post Hammer Time : Saving An Old Cougar From Extinction appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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.

cou2

 

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.

cou3

 

cou4

 

cou5

 

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 .

 

The post Hammer Time : Saving An Old Cougar From Extinction appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/hammer-time-saving-an-old-cougar-from-extinction/feed/ 56
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 […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1977 Mercury Cougar appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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

The post Junkyard Find: 1977 Mercury Cougar appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/junkyard-find-1977-mercury-cougar/feed/ 56
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 […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1997 Mercury Cougar XR7 With Florida-Style Faux-vertible Option appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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

The post Junkyard Find: 1997 Mercury Cougar XR7 With Florida-Style Faux-vertible Option appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1997-mercury-cougar-xr7-with-florida-style-faux-vertible-option/feed/ 66
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 […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 “Prowler” appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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

The post Junkyard Find: 1994 Mercury Cougar XR7 “Prowler” appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1994-mercury-cougar-xr7-prowler/feed/ 67
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 […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercury Cougar appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

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!

DOTJ-78CougarRed-20 DOTJ-78CougarRed-01 DOTJ-78CougarRed-02 DOTJ-78CougarRed-07 DOTJ-78CougarRed-08 DOTJ-78CougarRed-09 DOTJ-78CougarRed-10 DOTJ-78CougarRed-11 DOTJ-78CougarRed-12 DOTJ-78CougarRed-13 DOTJ-78CougarRed-14 DOTJ-78CougarRed-15 DOTJ-78CougarRed-16 DOTJ-78CougarRed-17 DOTJ-78CougarRed-18 DOTJ-78CougarRed-19 DOTJ-78CougarRed-06 DOTJ-78CougarRed-03 DOTJ-78CougarRed-04 DOTJ-78CougarRed-05 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The post Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercury Cougar appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/junkyard-find-1978-mercury-cougar/feed/ 52