By on December 17, 2009

living the dream in 1975

Pictures tell a thousand words, so these are going to spare me some. What more could I say anyway? More seventies-era glamor, pick-up mobiles, and drag-racers’ favorite funny cars follow:


the "glamorous" Bobcats

Every funny-car driver's favorite car

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47 Comments on “Vintage Mercury Bobcat Ads Reveal The Truth About Life In The Seventies...”

  • avatar

    The 70’s sound pretty cool, except for the polyester clothes.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    I actually drove one of these colossal POS’s when I “inherited” one because my college GF, later my 1st wife, had one when we met.  Basic transpo, nothing more. 

    Fun to drive quotient equal to a root canal done without anaesthetic while experiencing a cheap liquor hangover.

    22 mpg with the 2.3L four, or roughly equal to what I get in my 1,200 pound heavier A6 Avant with a 2.8L V-6. 

    Reliability of a peri-menopausal woman. 

    As stylish as galoshes.

    Still.  It beat walking to class in the cold winters of Kalamazoo….

    • 0 avatar

      22 mpg in an A6? Holy schnikies.
      I can barely can crack 25.8 in my 2.5 Mazda6 . . . and I’ve been drafting every prius I can find on the highway! (why isn’t my gas mileage better?)

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      Ernie, maybe if you were driving a Chevy Malibu you could get better mileage – about 33 HWY.

      Regards from the Cadillac-Buick-GMC-Chevy Tech Center in Warren

    • 0 avatar

      Christy, the Malibu looks good doing it too.  I have a friend with a ‘Bu and he backs up the mileage claims.

      I have consistently gotten low to mid 20’s mpg with my caravans (until my current one that gets 18-20).  If you don’t think that is energy efficience, try to push it 20 miles by hand and see how much energy you burn off!

  • avatar

    Oil Embargos , Nixon and Watergate, bizzare colors and disco aside, the 70’s was a real fun era. Things were far simpler, jobs plentiful, people were friendlier, cars were far more interesting even if they came out of the factory with anemicly tuned engines in many cases and general everyday items such as appliances, houseware, furniture etc were oh so much better than todays disposable throw away China garbage. Box stores, Korean car companies, hybrids, Lexus, the Internet and Ebay, no smoking in stores and restaraunts and cells phones didn’t exists and the dawn of video games and Pacman were right around the corner. The drinking age was 18 and far fewer stupid laws and regulations existed to save us from ourselves! I would love to relive the 70’s.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks! I feel the same way. And keep in mind these were bottom rung econoboxes, albeit the very slightly upscale Mercury version. Compare them to an Aveo or Echo and they stack up quite well.

       We had a few of these during the 70s in our family and they were more reliable than some of the 80s,  90s, and 00s POSs I’ve had since. Mainly due to simplicity. I had a 2000 Saab that’s been an electronics nightmare (which we finally traded in this week).

      Long live the Pinto! Long live the 70s!

    • 0 avatar

      I remember the 70’s very well. My father was a Lincoln-Mercury dealer ironically. 20% interest rates, HIGH unemployment, rising gas prices (when you could find gas), etc. It is funny how sometimes we can fondly remember a certain time period, but forget the reality of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      And don’t forget the Jesus Christ Superstar movie and avocado colored refrigerators and shag rugs.   Oh yeah,  gas prices that jumped from 25 cents a gallon to 35 cents a gallon the year I was getting my license and the 55 mph speed limit on highways to save fuel. 
      My first thought upon seeing the pics was “Where’s Clark Griswold and Aunt Edna?”

    • 0 avatar

      The reality of it is by the time interest rates were 20% the Bobcat had been replaced by the Lynx. I sold LM products from 76-98. Don’t remember actually selling a Bobcat but do remember them being on the lot. To me the classic was a variation of the colors shown, wish I had a picture. White body, pumpkin orange vinyl roof  and large pattern  plaid interior, pumpkin orange, black, predominantly white. Remember showing described vehicle to an older lady and her response was “Toyota makes a better quality seat”. She was definitely on to something…

    • 0 avatar

      I was about a year and a month too young and missed the 18 year old drinking age (those who made it were grandfathered in when it became 21). I didn’t care much for booze then or now, but not being able to go to bars my first three years of college was a major impediment to my social life. (Convincing-looking fake IDs were hard to come by using 1983 technology, and I knew several people whose fakes that they paid alot for were confiscated and sometimes got them into legal trouble).

  • avatar

    I love the second picture. ” Hey baby, hop into my triple earth-toned Ford Pinto and I’ll drive you home.”  Not to mention the guy looks like Ted Bundy.

    • 0 avatar

      A Cordoba with Ricardo Montalban standing next to it would be believeable. The picture shown is a joke.
      A shot below is just as bad. In ’79 I was taking my VW bus to the beach.  A Pinto,  sorry, Bobcat wagon with fake wood siding and fake wire wheels? I dont think so.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised at the stories of poor reliability with these things, we had a Maverick and my friend a Pinto as 1st drivers  and you couldn’t kill em with professional teenage efforts.  Overheating, multiple neutral drops, stuck in corn fields, high speed smokey donuts in bowling alley parking lots, etc.  We gave up.

    • 0 avatar

      And don’t forget the four wheeling through a foot and a half of snow, when larger cars would get stuck. I remember my Dad’s Maverick. The only thing that eventually killed it was getting rear-ended by, of all things, a tow truck.

  • avatar

    ’79 Civic or ’79  Pinto (aka, Napalm Bomb). This is a trick question, right?

    For those who have their rose-colored glasses on don’t forget 18% prime mortgages, insane inflation, lingering racial tension…

    The brightside was that we were still the kings of the world. We were the largest creditor nation, we had a positive balance of trade (despite buying oil from others), we had a manufacturing base, people had some decent quality of life, the rich were actually taxed (and they still stayed rich) the distribution of wealth was rather equitable (the boss made 20 times the lineworker not 400), banks were actually regulated (though the S&L crisis was brewing),  the leeches on Wall Street were fortunate to make 100K for creating nothing of value (and were ok with it).

    History will judge, but it may have been our best decade ever.

  • avatar

    The Pinto Cruising Wagon was the bomb.

  • avatar

    For an additional treat from 1977 check out:

    • 0 avatar

      That was awesome! I still shudder at the memory of 70s fashion in clothes and the pimpmobile cars out of Detriot. Electric-blue chcked leisure suits, uuuuhhhhhh

  • avatar

    When we moved to the US in 1982, I didn’t know any better so I bought a 76 4 cylinder for $1400 with 50,000 miles it for the  missus to drive.
    With the slushbox it was without doubt the slowest car we have ever owned and with lousy fuel economy.  Although being from the UK gas was so cheap I didn’t care that much.
    But that thing was built strong,  someone with no insurance ran into it and it barely marked the bumper.  The timing belt broke but being an non-interference motor I replaced it in my driveway using a chilton manual for less than $15.
    Apart from the timing belt that thing never let us down.
    After 3 years we traded it in for a POS Subaru (worse car we ever owned) . The dealer gave me $1400 for it.

  • avatar

    Wow, I never thought I’d be nostalgic for the 70’s but, this thread is nearly making me weep. I hated the 70’s then and lamented my childhood idealization of the 60’s. But, I lived everything you guys are talking about. It wasn’t that bad. And that’s without the sex, drugs and Rock n Roll (which certainly played their part). Even those old Ford ads bring back nascent auto-enthusiast memories and fantasies.

  • avatar

    My brother had a poor cousin 1976 Pinto which he used as a daily driver in Jamaica during the 70s. We toured the entire island in the car, including insanely narrow mountain passes that required guesswork about passing vehicles from the passenger side. Jamaica is a right hand drive kind of country and an underpowered left hand drive Pinto was not a good mix. It made a Jamaican holiday just a little more adventurous.

  • avatar

    I had to laugh at the words “sports option package” and “glamorous!”  Really?  The Bobcat???  But I have to admit, that white Bobcat with the brown trim and sunroof looks pretty spiffy!  And either the Bobcat was really alot shorter than I recall, or that dude is seriously tall!
    (sorry about the double post and all of the garbage beneath…major keyboard malfunction!)…

  • avatar
    Tiger Commanche

    Dear Citizens of Carol Stream, IL, circa 1986-1987.  I sincerely apologize for the widespread damage to your garbage cans, lawns, and small shrubbery inflicted via my 1976 Bobcat.  This horrible penalty box should have never been driven through your back yards, over the curbs and sidewalks in front of your homes, or at high speeds at night through your subdivisions on the race course I set up to compete against my friend’s Bonneville (the Bobcat only won because of a DNF after the Pontiac destroyed a parked truck). 

    As hard as I tried,  it took quite an effort to kill this 4-wheeled abortion vomitted by Mercury.  Like the pancake house whore dropped off by Tiger Woods at the trailer park, I never want to see or hear of you again. 

  • avatar

    After the Great Depression and the Second World War, life improved steadily.  Many great cars appeared, speed limits were reasonable (especially for the level of technology) and traffic enforcement was too inefficient to keep us from enjoying driving.

    Then, in the early 70s,  everything turned to shit. Economic stagnation, high inflation, POS cars and the 55 mph national speed limit. According to the prophets of doom, we were running out of everything from crude oil to critical industrial metals.

    Things got better again in the 80s and the 90s were great. The economy boomed, the 55 limit was repealed and cars improved in every way.

    The current decade has been nothing to celebrate, but not as bad as the 70s. At least, we still have decent cars and reasonable speed limits.

    I worry that the next decade will resemble the 70s. Weak economy, heavy government regulation of our personal lives, crappy cars and a hostile driving environment.

  • avatar

    I remember a buddy’s Bobcat when I was in the Navy; what a horrific ride, and the body made strange hollow sounding noises over every bump.

  • avatar

    I learned how to drive a stick in an early Pinto with the 1600cc pushrod engine and I can second the ‘strange hollow sounding noises’.  Like Ford forgot a few welds or some structural bracing.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a 71 Pinto with the same engine and a 4-speed — it had a great anti-theft option:  I could lift the shifter out of the transmission and take it with me if I wanted to!  Not that anyone would’ve wanted to steal it…………

    • 0 avatar

      A 71 Pinto 1600 4-speed was my very first car.  I desperately miss it.  Apart from the rust, it was economical and easy to drive and service.  This combination was rare then, exceptionally rare now given the ravages of time.

      There are few modern equivalents available today; most economy cars have bloated far past offering just basic, affordable transportation.  My 05 xB has some of those qualities, but the Tato Nano certainly does/will, if it ever hits the US.

    • 0 avatar

      I hate to admit that I loved my Pinto wagon.  I only broke down once, but it was on a freeway with an original oil painting by Terry Redlin in the back.  The car sold for $600.  The Redlin sold for $40,000. Wish I’d owned the painting instead of the car (do you THINK!?).

  • avatar

    I think these look pretty nice.
    A little fastback look.
    Small wagons.

    Still, I keep seeing Jimmy Carter in my head, nylon leisure suits and that horrible disco.

  • avatar

    Go Broncos!

  • avatar

    I was born in July, 1979 and for some reason I love stuff from the late 1970’s.  A friend of mine has a big 4 bedroom all-original ranch house built in 1979 and I freakin love the place.   The priorities of the time are funny… It only has galley kitchen and small bathrooms but it has a big conversation pit with a fireplace (in South Florida) and wet bar, as well as a Living Room, Family room and huge pool with a jacuzzi.   (I joke that the conversation pit is the facebook of the 1970’s).   I have a pristine 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car in Dark Turquoise Metallic (see avatar) I just love driving around to see people’s reactions.  It especially entertaining to  cruise by pedestrians with some funky ’70’s music (think Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll by Vaughan Mason and Crew) and watch people give thumbs up and point, etc.  Original ads for it say things like “Perhaps the last Continentals on this grand scale” and “Continental still gives you full size and full pleasure” or something along those lines.
    Love the excuse to talk about my weird ’70’s obsession.  To bad I only got to experience 6 months of it..

    • 0 avatar

      I love your taste. Go forth and make yourself happy!

       The house I bought was built in 1947, but redecorated in the 70s. I love it too and wish I could find an avacado colored refrigerator to put in the kitchen.
      Could just settle for an avacado …. [oops kiwi green] Focus in the driveway instead, though….

      And my acrylic grape collection is the envy of the San Fernando Valley.

  • avatar

    I hate to say it, but I’d love to have one of  the “sporty” cats with the blacked out chrome and Starsky-and-Hutch stripe.  With the “formal” grill, they’re  irony on four wheels!

  • avatar

    Four-finger lids.
    “Are you a long hair” meant more than one’s actual hair length.
    “Maintain, man” was often all that was needed to quell youthful excesses.
    At least in the San Francisco Bay area our demographic was self-regulating since attracting too much unwanted attention of the negative type decreased our fun level.
    Yeah, life was not perfect but I believe it was a better time to be a youth, on the whole, that it is today.
    Interestingly, many of the indicators of what I believe is an ongoing class war began to appear in the early to mid-1970s.

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    I had  lot of fun with cars in the 70s.  No smog checks, muscle cars were dirt cheap.  I paid $750 for a 1969 Mach One 428CJ.  Beat it to death and sold it for $1,000.  AIDs was unknown.  It was a great time to be young.  High School car-guys  had cars with $350-450 horsepower.  Hell my Mom’s 63 Catalina 421 would lay rubber for 100 feet, and it was worth, maybe $400.   I hated the long hair though.  I have NO hair now  and I like it better.

  • avatar

    I was alive, well and driving when these things were shiny new on the dealership floors. And we thought they were just as much a piece of shit then as everyone does now.

  • avatar

    Ahh… the 70s. Graduated from high school in ’73, went to a two year school, came home and got married in ’76 (interestingly enough on September 11th), went back to school in ’78. The wife had a used Maverick with the 302 V8 and automatic that my brother in law found to replace a sweet little Corvair she had that I killed (who knew you needed all those little gaskets replaced when you changed the oil?). What a piece of crap it was to drive but it was very reliable for us. I remember that there was one or two spark plugs that were almost impossible to get to. My dad hit it with a tractor when we were visiting the farm but the BIL fixed it up and it kept on going.  Kept it until it several year until the in-laws bought us a GMC truck with some money they came into. Don’t really miss those days for all the reasons folks have already stated. The 80s were much better for us.

  • avatar


    But they are PINTO’S.

    Cant imagine being born during that.

  • avatar

    The 1970s made the last ten years look like a picnic. Everything we were raised to believe in was exposed as broken, rotten and a total fraud. From Vietnam to the Iraq Hostage Crisis, the decade showed how big business and big government sucked.

    The cars in our driveways reflected our morbid interest in the shallow at the expense of the fundamentals. In 1974 the Honda Civic arrived. Anyone who saw one, sat in one, and drove one recognized that the era of Detroit was coming to an end. By the same token, anyone who saw a Mercury Bobcat, an AMC Concord, a Buick Apollo, or an Oldsmobile Diesel knew this too. The Ford Torino sedan? The Plymouth Fury II? If an investigation was held into the death of the American automobile, these cars would be labled by the prosecution as “People’s Evidence 1-2-3-4-5…”

    Bloated, yet too small to hold four average sized people. Massive engines that breathed through government-mandated restrictions that forced even powerful V8s into bedridden comatose vegetables. Federally mandated bumpers that forced every car into looking as though it was a snowplow. Federally mandated seat belt interlocks that required you to fasten your seatbelt before turning the ignition key. The cars in our driveways showed just how well big government and big business worked together to produce automobiles so poor executed even driving became an exercise in Carteresque “malaise”.

    Those who survived the 1970s didn’t expect the 1980s to be better. But Americans became so disenchanted with big government, they preferred electing an old actor who gave simple answers to re-electing the peanut farmer who couldn’t even fish without dynamite and bodyguards to protect him from swimming rabid rabbits. In a landslide, even. Big government sucked so much, we gave up. No one would have believed that the old geezer with the greasy hair had a chance. But he proved us wrong. Big time.

    Time magazine just published an issue recently claiming that the 2000’s were the “decade from hell”. Well, if you are under the age of 45, they may be right. The rest of us just laugh and remember how badly the 1970s crushed our souls. And the devil back then had a big toothy grin and an effeminate southern accent.

  • avatar

    Reading the various comments above I am unsure whether to laugh, cry or sigh.
    Maybe all three.
    At least we lived to see the turn of the century.
    Any bets on seeing the next one?

    • 0 avatar

      We’ll see it but not as the country we currently inhabit. The US Government will have definitely run its course by then. This will be a very different country in 2100, not recognizable from what it is now.

  • avatar

    If Rodney Dangerfield was a car, he’d be a Pinto.   With that said, the Pinto was by no means the worst of the 70’s auto abominations.   Ever ride in a Plymouth Volare?

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