Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercury Cougar

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1978 mercury cougar

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!

Join the conversation
2 of 52 comments
  • MadHungarian MadHungarian on Feb 09, 2011

    I had a '77 T-Bird for a while, which I bought because it was cheap, and cosmetically perfect, and I am a sucker for over the top 70's styling. It is probably one of the most space-inefficient designs ever -- the exterior dimensions are within an inch or so of a '77 Sedan deVille all around but the back seat is useless and the trunk is tiny. The driving position is weird, low and the pedals are very far away, which I guess works if you are long legged but guarantees a visit to the chiropractor after a long trip if you are not. The Cougar lacks the distinctive T-Bird basket handle roof. Sorry, the padded tire deck doesn't make up for that.

  • Biskit Biskit on May 08, 2012

    My parents bought a '79 model new in 1980, a leftover in green that was probably difficult to sell because of the color. They were happy anyway, as I believe it was the second new car they'd owned. I really liked the car. I remember the truck key cover would remove your fingertips if it slipped or you bumped it while opening the truck! That's a memory I'd lost until now. Thanks for finding this one, Murilee.

  • Duane Baldinger Ya my cupcake Mailman will love it!
  • Duane Baldinger Where can I send the cash? It's a surprise BDAY present for my cupcake Mailman. D Duane
  • Art Vandelay Pour one out for the Motors Liquidation Corporation
  • Bill Wade Norm, while true I'll leave you with this. My 2023 RAM is running Android 8 released in 2017.My wife's navigation on her GM truck is a 2021 release, I believe the latest. Android Auto seems to update very week or two. Now, which would you rather have? Anybody with a car a couple of years old NEVER sees any updates. Heck, if your TV is a few years old it's dead on updates. At least cell phones are rapidly updated. If your old phone won't update, buy another $200 phone. If your GM vehicle doesn't update do what, buy another $50,000 GM vehicle?
  • Lou_BC Once again, Mustang is the last pony car standing. Camaro RIP, Challenger RIP.