Tuesday, December 9, 2008

1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kelowna Daily Courier - Was the Mercury Cougar a better Mustang?

At posted from the Kelowna- Daily Courier -Friday November 8th 2008 -Was the Cougar a better Mustang?
Donald Robichaud - 1969 Ivy Green Mercury Cougar

Pity the poor Mercury-Lincoln dealers back in the mid-1960s.
Flush with acres of Continentals, Park Lanes and Montclairs, not to mention a few assorted econobox Comets, these folks could only stare in hopeless exasperation as eager prospects flocked down the road to the nearest Ford store.
Why?
The new Mustangs had arrived.

The birth of Lee Iacocca’s baby had resulted in a severe case of mass automotive hysteria and ushered in an era of pony-car madness. Suddenly, every North American manufacturer was chomping at the bit to cash in on this latest car craze.

But Ford’s long-suffering Mercury retailers would have to wait nearly two-and-a-half years after the Mustang’s ground-breaking introduction before they could add some sporty car spice to their meat-and-potatoes lineup.

When the Mercury Cougar finally arrived in the fall of 1966, it was one of several fresh entries into the pony-car race, including the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird and Plymouth’s clean-sheet second-generation Barracuda.


Mercury took a decidedly different approach with the Cougar. Early advertising touted its luxury car leanings with the tag line, “The Fine Car Touch inspired by the Continental.” Also promoted was the Cougar’s comfortable ride and equally plush bucket seats.


The new “Cat” was built using a Mustang chassis, but its wheelbase had been increased by about seven centimetres. The extra distance created a far more hospitable environment for rear-seat passengers and added to the car’s passenger-friendly ride.

Visually, the Cougar was a pleasant piece. Along with its must-have long-hood, short-deck styling, the car featured unique hidden headlights that remained cloistered behind the front grille until pressed into service. But the real knockout feature was the car’s sequential rear signal lights that strobed in the appropriate direction whenever the stalk indicator was flicked.

Unlike the Mustang, the Cougar was available only with V8 power. The base engine was a 200-horse, 289-cubic-inch unit, while a 225-horsepower, four-barrel-carb version was available as an option.

If this wasn’t enough, the optional GT package featured a more muscular 390 cubic-inch V8 stuffed between the Cougar’s shock towers. Midway into the 1967 model year, Mercury introduced the Cougar XR-7, complete with full gauges, woodgrain interior trim, leather seats and other fancy bits.

First-year sales of more than 150,000 Cougars proved the public was hungry for a ponycar with a little more flair and substance than the rest of the field.
For 1968, the Cougar received the new 302 cubic-inch V8, as well as the horsepower-abundant 428 and racing-oriented 427 cubic-inch V8 options that cranked out 335 and 390 horsepower, respectively.

That year also saw the creation of one of the rarest of Cougar models, the XR7-G. The “G” stood for racing legend Dan Gurney. This model included a special fibreglass hood complete with scoop (non functional, though) and racing-style locking pins, fog lamps, special alloy wheels and interior trim. Only 619 XR7-Gs were shipped from the factory and, of those, slightly fewer than 200 went to Hertz to be used as rental units.

In 1969, the mildly restyled Cougar family grew to include both a base and XR-7 convertible. You could still order the big-block 428 motor, but the raunchier 427 was trimmed from the order sheet. A new 351 cubic-inch-engine series became available that year, with output ranging from 250-300 horsepower.

The hot setup that year became the Eliminator, with its wilder colours, look-at-me decals and striping plus a rear-deck spoiler. All of these items might have worked on any other pony car, but the Eliminator package only served to make the sleek, sophisticated Cougar look decidedly undignified.The Cougar remain basically unchanged through 1970, although the 390 V8 had finally disappeared from sight.

Sales, however, dropped as pony-car buyers shifted to more high-performance offerings that were being heavily marketed by the competition. This seemed to be the signal for Mercury’s product planners to turn the Cougar into a true boulevard cruiser.

Although the 1971 version continued to used the Mustang’s platform, the car became significantly bigger, stouter and pricier, with more luxury touches included as part of its standard features.

But for four solid years, the Cougar represented a softer, more eloquent interpretation of the pony-car revolution and gave its proud owners a taste of how future “personal luxury” cars would evolve.

These days, the Cougar is rapidly gaining in popularity among collectors who consider its unique and tasteful styling and plenty of on-tap power to be a cut above the Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros of that era.
It’s funny, but those are the exact same reasons the original Cougar became such a sales success in the first place.

Malcolm Gunn is a feature writer with Wheelbase Communications. He can be reached at wheelbase.ws/mailbag.html. Wheelbase Communications supplies automotive news and features to newspapers and websites across North America.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

1969 Mercury Cougar Kelowna BC Canada


Donald Robichaud / Kelowna BC, I remember seeing my first Ford Mercury Cougar when I was 11 years old. My uncle Edgar had just purchased a 1967 Cougar and was speaking with my Dad. As I looked at the dark green cougar with the black interior I was taken back by the sleek look and the overall styling.

The pop up head lights really intrigued me and so did the sequential head lights. What truly caught my attention was the ten foot skid mark that my uncle left on the pavement. The sound of squealing tires and smell of burnt rubber has stayed with me for a long, long time.

I personally fell in love with Cougar’s styling and with the second model change; the 1969 Cougar became my dreamed car.

In high school I was fortunate to attend an affluent upper middle class high school and all my friends were driving their dads’ old cars. Those old cars just happened to be cars from the late 60’s. We lived in Clarkson Ontario and were only an hour away from Cayuga raceway which had a quarter mike track.

I lived very close to my Cousin Rudy. He and his friends raced a 440 Road Runner and a 340 Dart GTS at the quarter mile. Sunday mornings we would drop the exhaust. The sound of those cars with straight headers was just amazing.

When I was out of College and ready to purchase my first vehicle I eyed a 1969 Cougar. In a discussion with my dad I was persuaded to purchase a new vehicle and in 1976 I purchased 76 Pontiac Lemans Sport Coupe. For the next 30 years I got involved with life and taking care of my family.
Last year I purchased my 1969 Cougar. After a search of the BC interior where I became disappointed with the term “Great Shape” I decided to take my search south and purchased an all original 1969 Ivy Green Cougar.

I am the third owner and the car has all the horse power I need. With over 330 HP I am now able to relive the dreams of my youth and leave my own ten foot skid mark here in the present.

“I love the smell of Rubber in the morning. It’s the smell of Victory.”

By Donald Robichaud
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

1969 Mercury Cougar Kelowna BC - Silver Star - Mountain Of Memories

A good time was had by all at the Mountain Of Memories , Silver Star Mountain Resort Saturday, August 16, 2008. This was an exciting cruise. We meet up with Southern cruisers at 8:30 a.m. at McCurdy Corner. Twenty plus cars proceeded north to Vernon and we met up with Northern Cruisers at the Village Green Mall in Vernon where we then headed up to Silver Star. A big thank you to Kelly and Ruth Foy of Canadian Hot Rod for organizing the event.

Enjoy the pictures.

Donald Robichaud

By Donald Robichaud

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Donald Robichaud - My Favortie cars

Since 1996 I have taken and down loaded pictues of my favorite cars. They range from Hot Rods to classic drives of all decades. In the last five years I have taken many pictures from the Okanagan.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

1969 Ivy Green Cougar - Engine Roars!!!!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Original Build Sheet Found !!!!

I am so excited. I just found the original passenger build sheet for my 1969 Ivy Green Cougar. Still in pretty good condition and legible.

I removed the back seat of the car to vacuum and detail around the rear seats. I noticed some surface rust due to moisture and started to peel the carpet back and on top of the insulation I noticed a corner of brown paper and realised that it might be the build sheet. I carefully lifted the carpet has high as I could with out removing the seat and I was able to pull it out.

I then went looking for the drivers build sheet. I was not so lucky. The drivers build sheet was against the floor pan of the car with insulation over it. When I tried to lift it but it disintegrated in my hand . I assume the fact that if had been against the metal for so long dried up the paper.

I also found coins dating back to the date of the car . I especially like the 1969 penny and the 1970 quarter. Just had to share with you car guys.


Donald Robichaud /Kelowna BC
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mercury Cougars 1967 to 1970

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mercury Cougar has been mostly overlooked by collectors!!!


1967-1973 Mercury Cougar
It was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1967, and Car Life called it a “Mustang with class.” Yet the Mercury Cougar has been mostly overlooked by collectors, and this relative of Ford’s iconic pony car hasn’t yet ascended to the heights of valuation that many other muscle cars have. This is good news for the budget-minded collector, as it’s still possible to acquire a pretty nice Cougar for what would be a pittance in Hemi country.
The Cougar debuted for 1967 as a two-door hardtop, with an aerodynamic roofline and hide-away headlights. It was based on the Mustang, but with a stretched wheelbase and some suspension modifications for a more comfortable ride. Ford’s idea was to pursue the sports-luxury market, creating a serious rival for GM’s myriad upmarket muscle cars like the Buick Skylark GS and Oldsmobile 442.
To this end Cougars could be had with better appointments than their Ford-badged cousins, with simulated leather bucket seats, a wood-rimmed steering wheel, and a simulated walnut dashboard all offered. Yet the Cougar still had the traditional pony car look, with a long hood and short rear deck. Like with the Mustang, it was possible to find a trim level and drivetrain combination to suit any budget.
The base model came equipped with the venerable Ford 289, making 200 hp with a two-barrel carburetor. A three-speed manual was standard, though a four-speed manual and a three-speed automatic were available. An optional four-barrel setup bumped output to 225 hp, and the GT option got you a 390-ci V8 with a heavy-duty suspension. Halfway through the model year the XR-7 package was introduced, with a deluxe gauge set and a whole host of other interior upgrades.

For 1968, a rare XR-7 option package was available, the XR-7G. Named in honor of famous SCCA Trans-Am Series driver Dan Gurney, an XR-7G could be fitted with one of six different powerplants, and carried a fiberglass hood scoop, styled steel wheels with radial tires, fog lamps, racing-style hood pins and special emblems. A sunroof, the first ever offered by a car manufacturer, was optional. Hertz bought 188 of the 619 XR-7Gs produced, making this iteration among the rarest and most valuable Cougars. Standard power units in 1968 were 302-ci V8s making 210 hp, and the 390 output climbed to 325 hp. Power junkies could be sated by the GT-E option, pairing a 427-ci V8 making 390 hp with a Merc-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission, along with suspension upgrades and power disc brakes. The 427 was replaced mid-year by Ford’s 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air; while rated for insurance purposes at just 340 hp, many have estimated its true output equivalent to the 390 hp of the 427.

The 428 CJ formed the basis for the fiercest production Cougar, 1969’s Eliminator. The ongoing Detroit horsepower wars were nudging the Cougar further from the luxury realm, and this package included a blacked-out grille, side stripes, a spoiler, and a number of garish color options. Underhood, the Eliminator used Ford’s 290-hp 351 Windsor as its standard powerplant, with the 428 optional. The CJ could propel the big Cougar down the quarter-mile in under 15 seconds, despite 1969’s restyling that saw the car’s proportions grow.

A convertible model was also introduced for 1969, an attempt to broaden the appeal of a no-longer fresh car whose sales were waning. Three more model years saw the Cougar continue to grow in size as its sales shrank. Engine options in 1970 included a list of classic Ford mills: the 351 Cleveland, the Boss 302, and the 428 CJ.

Mercury discontinued the Eliminator model for 1971, though a 429-ci CJ rated at 370 hp was offered. 1972 and 1973 saw engine “choices” shrink to just one, the 351. Just as in the rest of the muscle car market, these last Cougars were neutered by pollution regulations, so the big cat trod a new path more defined by luxury than power.

A collector in the hunt for a Cougar should understand that with so many different equipment packages and options and most parts readily available, there are a lot of cars out there that have been modified with equipment that wasn’t fitted when they left the factory. There is much less of a stigma associated with “clones” among Cougar enthusiasts than elsewhere in the muscle car realm, but you should still know what you’re buying.

If you’re shopping for a Dan Gurney XR-7G or a real GT-E, be sure there’s a paper trail associated with the car before you pay a premium. These models are the truly rare Cougars, with 619 XR-7Gs and 394 GT-Es produced. Know that a Cougar “Dan Gurney Special” is not the same thing as a real XR-7G, just a chrome dress-up package offered in 1967 and 1968. Like most muscle cars, engines determine a large part of a Cougar’s desirability. For 1969 and 1970 Cougars with the Cobra Jet engine, the fifth digit of the VIN should be either an R or Q.

With a large national club and an enthusiastic membership, more advice is readily at hand. If you are uncertain about a car’s authenticity, there are plenty of resources available—try starting at Marti Auto Works (martiauto.com), which offers production reports for all FoMoCo vehicles produced from 1967 to 1973.

Base Cougars are not scarce, so there is no reason to buy a car with any rust whatsoever. Cars requiring mechanical work are less of a problem, as standard Ford parts availability is excellent. Due to this support, and their inherent mechanical simplicity, a Cougar can make a great daily driver.

The market for Cougars is still growing. While they may never reach the peaks we’ve seen for other muscle cars, prices are following the general trend. For the XR-7G, GT-E and Eliminator, expect to pay in the $30,000-and-up range, depending on options and condition. But a standard Cougar, even an XR-7 with decent options, can still be found for $10,000 to $15,000. Convertibles carry the typical premium, but know that many of the more desirable options were not available on the droptop.

Regardless of the model, Cougars sell for chicken feed compared to the premium people are paying for the more popular pony cars. This likely won’t last for long, as we’re already seeing people step up and pay real money for “off-brand” muscle cars from the likes of AMC, Buick and Oldsmobile. Will Mercury be next?

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

1969 Ivy Green Cougar at the 2008 Peach City Beach Cruise Pentiction BC

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

1969-1970 Mercury Cougar


The 1969-1970 Mercury Cougar was the second-series Cougar, with a longer, wider body on the same 111.0-inch wheelbase and two new convertible offerings. Styling was similar to 1967-1968, but more ordinary, particularly the grille. XR-7s continued to feature a full set of needle gauges and leather-faced seat upholstery as standard, and wore blackout grilles for 1970.

The former GT and GTE models were reduced to option packages available with or without XR-7 trim, but continued to pack big-block V-8s.A new variation was the Eliminator package for the hardtop, sporting appropriate tape striping, a rear decklid spoiler, wide wheels and tires, and a 300-bhp version of Ford's 351 V-8.

Like concurrent Mustangs, these were the last of the true ponycar Cougars.For 1971, Ford and Mercury both bulked up their ponycars, making them heavier and less agile, though more luxurious, than their predecessors. Styling became more like that of the mid-size Montego, which the Cougar was later based on.
  • Pluses of the 1969-1970 Mercury Cougar:Clean long-hood/short-deck styling
    Pleasant combination of performance and economy with small-block V-8
    High performance
    XR-7s are Milestone cars
  • Minuses of the 1969-1970 Mercury Cougar:Less distinctive styling and somewhat lower appreciation potential than the 1967-1968
    Some electrical headaches
    Rocker panel and floorpan rust
    Thirsty and nose-heavy
  • Production of the 1969 Mercury Cougar:2-door hardtop: 66,331
    Convertible: 5,796
    XR-7 2-door hardtop: 23,918
    XR-7 convertible: 4,024
  • Production of the 1970 Mercury Cougar:
    2-door hardtop: 49,479
    Convertible: 2,322
    XR-7 2-door hardtop: 18,565
    XR-7 convertible: 1,977
Specifications of the 1969-1970 Mercury Cougar:
Wheelbase, inches: 111.0Length, inches: 193.8 (1969), 196.1 (1970)
Weight, pounds: 3,219-3,408
Price, new: $3,016-$3,692 (U.S.)
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