The Mercury Cougar Refreshed.
By Mark Weisseg
We discussed the Mercury Cougar before but it’s worth mentioning again.
Most of the Mercury Cougars had the 302 V8 or some stepped up to the 351C or 351W. C for the Cleveland plant and W for the Windsor plant. Both great engines of course. But, there was more.
Mercury had a 428 ready to go and it was a hit. My eldest brother was looking for a used car back in the early seventies and I went with him one day. He stumbled onto a white Cougar with a beautiful interior. Bucket seats, auto transmission, and a full load of options. So, he opens the hood and there it was, a 428 monster. I guess he expected a small V8, but he was getting a rocket engine. Of course I was egging him on to buy it but he was smarter than my sales pitch. He knew his fuel economy would be poor, the car would be bad in snow, and his insurance rates would skyrocket. Hence, he passed on that car and landed up buying a nice new Chevelle.
But the car was and is a winner. The hideaway headlights and the rear taillight package was unique. The car was competing against its own family in that the Mustang was a rival. The Cougar was to be a gentleman’s car, a businessman’s car, and it worked for a while. Then, like most cars Mercury saw a good thing and the car got larger and bulkier. The 302 became the standard power plant and the new Cougar also did well for a few years. But, Mercury was in trouble. They focused their attention on the older generation and cars like the Mercury Marquis became the standard. Mercury was saddled with the Lincoln’s at one dealership and that is what happened. The Lincoln Mercury crowd was gray or blue haired and Cougars were given the pink slip.
Today, we know Mercury is no more. Hard to imagine this once shining light is turned off forever. Now, Lincoln is fighting for its life and better start selling cars in better numbers or it may go the Mercury way. Let’s hope that never happens. Losing Mercury was bad enough.
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