When it was introduced in the spring of 1964, the Ford Mustang became an instant sales success. But within a couple of years numerous competitors would show up and eat into the original pony car’s sales. Yet it was Ford’s own Mercury division that arguably created a better Mustang than the Mustang itself.
We are referring to the Mercury Cougar, a car that shared a chassis and engine options with the Mustang, but little else. A report in NewsDay suggests that car collectors are becoming more interested in rare and restored Cougars as a way to diversify their collections. We can understand why.
When it was introduced in 1966 as a 1967 model, the Mercury Cougar won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year away. 150,000 ‘67 Cougars would go on to be sold, thanks in part to Mercury’s billing of the Cougar as a comfortable alternative to the Mustang that sacrificed none of the power. The wheelbase grew by three-inches to provide more room for passengers, and the Cougar could only be had with a V8 engine.
The Cougar also had its own performance versions, including the XR-7G that replaced the steel hood with a fiberglass unit and a functional hood scoop. Big-block engines were offered every year through 1973, when the Cougar became more focused on personal touring than being a muscle car. But between 1967 and 1973, the Cougar offered a no-compromises alternative to the sometimes-spartan Mustang models. With Mercury no longer a company, the Cougar name stands little hope of being brought back
But enthusiasts and collectors remember it fondly as the “gentleman’s muscle car.” That has made it popular enough with collectors for rare Boss Eliminator versions to demand prices well into the five-figures. Would you rather have a rare Mustang, or an even rare Cougar to add to your collection?