If there’s anything to be said about the Mercury brand of the Ford Motor company is that it seemingly was always the Bridesmaid, never the Bride of the medium price market. Routinely batted around by Dodge, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and even Ford at various stages in their history, they never garnered much in the way of big hits.
The one of possibly two times they stood up on their own two legs and offered a semi-unique product everyone wanted was this swanky coupe to the left. Indeed, the 1967 Mercury Cougar was a surprise out of the ballpark smash that Mercury was very rarely able to repeat again.
Conceptually they were a no-brainer: Who wouldn’t pony up a few more dollars for a more sophisticated pony car? Surprisingly, Ford hadn’t done much of an upsell to make a loaded Mustang much in the way of a baby-Thunderbird for those so inclined.
In some certain ways, The Cougar bridged that gap: Standard V8, a longer list of standard and optional luxury appointments including genuine leather seating areas in XR-7 models. A longer wheelbase helped provide a less jarring ride. The styling decidedly went a long way to hide the Mustang roots, which, were Falcon roots to begin with. Another tip of the hat to being in-between the worlds between Mustang and Thunderbird were the hidden headlamps (a feature shared with the new 1967 “Glamour Birds”) and sequential tail-lamps.
“When A Thunderbird is too much, a Mustang too little, find your way to your Lincoln-Mercury dealer and follow the track of The Cat.”
Although that wasn’t ad copy from 1967, that was pretty much the concept. Although that fantasy tagline wasn’t used, the magical seduction still worked to the tune of nearly 151,000 Cougars rolling out of dealerships in 1967.
The Cougar was the biggest hit Mercury would have during the 1960’s (Considering the best years for The Comet were years that it wasn’t branded as a Mercury).
The spotlight would quickly fade, faster than a Cougar could run. Perhaps some of the bloat as each new generation came along didn’t help. Perhaps there will be forever the elegant Feline Ford product that defined sporting elegance to a number of buyers prowling the streets. Only time, and access to petroleum will tell.