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In the annals of automotive retailing, there are few–if any–model names that have been applied to more body types or market segments than Mercury’s Cougar badge. Over the moniker’s multi-decade run, it was used on coupes, sedans, station wagons, convertibles, pony cars, muscle cars, luxury cars, and, at the end of its run, a front-wheel-drive sporty hatchback.
By the mid-Seventies, Mercury wasn’t selling much beyond gussied up Fords. Wedged between Ford and Lincoln in FoMoCo’s family album, Mercurys were charged with drawing a customer type that was somewhat more affluent than Ford intenders, yet nowhere conservative enough to commit to a Lincoln.
by Don Sikora II
Note: The following story was excerpted from the February 2016 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
Introduced for 1967 as an upscale Mustang cousin, the Cougar quickly became the shape-shifter of Mercury’s cars. First it morphed into an intermediate-sized personal-luxury coupe, the success of which tempted Mercury to extend the Cougar name to four-door sedans and station wagons. For 1983, Cougar returned to its two-door roots as a conservative variant of the highly aerodynamic Ford Thunderbird. While that ’83 is important in the Cougar saga, it’s the 1987 and ’88 versions that we’d like to suggest as your next set of cheap wheels.
The folks that bring you Consumer Guide and The Daily Drive also produce Collectible Automobile magazine, a highly respected bi-monthly automotive history magazine that is about a year and a half away from celebrating its 30th anniversary. One of CA’s most popular regular features is Car Spotter, which runs two or four pages every month. It’s a simple concept: Eagle-eyed readers from all over the world spy interesting old cars in their daily travels, take a few decent snapshots, and send ’em in to us. These aren’t car-show photographs or glamour portraits; these are “man on the street” pics of vintage vehicles hidden in plain sight, be it on the street, in someone’s backyard, or in the supermarket parking lot.
Per ride-hailing giant Uber, the company’s drivers provide patrons an amazing 15 million rides daily. And that’s just Uber–similar firms, such as Lyft, Via, and Juno, are shuttling plenty of people around as well.
When the Smart ForTwo was introduced for the 2008 model year, uninformed detractors of the diminutive two-seater devoted considerable energy to worrying about how unsafe such a small car would be in a crash. Count my mother among them.
Note: The following story was excerpted from the December 2005 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
In the decade or so since its 1955 introduction, the Ford Thunderbird came to attract a solid following from female motorists. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the 1966 T-Bird convertible featured on these pages was intended to please a lady.
Every October, the Mecum Auctions road show rolls into Chicagoland for a weekend-long event that takes over the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois. Like any of the major-league televised auctions, the 2018 Mecum Chicago shindig had its share of big-ticket featured lots. A 1979 Porsche 930 Turbo originally owned by legendary Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton was the star of this year’s show—it sold for $324,500, topping the list of results for the event.
Ford Motor Company’s Mercury division was taken from us in 2011. The brand’s demise came during a flurry of marque terminations, and was bracketed by the shutdown of Pontiac (2010) and the final model year of Saab (2012).
Though hard to pinpoint exactly, Mercury’s market position probably hewed most closely to GM’s Oldsmobile division, though both brands drifted at different times between being slightly sporty to being more luxury focused.
Ford is doing it right now with a subcompact crossover (EcoSport) imported from India. Cadillac did it with a German import badged on these shores as Catera. Honda did it with rebadged midsize SUV (Passport) that was actually built by Isuzu.