Much ado has been made about the Ford Mustang’s 50th birthday, and with just cause as it has become a sports car celebrated around the world. But this famous pony car has a lesser-known twin in the Mercury Cougar, which debuted two years later and will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. The Cougar took home Motor Trend’s coveted Car of the Year award and garnered a winning reputation on the racing circuit thanks to none other than Dan Gurney.
Though not nearly as famous as the Mustang, the Cougar has a faithful following all its own (including this writer), and Cougar fans are in for a treat at the 2017 Ford Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The first-ever 1967 Mercury Cougar will be on display in its fully restored glory after surviving an incredible 50-year journey that’s hard to believe.
Ford has long recognized the historical significance of first-model cars, and this ‘67 Cougar was shipped off to Canada’s largest Ford/Mercury dealership, Dryden Motors. Alas, Dryden Motors went bankrupt, and the Cougar passed into possession of a local hardware store owner, who drove it a few years before placing an ad in a 1982 edition of Cars & Parts magazines.
12 years later, a Cougar fan found the car for sale and called about it, finding out that it still hadn’t sold. He told a friend, who bought and restored this wildcat to its former glory. It’s a truly unique and incredible journey that this Cougar has taken, and it will all culminate at the 2017 Ford Nationals. Sure, it may not draw the same crowds or wows as the first Ford Mustang, and Mercury may be an increasingly distant memory.
But for those of us who like our muscle cars a little classier and a little more subtle, but every bit as powerful, the Mercury Cougar was the perfect answer.