1969 Mercury Cougar convertible one of less than 10,000 produced
SINCE 1964 Ford had the compact Falcon, sporty Mustang and luxurious Thunderbird in its stable, while the Mercury line consisted only of the Comet and its full-size line. To bridge that sales gap, Mercury launched the Cougar for 1967 — this sporty offering was aimed at folks who wanted a slightly upscale ride, but weren’t quite ready to shell out the big bucks for a Thunderbird.
With hide-a-way headlamps, sequential turn signals and upscale styling, the Cougar gave an almost European aura to an otherwise Falcon/Mustang based American original. Sharing the same basic uni-body chassis, the Cougar featured a three-inch longer wheelbase, different spring rates for a smoother ride and increased leg and trunk room over the Mustang. With an overall length of 190-inches it was more than six inches longer than the Mustang. Unless the two were sideby-side it was hard to tell the Cougar was a larger car. It was the Cougar’s styling, however, that really brought the package together. The Cougar certainly didn’t go unnoticed — it received Motor Trend magazine’s car of the year award for 1967 and accounted for almost half of Mercury sales for 1967.
With the 1967 model making such a great entry, Mercury didn’t mess with success and only offered mild styling changes for 1968 with the inclusion of side marker lamps, dual hydraulic braking system with warning light, four-way emergency flashers, padded dash and sun visors, along with twospeed windshield wipers and washers as standard equipment.
In 1969, the second-generation Cougar emerged. New sheet metal and styling appeared along with an even longer list of impressive standard features, including bright rocker panel and wheel opening mouldings, as well as standard bucket seats.
While you would be hard pressed to find any Cougar with a bench seat today, there were 1,615 ordered that way in 1969. It was also the first year the long awaited convertible model was offered.
For Mark and Debbie Jones of Winnipeg, their 1969 Cougar convertible has proven to be everything they expected in a classic car. “I owned a late ’70s Mustang and an ’80 Cougar,” said Mark, “but for a classic, I didn’t want a common car.” Initially he began looking for a 1967 Cougar, because of it’s distinctive hide-a-way headlamps and sequential turn signals, but found a 1969 convertible offered for sale in Saskatoon in 2013.
An original Medium Green Metallic car, it had been repainted Turquoise Blue Metallic, but still carried the original white vinyl interior and a white convertible top. At one time the dash pad and inserts had been replaced with the dash from an XR-7 model, so it carries the Burlwood appliques not found in the base-model Cougar.
Under the hood the car has the original 351 cubic-inch Windsor V-8 engine. Equipped with a four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust system it carried a factory rating of 290 horsepower. Backed by an FMX three-speed automatic transmission and nine-inch rear axle with 3.00:1 rear gear ratio, it was a great cruising combination.
After looking the car over, Jones struck a deal and drove the car back to Winnipeg. “The trip was smooth with no problems, which isn’t bad for a 44-year old car,” said Jones.
Optional equipment includes power steering, power front disc brakes, centre console, AM radio, driver’s side-view mirror, power top, rim blow steering wheel, courtesy light group and electric clock. The Cougar rolls on a set of aluminium slotted mag wheels with 14-inch