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The Eliminator that Wasn’t Terminated

when newly married 25-year-old Harry Unruh read about the new Mercury Cougar Eliminator in the January 1969 issue of Hot Rod magazine, he knew he had to have one. With no Mercury dealer in Northern British Columbia, he would have to wait until his next trip to Vancouver.

That summer, Harry and his wife, Marlene, walked into George Black Motors in Vancouver and saw the Competition Orange ’69 Eliminator of his dreams. It had most of the options he wanted, including the 351 Windsor with four-barrel carburetor and automatic transmission. In 15 minutes, he traded in his ’67 Cougar and completed the deal before picking up his new Eliminator the next day.

During the five years Harry had the Eliminator, he and his wife returned to Vancouver, purchased a house and started a family. They needed a larger car that would earn Harry fewer speeding tickets, so they replaced it in the spring of 1974.

Soon after he sold his Cougar, he learned it had been totaled, which just added to Harry’s seller’s remorse. Over the years, he often searched for a car like his old Eliminator, which became much easier with the arrival of the Internet.

After attending a number of car shows, in the summer of 2009, Harry and Marlene started looking for a project car. One evening, the Internet yielded hits for two 1969 Cougar Eliminators, including an orange one. He sent the seller an email explaining that he had owned one just like his and that it had been totaled.

The seller responded, saying the car was still available, and that it had been totaled and repaired. After comparing details, including the original dealership and purchase date, Harry knew he’d found his original Cougar. They struck a deal and a week later the car was his again.

The next step was to find a shop to perform a ground-up restoration, which was completed in July 2011, after almost two years of work. As he said later, “The work required far exceeded my expectations and budget!”

Since its completion, the Unruhs have shown it several times and go cruising on Sunday afternoons, which Harry says, “has brought back a flood of memories.”

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