Auction Pick of the Week: 1970 Mercury Cougar
There’s a reason why the first-generation Mustang is so revered. With styling that will go down as one of the all-time greats, the affordable, sporty notchbacks, convertibles, and fastbacks flew off dealership lots. Performance variants, like the Shelby GT350, Boss 302, and Mach 1, further cemented the ‘Stang’s legendary status.
But what if you want a Mustang that’s a less common sight at the local car show and a bit more luxurious? This 1970 Mercury Cougar, our Hagerty Marketplace auction pick of the week, might be for you.
Released on September 30th, 1966 as a 1967 model, the first generation Mercury Cougar was positioned as a more luxurious alternative to Ford’s pony car. Indeed, the Cougar was essentially a Mustang under the skin, but it had a nicer interior, rode on a three-inch-longer wheelbase, and came with more standard equipment. Its handsome, European-inspired sheet metal replete with hide-away headlights had minor updates year-to-year until first-gen Cougar production ended in 1970.
Unlike the Mustang, a six-cylinder was not an option. The Cougar’s front shock towers were designed to accommodate Ford’s FE V-8 from the jump. In 1970, the base engine was a 250hp 351-cubic-inch V-8, but the monstrous 428 Cobra Jet with ram air induction was an option to satiate the speed freaks.
Our featured car is a Medium Ivy Green example that is in good driver condition. It was resprayed in 2017, but it retains its original green dashboard, carpet, and vinyl seats. Like a vast majority of first-generation Cougars, ours is equipped with an automatic transmission. But the car’s base engine is more suited to cruising the boulevard than it is ripping up a race track.
The car is not without flaws, however. There are slight rust spots on the rear bumper, the rear trim has a small dent, and the door locks are malfunctioning. The upside is that you don’t have to fret about putting some miles on it. The car is mechanically sound. When it was purchased in 2017, it reportedly had its brake system serviced, among other maintenance items. Under its current ownership, the gas tank was replaced and the rest of the fuel system was given a once-over.
The first-generation Cougar sold well but never caught on like its Mustang sibling. Total sales for the first-generation Cougar came in at 437,000. That sounds like a lot until you realize that the Mustang moved 467,000 units in 1967 alone.
Those numbers mean the Cougar stands out more at today’s car shows because it’s less common. If you want a Mustang that’s not a Mustang, this one’s for you. Make sure to get your bids in. The auction ends on Monday, May 8th, at 4:30 pm EDT.