Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cars in Yards: 1967 Mercury Cougar

Green without envy. Jack stands held the 1967 Cougar’s nose high and prevented its wheels from sinking into the earth. That was my first clue that somebody still cared for the car. I saw the Mercury in John Thomas’ yard. His home, located down a seldom traveled road in north Alabama is one that passersby rarely make a habit of stopping at to inquire about old vehicles. But, I’m not one to pass up an old car in the weeds. I needed a closer look.

Distinctive tail lights on the classy 1967 Mercury Cougar.
  John Thomas knew that the time to find the Cougar a new home had long since passed. I met Thomas, a certified country gentleman, after making friends with his two large hunting dogs. The dogs slowed my approach to the front porch and made a lot of noise. Thomas hollered at the dogs as he peered through the screen door. We talked cars, family, and gardening. He gave me permission to look at the Mercury. Yes, the car was for sale.

The Cougar retains all the interior parts along with a few piles of trash.
Cougar interior complete and loaded with options. 

Walk around 
  Raising the Cougar off the ground is a common tool used in outdoor automotive preservation. Moving the steel belly of a car as far away from the moisture in the dirt is always a good idea. It’s said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Bricks on the other hand, found scattered across the car, failed as adequate support for the withering tarp used to shield the ’67 Mercury Cougar. 
  The fender, and cowl area were damaged when a tree limb sledge-hammered the bricks into the Inverness Green Mercury. The busted-up windshield adding insult to injury. Keeping water out and away from a classic car is mandatory when it lives under the stars.

Tires all flat.
A good looking color combo with the green and white.

Too good to be true
  A dynamic visual combination of white top, green paint, white interior, and 5-spoke Cragar mags. Most of the paint looked shiny and still clung to the body. I could easily imagine how good this car looked a few decades ago. The tag above the rear bumper dated 1991. A time when Thomas’ daughter drove the car to high school. 
  The years since those high school glory years had not been kind to the metal on the flanks and belly of the Mercury. Rust and varmints had set-up shop in the trunk.  

1991 is the year on the license plate.

Was it worth buying?
It’s been five years since I took these photos and balked at Thomas’ modest asking price. Too much work for a run-of-the-mill Cougar, I thought. I dug the photos up last week and gave him a call. Thomas didn’t remember me
  “I sold the car to a neighbor,” Thomas said. “He’s gonna restore it. What is it you want?” 
  I ended the out-of-the-blue phone call after a few of my follow-up questions were brushed off. I guess I just wanted to know that somebody saved the car. Whether it was to be restored or harvested for parts. 
  I dropped the ball but I can sleep a little easier now.

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life

2-barrell carburetor and stock everything under the hood.
A 289-V8 engine with 2-barrel carburetor under the hood of the ’67 Cougar.
1967 Cougar showing 37,699 miles, but probably rolled over once.

Source: Cougar Club of America, Marti Auto Works

Not a good idea when storing outside where tree limbs can damage the car.
Bricks were used to hold tarp on top of the Cougar.
Can you spot the hidden Cougar? Mercury built more than 150,00 in 1967.

Style in spades - hideaway headlights on the first gen Cougar.

Old cars in yards tend to gather debris inside over time.

White interior still looks complete.
Back seat is full of the same – trash and various junk.

Protecting the vinyl top, notorious for trapping moisture, was a top priority.

A cement mixer and various equipment surround the one-time family car.

How the ’67 Cougar looked when I first saw it.

Mustang genetics are evident but Cougars were sold as an upscale man’s car. This one wears aftermarket Cragar 5-spoke wheels.

Paint looked good from 50-feet away, but rust visible on hood where green peeled off. Pans, cancer under the vinyl and quarter panel and trunk issues scared me away.

Cougar emblem hiding atop the hideaway headlight cover.
Look close at any possible project car you find. You may discover a diamond in the rough.

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