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Wednesday
Mar292017

1967 Mercury Cougar

By Vern Parker

Following the success of the Mustang, Ford quickly moved to produce an upscale version for Mercury dealers.  The new car was named Cougar.

The 1967 Mercury Cougar was offered in three flavors, XR-7 hardtop coupe, GT hardtop coupe and the most popular model, the hardtop coupe with a base price of $2,851.

More than 150,000 Cougars were produced for the 1967 model year.  One of them ended up in the hands of Mark Ogles, at the time, a high school junior in Alabama.  By the time he got the car it was 15 years old.

Ogles reports his father found the car for him in an Athens, Alabama junk yard.  The price was $400.

After it was towed home father and son began taking it apart so they could reassemble it in better condition.

Eventually that car was sold but Ogles' first love was not forgotten.

In 2003 Ogles' father came to the rescue once more.  Not far from his Huntsville, Alabama home a 1967 Mercury Cougar wearing a for sale sign was spotted parked in the owner's front yard.

The price of this Cougar was $500.

Ogles began restoration of his Cougar but soon discovered the need for more equipment and an enhanced skill level.  That is when brother-in-law Stephan Savant in Nederland, Texas came to the rescue.  He had the necessary tools and skill and offered to finish bringing the Cougar back from the dead.

Once the car was in Texas, the three-speed automatic transmission and the 289-cubic-inch V-8 engine were rebuilt.  Virtually all of the chrome trim was either replaced or replated.

A replacement engine hood was located as was a new left fender.

Records show that this Cougar left the factory covered inside and out in a metallic gold color.  Ogles couldn't live with that color.  He wanted to replicate the appearance of his first Cougar from his high school days.

The inside of the Cougar is now black from the headliner down to the carpet including the bucket seats and door panels.

When seated at the three-spoke steering wheel the 120-mile-per-hour speedometer is clearly visible.

The only power assisted option is the power steering.  Drum brakes help control the speed while a factory-installed air conditioner keeps the occupants comfortable.

Citing a "safety driving factor" Ogles opted to replace the original bias ply tires with 14-inch radial tires.  Ogles says the tires are mounted on original style steel wheels.

The car came equipped with an outside mirror on the left door.  Ogles says he misses having a mirror on the right side.

The headlights are concealed behind doors, each door is adorned with 23 vertical chrome strips.  At the other end of the car each of the two taillights have 23 vertical chrome strips to mimic the ones at the front.  The taillights on either side of the license plate also house the sequential signal indicators.

When the time came to paint the restored car there was no doubt the color had to be Inverness Green, the same color as the first Cougar.

Initially the top of the car was covered in vinyl, a once-popular feature that Ogles decided to omit.

In October 2012 the restoration was declared complete and Ogles had a truck haul the car to his new address in Alexandria, Virginia.  Since then the Cougar receives limited exercise on its 111-inch wheelbase, just like his first car.

Perhaps novelist Thomas Wolfe was not correct when he famously said, "You can't go home again."

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