1971 Mercury Cougar Convertible
Ford’s Mercury Division brought out the Cougar in 1967. Planned as an upscale version of the Mustang, the car proved quite popular. Mercury redesigned the model almost yearly, until by 1971, it sported a whole new look. As a grad student at U.C. Berkeley, in 1972 I needed to replace my 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente, a car I dearly loved. The local Lincoln Mercury dealer, Berkeley Motors, had a slightly used 1971 Cougar coupe in avocado green (it was the early 70s, remember). I was able to buy the car for just over $2,000.
Driving it on city streets in the San Francisco Bay Area, the car’s handling did not impress me. It just wasn’t the same as driving my ’64 Caliente which, after all, was little more than an upscale original Mustang itself. I was used to a standard transmission and a lot of power under the hood of a relatively small car. The Cougar had an automatic and a Cleveland 351 under the hood, but the car was so much larger than my Caliente, it didn’t feel as powerful. It wasn’t until I took a 4,000 mile road trip in 1974 that I fell in love with my Cougar. This cat was meant to prowl the open highways, and it did it quite well. I moved to Montana in January 1975 and kept the Cougar for another three years.
The End of My Time with the 1971 Mercury Cougar
On a trip home from spending the holidays with my parents in northern California, I hit a patch of ice on Interstate 90 in the Idaho panhandle. My Cougar went into the concrete median barrier and needed immediate repair work. The Lincoln Mercury dealer in Kellogg, Idaho, kept my car for over two months, and never fully repaired it. I finally told them to get the car roadworthy and I would pick it up. Later that year, I traded it for a brand-new (7 miles on the odometer) 1977 Mercury Zephyr station wagon and never looked back.
Seeing this photo takes me back to my grad school days when, in many respects, life seemed much simpler. Again, my 1971 Cougar was avocado green and a coupe, not a convertible, but a boy can dream, right?
Buying this Cougar for yourself
I wrote about my own experiences with Mercurys back a while. You can see that post here: Mercury–A Man’s Car.
I have put this image up on my Etsy shop as wall art. You can buy it in a variety of sizes and as a glossy paper print, or as a stretched canvas print. Click on any image, and you will find yourself in my Etsy shop. Once there all you have to do is decide which size best meets your needs. The prints are sold unframed, but I can easily have it framed for you if you wish. There will be an extra charge for framing, of course. Just write me first before you order it.
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