All posts by Bill Basore

MercuryCougar.Net Under New Ownership

Here is what we learned today on MecuryCougar.Net:

Hello Mercurycougar.net

You may have noticed the server downtime yesterday. Today marks the dawn of a new day at Mercurycougar.net. I have, effective today, transferred ownership of Mercurycougar.net to Vertical Scope.

Mercurycougar.net is now part of the automotive family of websites owned by Vertical Scope. This is a great thing for the Mercurycougar.net members. You will soon be introduced to Helena Ciardullo. She will be the new administrator for Mercurycougar.net going forward.

Continue reading MercuryCougar.Net Under New Ownership

Lead the Way with the 1969 Cougar

1969 Cougar Lead the WayBy 1969 the pony car war was in full form.  Every manufacturer had at least one model in the fray.  Sales people had to know their enemies’ strengths and weaknesses. Lincoln Mercury wanted to make sure that they had the information they needed. A series of Competitive Product Comparison Booklets was created, each marked “Confidential.” But now the story can be told…   See how the ’69 Mercury Cougar compared to Firebird 350, Camaro, Javelin SST, Barracuda, and even the Mustang Grande.

The Cobra Jet Story

Cobra Jet StoryFord may have stood for Total Performance on the race track in the ’60’s, but with the exception of a few purpose built Thnderbolt Fairlanes, Lightweight Galaxies, and 427 powered Comets, you would have been hard-pressed to win many street races against rat motor Chevy’s or Hemi-powered Mopars. Bob Tasca knew that winning on the track was good for Ford’s image, but losing on the street was bad for Ford sales.  The Cobra Jet story tells the real tale behind how one dealer was able to light a fire under Ford management that changed everything.

Hot Rod magazine asked its readers, “Should Ford build this engine?” and provided a pre-addressed post card for their votes. Those post cards poured in and the rest is history.  This is the story of how the KR8 became what we know as the Cobra Jet.

Can TCCN (The Classic Cougar Network) Rise from the Grave Again?

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…

Many of us didn’t fully appreciate the TCCN until it was no longer available. TCCN had become, for many users, the best place to learn about our classic Cougars and to get the technical information needed to fix the most common problems.  And even if your car didn’t have a problem today it served as a wonderful place to while away the hours thinking about all of the things you might someday want to do to your Cougar.

After doing a complete revamp of the site several years ago, when TCCN officially became TCCN II,  Steve Eitzen knew exactly what he faced if he tried to bring the site up to a more modern standard once again.  Faced with such a huge task, he made the decision to shutter the site.  Steve has let it be known that he might be willing to entertain serious offers if someone or some group were willing to purchase the site.

Putting a price on something like this is challenging.  I suspect that given the depth of the site, and the number of photographs and the amount of research that was involved, that the site could not be duplicated, no matter what the budget was.  However, the number we are hearing is around $20,000, and that would include pretty much everything Cougar-related that Steve has to offer.

So I put the question to the Cougar Community:  What would it be worth to YOU to have TCCN back online?  You can tell us what you think by voting in the poll at right.

The devil is in the details…  I suspect many of you are thinking about the who, what, when, and where, and I have to admit that there is no fully developed plan.  I think all of us are smarter than any one of us so let’s hear your ideas.  Since I am the one putting this out there here are a few ideas to kick things off.

First of all, I would personally guarantee that the site would be up and available by pre-paying hosting for the first 5 years.  Should I ever fail to be able to host the site, the material would be transferred to the Cougar Club of America or some other group who could provide hosting.  I would be very happy to work with anyone that has a better idea for how the community at large could retain ownership.

  • Donors would all be listed on an honor roll.
  • Major donors (>=$100?)  would also get a plaque to signify their contribution.
  • I can also envision window stickers, or dash plaques for other donors.
  • I think that I can do a little arm twisting to get at least one of the Cougar parts vendors to provide a discount (5% on purchases over $100?) to major donors.

What else can we do to honor those that have supported the site?

The site would continue to be independent; that is, the URL would remain exactly as it is today.  It would not become a part of this or any other site.

So what are your ideas?  Is it worth even attempting to save it?  You can comment here, or in the forums on MercuryCougar.net.

Proposed CCOA Judging Standard

Modified Classes – Overview

All classes will require that the vehicle be currently registered, tagged, and insured.

Modified
(Stock)
Modified
(Street)
Modified
(Major)
Modified
(Super/Pro Street)
Any Cougar with more than 3 changes from original factory configuration while retaining a stock appearance. This class is intended for clones or tribute cars with factory-appeariing upgrades. Any Cougar with more than 3  visible changes from stock that represent functional upgrades to vehicle controls, suspension, driveline, instrumentation, or interior components without significant structural modifications. Any Cougar with any visible changes from stock that includes structural changes to the original body shell for street or show use only. Any Cougar with changes to the original body shell that are made for racing or performance purposes.
A Marti report will be required for entry into this class, which will be judged according to Street Stock standard pertaining to the model being cloned.
  • Engineering – 200 points
  • Bodywork – 200 points
  • Paint – 200 points
  • Engine & Compartment – 125
  • Undercarriage & Driveline – 150
  • Interior & Trunk – 190
  • Engineering – 250 points
  • Bodywork – 200 points
  • Paint – 200 points
  • Engine & Compartment – 100
  • Undercarriage & Driveline – 60
  • Interior & Trunk – 190
  • Engineering – 200 points
  • Bodywork – 100 points
  • Paint – 100 points
  • Engine & Compartment – 200
  • Undercarriage & Driveline – 200
  • Interior & Trunk – 200

Continue reading Proposed CCOA Judging Standard

And In the Beginning: Mercury Cougar Introduction Program

Pre-Announcement Materials AdvertisementApril Fools day, 1966 marks the beginning of the Cougar story outside of Ford Motor Company.  I think many of our less Cougar afflicted friends and significant others may find some dark humor in the date, but for us it marks the beginning of an incredible story.

The story of how Cougar began is brought to you by the good folks of the Cascade Cougar Club, and in particular, Don Skinner Editor of the Cascade Cougar Club Prowler newsletter, with innumerable contributions from the collection of Jim and Elaine Pinkerton.  This material was previously published by the Cascade Cougar Club in printed form as well as on a CD that features two bonus articles that did not make it to print.  I am sure the entire Cougar Community shares my gratitude to this fine group of folks for assembling this information and making available to us here.

Continue reading And In the Beginning: Mercury Cougar Introduction Program

Cougar Club of America Update

The Cougar Club of America held an informal meeting at the Carlisle all Ford meet earlier this month.  The result of that meeting has been summarized in this posting from the CCOA website:

Opinion: ClassicCougar Community.Com

The Cougar Community needs more resources, and a healthy active national club is a vital ingredient in the mix.  But the CCOA has not been able to fill this need for the past few years.  For many members, the quarterly club news letter, At the Sign of the Cat, was the main benefit of membership.  The newsletter has not been published in over a year.  The club has also faltered in its ability to provide support for regional and national shows.  Many have questioned whether the club, in accordance with its own bylaws, even continues to exist.

One thing seems certain.  As long as the CCOA continues to cling to its existence. than no other club is likely to be formed to replace it.  Formation of a new club would most likely only result in an unnecessary division of the Cougar Community.

The only action that seems to have arisen from the meeting was the creation of a new position to go along with the other 5 currently unfilled board positions.  How adding this position will help remains to be seen.

It seems to me that the thing the CCOA needs the most right now is to take action.

I posted the following suggestions on the MC.Net site.  Others will have their own suggestions.  Regardless of what steps are taken, the most important thing seems to be taking the first step forward.  I applaud Randy Goodling for just getting the meeting together, and posting the results.

The club is currently unable to produce a printed newsletter. Face up to this fact.

  1. Going forward, all communication from the club will utilize email and online methods.
  2. Remove the promises of a quarterly newsletter form the website.
  3. If enough funds exist to send a post card to all “members” asking for an email address, notify them that no other printed materials are forth coming, and apologize for the lapse in communication.
  4. Suspend the collection of dues. It is unclear what the club can deliver in return for dues. Membership is free. Make it possible for members to make donations. Come clean on the money. Make a copy of the bank statement, black out the account numbers, and post it.
  5. Produce a simple monthly PDF based newsletter to the members even if all it says is “I didn’t have time to do anything more”.
  6. Make decisions.

What If: The G Car That Could Have Been

Team CougarIn 1967 the Trans Am championship came down to the final race in Kent Washington at the Seattle International Raceway.  Bud Moore Engineering prepared three Cougars for 1967 and two of them were in the race: #98 driven by Dan Gurney, and #15 driven by Parnelli Jones.  When the final flag fell, Team Cougar finished second behind The Mustangs and, by only two points, came in second in the Manufacturers Championship.

G-Force CougarWhat If Team Cougar had won that last race in 1967 and become the Trans Am series Champs?

It would have been difficult for Ford to pull the plug on Team Cougar.  Perhaps Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, and Ed Leslie would have gone on to win again in 1968.  We will never know of course, but for certain, Mercury would have tried to make the most of the victory, and the best way to do that would have been with a commemorative vehicle.

This brings us to the G-Force Cougar.  The G-Force Cougar is the creation of Rocket, as he is known on MC.Net.  Rocket describes himself like this:  Born Canadian car crazy, single, in love with Ford racing, owner of one of the coolest collections of rare Cougars anywhere.  Rocket keeps his cat collection in Surrey, BC, Canada.  I think his work speaks for itself.

This is one man’s vision of what just such a car would have been.  Even before the Cougar was introduced a collection of performance parts was assembled to “Sharpen the Cats Claws.”  These parts were used to assemble a Group Two street Cougar that was tested by both Road & Track and Motor Trend magazines.   Read on for more details and pictures of this amazing Cougar.

Continue reading What If: The G Car That Could Have Been

2008 Carlisle Winners List

Congratulations to the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals winning Cougars and their owners!

1970 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Owned By Shannon Terry
1970 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Owned By Shannon Terry

Why is it the owners get the credit when the cars have to do all the work?   Just kidding!  Lots of hours of painstaking effort goes into every car, and we extend our congratulations to all that made the show.

The thing this article really needs is pictures!  If you have pictures of any of the winning cars, please send them to us so we can add them to this article.

WINNERS LIST FOR ALL-FORD NATIONALS 2008

Y162 1967 – 1968 COUGAR STANDARD
486 SMITSKY, BRIAN 1967 MERCURY COUGAR FIRST PLACE
487 ESHELMAN, MARK & WANIETA 1967 MERCURY COUGAR SECOND PLACE
488 JONES, MIKE 1967 MERCURY COUGAR THIRD PLACE
Double Winner! Celebrity Pick Chosen by: Randy Goodling Ford Enthusiast

Y163 1967 – 1968 COUGAR XR7, XR7G,GTE,GT
489 PRATT, WILLIAM 1968 MERCURY COUGAR FIRST PLACE
490 KARAMANIS, JIM 1968 MERCURY COUGAR XR7-G SECOND PLACE
491 NORWICH, JIM 1967 MERCURY COUGAR XR-7 THIRD PLACE

Y164 1969 – 1970 COUGAR STANDARD COUPE/XR7
492 TERRY, SHANNON 1970 MERCURY COUGAR XR-7 FIRST PLACE
493 GARDINER, KLPH 1969 MERCURY COUGAR SECOND PLACE
494 MCMULLEN, BOB 1969 MERCURY COUGAR THIRD PLACE
495 NEMBROTTI, STUART 1969 MERCURY COUGAR *CELEBRITY PICK*
Celebrity Pick Chosen by: Steve Polansky Cougar Club of NJ

Y165 1969 – 1970 COUGAR STD CONV. XR7 CONV.
496 POLANSKY, STEVEN 1969 MERCURY COUGAR X47 CONV FIRST PLACE
497 ZORTMAN, VICKIE 1969 COUGAR CONVERTIBLE SECOND PLACE
498 GILL, CHUCK 1969 MERCURY COUGAR CONV THIRD PLACE

Y166 1969 – 1970 COUGAR ELIMINATOR
499 HORNBAKER, STEVEN 1969 MERCURY COUGAR FIRST PLACE
Double Winner! Celebrity Pick Chosen by: Barrie Poole Retired Legendary Racer
500 SOLSKY, BOB 1969 MERCURY COUGAR ELIMINATOR SECOND PLACE
501 THOMAS, BILL 1970 COUGAR THIRD PLACE

Be sure to hit the link to see the rest of the WINNERS!

Continue reading 2008 Carlisle Winners List