JANUARY 10, 2014 MY FAVORITE CAR: A PURPLE 1969 MERCURY COUGAR WITH A FAMILY HISTORY

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We asked Paul Howard from Dent Clinic about his favorite car and it turned out to be his wife’s car from the early days of their courtship in the 70s.

 

Paul and his wife were dating at the time and only one of them owned a car-Paul’s wife.

 

The car was a purple 1969 Mercury Cougar with over 300,000 miles on it when it became their daily driver. Paul’s future father in law gave his daughter the car when he upgraded to a newer vehicle with a couple of hundred thousand less miles on it.

 

 

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The Cougar had been put through the ringer every day of its life with Paul’s father in law because he worked on construction sites in the sparsely populated wilds of northern Ontario. The car saw a lot of time on back roads where pavement is not a part of the program and more than held its own on the bad roads.

 

Flying down back roads was not a problem for the Cougar and Paul remembers the car was still very solid when he was behind the wheel, even after all those miles on bad roads. It has a 351 Cleveland that provided plenty of power for him, despite its massive number of miles.

 

The body was still in “awesome shape”, according to Paul and suffered its first real war wounds when he “accordioned the front fender” in his words.

 

He and his wife ended up selling the car to his landlord for 500 dollars in 1977 so they could purchase a brand new Toyota Corolla for $3600.00.

 

300,000 miles on a vehicle put through a grinder on the back roads of northern Ontario is a significant achievement, particularly when Paul told us his father in law purchased the car from a local used car dealer with a somewhat questionable reputation to say the very least.

 

The dealer changed the name on his lot many times because of legal issues and would seem like a long shot to sell one of the most durable trouble-free used cars in history. Our best guess is the car was an orphan car from an ambitious western Canadian insurance company started in the late 60s that failed catastrophically and used only purple 1969 Cougars during their brief business run.

 

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The car was probably purchased in an asset fire sale by the used car dealer and he accidentally sold a very well-maintained purple Cougar to Paul’s father in law.

 

The 1969 Cougar was an easy choice as Paul’s favorite car, but his wife would likely have voted for the humble 1977 Toyota Corolla as her favorite car because she cried the day they sold it.

Jim Sutherland

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