As humans tend to do, it’s easy to look backwards and see what shaped us, what we drove, why cars were important to us at that particular moment in time. Below are the past cars that became an influential part of the COOL CATS world, for one reason or another. We don’t believe any of them still exist today but we’ve got plenty of great memories and photos to share.

1984 Mercury Cougar GS #1

Not long after purchasing the car, I did what everyone cool back in those days did: bought a front-end cover (aka the “Bra”) and found a set of used Mustang-style TRX rims with 4 relatively matching tires from salvage yards. Now it was beginning to look sporty.

1984 Mercury Cougar GS #1

Eventually I went a bit further, adding a full ground effects kit painted silver. I also painted the mirrors flat silver and sandblasted the chrome to create a flat metallic finish. I hand-made a set of clear headlight covers with the Cougar logo etched on the inside. One last touch was an illuminated hood ornament, courtesy of one of the C-pillar coach lamps I found at the salvage yard.

1984 Mercury Cougar GS #1

Out back I swapped in a pair of ’85 taillights—not an easy thing to do, it turns out. I filled in the reflectors and painted the section light blue. Also, I airbrushed the cat head on the backup lights to simulate the 1987-88 taillights, and painted black “laser stripes” (similar to those on the Topaz and Grand Marquis) on the lenses. The MERCURY and COUGAR letters were airbrushed onto the trunklid.

1984 Mercury Cougar GS #1

The interior held up quite well after 6 years. This car ended up being a real experiment for the Cougars to come and I owe it all to this blue gem.

1986 Mercury Cougar GS V8

I didn’t intend to create an evil-looking car but after an accident (not my fault) in January 1996, the repair shop was able to install all the cool parts I’d been accumulating for the car: Turbo Coupe hood, front air dam and rear valance. Prior to the accident I had experimented with the Tempo mirror conversion. On went a pair of ’83 clear turn signals, and installed Marchal fog lamps.

1986 Mercury Cougar GS V8A custom grille, painted side markers and blackout headlight covers completed the ominous transformation. It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t loud, but it looked m-e-a-n. The car’s paint finish was actually very bad (cracks and peeling) and didn’t look nearly as nice as it does in these photos.

1986 Mercury Cougar GS V8Inside, an XR-7 2-spoke sport steering wheel, console, painted dash and console panels, carbon fiber-simulated dash trim, and a Turbo Coupe instrument cluster all got installed.

1986 Mercury Cougar GS V8A work-in-progress shot of the interior. Notice the rotary heater panel conversion, Taurus cupholder assembly, Taurus rear window defroster switch, and light-up Cougar nomenclature above the glove box.

1986 Mercury Cougar GS V8One of my last photos of the car before it got banged up in yet another accident (also not my fault) in November 1996. It was disheartening to see the accomplishments that I’d put into the car get destroyed. At that point, I did not feel like putting more money into this car and promptly sold it. Can’t really say I miss it. I’d like to think that it inspired a few people though.

1988 Mercury Cougar Blue Max V8I installed a pair of good used buckets from a parted out ’88 XR7, along with its console, dash panels and matching sport steering wheel. The car was converted to floor shift when the replacement transmission was installed. The stereo system was rewired and upgraded as well.

1988 Mercury Cougar Blue Max V8A set of 15″ turbine rims made the exterior look fantastic.

1988 Thunderbird Sport V8This car was absolutely loaded, with every option except the leather seats.