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.
This is the car that started it all: my very first car, a 1984 Cougar GS V6 in Light Cadet Blue Metallic, purchased in May 1987. While not a stellar performer, it had everything in the looks department and we were inseparable. It took me through college, back and forth to my first job, a few vacations, and many in-town excursions with friends. There were a few instances where the car left me stranded but otherwise the car remained trouble-free for over 100,000 miles. When it was time to move on, I found a family that needed a first car for their daughter, and the transition couldn’t have been smoother. Essentially everything on this site is the culmination of knowledge that began with this very car.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This 1986 Cougar GS V8 was my second car and it become a daily driver immediately after purchase in 1992. It’s also the first factory V8 car that I’d ever owned. Although the car had seen better days it was reliable enough for daily duty. And it provided a platform for experimentation, both mechanically and visually. But it was truly a “black Cat” in every sense of the phrase. We were glad to buy it and just as glad to see it go.
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.
This white 1988 Cougar XR-7 was purchased in February 1998. It desperately needed wax but otherwise was in decent shape for daily driving duties. As such, I vowed not to sink too much money into this one and I kept that promise. It turned out to be one of the most trouble-free Cougars I’ve ever owned. While the body wasn’t perfect, it was good enough for daily driving duty. It was sold in October 2001 with 154,000 problem-free miles on the odometer.