News & Opinion | September 26, 2016 9:00 am

How a Collector Pounced on the First-Ever Mercury Cougar

This sweet ride has been around the block a few times

The Mercury Cougar, no longer produced, is approaching a landmark celebration in 2017 — the notorious make’s 50th anniversary. And to mark the occasion, Carlisle Ford Nationals will be playing host to one very special guest of honor: Cougar One.

You might say the belle of the ball the long route to arrive at the party.

According to the car’s current owner, Cougar superfan Jim Pinkerton, the first ever Mercury Cougar was “accidentally” sent, first off the lot, to a dealership in Moncton, New Brunswick. The dealer there was overly eager to have some fresh Cougar stock to put on display prior to the sale models arriving, and thusly, was somehow the lucky recipient of Cougar One.

But without the correct documentation, the dealer was unable to sell the vehicle. It was leased to a carwash dealer across the street briefly, after which it sat on the third floor of this inconsequential dealership in the Isle of Palms. After the dealer passed, his son then filed for bankruptcy, whereupon the car was sold for the first time at auction to a local hardware dealer in the area.

It wasn’t until 1994 when Mark Ogden, a Cougar Car Club member in California, noticed a small ad in a Car & Parts magazine for a Cougar that had been on the market since the mid-’80s. And as fortune would have it, a fellow club member of his was in, you guessed it, Moncton, New Brunswick, at that very moment. Upon inspection, the numbers revealed that the car was none other than Cougar One.

Shortly thereafter, Ogden headed north where he and the car’s then-owner dug through two feet of snow to unveil the steed. Back California, Ogden decided he was not quite ready to pull off the museum-quality restoration that the ride deserved, and he passed it over to current owner Jim Pinkerton.

Except for the rubber around the windows, Cougar One is as original as it could possibly be — from the upholstery and the paint to the engine. At last, Cougar One has returned home and will be on display at the fairgrounds of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, June 2-4, 2017.

via Motor Authority