(first posted 12/15/2012. Since we had the original Cougar yesterday, let’s follow with this rather different kind of cat)
The one-year-only 1977 Mercury Cougar Villager station wagon is worth taking a closer look at.
The story has been told before that the 1976 Montegos effectively became 1977 Cougars; only the XR-7 was a “real” Cougar, since all the other models, including the aforementioned wagon, were face-lifted Montegos. Ford took the same approach by morphing Torinos into slightly restyled LTD IIs (CC here).
Richard Bennett came upon this rare cat during the Woodward Dream Cruise. In his own words:
That Cougar is apparently legendary in Cougar circles, as I have seen many pics of it on the Net over the years, so it goes without saying that I got rather excited when I saw it up ahead of me! These were taken at the Woodward Dream Cruise back in August. I was heading south on Woodward getting ready to head back towards Ypsilanti and, well there it was! I was lucky I got those pics, what with all the other traffic and such.
This car looks pristine, and it appears to have a matching dark jade interior–perfect! What’s more, it appears there’s a vintage-dealership tag on the back. Can anyone make out what it says?
Here we can see the front fender’s “Villager” script, which I recall was reserved for the woody-look version. Plain-sided Cougar wagons were available as well. And like its Colony Park big brother, the Cougar woody featured chrome framing in place of the lighter-woodgrain plastic used on the Ford Country Squire and LTD II Squire. And in case you haven’t noticed, there’s another CC in the background, which I believe is a 1978 Delta 88 coupe.
Here’s a front view of the very same car Richard found on Wiki. As he noted, it is somewhat famous, and numerous images of this very green Villager are posted online. The most obvious changes for 1977 involved the front end, where a Continental Mark V-like grille and quad rectangular lights set the Cougar wagon apart from its Montego predecessor.
For reference, here’s the ’76 model. As you can see, there aren’t many differences aft of the nose, at least on the wagons. Coupes and sedans were much less Montego-like.
Even though most of the 1977-79 models–especially the four-door sedan and wagon–were derided as fake Cougars, I have to admit that Richard’s deep-green metallic find looks pretty good to me.
Perhaps it’s because Mom’s parents had a triple-jade green ’77 LTD II sedan–it might even have been a Brougham! I have hazy memories of riding in that car as a toddler and it, much like the ’79 Bonneville Dad had at the same time, has made a permanent impression on my car-addled brain.
My fondness for these cars may also be due to one of my favorite childhood toys, a green Matchbox Cougar Villager with an opening tailgate. While normally I’m a stickler for factory wheel covers and whitewalls, even I must admit those Torque-Thrusts suit this wagon. Thanks for sharing, Mr. Bennett!