COAL Outtake: 1985 Mercury Cougar – A Brief Fling With Personal Luxury and a Blown Head Gasket

I was only in possession of our subject Cougar LS for a few months – it had been my brother’s DD until it blew a (3.8l) head gasket and he replaced it with a new Saturn SL. I forget if he gave me the Cougar or I paid him $100 for it. I topped off the radiator and drove it to our apartment, where a very patient and tolerant landlord permitted me to have it on jackstands for three weeks while I pulled the heads and replaced the gaskets, among other repair needs that surfaced in the process. It immediately went to the curb with a For Sale sign, and I think I ended up getting maybe $500 for it, which wasn’t much for the amount of work I put into it.

1985 brought a revised interior to the Mercury Cougar along with a Mercedes-like grille (early production units were cast zinc, later ones were molded plastic). A complete refresh had been slated for 1986, but ended up being pushed out to 1987, partially due to continued strong sales.

This car was one I was quite happy to be rid of – it was comfortable to sit in (and the center console was pretty cool), but other than that, it was underpowered, floaty and just plain tired.