Serial Number One Mercury Cougar

On display in Building T throughout Carlisle Ford Nationals weekend will be Cougar One.

It was found in a Quonset Hut about 20 miles south of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada in 1994.

In March of 1966, Ford Motor Company put in a deep-water shipping facility in Moncton on the Bay of Fundy. Lee Iacocca and other Ford execs were present for the dedication as well as local dealers. Dryden Motors which was the oldest Ford Lincoln Mercury dealer in Canada at the time sent their dealer principal to the event. The dealer principal had the opportunity to talk to Lee Iacocca to try and get his Mercury Cougar orders in quicker after finding he was way down on the list for fulfillment. Iacocca agreed to send him a factory show car to put in the showroom. After a call to Special Vehicle Operations, Iacocca had a vehicle for Dryden Motors however he was unaware that they were sending him Cougar One. Come to find out Cougar One couldn’t be sold because it didn’t have the Manufacturers Statement of Origin. However Dryden Motors put it out on a closed-end lease to the owner of a local car wash across the street from the dealership.

After returning the lease to the dealership 35 months later Cougar One was parked at the dealership until 1979. After the dealer principal died the dealership lost its personal service contract with Lincoln Mercury, the dealership filed bankruptcy, and the car was auctioned off. A local hardware dealer won the auction and tried to sell it in 1982 in Cars & Parts Magazine with no luck.

Fast forward to 1994, Mark Ogden, a member of the Cougar Club that the current owner Jim Pinkerton is in is at a swap meet and picks up an old issue of Cars & Parts Magazine. Low and behold that member stumbles across the old ad and begins to track down Cougar One, which was stored in a hut. After digging some snow out of the way of the door Jim makes his way into the hut and inspects the car finding that all the numbers identifying the car was available. Jim made about 5 or 6 pages of notes and when he got back home after his business trip spoke to his wife Elaine about the find. Jim shares this info with his friend Mark out of courtesy as Mark found the car first. Mark purchases it and drives it over the border and down to Boston to be shipped across country back to Washington State. Mark has the car about nine months before coming to the conclusion it will take a small fortune to restore the car. Mark offers the car to Jim as he did not want a car that he could not/should not drive. Jim and his wife Elaine purchase the car and begin discussions with Lincoln-Mercury for a possible restoration sponsorship as part of the Cougar 30th in 1997, however; Lincoln-Mercury says no. In 1996, Jim and Elaine work with John Benoit of Cascade Classics and self fund the restoration, completing it just 2 hours before the transport arrived to bring it to Carlisle in 1997. It is back, so don't miss out on this piece of history!

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