Cold Start: I Don’t Feel Safe

Cs Cougar

I’m not entirely certain what’s going on here, but I feel like were you to wander onto this scene, alone and confused, and saw that huge V8 two-door “personal car” parked cavalierly on manicured grass, and just aft of it stands a very pissed-looking woman in a white skirt, holding what appears to be a full-grown cougar on a leash. What the hell is going on here? Is this person the leader of some sort of cult? Why does she look so pissed? Did I do something wrong? Is that cougar going to leap at my crotch, sharp teeth and claws bared, at any second? Can I just leave the way I came?

These were pretty sinister-looking cars, I always thought, with their inscrutable eyeless faces, long hoods and that sweeping arc of a character line coming from the front side of the rear wheelarch. I also like how the three-speed auto for these was called a Merc-O-Matic, because that’s a hell of a lot of fun to say. Merc-O-Matic, Merc-O-Matic.

None of this explains why this lady looks so disgusted with me, though.

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40 Responses

  1. Dear Autopian crew, it seems you need a way to report/block/remove/ban spam users and comments. Which on the positive side means that your site has gotten so big, spammers see it as a medium. So concratulations! 🙂

    Regarding the picture, I think the model is so scared to be trapped between two cougars, that she couldn’t smile or look convincing in any way.

  2. A buddy of mine in high school had one of those Cougars (the car, not one of the other two) with a 351 Cleveland. Man that thing sounded boss and was a hoot to drive and ride in.

    “None of this explains why this lady looks so disgusted with me, though.”
    Oh Torch, ever since that hot August night when she walked in on you masturbating in the bathroom, she’s been terribly disappointed. And disgusted – extremely disgusted.

  3. “Why does she look so pissed?”
    Well, from the way she’s moving that left hand behind her, my theory is that after someone brought out that cougar on a leash, the back of that skirt isn’t so white anymore.

  4. Always had a fascination with the oddball covered lights thing. Not quite popups, but not “regular” either, and seemingly w/o any functional purpose.

    While popups are sadly dead, I’ve wondered if covered lights might make a comeback as something to add visual interest/distinction, esp. given all our new material tech?

    Like maybe thin sliding panels that retract into the body, so they don’t screw with regulatory compatibility or anything.

    1. I assume the biggest driving factor was the requirement to use sealed beams, so this gave designers a little more freedom than just a pair (or two pairs) of circles on the front of the car.

  5. Now Torch if you’re calm, that wonderous big cat will be calm too. But if you’re scared, that beautiful death machine will do what God made it to do, namely, eat you with a smile on its face.

    1. Very obviously this.
      One doesn’t go to effort of sourcing a live cougar to place in the ad alongside the vehicular Cougar and then put an attractive mature lady between them all by mistake.
      Although I suspect the artists intent is that we, the viewer, are the naughty Cabana boy.
      Which neatly answers Torch’s question about why she’s so upset with him. Because he’s been a naughty, naughty boy and must be suitably punished.

  6. Mr. Torchinsky, I appreciate your concern for the well being of our followers, but I assure you that no one in The Covenant had anything to do with the disappearance of Lacey Oenderols. She left our group of her own accord, in an Accord, which should amuse you. Now, if you please, it is time for you to leave. It is time for Katriona’s feeding. Unless of course, you would like to stay as, er I mean for, dinner.

  7. I think she was thinking “I know that the Lincoln-Mercury Division offers nothing more than re-vamped Ford models and expects people to pay more for them.”

    I’ve never been a Ford guy but always thought these Cougars presented much better than their Ford counterparts. Plus I loved the television advertisements that had the “cougar roar” sound effect.

  8. I recall a car-salesman friend on our driveway calling attention to the ’68’s metal(!) grille — on which detail the contrast with my brother’s ’68 Camaro could hardly be more stark.
    But big bro’ Don’s car — SS 396, 375 HP, 4-speed, 4:10 rear, dark blue — was the automotive highlight of my youth.


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  10. I am sure that these 70s car photographers considered themselves artists and tried to outdo each other with weird inscrutable scenes so as to increase their street cred. Of course, that is good for us now because Torch has carefully preserved and curated them for our entertainment.

    However, that begs a question. Someone had to approve these images for publication and I seriously question if ridiculous images help sell cars. Was the manager just afraid to be considered not cool enough and out of the loop? Was he (most likely male) in on the game (travel to cool places and take silly photos, eat well, hire appreciative local models)? While you could argue that strange settings caused the reader to ponder the image while subconsciously absorbing the strength and menace of the large cat and vinyl roof, is there any data showing that this style of automotive “art” sold cars in the 70s?

  11. Had one of these (car we are talking about here) , all black. 351C with a 4 speed manual. Car was a lot of fun, should have kept the car and not sold it to buy a house with my girlfriend at the time as both the house and the girlfriend are no longer.

        1. Oh, I was way ahead of you guys on that one. She was also Sonny/Solita Carrera from Guiding Light.
          Speaking of Cain, looks like she picked the wrong day to fall for a toaster.

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