Home » The Mercury Cougar Caused Some Strange Faces But Had A Houndstooth Roof: Cold Start

The Mercury Cougar Caused Some Strange Faces But Had A Houndstooth Roof: Cold Start

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I assume our audience is at least 97% human, so an awful lot of our content is targeted at that demographic. My apologies, super-intelligent mollusks and crows and the occasional alien. And, as humans, one of the most visually arresting images you can throw at us is a human face. Mercury was clearly going for that here, and then played it safe by throwing in a feline face, too, but what’s notable here is how strange that expression on that woman’s face is. Oh, and then in this brochure I learned something fascinating, too.

First, though, let’s address that top picture. I love the half-ass way the photo compositor tried to imply that oddly-stunned-looking woman has that cougar on a chain. It’s a picture, was it that important to have the chain in there? Unless that’s part of the desired imagery, that a Cougar driver has control of all that pent-up cougar power?

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

That facial expression just kind of creeps me out; I assume someone told the woman to look sexy, but I’ve rarely seen a more vacant look; the slack jaw, dead eyes – it’s like someone in a trance. It’s creepy.

But! That’s okay, because look at that roof! What do you see? Here’s a close-up of that A-pillar:

Cs Cougar2

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See that? Also that woman has a much more engaging expression going on, too. She’s looking at you, and seems to have thoughts happening, about things or ideas, and you could probably get her to react to you without having to clap your hands inches from her face. But back to that roof: it’s houndstooth!

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Yes, in 1970, Mercury offered a houndstooth roof, on the cleverly-named Houndstooth Cougar. It’s so cool! If you’re going to cover your roof in vinyl, why not do it in something cooler than a fake leather look? I kind of love this idea.

Also, looks like that cougar is always leashed in these ads. Safety first, I guess?

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ScottyB
ScottyB
9 months ago

It’s extremely cool but also a missed opportunity for a tiger stripe or leopard print pattern which would have been more appropriate to a Cougar.

Robert Swartz
Robert Swartz
9 months ago

Henry Ford II’s last wife was one of the Cougar models – but not a cougar when she married him.
I covered the Cougar houndstooth as well as the Mopar Mod Top and other gems in a QOTD on Best/Worst vinyl tops over at Curbside Classics a few years ago.

pliney the welder
pliney the welder
9 months ago

The photographer either A) knew her . Or B) SOMEONE involved had a * thang * for that look .

Last edited 9 months ago by pliney the welder
Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
9 months ago

Ref the Cougar, given David’s new found intimacy with felines, he should be the one to investigate any thing related to cats of all sizes. He would be the one to determine whether the animal is truly under control.

John E
John E
9 months ago

It’s a look of wonder and, at the same time, disbelief. Women LOVE two things: dragging around predators on a chain and houndstooth. Having obtained the first, she gazes in awe and shock that Ford has now fulfilled her second fantasy and desire. You can be certain that tomorrow morning she will be rushing into her nearest Lincoln-Mercury dealer(mountain lion in tow) to pay whatever it takes to obtain the object of her automotive desire. Ford product planners and advertising executives were geniuses.

ScottyB
ScottyB
9 months ago
Reply to  CRX89

But of course. And frequently on the roof in commercials, too.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
9 months ago

Fun Cougar trivia, Sci Fi author Keith Laumer had the world’s largest collection of first generation Cougars.
I’ve only seen o. houndstooth vinyl roof in person, on a Volvo 164E of all things. Naturally this was dealer installed in 1974

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