Lincoln-Mercury got in on the pony car act a couple of years after the Mustang launched with the 1967 Mercury Cougar. In its initial guise it was assembled at two of Ford’s factories, the Dearborn Assembly Plant (DAP) up to 1973, within the huge Ford Rouge Centre housing six build facilities and on the West Coast at the San Jose Assembly Plant in Milpitas, California until 1970. Thereafter, Cougar production switched to the Lorain Assembly Plant (LAP) in Ohio until 1997. The brand-new 1967 Mercury Cougar was unveiled to the public on September 30, 1966 and within days Motor Trend magazine made it their Car of the Year.
The Cougar was really the product of a marriage of two of its cars; firstly the Thunderbird, with its image, style and prestige and secondly the Mustang, with its two-door ‘pony car’ sporty persona. However, the Cougar suggested luxury and Mercury made certain of that kudos with an increased price tag over the Mustang, something that never put prospective buyers off. As the Cougar entered the pony car market, Ford’s divisional general manager Frank Zimmerman remarked: “No stable has ever had two active Kentucky winners.” He was correct and the car-buying public loved the first-generation Cougars.
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