AJ's Car of the Day '70 Mercury Cougar Eliminator Coupe

Car: Mercury Cougar Eliminator

Year: 1970

What makes it special: Mercury was reluctant to bulk up the Cougar and take on the muscle market, but by 1969, with the Ford Mustang was knuckling against Camaro's and Firebirds with its 428 Cobra Jet Mach 1, Mercury could no longer sit on the sidelines. By mid-year, the division had jumped into the fray with the Eliminator. The name was taken from a Cougar show car and from the 1968 Cougar Eliminator funny car driven by “Dyno” Don Nicholson.

What made it famous: Dressed out in bright colors, blacked out grilles, body stripes, spoilers and decals, the Eliminator was based on the standard Cougar and came with a choice of engines from mild to wild. Mercury turned up the heat for 1970. Standard engine was the 351 4-barrel V8, either Windsor or Cleveland, depending on availability. The 351 Cleveland was the more desirable of the two, thanks to its canted valve positioning that permitted better cylinder flow. The Windsor was rated at 290 horsepower @ 4800 rpm and the Cleveland at 300 @ 5400 rpm.  Also standard was a 3.25:1 rear axle and a performance handling package with F70x14 white lettered tires. Engine options ranged from the high revving Boss 302 to a pair of heavy breathing 428 cubic inch Cobra Jets, with or without ram air induction, with both producing 335 horsepower @ 5200 rpm. With any engine choice, a floor mounted 3-speed manual transmission was standard. The C6 automatic or a 4-speed manual box was optional. Also standard for the Eliminator were high back bucket seats, black grain instrument panel, 6,000-rpm tach, with 8,000 for Boss 302 equipped models, a novel “elapsed time” clock and full instrumentation. For manual transmission cars, a Hurst shifter with aluminum “T” handle was standard, while automatic transmission models received a simulated wood grain shift knob when the floor mounted transmission was ordered.

Why I would want one: It's low production and performance makes the Mercury Cougar Eliminator a highly sought after car for Ford/Mercury fans.

Fun fact: While the Eliminator had all the right stuff to qualify it as a muscle pony car, what it lacked was image. Image wasn’t built by painting on graphics or spraying on loud paint schemes. Image was earned every Saturday night on the streets of America from Woodward Avenue in Detroit to Van Nuys Boulevard in Southern California.