Today, let’s talk about a real unicorn…err…unicougar.

The “Eliminator” performance package was introduced for the Mercury Cougar in 1969 and only appeared for two years. All told, around 4,500 Cougar Eliminators rolled off the Mercury assembly line during that short timespan.

We’re pretty sure this is a 1970 edition, as the 1969 Eliminators wore a different, shorter stripe along the Cougar’s beltline. Note the “Hurst Equipped” badge on the rear decklid. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Patrick Miller)

If you’ve never heard of one, the Cougar Eliminator could be considered the equivalent of, say, Ford’s Mustang Boss 302 or Mach 1 trim. Checking the Eliminator box got you a performance tire and handling package, along with features like a special gauge console, racing stripes, air dam, spoiler, hood scoop, and blacked out grille.

We think those two hood twist locks were added later. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Patrick Miller)

You had plenty of choices under the hood too. For starters, the Cougar Eliminator came standard with a 351 Windsor in 1969 or a then-new 351 Cleveland in 1970. The 390-4V was also around for 1969.

Not sure about the distinction between Ford’s 351 engines? Read this: What’s the Difference Between a Ford 351 Windsor, Cleveland, or Modified Engine?

In addition to the blackout grille, Cougar Eliminators got a tough-looking chin spoiler. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Patrick Miller)

Even better, the race-bred Boss 302 powerplant was available exclusively on the Eliminator package. (In fact, some could argue that the Eliminator’s entire existence is predicated on Ford allowing Mercury to shove the Boss 302 into a Cougar.)

Finally, if your right foot was feeling particularly heavy that day, you could opt for a 428 Cobra Jet or Super Cobra Jet, with the latter boasting a functional Ram Air setup.

A not-so-subtle indication of what’s under the hood here. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Patrick Miller)

…Which brings us to this particular 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator Cobra Jet we spotted at the Summit Racing Retail Store outside Akron, Ohio a while back.

The emblem on the hood scoop makes it clear that this is one of those aforementioned Cobra Jet-equipped cats.

This Cougar Eliminator’s hood-mounted tach is a nice period-correct Ford-spec upgrade, and might have even been installed at the dealership per buyer’s request. The supplemental shift light is likely a later addition. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Patrick Miller)

The car is wearing a coat of eyeball-searing Competition Yellow, which (in Mercury’s lineup) was exclusive to the Eliminator and taken from Ford’s “Grabber” paint series. In 1970, you could get a host of high-visibility colors, including Competition Blue, Green, and Orange.

If you look closely, you’ll see special Cougar XR7 center caps on these Magnum 500 wheels. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Patrick Miller)

Curiously, this particular 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator wears XR7 badging as well. And that’s an interesting subplot here, because from what we understand, the XR7 and Eliminator packages were not available together—it was either one or the other.

(Image/OnAllCylinders – Patrick Miller)

Since this Cougar is carrying some other upgrades like hood twist locks, a hood tach, and Hurst Shifter, we’re guessing that this is a a subtle, period-correct restomod.

And that’s totally OK with us, because any way you look at it, this is one fast and fine feline—making it a purrfect complement to Ford’s Mustang performance trims.

A lot of folks don’t realize that the first-gen. Mercury Cougar had sequential taillights too, using Ford tech borrowed from the 1964 Thunderbird. The feature would soon gain fame on the Shelby GT500 in 1968. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Patrick Miller)

Alas, after 1970 the Eliminator package disappeared as the Mercury Cougar entered its second generation, foreshadowing its gradual transition from an upscale musclecar to a larger luxury coupe.

(Image/OnAllCylinders – Patrick Miller)

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.