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.
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.
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?
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.
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.