Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

Lost and Found: 1969 Mercury Cougar “Super Cat” 428 Cobra Jet Project!

In a technical sense this 1969 Mercury Cougar wasn’t lost, but it was lost to us. You see, it was built at Car Craft magazine—one of HOT ROD’s longtime sister publications—in partnership with Dyno Don Nicholson, back in 1969 for a Coca-Cola promotion, and once it was out of sight it was quickly out of mind as the editorial team got busy on new projects. But the story of the “Super Cat Streep Scene Eliminator Cougar” is a pretty cool one that we think you’ll enjoy.

It all started back in 1969, when Coca-Cola decided it wanted to do a promotion where the top prize would be a hot-rodded 1969 428 Cobra Jet-powered Mercury Cougar. So, they partnered up with Car Craft Magazine and Don Nicholson, aka Dyno Don, to build a show version of Nicholson’s 1969 Super Stock Cougar! The Car Craft editor at the time, John Raffa, worked over the Cougar, and when it was done it traveled around the country to various promotional events and was often at the races with Nicholson, where it would do NHRA exhibition runs. We’re told this was the first Eliminator Cougar built by Mercury.

What Did the Super Cat Cougar Run in the Quarter-Mile?

When Car Craft started the project, the car was taken to Irwindale Raceway where it ran a 14.18 at 100.5 mph. After tinkering with tire pressures and launch technique the testers were able to get that down to a best pass of 13.93 at 102.38 mph. Remember, this was in 1969.

It was Car Craft, so there was no way the Cougar would stay stock. To get the project moving, the Ford was sent over to Nicholson’s shop where they pulled the 428 Cobra Jet, blueprinted it, and did a few secret tweaks. The car was also given a set of Lakewood traction bars and some Jardine headers. At the track, the reworked Super Cat Cougar turned in a 13.46 at 105 mph! But the Nicholson and the Car Craft teams weren’t done yet.

New shocks and a set of oh-so-sweet Cragar wheels wrapped in 9.00×15-inch Goodyear slicks were added to the mix, and Nicholson yanked the stock Hurst linkage in favor of a Hurst Competition/Plus setup. With Nicholson piloting the Super Cat it ran a best of 12.78 at 109.35 mph! No information exists on who did the killer candy-apple paintjob and gold leaf graphics that eventually found their way onto the giveaway car.

You Couldn’t Buy the Super Cat Cougar, but You Could Win It!

Yep, as part of the awesomely named National Thirst Eliminator Sweepstakes for Coca-Cola, you would win some sweet prizes including this 1969 Super Cat Cougar which was valued at a whopping $7,000! Of course, in adjusted dollars, that was an expensive car for 1969.

What Is “Streep Scene?”

That’s an easy one: It’s a mix of Street and Strip in one easy-to-remember marketing nugget. That car was very popular in the day and even had its own MPC model kit!

Who Won the 1969 Super Cat Mercury Cougar?

In September of 1969, Coca-Cola gave the car to a lucky winner in Ohio. Sadly, he was forced to sell the car right away since he couldn’t afford to pay the tax man his share. It flipped between owners a few times, with one of the guys beating the crud out of it at tracks until it broke. The Super Cat even served time as a promotional gimmick at a used car lot. It was eventually pushed into a carport, where it faded (literally) away into obscurity.

Who Found and Saved Dyno Don’s Super Cat 428 Cougar?

In 1999, the neglected Car Craft project was found in Florida, still under the carport where it had been hiding for decades, by Tony Begley. At the time, he owned Northern Illinois Classic Auto Brokers (he now runs Classic Muscle Cars). He knew the importance of the car and bought the weathered Eliminator Super Cat Cougar so it could get the restoration it deserved.

What Did the 1969 Car Craft Super Cat Look Like When It Was Found?

The Cougar’s candy red had faded away, leaving it with the underlying gold hue, and although it looked pretty solid, the truth is that the car was a rusty mess. Begley told us they had to buy seven parts cars to rebuild the Super Cat, since many of the parts were impossible to find and he insisted on using only original parts for the rebuild. The rebuild at Performance Restorations in Illinois took over 3 years to accomplish, and Begley made sure the car was as accurate and period-correct as possible. Begley has been doing this a long time, and he was among the first to use the internet to sell cars. Check out his site, as they are in the process of putting together over 500 videos from their archives!

Where Is the Super Cat Cougar Car Craft Project Now?

After Begley sold the restored car it moved between several owners before we found it, polished and ready to rock at the 2023 Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida. The bid reached $150,000, but that wasn’t enough to meet the reserve, so in Mecum terms, the bid goes on between the seller and interested bidders. All we know is that the old Car Craft Coca-Cola sweepstakes car looked and sounded great, and it was nice to see that it was still around, and better than ever! If you want to see more awesome images then check out our gallery and the Mecum auction listing.

Car Craft’s 1969 Mercury Cougar Super Cat Highlights

  • Driven by “Dyno” Don Nicholson
  • Set a best E.T. of 12.78 seconds at 109.35 mph
  • MCACN 2016 Outstanding First Time Shown
  • MCACN 2016 Platinum Pick Judge’s Choice
  • Physical trophies not included in sale
  • MCACN 2019 program and lanyard cover car
  • 428ci Cobra Jet V-8 engine
  • Four-speed close-ratio manual transmission
  • Candy Apple Red exterior
  • Black interior
  • 1973 Ohio title
  • Marti Report
  • Vintage photos and Car Craft magazines
  • National Thirst Eliminator Sweepstakes giveaway board
  • MCACN Invitational Display 2019

Watch! Plymouth Road Runner Diesel Swap & 4×4 Conversion!

On episode 43 of Dirt Every Day, hosts Fred Williams and Dave Chappelle build a post-apocalyptic 4×4 muscle car: the Mad-Maxxis Off-RoadRunner. Starting with a forgotten 1973 Plymouth Road Runner, they plan to power this one-of-a-kind car by stuffing a next-generation Cummins 5.0L V-8 turbodiesel crate engine under the rusty hood. Make no mistake, this is not your standard TRAR build. This Off-Road Runner will have an Allison Transmission and a beefy transfer case to send that sweet Cummins power to all four Maxxis RAZR MT tires. Want more? Sign up for a free trial to MotorTrend+ today and start watching every episode of Dirt Every Day, plus much more!

Read the full article here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button