Hammer Time : Saving An Old Cougar From Extinction


An unsaleable car comes in many forms.

The three-door van. The gear stick attached to a non-sports wagon. The Daewoo. The conversion van with designer graphics rooted in sexual fantasy.

Then there is this car. A Reagan-era car with a cheap plastic grille, an even cheaper plastic-lined interior, and a luggage rack in the trunk that would make Lee Iacocca proud.

God I love this thing. But what happens to me?

It is said that absence makes love grow. Good is true. But when he adds a kind old man with a love for vintage cars, he can become contagious.

Last weekend, I met an old man who wanted to infuse witches to keep the Cougar stream unconventional.

” How many kilometres ? “

“Oh, around 400,000 miles.”

” Are you kidding ! “

“No, no, no… I do a lot of long trips. I like the seats and all I have to do is turn it up to 80 and let the weather take care of it.

Mark was in his 80s and his life seemed like the ultimate exercise in triumph amidst difficulties. Five adult children, but not many grandchildren. A public pension, but insufficient to meet the debts related to esophageal cancer. A long marriage and the recent death of a loved one. His Cougar had been the only constant in his life for the last 17 years and he wanted it to keep going as long as possible.

“Hey, let me ask you?” He told me in a gruff voice that reminded me of Rocky’s former boxing trainer, “Do any of these things work?”

Many of you would assume that anything on the auto parts shelf related to a transmission upgrade is junk, and in time, you’re right. There is no snake oil that can reverse the transmission wear process.

But some of the solvents in these products (and many automatic transmission and power steering additives) will soften and swell the seals so the internal transmission seals will seal and maintain proper pressure and shift properly.

At least for a moment.

I told the guy, “Listen, the transmissions on these vehicles are as cheap to replace as a bad accessory. Here is a site I use to find auto parts.

I showed him the website car-part.com…. and it didn’t take long. This guy was as close to technology as we are to typewriters. So instead I gave it three names and numbers to get a good used transmission. However, there was still a problem.

I didn’t have the money. Bankruptcy is bankrupt, and at 80, this guy just couldn’t afford those extremes. I hate situations like this, but sometimes it’s enough to offer a temporary bandage for a bleeding wound that will probably need attention later.

“Let me buy you this.” I got out of the Trans-X. “If your mechanic tells you not to use it, just return it.”

“No, no, no. I appreciate it. Really.” She gave me an old-fashioned smile and a pat just below my shoulder. “What you have already done is a mitzvah. Thank you…” and the rest of his words came out a blur as he was too surprised to hear a word in Yiddish from an old man who lived in Northwest Georgia.

I always like to joke about living somewhere between civilization and Liberation. Actually, all of my wife’s friends are smart. All my friends are experienced souls, and I escaped my old life in the same way that those who had a difficult childhood and a troubled past leave in search of a better life.

I still missed a lot. That line of thinking is for another day, but sometimes the search for a perfect life can lead to imperfect consequences.

Later that night, I saw this merchant queen at the auction.


A 1997 Mercury Cougar swan song that would probably be the biggest puff of cream an old man’s car would see for the foreseeable future. Five images rarely tell you the whole story.




After looking at the Carfax history (1 owner, no accidents, 12 service records) and Autocheck (nothing weird with the title), I wrote the following on my Facebook page.

“Mr. Sajeev Mehta… I just found the perfect car to complement the Conti. 61,185 miles and yes, it’s an XR7.

My timing was bad and the car that Sajeev bought was much worse. Thanks to a rare, almost incurable disorder known as “Lincoln Syndrome,” Sajeev had just decided to double his investment in one of the most atrocious cars ever made in modern times. The 1994 Lincoln Continental. A car so bad it needs two prestigious emblems to help you forget the fact that it has a chewy 3.8 joint and a slippery AXOD transmission.


Then again, at $900 to buy and $900 doubled to get everything back to the “fun” state of the day, it was too good a shopping experience for Sanjeev to pass up. Yes, her brother is also a part of this hopeless hobby.


“There is only one MN-12 for my baby, and I already have it.”

So the next day, I check out the Cougar. It is a center piece. Whoever owned it had it serviced at least twice a year and rarely took it out of the garage.

Someone would buy it.

I went to the sale that morning and there was a lot of weird stuff. An old school 2014 Chevy Impala Limited with about 13,000 miles that eventually sold for $14,200 plus selling expenses. A 2010 Dodge Challenger SE in Blue with some minor additions that cost $15,800. An 04 Viper SRT convertible with 22k that had arbitrated a bad differential in the previous sale. That one was for $36,100.


After the 8th Volkswagen and 13th minivan came through the block, the Cougar was in contention.

I clenched my fist and said the word “Fifteen” to make it $1,500. I bet the other dealers would sit on his heels or try to underestimate him by a thousand. Sometimes this tactic works. Other times you are in a dog fight.

It didn’t work. Somebody around here turned sixteen, a friend of mine turned seventeen. I was expecting the king’s rule at this point where you pay attention to the other guy and the other guy pays attention to you. But with nearly a hundred dealers checking out a vehicle at a time, the market is too competitive and the king’s rule doesn’t apply.

The auctioneer came back to me. A guy I’ve known for 15 years and worked with when I was on the auction team at five different auctions. He was thinking of making a big bump and showing two fingers for a two thousand dollar offer. Then something happened.

For those few seconds, I was looking at a car that, to be honest, I really didn’t want. I had already gotten rid of four unsaleable cars the week before, and I already had a brown truck that I traded in that wasn’t going to sell for a while. At $2,000 plus $155 expenses, you’d be one major repair away from messing around with a car for no profit. Ebay prices were already up for grabs, and I would most likely be stuck with what I call an “almost” car. A car that everyone says they want on paper until they try to find the vehicle they really like.

I didn’t bid. I’ve gone. The surprise was that there were no more bidders, but even at $1,855 ($1,700 plus selling costs), I was in love with a car I never liked in the first place. .

As I walked away, I realized something. Two guys had loved two Cougars. The car had been driven to the limit of its usefulness. While the other had kept it in a time warp and will hopefully hand it over to another “keeper” among the Passionate Brothers.

The automotive world had a strange balance.

As for me, now I have to start shifting gears before I get stuck in my own version of a 17-year-old Cougar. There is a sleaze that comes with the chipping of old and new metal. Somehow I need to stop buying one car at a time and focus on developing a better mousetrap that has a more lasting impact.

Author’s Note: There are many friendly links to this article that will help you better understand some of the terms. Everything is easy to click. Don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] .

Source : thetruthaboutcars.com

Similar Posts