A plush cougar overlooks its mechanical counterparts at the the 20th annual Fordnutz Cougar Club “Claw In” show and shine at the historic Fort Langley. The event marked the 50th anniversary of the Mercury Cougar. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Mercury Cougar fans celebrate anniversary in Fort Langley

It was 50 years ago that the first Cougar rolled off the assembly line

Well if I had money

Tell you what I’d do

I’d go downtown and buy a Mercury or two

Crazy ’bout a Mercury

Lord, I’m crazy bout a Mercury

I’m gonna buy me a Mercury

And cruise it up and down the road

“Mercury Blues” by K. C. Douglas

and Robert Geddins

(first recorded by Douglas in 1948)

The first Mercury Cougar rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan 50 years ago, in 1967.

The first-generation Cougar was a two-door “pony car” that came in hard-top and convertible configuration.

It was meant to fill a gap between the Ford Mustang and Thunderbird by providing what the designers meant to be a more European, Jaguar E-type look with hidden headlights and a vertical bars on the front, often referred to as the “electric shaver grille.”

Twenty years ago, in 1997, the new Fordnutz Collector Club was started in Metro Vancouver, with members of the dormant West Coast Cougar Club among the first to sign up.

“The discussion centred around what the club should be,” president Scott Ferguson wrote on the club website.

“Should it be exclusive to Cougars, or opened up to other products manufactured by the Ford Motor Company and its Lincoln Mercury divisions? The decision was made to open it up to all enthusiasts with FoMoCo products.”

Like the name implies, Fordnutz is open to more than just Cougar owners, but judging from the line-up on the lawn outside the historic Fort Langley on the Canada Day weekend, they make up a substantial portion of the membership.

There were 123 vehicles at the show, 48 of them Cougars.

It was the Fordnutz “Claw In,” a celebration of the club’s 20th, the Cougar’s 50th, and Canada’s 150th birthdays.

Among the cars lined up, gleaming in the sun was an immaculate 1956 Mercury Montclair owned by Claud and Darlene Muench of Langley.

“There’s millions of dollars in cars here,” Muench told a visitor.

“Some beautiful cars.”

His car came with a mannequin of a teenage-sized drive-in restaurant car-hop in a classic A&W uniform, complete with roller skates, assembled from thrift store purchases with the aid of his wife Darlene.

Muench said he decided to go with an A&W theme because 1956 was the year the first A&W opened in Canada.

And the car has two-tone paint job with one of the colours a familiar-looking shade of orange.

“The colour was approximately right.”

He also found real-looking fake burgers for the car tray clipped to a car door from a company that supplies them for television ads.

His display also featured drive-in speakers.

The case was authentic, but the speakers were a considerable upgrade over the tinny-sounding originals.

The Montclair came standard with state-of-the-art safety features like a “deep-dish steering wheel” to help protect the driver from the steering column, safety door locks, breakaway rear view mirror, and optional seat belts and padded dashboards.

The Wikipedia entry about the Mercury Montclair says Ford historians are at a loss as to where the name originated, but the consensus is that it’s taken from the upper class community of Montclair, New Jersey.

The last Mercury Cougar rolled off the assembly line on Aug. 9, 2002.

Ford stopped making Mercury cars in 2011, but the company still holds the trademark.

CLAW IN 2017 SHOW WINNERS

1967 Cougar Stock:

3rd Brian Schofield (North Saanich

2nd Terry Robertson (Cloverdale)

1st Vytas Vaitkus (Tsawwassen)

1968 Cougar Stock

2nd Rita Pereira (Langley)

1st Dave Nashif (Lake Forest Park, WA)

1967-68 Cougar XR-7 Stock

3rd Paul Muir (100 Mile House)

2nd Bill Smith (Surrey)

1st Dave Basi (Victoria)

1967 Cougar Modified

3rd Gordon Carter (Aldergrove)

2nd Ken Hogenkamp (Tigard, OR)

1st Malcolm McMillan (Port Moody)

1968 Cougar Modified

3rd Bob O’Donnell (Graham, WA)

2nd Sheldon Potts (Port Moody)

1st John Edwards (Langley)

1969-70 Cougar Stock

3rd Dean Bicknell (Aldergrove) 1969

2nd Kim Friesen (Abbotsford) 1969

1st Jeff Bingaman (Federal Way, WA) 1970

1969-70 Cougar XR-7 Stock

3rd Robert Nowland (Kamloops) 1969

2nd Tom Wood (Chilliwack) 1969

1st Darren Hoult (West Kelowna) 1970

1969-Present Cougar Modified

2nd Glen Duncan (Mount Currie)

1st Shawn Boyd (Gibsons)

1969-73 Cougar Convertible

Stock 3rd Ray Sandrin (North Vancouver) 1972

2nd Heather Whitaker (North Delta) 1969

1st Steve Goulding (Spokane, WA) 1969

1968 Cougar XR7-G, GT-E Stock

3rd Malcolm McMillan (Port Moody) 1968 XR-7 GT-E

2nd Rob & Steve Crowder (Oakley, CA) 1968 XR7-G

1st Scott Ferguson (North Delta) 1968 XR7-G

1969-70 Cougar Eliminator Stock

2nd Harry Unruh (White Rock) 1969

1st Paul Tekatch (Langley) 1970

1970-Present Cougar Stock

1st Jay Coleman (Port Moody) 1987 20th Anniversary Edition

Non-Cougar Classes:

1959 and Older Stock

3rd Alec Pont (Surrey) 1959 Ford Skyliner

2nd Brian Mason (Langley) 1955 Mercury Montclair

1st Richard Uchida (Coquitlam) 1949 Meteor Custom 2-door Coupe

1960-69 Stock

3rd George Gill (Surrey) 1964 Ford Thunderbird Landau

2nd Mark Gazzola (Vancouver) 1968 Galaxie XL

1st Bryan Carter (Surrey) 1967 Ford Fairlane

1970-Present Stock

3rd Ken Vass (Maple Ridge) 2004 Ford Thunderbird

2nd Merv Carter (Mission) 1970 Pontiac GTO

1st Pauline Temperton (Langley) 1970 Plymouth Satellite

Truck Stock 3rd Kim Friesen (Abbotsford) 1979 Ford F-150

2nd David Franklin (Delta) 1953 Ford

1st Terry Robertson (Cloverdale) 1940 Ford ¾ Ton

1965-73 Mustang

3rd Paul Prudhomme (Langley) 1968 Convertible

2nd Bob Elliott (Maple Ridge) 1967 Fastback GT

1st Randy Stockbruegger (Pitt Meadows) 1968 Shelby GT 350

1974-2004 Mustang

3rd Kerry Spry (Langley) 1993 Mustang

2nd John Miotto (Burnaby) 1982 Mustang

1st Peter Bulcock (Chilliwack) 1978 Mustang II Cobra II

2005-Present Mustang

3rd Michael Storteboom (Langley) 2005 GT Convertible

2nd Mike Kirchner (Surrey) 2014 Coupe

1st Terry Rainville (Vancouver) 2006 GT Coupe

1959 and Older Modified

3rd Jim Ferguson (Langley) 1929 Ford Model A

2nd Scott McCarthy (Abbotsford) 1936 Ford 5-window Coupe

1st Hugh Swan (West Vancouver) 1969 Ford Cabriolet

Club Participation: Greater Vancouver Mustang Association (19 Members)

Long-Distance Driven Canada Rob & Kirsten Waine, Christina Lake, BC (314.5 miles in a 1967 Cougar)

Long-Distance Driven USA Rob & Shelle Lucas, McKinleyville, CA (697 miles in a 1967 modified Cougar)

Long-Distance Trailered Rob & Steve Crowder, Oakley, CA (933 miles, 1968 Cougar XR7-G)

Fordnutz Memorial Trophy Darren Hoult, West Kelowna, BC, 1970 Cougar XR-7

Best of Show Cougar Paul Tekatch (Langley) 1970 Cougar Eliminator

Best of Show Non-Cougar Dave Stevenson (Mission) 1970 Ford Shelby

 

Claud Muench applies some TLC to his 1956 Mercury Montclair at the 20th annual Fordnutz show and shine in Fort Langley on Sunday; below: Judge Kerry Spry instructs son Cole on the finer points of assessing an entrant. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Judge Kerry Spry instructs son Cole on the finer points of assessing an entrant at the Fordnutz 20th anniversary show at historic Fort Langley on Sunday. The event also marked the 50th anniversary of the Mercury Cougar and Canada’s 150th birthday. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

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