Ford Cougar II concept. Photo by Barry Kluczyk.
[Editor’s Note: This rare Cougar spotting comes to us from frequent Hemmings Muscle Machine contributor Barry Kluczyk.]
In a rare display outside of its climate-controlled cocoon, the Cougar II show car – one of Ford’s three “X-Car” concepts built in the early Sixties – was shown on June 11, at a special Cougar 50th Anniversary event, on the grounds of Ford World Headquarters, in Dearborn, Michigan.
Designed by Ford dream car stylist Eugene Bordinat, the Cougar II had proportions and cues unlike anything else from Ford, including retractable headlamps. From most angles, however, it was difficult to believe the concept wasn’t influenced at least partially by the recently introduced Corvette Sting Ray. Regardless, it exuded sex appeal in a James Bond-kind of way, evoking the sort of imagery that might include machine gun barrels popping out of the front fenders.
Although the Cougar II wasn’t armed or armored, its featherweight form packed a punch from a 260 V-8 that Ford suggested was capable of propelling the car to 170 mph. Additional features included a unique interior air pressure relief system and spring-loaded window lifts in place of traditional cranks or electric motors.
The Cougar II was shown at the 1963 Chicago Auto Show and became part of Ford’s display at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. It is now part of the Detroit Historical Society’s extensive automobile collection, the vehicles of which are generally displayed on a rotating basis at the Detroit Historical Museum, on Woodward Avenue. They are also famously stored in plastic bubbles at Detroit’s old Fort Wayne, when not on display.
Ford’s other X-Cars included the Cougar I (known originally as the Cougar 406), featuring Mercedes-Benz 300SL-like gullwing doors, and the XP Cobra roadster, which has also been called the Bordinat Roadster and Bordinat Cobra. It looked mostly like a topless Cougar II.
In Dearborn, the Cougar II’s rare appearance was part of the Cougar anniversary event hosted by Classic Cougar Club of America and the CATS Cougar club. Drawing around 120 vehicles, the show included the 1967 model with serial number 001, vintage drag racers and an unprecedented collection of 1969-70 Eliminator models equipped with the rare Boss 302 engine.