Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Now that's one fine looking Cougar!

By the title of this post and the picture above, I could be talking about two things - the 1967 Mercury Cougar or Neko Case perched on top of the hood ready to pounce. Case is just a few years older than me and she is very pretty, but I promise I was talking about the car. I digress...

On March 3, 2009, Case released her new album titled Middle Cyclone on Anti Records. While the album makes no reference to a Mercury Cougar in the lyrics or the album title, the cover artwork for the album (above) features Neko Case perched prominently on top of her own personal 1967 Mercury Cougar while the car sits front and center. (In case you're interested Case does mention a 1969 Ford Falcon in her song "Star Witness" from her previous album Fox Confessor Brings The Flood.) I found my Cougar on Craigslist and Neko Case found a bunch of old pianos on that same website to record parts of this new album. For a sampling of the album here's some of the songs from a live performance on Mountain Stage posted today on the NPR website.

While shopping at Borders, my wife and I had seen a promotional poster for the new album taken from the photo session for the album cover, but the poster featured a real life background rather than the white/gray background pictured above. We asked the people at Borders if we could have the poster, but they seemed wishy-washy on the subject. They said they would put our name on it if none of the store employees wanted the poster.

However, my wife had something else up her sleeve though. Prior to Father's Day, she wrote an e-mail to Anti Records, Neko Case's record label, asking them if they had any promotional posters that she could buy me for Father's Day. She explained that not only did I love Neko Case's music, but that I also had a 1967 Mercury Cougar. The nice people at Anti Records came through in a big way! Not only did they send her a copy of the poster for free, they sent her four copies of the poster!

Later, my wanted to have a photo session with our daughter to send to the people at Anti Records as a thank you. We got the little one up on the hood of my 1967 Cougar and I became staff photographer as my daughter pranced around and made funny faces on the hood of the car. Very cute!

Next up: I intend to frame a copy of the poster to add to our other music posters in the back hall including BR-549, Bob Dylan, Not Quite Nashville, and Uncle Tupelo. I also want to frame a copy to place in the garage!

Thanks sweetie! I love you!



Monday, June 15, 2009


I started faithfully reading Car Craft magazine a few years ago when my father-in-law got a subscription and started giving me his copies after I would pour over them at his house while we would be there for dinner, visits, etc. I loved the fact that the writers weren't talking down to you and ran articles that appealed to the car enthusiast and weekend drag racer alike. I also liked the comments, jabs and bits of humor (read: sarcasm) thrown in the margins for fun.

Back in May 2006, Car Craft ran an article about buying a car for under $3,500. This was the issue that they introduced the Car Craft AMC Rambler, a bone stock 1967 Rambler that has now become a race car and a staple project car of the magazine. The headline on that issue of the magazine was "Build A $3,500 Street Machine." At the time that a perfect story to be bringing to me. I loved old cars, had used them as daily drivers in the past, and I wanted one of my own again badly! This article only made it worse.

In that issue they also profiled a 1969 Mercury Cougar and a 1986 Ford Mustang. These two vehicles and the CC/Rambler have been in my top five favorite cars that Car Craft has profiled in the magazine in the last few years. The Cougar was also just a slightly modified stock car that someone found locally and started making it their own while using it as a daily driver. The suspension had been upgraded and the top end of the engine updated: carb, intake, distributor, and air cleaner. While I did not like the 1969 Cougar as much as the 1967 or 1968 models this one had a certain something that I really liked. The Mustang that was profiled ran elapsed times in the 12's with a later model 5.0L engine picked out of a salvage yard and other parts cherry picked off some donor cars. Both cars rolled around on good looking Mustang Bullitt wheels. Yeah...that's what I'm talking about!

What I appreciated was these cars were being worked on by normal guys that had to work within their budget and didn't have a stack of cash to throw at a car thereby putting it into the stratosphere so the normal car enthusiast could never afford to buy it. Ahhh…a dose of reality.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Daddy Car! Vrroom! Vrroom!

After I bought the 1967 Mercury Cougar in April we had a quick photo session when I brought the car home. My daughter was excited and wanted to play in the car and my wife snapped the picture above of her playing in the back seat. Not too long after she started to refer to the car as "Daddy Car." Eventually we started asking her what sound cars made and we settled on Vrroom Vrroom! So now when we asked her how did daddy's car go she would reply, "Daddy Car! Vrroom! Vrroom!"

For well over a month now, each time I open the back door into the garage with her in my arms to get into a car and go somewhere she says, "Daddy Car." It's soooooo cute!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Treasure Trove of 1960's Car Magazines

When my parents moved back in 2006 from the house they had lived in since 1980 there was a lot of stuff to move and go through. A long time ago I had found my dad's collection of late 1950's and 1960's car magazines in the basement. He had kept about 10 years worth of Hot Rod magazine, a lot of issues of Rod & Custom, some issues of Car Craft, and some other miscellaneous magazines. After the basement had gotten some water over the years, many things started to collect a film of mold and mildew. At some point I moved them upstairs to my old bedroom so they wouldn't get ruined. After I got married I would borrow a year of Hot Rod magazines from time to time to look at and then return them to the collection. A car culture library of sorts.

When I first started researching older cars to buy and settled on the fact that a Mercury Cougar was near the top of the list, I found the magazine pictured above. This issue of High Performance Cars (Vol. 9, No. 10 - November 1966 - Royal Publications, Inc.) has an article about the 1967 Mercury Cougars and the big block, 390 cubic inch engine that was offered in the first model year.

When they were moving things to the new house I asked my dad if he wanted the magazines. He said he wanted to keep them around (we were recycling many of the magazines that he had from the 1990's and 2000's), but that I could have them. I knew the magazines were still in the boxes so I made sure to grab them and bring them home. I wanted to keep them nice, but not necessarily in archival bags and boards like comic books. So, I stacked them neatly in a sealed, plastic bin in my basement to keep them safe. Now when I see a reprint in Hot Rod or want to research something I just go to the basement and get what I need. Thanks Dad!