A More Seriously Fanged Cat: 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator Boss 302 Coupe 4-Speed

  • December 02, 2020
Why We Like It

You don’t need to be too much of a motorhead to know that a Mercury Cougar Eliminator Boss 302 is a very rare find – anything with that long of a name is bound to be something very unique. But, in case you need the verification, the poster selling this car says that it’s one of only 469 built, and is a very original example that’s in exceptional condition having never been restored, just very well cared for, maintained, and painstakingly detailed to remove the yuck, not the originality. Having said that, the seller is excited to tell us this Cougar Eliminator Boss 302 has the original engine, 4-speed manual transmission, and 9-inch Nodular 3.50 rear differential with 31 spline axles, one of the most notoriously robust diffs ever made. Sporting Competition Yellow paint and the original white interior, it’s also fitted with the original body panels, floor, and frame. Power steering and power front disc brakes make it an easy car to maneuver and enjoy, and while it has not been restored, it shows beautifully as seen in the pictures. Accompanied by three original build sheets, the original owner’s warranty card and inspection sheet, owner’s manual, copy of the original title, and a copy of the Mari Report, this Eliminator definitely has the documents to back it up. Rolling on new Goodyear Polyglas GT F70-14 tires, it’s also got new Magnum 500s to go with it. Complete with a unique backstory, this Eliminator seems to be one for the books. Bought new in San Diego by a well-known doctor, it avoided rust and neglect and damage and is so well sorted the seller is confident that it could be driven anywhere in comfort.

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The Cougar was introduced in 1967 as a pony car for a more mature audience, so comfort was a big selling point, along with power. As such, all Cougars rolled off the assembly line with a V8 engine. Employing a longer wheelbase, it offered a smoother ride, and a bit of extra sound deadening was used to insulate the cabin from outside unpleasantries, while the seats were said to have received a little more padding for better support, AND Cougars came with more standard features than its Mustang cousin, all justifying the slightly higher price and appealing to a more upscale market. No slouch, Cougar offered respectable performance, especially as the GT or Eliminator.

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The Eliminator came standard with a 290hp, 351ci V8 engine, performance-tuned suspension, exclusive color choices with custom blackout detailing and striping, and a refined interior – essentially it was a Mustang Mach 1, but again, offering a more upscale approach to the muscle car concept. Outside of the 351, buyers could also opt for the Boss 302 - which interestingly packed the same horsepower as the 351 - or the mighty 335hp 428 Cobra Jet. Interestingly, the 351 and 428 were both available on any Cougar, but to get the high-performance Boss 302, a Cougar had to be an Eliminator. At 290hp, the expensive Boss 302 engine was hard for some to justify – how could they when the base engine produced the same horsepower? It wasn’t until they realized that the Boss 302 weighed less than the 351, thereby improving the handling, that the price started to make a little sense. Then they discovered that the high-revving nature of the special Boss engine found its peak power more quickly than the 351, and therefore allowed it to blitz out of a turn or off the line like a racecar, that things started to really become much clearer. It’s more than just a 290hp engine. It’s an entire package – a quick-revving, powerful engine coupled with a chassis that’s responsive and solid. This is a driver’s Cougar. Plus, it has a nice interior and a few extra amenities that bring it all together. It’s a refined racecar. And this one is really a gem, being so original. We’ve seen a handful of highly restored examples sell well into the six-figure range at auction, making the price for this one very nice.

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