Welcome to TracyMiddleton.com. This site is dedicated to the people and things that I love and that make life enjoyable. It’s also a place for my friends or any one that would like to display their handiwork or business product.
The flag above was designed and drawn my extremely talented daughter, Haley. She did this for a school project, and I am so proud of it, that I had to display it.
There is also a page dedicated to my friend, Ron, who has developed and produced a great tool, called the Diesel Dock, that is used to troubleshoot diesel engines. Click here to get more information about this great product.
CoolJewel.me is a website I built where I sell Swarovski jewelry, and I have just recently added a great resource to rent diamond and pearl jewelry. I also add special deals that I find. Check it out here.
I’m very excited to launch my new website, GetYourMobileSiteNow. I have been working on this project for a few months, and officially launched it 11-11-11. I develop mobile websites for smartphones and iphones. I create the mobile sites from your existing desktop sites or I can design them from scratch if you don’t have a desktop website. Go here for pricing and get a ton of information about where mobile marketing is headed.
I am also starting a photo gallery of all of the trips that Matt and I have been on. We have been so fortunate to see some of the most beautiful places on this earth. This is an ongoing project. Click here to see our pics.
Matt has just become the proud owner of a 1967 AMC Ambassador, 4-speed station wagon. This is an extremely rare automobile especially with the 4-speed manual transmission. We think it might be the only 4 on the floor left in circulation. This great wagon has an incredible story, and we hope to get it back on the road one day soon. Click here to follow the progress.
And speaking of the “Da-Freak”, as the wagon has been nicknamed, look at Danny Whitfield’s page to see some absolutely awesome artwork. He has created some beautiful artwork depicting different colors and wheels, luggage rack, etc to show the end result wagon. Here is his page for the “Da Freak”, and many more cars too.
I now own a rare 1969 Cougar XR7 and really enjoying it!!! I traded this super rare 1967 Ambassador 4spd station wagon project for the Cougar.
A true car enthusiast, Dan Curtis made the Cougar available to me as he will get the Ambassador wagon looking it’s best and on the road soon! He enjoys all makes but has a soft spot for the old AMC’s. Please check out his great cars and hobby shop here.
I set up this page for my boyfriend, Matt, to show the progress of refurbishing his 1967 Ambassador, 4-speed station wagon. This car has had a long and amazing journey. So here, begins our part of this “freaky” wagon’s path back on the road.
1967 Ambassador factory 4-speed station wagon 990, maybe only a few ever built this way! ” DA Freak” ”AMC BUYER’S GUIDE”, Larry G. Mitchell, published in 1994,
“1967 was unusual in that a four-speed on the floor was available in any Ambassador, Rebel, American and Marlin with any V-8 in any bodystyle with any seating. This combination could have produced such freaks as a bench-seat Ambassador four-door wagon with a dual exhaust, 343ci, 280bhp V-8 and a four-speed on the floor!”
No doubt about the fact, “this combination could have produce such freaks”. Below is “DA Freak”, proof that this strange car was really factory built!
I will be refurbishing this car to look like the artwork with vin# created by auto artist Danny Whitfield and enjoying it for many years. We will do the work at a friend’s restoration shop where we can stay in a low budget range and enjoy other muscle cars and great car people . I have the right to show the artwork as they were for me and with cars vin# .
Think about it!
This may be the rarest Regular Production AMC ever built. Rarer than the 1969 ½ Hurst prepared SS AMX or Hurst SC/Rambler!
AMC fired the entire advertising staff after 1967 because of commercial like these:
History of this very rare factory 1967 Ambassador V8,4spd on the floor station wagon!
Hi ~ Matt
I have some information on the car before Mark owned it. I had a friend that was into Studebakers call me and mentioned I should look at this car outside of Philly, PA. He thought it should be saved.
It was in an estate sale and the family wanted to it crush because it had to many bad memories of their father. However, the attorney for estate didn’t want it crushed because for the four speed. I looked at it and struck deal. It took six hours to load on trailer because it was stuck in ground, the shed it was stored in was very bad shape and we had to use a chain saw get doors open. My brothers truck got stuck in the yard and it took good while get that out. The funny thing was from the noise the cops showed, wondering what we were doing. We had to call the attorney to tell them we were not there to steal it!
Going home coming up turnpike, I bet there were 40 angry drivers that didn’t like the dust trail that was coming from the car. But was all worth it as this was a special car.
I had contacted Tom Benvie and he told me how rare car was. I had placed ads in newsletters and had about 60 phone calls. It seemed that everyone wanted the trans and not the car, I didn’t have the heart to part it out. Mark had contacted me and we struck deal. Mark had made arrangements for someone to pick it up. I never heard much after that and was wondering if mark was working on it. I am glad that someone is restoring it, because it is special car. I thought it was a cool car, however I have too many projects. Thanks for allowing me to tell you this story. Please keep me posted on the progress for the restoration. Darrin “Homer” Boeckel.
My name is Matt Wilson and I now own this rare 1969 Cougar XR7. Tracy and I are really enjoying the car much ! I traded the super rare 1967 Ambassador 4spd station wagon project for this car.
A true car enthusiast, Dan Curtis made this Cougar available to me as he will get the Ambassador wagon looking it’s best and on the road soon! He enjoys all makes but has a soft spot for the old AMC’s. Please check out his great cars and hobby shop here.
This is a letter that was written by the previous owner,
I am just testing the waters. I am trying to restore my Ambassador and don’t have the funds or the place to do it. What I do have is a very very nice 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 That I may be looking to sell to finance the resto. The car is 90% original with new paint, top, and fresh engine and a few other things.
I have all the original parts and all documentation since day one including all registrations and original loan paperwork. The car still has all the inspection marks and chalk marks underneath and would be an easy concourse rest. As it is it is a great driver that has been accross the country and back a couple of times with no problems. Buy it and go on the power tour without spending a dime. Car is completely numbers matching and I have all the proof
A few little sometic issues but nothing that shows at ten feet away. No rust anywhere and always a dry southwest car. 351 M Code engine is all standard with new rings and bearings and all seals and gaskets replaced. A/C is all there and will work if converted or filled with R-12. I have many new or NOS parts to go with it. Two years ago this car would have brought $25,000 but I am open to offers because I actually got the fabled BARN FIND deal and don’t have much into it.
I know my Ambassador will never hope to be worth one half of what this car is now but I have had her so long and we have been on so many adventures that I need to save her. If you are in my area and do quality body work using real metal I might even work out a trade. I have been collecting parts for my Ambassador for close to twenty years and it’s time. She is in good shape with only very minor rust issues but I hate to see her go down hill. Pictures of the Ambo can be seen posted from the Las Vegas show earlier this month.
1969 was a transitional year for the Mercury Cougar, as new engines were made available and others were discontinued. One of the new engine options was the 351W, and Ford wasted no time giving the Cougar a performance package all its own. Called the “351 Performance Group,” it included a 351 4-V engine, appearance upgrades including the “power dome” dual hood stripes in black or silver, and the competition handling package that added front and rear sway bars, heavy duty springs, and “high performance” tires. . Follow the jump to continue reading…
Here’s where things get fuzzy: on the oft-cited Kevin Marti reports, the 351 Performance Package shows up as the “GT Equipment Group.” Check an original sales invoice, like mine below, and you won’t see this verbiage used. As this has been the case for many years now, the 351 Performance Package has sort of morphed into the GT Performance Group myth.
All 351 4V cars received the “M” VIN code, but the 351 Performance Group was a separate package that not all 351 4V cars came with. Its a desirable and relatively uncommon option.
A quick look at “Cougar by the Numbers” shows that of the 23,914 1969 XR-7 hardtops, there were 6,803 with the “M” code 351 4V, and only 1,200 with the 351 Performance Group. It was also ordered on 1,466 standard hardtops, 251 standard convertibles, and 347 XR-7 converts (3,264 cars out of 100,085 total ’69 Cougars, or right around 3%). That may or may not qualify as “rare,” but it’s certainly not common.
A few quick videos of this fine Cat,
Below are a few really cool old Cougar videos and commercials,
The race at the end of this old clip is fantastic!
Some Cougar history written back in 1997,
The name was already in the family. It was one of the finalists when the eventual winner, Mustang, was chosen for Ford’s ponycar a few years earlier. The name “Cougar” sends a strong message of sleek style and easy gliding, but the powers went another direction in 1964 for Mustang, opting for the speed through the prairie feel.
In retrospect, this allowed for a perfect fit for the next time a need for a name came up. The decision to develop a car in the Mercury product line gave the innovators a chance to improve upon a proven concept. The car-buying public bought Mustangs in record numbers. Now, the company was looking to up the ante with a similar-sized car (as far as perception) with more emphasis on style and comfort. The end result also sold far more than expected.
In reality, the Cougar began well before the Mustang. Known as “T-7,” the project to develop this car languished until Ford’s Pony bolted out of the gate. Now, with renewed enthusiasm, engineers went to work on T-7. And since no one was using the Cougar name, it was attached to this project. Like the Mustang, the Cougar design came as a result of several teams working independently to come up with the plan.
The design was finalized in early 1965 as a “man’s car that a Mustang owner could step up to .” Ford believed there needed to be a step between the Mustang and Thunderbird. That part about it being a “man’s car” will be addressed later.
The cat was let out of the bag in early 1966. Publicity campaigns started letting the world know of Mercury’s plans and the name of the car before the first model was available for sale. The hype leading up to the showroom debut late in 1966 was a multi-pronged effort to fan the fires of the smaller-car buyer.
The world finally got to see the car after media previews in California and the Bahamas. The buying frenzy had begun with strong sales from the first transaction in late 1966. Optimistic projections targeted Cougar sales at 85,000. It was nowhere near the Mustang launch figures, but it was still a heady task to put up that kind of number on an initial offering. When the response started to take shape, production facilities realized this figure was too low. When it was over for the first model year, the car had sold in excess of 150,000 and positioned itself in a respectable position among new ventures.
The Cougar’s drawing card was its looks. The Mustang had been on the scene for a few years, selling well. Because the Mustang was considered the root of the idea, there was plenty about the Mustang beneath the Cougar, but the buyers were seeing from the outside in. In its preview of the new Cougar, Motor Trend (Aug. ’66) labeled the cat “Certainly one of the prettier cars of the coming year.” In its buyers’ guide later in the year (November), Motor Trend also acknowledged, “And while it shares a great deal with the wildly successful Mustang, the Cougar has its own aura and personality, so it isn’t just a repeat of the car that started the whole rage.” That same magazine selected the Cougar as “Car of the Year” for 1967 for good reason.
This was the image the designers had been looking for. In the first marketing campaigns, the Cougar was called “Untamed Elegance,” sending the message that strikes a responsive chord that this car is different. Those differences were stunning and remain an integral part of automotive history to this day
From the unveiling of the car until today, one of the most distinguishing features of the earlier-model Cougars is the “hideaway” headlights. Run on a vacuum-actuating operation, the headlights tuck away to yield a continuation of the grille, itself a strong style point. This unique treatment helped blend the style throughout the whole car, taking a necessary evil (headlights) and making it part of the design concept.
Another element of the early Cougar that drew rave reviews was the use of the sequential turn signals in the taillights. It’s something often imitated, but never duplicated, at least with the success of the Cougar. The floating banks of vertical bars at the rear blended perfectly with the grillework at the front, giving the car an aesthetic balance.
In general, the Cougar’s overall styling allowed the Mercury line to establish its own niche. The car was clearly not a Mustang. It was a few inches longer, had a bigger wheelbase, and was packed full of the types of goodies the upscale buyer would be seeking. In fact, one of the drawing cards happened to be the number of items found optional on other cars that came standard on Cougar. The 3-inch-longer wheelbase translated into rear-seat legroom. The suspension and ride received rave reviews in testing, even under trying conditions.
The ’67 models utilized the popular 289 V-8 engine, offered in three versions (including a low-compression export), and the 390 Marauder big-block. The engine choices were even better when the ’68 models were introduced, with the bulk of the production done with 302 engines beneath the bonnet. For the first time, Cougars were available with 427ci and 428 Cobra Jet engines, though the production number of each was small. The 351 Windsor came into the mix in 1969. The following year saw both Cleveland and Windsor versions of the 351 available in a Cougar.
It’s clear there was an emphasis on performance in addition to style with the more powerful engines finding a home in the platform. While this may be running parallel to the upgrades in Mustang engines, there is one element Cougar fans point to with pride. In 1968, you could get a 427 in a Cougar, but not a Mustang.
At the start, Cougar owners preferred the automatic transmission, with nearly 80 percent of the cars manufactured with an automatic.
At first, Mercury offered only two basic body styles. More than 80 percent of the cars made in the first year were standard coupes (hardtops).
In very early ’67, the XR-7 (“XR” stands for “Experimental Racing” and the 7 may have come from the original T-7 designation of the project) was added and proved to be a popular choice. In 1969, the standard convertible and XR-7 convertible were added to the array, and buyers snatched up the drop-tops while they were still in style. By 1972, Mercury was making more of the XR-7 convertibles than the standard, but production numbers had started to wane. The XR-7 convertible numbers, as well as overall production numbers, picked up in 1973.
While the Cougars of the first generation attracted so much attention, subsequent models have developed their own backers. The car took on a different look to closely emulate its Ford siblings. By the mid-’80s, the Cougar had become a carbon copy of the Thunderbird (interesting when you remember the car was developed as a bridge to the T-bird).
As the years hurtled toward the 21st century, Cougar searched for its own identity in a world of cookie-cutter domestic cars. Mercury continued to build the car until a decision about a year ago to terminate the brand, one of four product lines ousted from the Ford family. It’s become a sad end to an American icon, arguably the car that bolstered the Mercury line into prominence among a competitive automotive society. The Mercury line was once seen in the shadow of Ford, but the Cougar changed all that. The popularity of the car allowed Mercury to position itself as a player. The success of the Cougar led to the idea of quality “at the Sign of the Cat,” utilizing a snarling cougar perched atop a Lincoln Mercury sign. It was the success of the Cougar that allowed the company to claim “Lincoln Mercury leads the way.” The slogan “Try Cougar and see how great a winner can be” urged buyers to consider the car and check out the luxury offerings available at the Mercury showroom, at times keeping them from the Ford dealer down the street.
Yes, Cougar history is one that is filled with plenty of areas of automotive pride. In preparation for a look at the 35 years of Cougar, we sought opinions from different members of present-day Cougar Clubs regarding these cars. These opinions were given in an online survey of Cougar owners who are directly connected to the product and well-suited to understanding the nuances that complete this car.
Just some of my family’s cars,trucks and motorcycles over the years,
Other cool cars from my past. My family has always enjoyed cars and the freedom they provide.