2020 Mercury Cougar Concept Envisions a Pony Car From an Alternate Timeline
In another universe where Mercury still exists, these machines are the stars of this year's Woodward Dream Cruise.
If you didn't get your fill of alternate-timeline Fords from the F40xbody, then you're in luck. The designer behind that concept car has come up with another vehicle that makes one wonder what could've been had Ford not shut down its premium marque Mercury, and killed all hopes of a revived Cougar with it.
Based on the Mustang chassis for its first two generations, the Cougar was more or less a slightly longer, plusher fraternal twin to Ford's iconic pony car. It never quite enjoyed the cultural significance of its forebear or its success in motorsport, but it holds the distinction of being the best-selling model in Mercury's history, with almost three million built across its 45-year lifespan. Had Ford not shuttered the brand in 2010, one can imagine its Cougar halo car would've at some point returned from hibernation, likely based on the Mustang again, looking like the car designed by Abimelec Arellano of Abimelec Design.
Arellano explained on Instagram that he got the idea to modernize Ford's former companion to the Mustang from a fan who messaged him a few weeks back. He then toiled away turning a render of the current S550 Mustang into a modern reinterpretation of the Cougar, taking inspiration from various model years to complete the facelift.
"The main inspiration was the first generation Cougar," explained Arellano to The Drive. "Front is mostly '69 inspired, I included the little pinch on the center of the grille reminiscent of that year, which was mostly a flat grille, a la Challenger or Camaro."
"Down on the side, the skirts and front fenders are pure '18 Mustang, but from the doors all the way to the rear quarter I absolutely had to include the swept line so characteristic of the '69 and '70 Cougars. The rear portion is largely Mustang too, with a black panel housing two rectangular taillights much like the current Challenger. Rear wing is off a GT350R."
Being restricted to working with the chassis of the existing Mustang, of course, makes this coulda-been Cougar look a tad too much like the pony car on which it's based, albeit with elements of the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger unavoidably mixed in. At the same time, this means Arellano's design might be relatively easy to fab up as a conversion kit for the current Mustang, similar to how Pontiac Firebird Trans Am-inspired kits are available for the Camaro.
But if you're going to dream big, you might as well dream as big as they get, and imagine for a moment what this Cougar concept would look like as a four-door—a modern Mercury Marauder, perhaps. Here's to hoping Arellano makes a 2020 take on Mercury's forgotten sports sedan the next item on his agenda.
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