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I'm not sure I've ever seen the spy commercial, very cool!

I always thought this was neat, too: https://youtu.be/KY7PjRasaXI
I hadn't seen the Easy Rider one until I joined the forums and YouTube came into being. I think I have a copy of that one saved on my computer. :) I also have the liquid metal one (which I understand never aired and was done as a test), because the Knight Rider soundtrack and sound effects crack me up every time. (Again, a couple quick searches didn't turn it up on YouTube, but I'm sure it's still out there somewhere.)

We're moving to a new house, so while packing I came across some of the original brochures and stuff I have from the Cougar. They were kept! I also have a copy of Popular Science magazine from December '98 listing the Cougar as a Best of What's New.
 

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I loved the car from the first time I saw it at the 1998 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. At a time when trucks/suvs were all the rage, and the Retro design trends were starting, there was the 1999 Mercury Cougar looking into the future and setting the design trends of the next decade. I loved so much for being so different from the trends of the time. At that time, I was on my second Cougar a 1988 model. My first car was a 1985 Cougar. In the Spring of 1999 my father leased a Spruce Green Cougar for two years. My sister had the car for the first year. In 2000 it was my car, when the lease was up in March 2001. I got my Silver Frost 2001 on a three year lease. When the lease was up in March 2004 I bought the car and never looked back.
 

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Back in 2008, it was the only coupe with a V6, leather, 6 disc CD changer, and less than 100K that was also sporty and under $5k.

I bought my original 2000 Special Edition in October of 2008 with 88K miles on it, totaled it 3 months later ($7k damage), fixed it with my first Cougar parts car (only ended up costing about $4500 to fix versus $7k) and drove the hell out of it until September of last year, at 173K, and it was just too rusty underneath to pass inspection anymore.

I bought Wade's old Roush Cougar back in May-June 2012, with 116K, and I think it has about 122K on it now.

I bought my replacement 2000 Special Edition in April 2015 with 88K, and it hasn't been driven much, only has 90K on it right now. I'm in the process of tearing my old car apart to put that transmission into this new car. It's the 1 year project so far!

I've bought and sold 3 other Cougars in the meantime (2 DTG 99's and a silver 99). I've also bought two for parts, and parted out another in someone's yard.

It's just something about these cars, I miss DD my yellow car, but once that is on the road again, it will be a summer only ride. Winters are too harsh here in western Pennsylvania, I can't ruin another Cougar.
 

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Wanted an Acura Integra but didn't want to pay $18000. The Cougar was a great alternative. After finding a good deal on a used one, I found this forum. That was back in 2000 I think.
 

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In 1998 I had saved for a new car. I wanted something not many others around had, looked at Trans Ams etc and they didn't have the trunk space. Saw the cougar sitting there and had a choice between a V6 auto, or 4 cyl manual. Fell in love with the handling and bought it.

EDIT: I still think i have the oldest cougar on the forums. I was driving it Aug 1998 :)
 

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damn my original was sep 98 I think. LOl. I'll check my current one
 

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Bought mine for my daughter but with her horses she needed a truck. Looking for something new to build I traded her. Love this car. And mine was built 6/25/1998. Does that make me the old fart?
 

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Back in 2006 I had a 2001 Kia Rio as my first car payment car (I hated it) 6 years later. I really wanted something sporty and manual. I wanted to learn but I needed something that can take the daily drive of 60 miles to and from work. I was looking at celicas. But everything was out of my price range then I found a blue 35th auto. I liked it but I wanted manual. He was asking 8k for his. I figured I would look a little more then I found my spruce green mtx. It looked liked it hit something in the front that got fixed. And sat for a long. I've replaced the whole suspension brakes all around. Recently fixed the plastic gear selector with a metal one. And now just finished getting her power from broken positive cable to the fusebox. I love the car even tho it feels like I'm still fixing things from it sitting too long. Once she's solid I'm going to make her look good again.
 

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A little late to the thread but what honestly got me into them was a childhood friend. I'd never paid a lick of attention to any car but a mustang up until about 2004, I was 14 and my buddy Matt had previously driven this old Jaguar (not the nice kind) and it was a hoopty. It burned everything when they had a garage fire and his dad ended up giving him a 1999 I4 MTX in Silver Frost with some kind of weird decal on the side that I've never seen again. It was in great shape but had no frills or extra features, plain Jane cloth interior with power windows and locks and manual seats I believe. He put blue neon under it, a sub enclosure in the back and an aftermarket radio in it and I though it was the neatest looking car I'd ever been in as the coolest thing my parents had ever owned during my lifetime was an ugly yellow 94ish Cherokee Sport lol.So fast forward into high school, I'm probably 17 at this time and I've fallen in love with this car, best friends even though he's like 20 at this point and we literally go everywhere together so I'm constantly in this car. We're on our way home from the WEBN fireworks show up in the Newport/Cincinatti area and it's late, I fall asleep in the passenger seat somewhere around Burlington and next thing I know we're side swiping an SUV and headed straight for the concrete barrier that divides the lanes. Car was a total loss and we, even though it wasn't my car (I'd managed to drive it once), were devastated. I waited almost three years before I ended up getting my 2002 2.5 ATX in Rio Red with 62K miles. Believe it ran me $5200 off the lot of the local chevy dealer. Loved the car but I was still a child with a toy, I had loads of fun at the expense of the life of the car. Abused it in every way you could imagine yet it never gave out. Finally hit three deer in about a 4 month period and it still held up. Hit a curb in the winter time that tore the entire front end out from under it. Salvaged the SVT and TZT parts that I could and scrapped her after giving her close to four years and 80k miles of abuse. That was in 2013, fast forward to July 2017 (here we are) and I'm still absolutely in love with these cars. I've dreamed of getting another. I've saved for the last few years everything that I could set aside without taking away from the well being of my family and waiting for that right cougar to come along. Scoured craigslist, ebay, NECO, newspapers and everything in between for almost four years and about two weeks ago saw the car that I now own. A 2000 LSB 2.5 MTX with 78K miles is now in my driveway and after cleaning her up I still get in the car and get the same feeling that I did over a decade ago when I was a kid out riding around with a friend. Plan on babying this one and hopefully still daily driving it ten years from now.
 

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I was 3 weeks into my first real job out of college. My old Blazer I drove in school was dying so I needed something soon. I wanted a coupe so I checked out the Integra Type R, but couldn't get ccomfortable in it. I wasn't an Eclipse fan so I didn't even look at them. The Grand Am coupe was kind of meh. I was considering a Dodge Avenger, but it was at the end of its run and showing its age. I liked the look of the Stratus RT, but couldn't wait for one. The Mustang was on the list but pushing the budget a bit. I then test drove as Cougar and really liked it. I kept staring at the brochure over the next week and ended up buying it on the way home from work that Fri. That was over 17 years ago, and I still have it.
 

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Mid-life crisis!

I'm waaaayyy late to this thread, but can't resist adding my (long) story, because so much of why I still have my bought-new Cougar is because of NECO. (If you get bored reading long stories, read the next paragraph and the last 3, skipping all the rejected cars in between.)

I've been a long-time fan of Mustangs and (after getting a 1980 Mazda GLC Sport as my first new car) hot hatches. In the fall of 1999 my '91 mom-appropriate Escort wagon finally wasn't worth the cost of repairs, and I had to quit browsing & buy. So I went car shopping at age 45.... after decades of subscribing to Car & Driver and library browsing of Motor Trend, and 5 years of bumming last week's Autoweek off my mechanic.

My first test drive was a 99 Mustang: It was fast and fun, until I asked it to corner - it's handling sucked! My Escort did better, so no more Mustang dreams. The salesman should have put me in a Contour SVT - he probably would have sold the car that day, even though it wasn't a hatch!

(I later happened to be talking with some fellow auto-crossers and one had worked at the Naples, FL Ford test track. When I mentioned that awful test drive he said that year's Mustang had a problem they just weren't able to root out before they went to production. Handling and suspension were good in 98, "very flawed" in '99, and "extensively" re-engineered for 2000, according to him.)

So... I went looking at hot hatches. I couldn't afford a Mitsubishi 3000GT, and the Eclipse didn't do it for me, looking at the car, or driving it.

Honda dealers repeatedly offended me by refusing to let me test drive manual shift hatches, or to show me spare tire and tool storage, and one refused even to pop the hood! And they kept suggesting I test-drive auto transmissions minivans. NEVER do that to a woman looking for a hot hatch! (I haven't owned an automatic - ever! My first car was a 74 Duster with "3 on the tree", and everything since then has been 4 (now 5) on the floor.) I haven't been in the door of Honda dealer since September, 1999.

The Toyota Corolla felt too small, and not at all as if it would be safe in an accident. They actually had a manual 5 speed Camry, and it actually handled very well..... but there was no feeling of being connected to the road. That thing was actually too smooth and quiet.

I'd seen the Cougar prototype pictures, especially in Autoweek, who really loved Ford's New Edge design. And in 1998 Motor Trend had really good things to say about the Cougar. And, on a practical level, my parents had owned Sables ever since the first one came out, and their experiences were nothing but good. So I went to the Mercury dealer... who had no manual transmissions. I drove a 4 cylinder, and liked the handling, but felt like I wanted more zip. I drove the 6 cylinder and fell in love with everything except the lack of manual transmission. I spent weeks calling the Mercury dealer and asking could they get me a 5 speed 6 cylinder and being told "not yet".

I drove my Mom nuts , worrying over whether I should be a responsible parent and get that Camry (whose price was dropping every week - seemingly, no one else in SW FL would even test drive an army-green manual Camry) or wait till I could get a manual Cougar. She said let's go test drive them both today & we did, on October 8, 1999. She liked the Camry, but said it wasn't as "real" a car as her Sable - and she just looked at cars as a way to get from here to there! She loved the way I drove when driving the Cougar - said it "Just fit me". So we went in to the dealership to ask again when they'd get a manual shift in. Salesman said he'd go talk to the manager about trading with another dealership, and while we waited, 2 guys pushed a white 1999 cougar into the salesroom and put a big "SALE" banner on top of it. I went to look at it - and it was a MANUAL SHIFT!! Love at first sight. I would have paid the price they were asking - thank goodness my Mom was there to use her brain. (And I was 45 & she was 81 :).) SHE had the sense to ask why was a 1999 just being brought out after the 2000s had arrived. Had the car been a demonstrator, had it been used by someone at the dealership? Had there been something wrong with it when it was delivered to them? She was like a bulldog, and they finally told her it had been LOST for a year! They'd sent it out to get window tint (a necessity in Florida) and pin-striping. It got the tint, and got lost. No pin-striping, and they'd just discovered it was missing, gone looking, and found it. My Mom brought the price down another $1,000 by worrying over the effects of sitting out in Florida weather for a year, about how it got lost, and lots of general old-lady fretting (which I'd never seen before in my life!). My Mom the drama-queen got me my perfect car cheap! I still thank her for suggesting that test drive afternoon together, even though she's been gone 14 years. THANK YOU, MOM.

Last paragraph - I promise. I loved my Cougar so much I started doing random searches about Cougars online, and found the Yahoo predecessor to our current forums. I lurked, because almost everyone seemed to be a guy 20 or more years younger than me. Finally, I joined to ask a few questions. Got great responses and have been in NECO ever since. When Trevor founded newcougar.org, I joined as soon as I realized it was there. I found out there was a Florida chapter of NECO, and even more exciting and intimidating, they were having a meet called CougarBash. I went, I enjoyed the hell out of myself, and have been to every NECO or Contour meet I could manage since. My first CougarFest was in Pigeon Forge, TN - and I went go-carting for the first time ever! These are the greatest car forums I've ever seen. I've looked at lots of others when googling landed me on them, and we have so many more supportive, helpful, accepting people than any other group! Gulfcat (my car is my-alter-ego, hence my username & car name & license plate are all the same) and NECO have changed my life, especially as a single mom. I never would have modded a car, or auto-crossed or drag-raced my car, or taken driving lessons at Sebring if it weren't for Gulfcat and NECO. I never would have run the Tail of the Dragon or the Cherohala Skyway, or Moonshiner 28 if it weren't for you guys. THANK YOU ALL! My daughter thanks you all, too. No other Mom picked her kid up from school with a car with racing decals and numbers (the Friday our auto-cross group hosted an SCCA event), she never would have gone go-carting, and she never would have learned to drive on a manual shift car! She never would have modded her first car, and she also wouldn't love the Smoky Mountains and their roads. THANK YOU, NECO!
 
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