2011 Cruisin’ Hines Drive: How Rare is a Mercury Bobcat?

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We’ve featured some rare cars on Cars In Depth. The Canadian ‘Pontiac’ SD 396 Beaumont convertible was one of only 65 made and I’m sure that few have survived Canadian weather. There were only 21 Hudson Italia’s made and 19 are known to survive. The Lamborghini Reventon in the Lingenfelter Collection is one of 20. Add to those some historic race cars and one of a kind show cars. Still, it’s always nice to see something that you know isn’t common. Well, how common are Mercury Bobcats? What’s that, you don’t know what a Mercury Bobcat is? Referring to FoMoCo’s wildlife taxonomy of car brands, the Bobcat was to the Mercury Cougar as the Pinto was to the Ford Mustang. Actually, though, that’s not quite accurate. The Cougar had unique sheetmetal, its own interior and a slightly longer wheelbase than its Mustang sibling. The Bobcat was about as badge engineered as it could be. Near as I can tell, it had a different grille and chrome trim on the wheel wells and window frames. All the other sheet metal was pretty much the same as on the Pinto, though I’m sure that as a Mercury, it was available with a higher level of interior trim. The car companies have gotten blamed for diluting brands and competing with themselves, but the Bobcat existed in part because Mercury dealers wanted it, just like Olds and Pontiac dealers wanted their own versions of Chevy compacts and subcompacts (Pontiac dealers sold the Chevette as the T-1000).

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