These days we think of Sports Specials as 1969 Cougars with
a particular option package, but when Lincoln-Mercury Division introduced
the term in '69, it actually referred to a series of unique option groups,
ranging from a simple appearance package to the Eliminator. Since
most of us are familiar with the Eliminator, this article will focus on
the other Sport Specials . . . the Cats nobody knows.
Lincoln-Mercury is known for doing some strange
things from a marketing point of view. A case in point were the Dan
Gurney Specials in '67 and '68. These consisted mainly of a window
decal, "turbo" wheel covers, and a chrome dress up kit for the
engine. More of them were "made" at dealerships than at the factory
and, while Dan Gurney Specials are interesting, most experts assign no
monetary significance to the resale value.
In 1969 L-M was at it again, this time offering a
series of "Sports Specials" which allowed buyers to upgrade their Cougars
with four model/equipment combinations. Perhaps the best known
feature of the Sports Specials are their unique curb moldings.
However, a Cougar with Sports Special curb moldings is not necessarily a
Sports Special Cougar. These moldings were also sold at dealerships
as an add on.
Sports Specials started out as standard or bench
hardtops with a basic appearance package that included Turbine wheel
covers, E78 X 14 WSW tires, a mid-body paint stripe in black, red or white
(in place of dual upper body tape stripes), distinctive curb moldings
(with bright die-cast simulated scoops and bright and black ribs extending
to the rear wheel opening), and a remote control left-side mirror.