1969 Mercury Cougar Sports Specials
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.
While the details are a little hard to see in this photo from a 1969 Cougar, you can see the turbine wheel covers, curb moldings only you dont see the paint stripe following the body sculpting over the rear wheel opening to the rear bumper.
For those who were interested in performance as well as appearance, L-M offered the Sport Special with F70 X 14 belted WSW tires and a performance handling package. The performance handling package included heavy-duty springs, heavy-duty shocks, larger stabilizer bar, and wide-rim six-inch wheels.
If you were more interested in luxury than performance, Sports Specials were also available with the Decor Group interior package. This was a popular option on any Cougar and included custom seat upholstery, custom door panels and rear quarter panels, door-mounted courtesy lights, rear armrests, padded windshield pillars and roof rails, and a three spoke rim-blow wood-tone steering wheel.
This Sports Special is equipped with Decor Group interior trim, along with an optional sports console and power windows.
Finally, for those who wanted their Sports Special with both improved handling and luxury, a combination package was available with both the Decor Group and performance handling. The manufacturer's suggested retail prices (including required extra-cost equipment) for the various levels of Sports Specials were as follows:
- Sports Special - $3,111.90
- Sports Special w/Performance Handling Package & F70X14 Tires - $3,139.10
- Sports Special w/Decor Group - $3,166.30
- Sports Sprcial w/Performance Handling package & Decor Group - $3,193.60
At this point it is difficult to provide a factory Sports Special production figure because so many of them were "built" at dealerships. The CCOA database lists about 26 Cougars with at least some of the Sports Special equipment. If you have additional documents or data pertaining to the Sports Special option packages and would like to share your information with The Network.