1967 Cougar Warranty
New car warranties have come a long ways since the 1967 Cougar was introduced. Or have they? On a new 2002 "Cougar" everything on the car (except the tires) is covered for three years or 36,000 miles, and the seatbelts and air bags are covered for five years or fifty thousand miles.
On a 1967 Cougar the bumper to bumper (except tires) portion of the coverage was only two years or 24,000 miles, but the power train warranty was five years or 50,000 miles and there was an additional five year/50,000 mile warranty on the steering components, suspension components and wheels. Ask the guy who owns a 2002 "Cougar" with a computer controlled transmission module that goes south at 36,005 miles which is the better deal. Come to think of it, the cost of replacing that transmission might also explain why Mercurys don't come with five year/50,000 mile warranties anymore.
It appears Chrysler was the first of the Big Three to realize that a new car warranty could actually help sell cars. They announced a five year/50,000 power train coverage plan in the early '60s and played the warranty for all it was worth in their advertising. Chrysler was gambling that the cost of repairs covered under their new extended warranty would be outweighed by the increased sales the warranty would foster. The idea must have been a good one, because it wasn't long before all American car builders were touting the same coverage.
Getting back to the '67 Cougar warranty, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at what was actually covered and what wasn't. So, with the loan of a 1967 Cougar Warranty Manual from Elaine and Jim Pinkerton, here we go.
This nifty little 12 page booklet was found with the Owner's Manual in the glove compartment of every new 1967 Cougar. In it are the good news and bad news about the car's warranty coverage. Note that L-M hadn't yet recognized the possibility that a woman might own one of their cars.
Skipping ahead to page two, we get right down to business with simple English answers to our questions about what's covered in the Cougar's Basic Vehicle Warranty and its Power Train Warranty extension.
On page three we find a list of the specific components covered by the Power Train Warranty. As the note at the bottom indicates, if it ain't here, it ain't covered.
Next, on page four, we come to a description of the items covered by the five year/50,000 mile Steering, Suspension and Wheel Warranty. The list is actually quite extensive.
The first three items on page five provide fairly straight forward explanations of the kinds of failure and wear covered by the warranty. If the wear was normal, the vehicle owner paid for the repairs. If the wear was what Ford considered abnormal, they paid for the repairs.
However, things start getting more interesting in the last section of this page, where the vehicle owner's responsibilities are detailed. Meeting the scheduled maintenance service requirements is certainly reasonable, but the second requirement opens up a loophole so big you could drive an Econoline van through it. You have to wonder how many warranty claims were denied because vehicle owners failed to come into their friendly Ford or Lincoln-Mercury dealer once a year to have their maintenance service record certified.
Pages six and seven contain more details about the coverage and include a plug for having your Cougar serviced at your dealer, especially so he would have a complete record of service performed. Thus, you would have avoided any inconvenience that might have resulted from insufficient service records.
On pages eight and nine, we find even more coverage details, and--oops! What's this? Only a six month/6,000 mile warranty on squeaks and rattles, and on window and door adjustment? I don't recall seeing that mentioned back on page two with the rest of the coverages. Maybe the writers of the Warranty Manual figured nobody would bother to read this far.
Pages ten and eleven seem dedicated to explaining what isn't covered by the various warranties. Most of the items mentioned here are normal wear problems and seem reasonable.
The final page of the Warranty Manual reminds new vehicle owners of the factory-trained technicians, special tools and genuine parts awaiting them at their Lincoln-Mercury Dealer.
More interesting is the tiny print at the very bottom of the page, which tells us that the Warranty Manual was produced by Lincoln-Mercury's Marketing Department, not the "Service Department." Also note that this particular version of the 1967 Warranty Manual was printed in January, 1967.