The Mercury Bobcat is a rebadged and very slightly tarted up Ford Pinto. This car is a street parked holy grail! I haven’t seen a Bobcat in at least 15 years and nearly crashed when I rode my bike past this one on my morning commute. Savor the glory of this orange bastion of 1970s domestic small car compromise.
This is the practical and spacious two door wagon Bobcat. You could also get your Bobcat in a two door hatchback form that looks considerably smaller than this wagon, even though that two cars are of similar length.
I spent some time in the late 70s and very early 80s riding around in a Pinto wagon owned by the parents of a childhood friend. We would fold the back seat down and hang out in the cargo area tormenting the cars behind us.
The Pinto and Bobcat introduced the legendary Ford Taunus/Lima/T-88 series four cylinder engine to the world. This engine has been used in everything from econo-compromise cars like this to purposeful utility vehicles like the Tranist van and Ranger pickup. This mill found its way under the hoods of more sporting fare like the Mustang SVO, Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, and Merkur XR4Ti. In its ultimate level of performance development, the Pinto’s engine was the base upon which Cosworth developed its YB engine used in the Sierra RS Cosworth. When I was a racing mechanic I turned many a wrench on cars powered by variants of the Pinto engine, a Lola T88/90 Sports 2000 being closest to my heart.
This Bobcat is in very good shape. It looks like it could have been exhumed from a mid-80s time capsule with its slotted mags wheels and shiny paint. Does this car look familiar to you? If you’re a Blue Brothers fan you may recognize it as looking just like the Pinto driven by the Illinois Nazi couple. I hate Illinois Nazis…
This car also features the ubiquitous 70s and 80s era cheapo aftermarket sunroof. My first car, a ’74 Celica, had one of these and I loved it. I’d prop open my sunroof every day, removing it on particularly nice days when I’d enjoy a spirited drive (as spirited as an anemic high miles 18RC can manage) on the back roads of the East Bay hills.
What do you think the story is of this car? It’s not your typical restoration or preservation candidate. You have to admit it is cool to see an old economy car being kept running. Do any of you have similar unlikely old cars kept in great shape? I’d love to here about them.
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