American Cars: Mercury and Lincoln

In Blondie’s song “Rapture” there are the lines: (2:27)

“You go out at night, eatin’ cars
You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too
Mercuries and Subarus”

Lincoln and Mercury are divisions of Ford. Lincoln to Ford is like Cadillac to GM or Imperial to Chrysler or even Lexus to Toyota. Lincoln made the luxury cars for Ford like the Lincoln Continental. John F Kennedy, the American President, was assassinated whilst riding in a 1961 Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible. I don’t have a model of that car, but I do have a 1964 Lincoln Continental “Police” by Hot Wheels, which looks more designed for a rap video than a serious police chase with its shiny wheel rims and lowered frame.

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1964 Lincoln Continental (Hot Wheels)

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Hot Wheels Lincoln Continentals

Matchbox made a Lincoln Continental, too, but it was rather more staid and had an opening trunk (see in Catalogue below).

Mercury, named after the winged messenger of the gods, may have been the first American Car to register on my consciousness. Way back in 1968, when I was three or four, Matchbox introduced the Mercury Cougar and Ford Mustang to their range. Both very attractive cars and among the early Superfast models.

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1969 Matchbox Catalogue, the cars have regular wheels, (Lincoln Continental #31).
1970 Matchbox Catalogue, the cars now have “Superfast” wheels (Mercury Cougar before its dragster transformation #62)

The Superfast wheels were the first reaction of Matchbox to the competition from Hot Wheels (introduced in 1968), the second was to transform many of their road cars into dragsters (or hot rods). There were no dragsters in their 1970, 1-75 range but the following year there were several. One of the first cars to have the dragster treatment was the Mercury Cougar, which transformed into “Rat Rod” (the Ford Mustang was transformed into “Wild Cat“).

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Mercury Cougar “Rat Rod”

One thing that puzzles me is why Matchbox should have a tow hook on a dragster, what were they imagining it would be towing along the 1/4 mile drag strip?

Hot Wheels also produced several Mercury Cougars.

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9 Mercuries

The lime green “Rat Rod” is joined in the picture with 8 other Mercuries. These are all Cougars except for the metallic red ’69 Cyclone (Hot Wheels) at the back. The station wagon in the picture is a Mercury Cougar Villager made by Matchbox in 1981.  The silvery blue model with the black roof is a Hot Wheels model from 2001. The other four Mercury Cougars here are recent Hot Wheels editions. The orange, blue and white models being different castings of a ’68 Mercury Cougar and the turquoise model with the yellow flames is a model of the ’69 Mercury Cougar Eliminator.

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