Find Your Car

Loading...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

1974 Mercury Bobcat & Ford Pinto

Mercury's 1974 Bobcat was the home-grown economy car with a pedigree.
The Mercury Bobcat was unique to Canada when it was introduced but our story starts with the Ford Pinto. Pinto production began at Ford's plant in St. Thomas, Ontario in August of 1970--as a 1971 model. The smallest car to wear a blue oval was designed to be a potent import fighter. Along with Chevrolet's Vega and AMC's Gremlin, the pint-sized Pinto helped to push sales of imported cars downward to to 23% of the Canadian market that year. That made Ottawa and the domestic car makers happy. 

 
With Pinto the corporate stable, Ford's handsome Cortina was no longer imported from Britain after the end of the 1973 selling season.


The Pinto had long been in gestation, first appearing on stylists drawing boards in the mid-1960s. Early designs called for a rear transversely-mounted engine. To keep costs low, the subcompact was meant to make use of existing drivetrains drawn from Ford's British and German operations.

Being photographed with adorable baby horses didn't hurt Pinto at all.
Available initially only as a two-door sedan, a smart three-door hatchback quickly joined the Pinto team. Dubbed 'the Runabout', the three-door version was hot. And then, there were three as a station wagon version was added for the 1972 selling season. The wagon boasted nearly 1.69 cubic metres (60 cubic feet) of cargo space with the rear seat folded flat. Pinto would outsell arch-rival Vega from the get-go and as far as everybody at Ford of Canada Limited was concerned, 'that was a good thing.'

The 1971 AMC Gremlin was the first of the domestic import fighters.
The Pinto was a darned cute little car. It featured a vertically slotted grille flanked by inboard turn signals. Its flanks were pleasantly chubby with baby fat. A sharp mid-line crease ran the length of the body, punctuated by the wheel openings. Its wheelbase was a mere 2 387 millimetres (94 inches),  50.8 millimetres (two inches) less than Gremlin. At the rear, Pinto wore long, rectangular horizontally positioned taillights that rode directly above the bumper. The large glass window raked sharply enough for a near fastback look.


Pinto struck a chord with buyers as being user friendly. Advertising stressed just how simple it was to perform basic maintenance. To that end the ignition key was designed to be both a spark plug gap tool and a screwdriver. Ford's legendary Model T was trotted out for photo sessions with Pinto and advertising shrewdly drew comparisons of simplicity, economy and reliability between the two Fords.

West Germany's perennially popular Volkswagen Beetle was the Ford Pinto's ultimate target.
Pinto did make use of the British and German Ford power plants. The four-speed manual transmission was imported too--and rack and pinion steering was incorporated into the package. Pinto was the right car for the right time.

Chevrolet fielded the Vega to compete with Pinto and Gremlin. The small Chev was not popular with consumers, however.
The cabin was carefully crafted to get maximum room and comfort for four passengers. The instrument panel was functional, though some critics complained that it was stark. Well, the target was Volkswagen and the car from West Germany had elevated 'basic' into a prized virtue.

The 1974 Ford Pinto.
The 1974 mode yearl as not a particularly good year for the Canadian automobile industry in general. Memories of the recent gasoline crisis in the United States prompted Americans to shy away from full-sized car lines. Production was of by some 60,000 units at the Oakville, Ontario plant, as fewer large Fords were shipped to the USA.


Still, workers turned out 142,338 Pintos and 11,561 of the brand new Mercury Bobcats. Those Bobcat sales were critical to the health of Lincoln-Mercury-Meteor dealers. Many of the Pintos were shipped to the States but the Bobcats with their wide mesh grilles and long taillights were strictly for the home market. While the Lincoln-Mercury-Meteor dealers sold the Comet-no Mercury had ever been so small or so beautiful as the Bobcat.

The Mercury Bobcat Runabout was as practical as it was fun to drive.
Pinto and the new Bobcat were given standard front disc brakes, like Vega. The massive safety bumpers mandated by Ottawa didn't take away from the envelope's good looks. A larger 2-litre engine was stuffed under the hood as standard equipment and an optional 2.3-litre mill was available.

Advertising for the Bobcat emphasized that this was a uniquely Canadian car geared to Canadian tastes and driving habits. Bobcat was sold by a nifty cartoon character cat and had its own catchy jingle, "He's a frisky little critter, the pack of the litter." Bobcat was touted as "a lot of car for a little scratch." Hey, it was the '70s.

Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!

The United Auto Workers charged that the 2% to 3% extra that Canadians were paying for identical models sold in the United States was discriminatory. The Trudeau government lost a vote of confidence in the House of Commons and an election was called by the Governor General. 

Robert Stanfield's Tories ran their campaign on a platform of price and wage controls to take care of the kind of problem identified by the Canadian arm of the UAW. Trudeau was opposed. When the polls closed in the Yukon on election night, the CBC stayed on the air through the wee hours of the morning to let us know that the final tally was 139 seats for the Grits and 96 for the Tories. Mr. Trudeau then astounded the nation by imposing a federal price and wage control board. Canadians would tighten their belts and it was a good thing that Pinto and Bobcat were around to help.

Mercury Bobcat interiors were snappy.
The option list for Bobcat and Pinto was longer than a country kilometre. It included dress-up items like "flippers" that allowed the rear windows to pop open, a sunroof, an alarm system, air conditioning, radios of numerous types and a luggage rack. Wagons could be ordered with enough faux wood trim slathered on its sides to make a beaver sit up and beg for a bite.

Canadians bought a total of 226,000 automobiles from the Ford family during the calendar year. Sales were up ever so slightly from 1974--moving up to 24% of the domestic sales pie. The truck picture shone, as 105,290 units were sold, giving Ford a whopping 34.6% of that market.


Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!

Copyright James C. Mays 2003
 All rights reserved.

13 comments:

Graham Clayton said...

"Snappy" interiors indeed :-)

陈晓 said...

hair straightener

gucci sale

gucci belt

gucci handbags

gucci belt

gucci shoes outlet

gucci outlet

hermes birkin bag

hermes birkin

hermes bags

hollister kids

hollister

insanity workout calendar

iphone 4s cases

jimmy choo shoes

air jordan

air jordan shoes

juicy couture

juicy couture outlet

kate spade

katespade

kate spade bags

longchamp bags

longchamp outlet

louboutin

louis vuitton canada

louis vuitton outlet stores

louis vuitton outlet

louis vuitton outlet

louis vuitton outlet online

north face jackets outlet

thomas sabo

tiffany jewelry

tiffany co

timberland boots

timberland outlet

uggs outlet

polo ralph lauren outlet online

burberry outlet online

dong dong said...

201510.17dongdong
Louis Vuitton Outlet Mall Store
michael kors outlet online
Canada Goose Outlet,Canada Goose Outlet Online,Canada Goose Clearance
ugg boots clearance
Authentic Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet Sale
hollister uk sale
Hollister Tees for Men
louis vuitton outlet
Cheap Ray Ban Wayfarer
Outlet Michael Kors Handbags
ralph lauren
Designer Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet
louis vuitton outlet stores
true religion jeans
burberry outlet
coach factory outlet
michael kors handbags
Air Jordan 6 Champagne Bottle
100% Authentic New Lerbron James Shoes
ray-ban wayfarer
nike trainers
canada goose jackets
michael kors outlet online
michael kors outlet
tory burch sale
Michael Kors Outlet Sale Handbags Discount
Christian Louboutin Outlet Sale Cheap Online
coach outlet
Oakley Polarized Sunglasses Cheap Outlet Store
Authentic Air Jordan 13 shoes for sale
cheap uggs
mihchael kors bag
cheap jordans,jordan shoes,cheap jordan shoes
ugg boots
michael kors outlet
jordan shoes

Jianbin Jianbin said...

jianbin1031
canada goose outlet
oakland raiders
true religion jeans,cheap true religion jeans,true religion jeans wholesale,true religion outlet,true religion sale,true religion outlet online
nike air huarache,nike huarache,nike huarache sneakers,nike huarache shoes
links of london uk
ray ban
coach outlet store
babyliss outlet
soccer jerseys,cheap soccer jerseys,cheap soccer jerseys for sale,soccer jersey,usa soccer jersey,football jerseys
miami heat
fitflop outlet
instyler ionic styler,instyler,instyler ionic styler pro
coach outlet store online,coach outlet store,coach outlet
mizuno shoes
coach outlet,coach outlet online,coach outlet store
calvin klein,calvin klein outlet online,calvin klein wholesale,calvin klein shoes,calvin klein underwear,calvin klein coats,calvin klein handbags
hollister
true religion jeans
mulberry,mulberry handbags,mulberry outlet,mulberry bags,mulberry uk
celine outlet online
gucci handbags
ugg boots on sale
christian louboutin shoes
jordan shoes
prada outlet
longchamp bags
polo ralph lauren uk
san francisco 49ers
louis vuitton uk
louis vuitton outlet store
monster beats
ferragamo shoes
ugg outlet
rolex watches,swiss watch,replica watches,rolex watches for sale,replica watches uk,rolex watches replica,rolex watches for sales

Gege Dai said...

20160116xiaodaige
cheap ugg boots
kate spade outlet
rolex uk
mulberry handbags sale
louis vuitton,borse louis vuitton,louis vuitton sito ufficiale,louis vuitton outlet
tiffany jewellery
mlb jerseys
michael kors handbags
nike mercurial
lululemon uk
nike air max
mulberry outlet store
nhl jerseys
oakley sunglasses wholesale
michael kors outlet
tiffany and co
michael kors outlet sale
nike foamposite
coach outlet store
michael kors outlet uk
louis vuitton outlet store
camisetas futbol baratas
oakley canada
air max 90
mulberry bags
beats headphones
rolex watches,rolex watches,swiss watches,watches for men,watches for women,omega watches,replica watches,rolex watches for sale,rolex replica,rolex watch,cartier watches,rolex submariner,fake rolex,rolex replica watches,replica rolex
moncler jackets
michael kors outlet online
true religion outlet
michael kors factory store
beats headphones
juicy couture tracksuit
michael kors handbags wholesale
uggs outlet

Libin Huang said...

20160316libinkobe shoes
nike outlet store
michael kors outlet online
cheap mlb jerseys
cheap nfl jerseys
futbol baratas
louis vuitton outlet
nfl jerseys
kobe bryants shoes
louis vuitton outlet online
mulberry uk
air jordan shoes
michael kors outlet
soccer jerseys
nike free 5
air force 1 shoes
ray ban sunglasses
louis vuitton outlet
ray ban sunglasses
rolex watches
michael kors handbags
cheap jordans
michael kors handbags
puma outlet
longchamp handbags
michael kors outlet store
michael kors wallet sale
ed hardy clothing
hermes belt for sale
pandora outlet
louis vuitton bags
air jordan shoes for sale
true religion jeans
cheap jordans
thomas sabo outlet

Gege Dai said...

mac cosmetics
new york jets jerseys
san diego chargers jerseys
seattle seahawks jerseys
air jordan 11
ed hardy clothing
texans jerseys
houston texans jerseys
cleveland cavaliers jersey
vikings jerseys
jaguars jersey
hollister canada
cleveland browns jersey
eagles jerseys
oklahoma city thunder jerseys
nike free running
valentino outlet
golden state warriors jersey
air max uk
new balance outlet
saints jerseys
minnesota vikings jersey
puma outlet
oklahoma city thunder
foamposite shoes
puma shoes
polo pas cher
nike roshe run shoes
carolina jerseys
miami dolphins jerseys
ysl outlet online
cleveland cavaliers jerseys
tennessee titans jerseys
new york giants jerseys
cleveland cavaliers
linyuan0428

Hua Cai said...

cartier sunglasses
oakley sunglasses
louis vuitton outlet stores
ray ban sunglasses
tiffany jewellery
nike air max 90
longchamp pliage
ray-ban sunglasses
louis vuitton outlet store
discount oakley sunglasses
ferragamo shoes
oakley sunglasses
true religion jeans
rolex watches
michael kors outlet online
oakley sunglasses wholesale
basketball shoes
fitflops uk
polo shirts
louis vuitton sunglasses
reebok shoes
hermes birkin bag
kate spade outlet
air max 2015
true religion jeans
michael kors outlet online
kate spade handbags
rolex uk
hollister clothing store
air max 90
beats by dr dre
michael kors handbags wholesale
cheap oakley sunglasses
gucci sunglasses
tory burch outlet online
20160517caihuali

xjd7410@gmail.com said...

coach canada
kobe 9
coach factory outlet
true religion jeans
michael kors outlet
oakley sunglasses
asics shoes
nike outlet store
asics outlet
jordan shoes
adidas shoes
true religion jeans
gucci handbags
polo ralph lauren outlet
jordan 11
tory burch handbags
coach outlet store online
ray ban sunglasses outlet
jordan retro 11
oakley vault
nfl jerseys wholesale
hollister shirts
louis vuitton handbags
adidas ultra boost
adidas uk
coach outlet
nike roshe run
burberry outlet
coach outlet
chenyingying2016803

dada24 Xu said...

true religion outlet online
birkenstock outlet
hollister uk
hollister clothing store
montblanc pens
canada goose uk
hermes belt outlet
true religion jeans
burberry bags
canada goose parka
ralph lauren pas cher
polo ralph lauren outlet
nba jerseys wholesale
cheap uggs
uggs pas cher
chaussure louboutin
adidas nmd r1
cheap jordan shoes
ugg italia
ugg outlet online
ugg boots outlet
cheap rolex replica watches
ugg boots canada
cheap jordan shoes
celine handbags
michael kors outlet canada
coach outlet online
cheap oakley sunglasses
jordan pas cher
oakley sunglasses wholesale
gucci outlet online
michael kors bags
birkenstock outlet
ray ban sunglasses
birkenstock uk
pandora jewelry outlet
louis vuitton outlet online
ugg boots clearance
2016831CAIYAN

mmjiaxin said...

michael kors outlet clearance
true religion jeans
nike dunks shoes
air jordan shoes
adidas nmd runner
longchamp outlet
jordans for cheap
cheap air jordan
cheap nfl jerseys
chrome hearts

hoxn Ln said...

after the Watches Replica lifting of Gai, waterproof 30 meters, with Sterling Silver bracelet.In the pocket handbag replica era, both durable and low cost of the silver case can be said to be selected from the popular material. When the Replica Rolex Watches silver alloy is usually in 92.5% sterling silver, other alloy material plus 7.5% component, UK Replica watches is intended to strengthen the plastic silver force, this is generally known as the “Silver 925”. However, because the Designer handbags .

Unknown said...

tiffany outlet
swarovski jewelry
ugg uk
chrome hearts outlet
north face jackets
michael kors outlet
fitflops sale
adidas uk
canada goose outlet online
ralph lauren polo
chanyuan11.19

Post a Comment

Please share what you think about today's thoughts by posting a comment here.