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8,600 Mile Merc: 1976 Mercury Bobcat

With an average of only 205 miles a year over the last 42 years, this 1976 Mercury Bobcat is probably as nice of an example as you’ll ever find. That is if a person were looking for one. This fancy little devil can be found on Craigslist in Brewster, Massachusetts with an asking price of $3,000. Let’s check out this formal little Pinto. I mean, Bobcat.

Having lived through the US Bicentennial I always expect cars from 1976 to be some sort of Bicentennial edition painted up in red, white, and blue with badging and striping and the whole bit. This Bobcat looks like it was made up for some sort of black tie affair, it’s pretty fancy and decked out and bedazzled with all sorts of doo-dads and features – at least on the exterior. The wheels are killer and other than what looks like a couple of side trim adhesive issues, this really looks like a nice car.

GAA! It even has a Continental kit! Wait, what? I have never seen that on a Mercury Bobcat, have you? It has to be an aftermarket piece, but does that mean that the vinyl top and roof rack aren’t factory options? This is one fancy, formal car, I mean for what is basically a Pinto with chrome. The Bobcat entered the US market in 1975, having been introduced in Canada first in 1974. I have to wonder why Mercury/Ford did that, was it to keep the riots north of the border just in case they didn’t go over well? I’m kidding of course, I’m sure that they were decent cars, other than that one issue that always, and I mean always, comes up whenever a Pinto/Bobcat is mentioned. I love almost everything about this car other than the Continental kit. I’m not a fan of those, but I love the vinyl top and even the roof rack. This baby is all decked out, I half expected to see spotlights and a windshield visor.

The interior of this little gem is sure formal, too. A manual transmission have been nice but this is a Mercury, it’s supposed to be a luxury version of the Pinto. Given the fashions of 1978, it would have been nice to see a much more colorful and fun interior, but this one looks great in basic black. It’s just the thing for those evenings out on the town. No, really. The seller doesn’t give too much info but they do say that it has “8,600 original miles with all work papers for the last 15 years. Good condition.” It sure looks like it’s in better than good condition to me. It’s strange to see the bump on the rear cargo floor for the spare tire when it’s actually mounted on the rear bumper.

They say that this Bobcat has a 2.8L engine which would have been a Cologne V6 and it would have had just over 90 hp. There’s no word on how it runs, hopefully it runs as good as it looks and it would be even better if it ran as good as this whole car looked. Have any of you seen a Continental kit on a Bobcat?


  1. RoughDiamond

    I had the ’76 Bicentennial Edition Pinto complete with a custom painted hood. That baby had a 2.3 liter with manual transmission, Weber carb, Hedman header and mandatory back then “Thrush” muffler with official window decal. Heck, I love this Bobcat! Just wish it had the manual transmission. I always thought these looked more refined than the Pintos.

    Like 8
    • Dean

      Pimped out …hustler on a budget. The engine appears to be slightly off-set to the right. The BIG question is, do you remove the kit to open the hatch?

      Like 7
      • gilbert D adam

        Not remove. There is a latch that releases with a chain or a lock so the spare can “lay down” perpendicular to the road and allow for the hatch to open.

        Like 1
  2. wuzjeepnowsaab

    That sure is clean little car. Growing up we had a Capri with the Cologne 6 in it and it moved it along pretty well.

    Maybe the Tire kit was extra cushion to keep the car from exploding on impact :D

    Like 13
  3. SWells679

    I always envision a last minute staff meeting in a panic when I see something like this.
    Scene – Large conference room. Men in short sleeve dress shirts and wide ties sitting around a large, rectangular table…chain smoking.
    BOSS: “Alright people, the Bicentennial Pinto was, what we’ll call, a warm success. But we’re not moving enough of these Bobcats. If we don’t come up with something, Corporate’s gonna have ALL our jobs. Brainstorm, people!”
    BOSS: Looks around the room – “Jenkins! What you got?”
    JENKINS (not paying attention…staring at the Town Cars and Mark IVs in the parking lot closest to the window): “uuuh, how ’bout a Continental kit?”
    BOSS: “Brilliant! Alright team…get on that!”
    BOSS: (foot on table, presses button on large intercom box) “Janice, get Gary from Marketing on the horn…”
    Or something like that.

    Like 13
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha! I made a Lincoln version for a Hemmings comment a few years ago, I think you’re onto something with how this whole thing happened..

      Like 21
      • Metoo

        Sort of looks like a low cost pimpmobile for those just starting out in the business. LOL.

        Like 7
      • Dean

        Is that Frank Cannon?!?

        Like 14
      • Ike Onick

        No. It’s William Conrad.

        Like 8
      • Miguel

        It is funny you made this.

        During the 1973 and 1974 model years Ford sold an LTD in Mexico that had a Lincoln front end like this stuck on. It had the covered headlights over the exposed fixed lights the 1973 LTD normally had.

        I think they called it the Continental version, as they never sold Lincolns in Mexico.

        The front end looked out of place. You did a better job than Ford did.

        Here is a picture of it. It looks horrible.

        Like 2
      • Al_Bundy John m leyshon Member

        OMFG ! I fell in love with the Bobcat feature, the “would be” Lincoln version takes it all ! I will be sharing this write up !!!

        Like 1
  4. Steve R

    The presence of the continental kit goes a long way towards explaining the “low mileage”. As always, I hope he has documentation to back up his claim.

    Steve R

    Like 3
  5. DaveMc

    Looks like a home-grown way to protect himself from those pesky rear end smacks.

    Like 2
    • jcs

      Dave, you mean the pesky rear end smacks that sometimes resulted in those pesky gas tank explosions? Now, is that really a continental kit or a well disguised air bag?

      Like 0
  6. Metoo

    Does anyone besides me remember the commercials with the bobcat mouthing the words, “Love that Bobcat”? Some things just stick in your mind when you get old.

    Like 7
  7. LMK

    8,600 miles…. ?

    Like 2
  8. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Has anyone laughed at the Jaguar hood ornament yet? Can I be the first?

    Like 3
    • Little_Cars Little Cars Member

      Owner probably thought it was a bobcat and not a jaguar. :) Or thought nobody would notice with everything else going on with this car. I seriously doubt sub-10K miles, just look at the condition of the floors and the vinyl seats look way worn. Almost as if the pattern debossed into the vinyl has lost some depth. A Mustang II Ghia of this same vinyl had a much more posh interior.

      Like 1
    • Metoo

      My god, how did I miss seeing that before you mentioned it?

      Like 0
  9. Rock On

    There is so much to laugh at this car, were do you start?

    Like 5
  10. Rick Rothermel

    Nah. Bargain day at JCWhitney. By 76 yhose were no longer ‘economy cars’. A/T , v6, that car’d be lucky to get 15mpg.

    Like 1
  11. Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

    Brewster? Very Punky.

    Like 0
  12. chad

    that’s Cape Cod, MA

    They musta put those roof racks on everything back then…my 1970 Bronco has 1

    Like 0
  13. hatofpork

    Now that’s what I call a Quinn Martin Production!

    Like 4
  14. CCFisher

    It has 8600 miles because the owner was too busy leafing through the JC Whitney catalog to drive it.

    Like 5
    • schleiff

      hate to break it to ya i just bought this car and the story behind it was extreamly sentimental

      Like 3
      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Schleiff, please tell us what the story was!

        Like 1
  15. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    108,600 miles is about all the life out of the cologne mill without a rebuild. Papers for the past 15 years–how about the past 42 years? Owner must document lower miles but even so, the car could have turned over before this owner bought it. Easy to say it had low miles when you bought it. As far as the “decorative touches” this auto screams depression-era elderly driver trying to make a modern car feel older and more classic.

    Like 2
    • David Ulrey

      I’ll have to politely beg to differ with you about your comment on the 2.8 Cologne. I’ve had 3 vehicles with that engine and can’t say any of them were babied and all of them did a heck of a lot better than that.

      Like 3
  16. Miguel

    You can’t argue the price though.

    What do you get for $3,000 these days?

    Like 4
  17. Dean

    I’d haggle a deal and go for the turbo’d Mustang II in a heartbeat over this.

    Like 2
  18. CanuckCarGuy

    I like it, continental kit and all….at $3K I don’t think you’d lose money on this one, and you’d be the hit of the show and shine. It’s far snazzier than the ’79 Bobcat my folks had as a grocery getter.

    Like 2
  19. St. Ramone de V8

    If the Griswolds ever needed a second car with the “Family Truckster”, this would be it!

    Like 2
  20. irocrobb

    In Ontario Canada you would pay 3000 bucks tax on a $25000 car. I would rather have this car. I question the mileage but still seems darn cheap to me.

    Like 1
  21. jcs

    8600 Miles? Seriously doubt it. 108600? Most likely a well maintained 108600. Look at the interior and especially the engine compartment.

    Like 2
  22. dweezilaz

    Too bad this luxed up Pinto/Bobcat/Brougham doesn’t have the interior upgrade which was really rather plush.

    I get the sense of humor someone must have had to put this together. The absurdity of it makes me laugh.

    Perfect basis for econo luxury: the “big engine”, automatic, probably power steering, vinyl top [not the factory version, BTW], “deluxe” wheels.

    Sorry. I’m not laughing at it. I am laughing with the owner who had the “vision” .

    No problem going for a ride in this one. Unlike that urine colored T Bird featured the other day.

    Like 3
  23. schleiff

    The guy who sold it to me got it from his brother up in Lowell Ma. He barely drove it around and slap all the aftermarket stuff on. His brother bought the bobcat from a family in the same area. They bought the car brand new for their son. Right before the fam gave the car to him he passed away in a car crash and held on to it. It still has the inspection sticker from the fall of 77.

    Like 4

    I happen to own this Bobcat now. It is still under ten thousand miles. In the process of freshen up the brakes, change all fluids, replace the stock wheels with 93 Mustang GT ten holers and remove that continental kit. It’s still a nice car and works very good.

    Like 4
  25. OZ

    I built these babies at the Metuchen Assembly Plant In NJ 1974 to 1976.
    Spot welded roofs on cars, sanded down the rear 1/4 panel, screwed on hinges for doors, and quality control inspection. Pintos and Bobcats came off the same line. During the fuel crisis an Amazing thing was the plant shutdown for a couple weeks to “re-tool” for the”MPG” Miles Per Gallon Carburator. Overnight these cars were getting 38MPG.

    Like 1

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