Caged Cat: 1979 Mercury Bobcat

Like so many other corporate twins, the Mercury Bobcat was simply another rendition of Ford’s Pinto. Over the years, as the Pinto has become more obscure, the Bobcat has seemingly sunk into oblivion. This late-production 1979 model represented the swan song of the Bobcat, complete with a more upright nose that did little to change its fate. Find this hot-rodded example here on kijiji for $4,000.

It’s safe to say despite its dusty surroundings, this particular Bobcat used to rip down the strip. Now, with no engine or transmission to power it, it’s not surprising the Bobcat has been idled for years. Whatever motor it did have would likely have been more powerful than what it came with stock, which included your choice of a 2.3L four-cylinder or a 2.8L V6. In addition to likely having been equipped with a beefier powerplant than that, the Bobcat also has a six-point roll cage and numerous extra gauges.

Although the seller is sparse on the details, the photos tell the story of a Bobcat that isn’t exactly a replica of its sibling, the Pinto. Although it would be replaced by the homely Mercury Lynx a short time later, the Bobcat still pops up today on drag strips and even autocross courses, but is still fairly rare to find in any condition – especially as a facelifted 1979 model. Though the monstrous air intake on the hood and other alterations from stock, including the missing engine, are all a question of personal taste, restoring this one back to factory could be a worthwhile project if the body is indeed as “mint” as the seller claims it is.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    It’s actually the ONLY variation of a Pinto. A high class Pinto ( as if) Not sure what to do with this one. They took a limited interest car down a few more notch’s. Do people race these things anymore?

  2. Gerald Elliott

    Years ago a team of road racers successfully raced a Bobcat- affectionately known as “Super pussy”. I know of 2 old Pinto/Botcats sitting in a garage that may be back on the track someday. Comment on the 2.3- we road race a 70 Cortina GT with a 260 hp – Race engineering bottom and Esslinger Engineering top. Great motor.

  3. Larry K

    It’s not tubed. Must be a newer transistor model.😉

  4. CHRIS WEICHLER

    I may be wrong, but that is a Pinto Grille I believe…wasn’t the BC Grille vertical?? (Could be a Pinto grille on a BC Though…)
    http://www.cookieboystoys.com/friends/79%20Bobcat/bobcat%20011.jpg

  5. Eric Hare

    I want it!!! Anyone can race a Mustang, or Camaro but this is unique. I may even like this more than the Pacer.
    https://racine.craigslist.org/cto/6085093076.html

    • AMXSTEVE

      oh the horror!

    • Edselbill

      Hate the Pinto-cat… Love the Pacer. That is hysterical!
      And I’m a Pinto guy. Doing a rebuild on a 77 Pinto Squire now.

      For 4k, you can get a near perfect, running donor car. This thing is worth about half his asking price, if that. It’s condition looks like a lot is hiding under that torn carpet and mediocre paint job. Maybe all of the race equip is worth something, but doesn’t seem it to me.

      The grille is from a Pinto and the engine bay is so shallow on them that whatever you want to “stuff” in there, outside their OEM engines, requires a raised hood or scoop. Lots of guys use the turbo 2.3 from T-birds, but still need a silly scoop on the hood for clearance. Pintos were popular in the 70’s for road racing because of their very low center of gravity and relatively light weight and wide stance.

      • Tiki Vegas

        I had one just like that Squire. Is that yours Rando?

  6. rando

    This could be a fun little car. Already converted to 5 lugs. Roll bar, B&M shifter, outlaw hood (I don’t like them). Lots of ways you could take this one if it’s solid.

  7. Don

    I like it ,put a 302 our 351in it .

  8. Don

    Get rid of that hood

  9. Navadisha

    Drove a 79 V6 Pinto in HS, yeah that’s the same . different below the bumper tho. have to pull the battery just to change the plugs!
    Bt surprisingly, that V6 would really get it out of the hole! (according to 16YO me)

  10. Ron Dame

    Had a 76 Bobcat V6. Hated it, was the worst handling thing ever. Nose heavy, would lock the back tires on even moderate stops, start skewing and was danged near impossible to bring back in line. I finally clamped off the rear brake line, and then it was only a normally awful car.

  11. Big Ed

    Rise up green race cars and retake the streets. Our time is now!!

  12. mike d

    back in the day, a local supermarket in my area was giving away several Bobcats, , correct me if I am wrong, didn’t they have a ” sporty” version.. stripes and the whole shebang? anyways, was hoping to win the wagon for my growing family.. didn’t win…

  13. Ron Dame

    Mine was inherited via marriage, that should have been a clue about her. Lime green metallic, white vinyl top , white rocker panels, two tone green vinyl interior. Like I said in an earlier post, the V6 was fast in a straight line, but so nose heavy, it was scary light in back. It would spin out if you got the least bit squirrelly, and was he’ll to recover. BTW , while most pro, I’ve done some SCCA autocross ing, so its not like I’m an idjit behind the wheel.

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