Nicely Optioned: 1979 Mercury Bobcat

Having spent its entire life residing in California, this 1979 Mercury Bobcat is a rust-free car that is in above-average condition. It has a few minor flaws, but overall, its condition is good enough to allow this very car to feature in a Hemmings Classic Car article. I really have to thank Barn Finder Sandy E for referring this little beauty to us. If you would like to park the Bobcat in your driveway, you will find it located in Palm Springs, California, and listed for sale here at Bring A Trailer. Bidding on the little Mercury has now reached $7,900.

Finished in Tangerine, the Bobcat is an attractive car. It is easy to see the relationship between this car and its Ford pinto sibling, but the Bobcat features a few styling changes to differentiate it. The White accents are a nice touch, while the Bobcat also features a glass moonroof, which was a $199 option back when the car was new. The owner admits to the car wearing a few minor dings and marks, but these are really hard to see in the excellent collection of high-resolution photos that he supplies. What we can see from them though, is that they seem to confirm his claim that the car is rust-free. The underside of the car looks remarkably clean, with no signs of anything beyond the very occasional dusting of surface corrosion. The optional Rally wheels, along with the external trim and chrome, look to be in great condition. One of the trim features that I really like is the chrome wheel-arch moldings, which not only look good, but they protect the vulnerable edges from paint chipping.

Orange and plaid. You really don’t get much more “1970s” than that combination. The interior itself is in nice condition, with only some wear on the edge of the passenger seat to detract from its presentation. The original owner obviously didn’t want just your average Bobcat, so he chose some nice options for the car. It features air conditioning that has recently been converted to R134, a leather-wrapped wheel, and an AM/FM stereo radio. Add in a gauge cluster that includes a tachometer, along with gauges for temperature, fuel, and an ammeter, and the inside of the Bobcat should be a pleasant place to spend some time.

The presentation of the engine bay is probably even more impressive than the rest of the car, and this is for good reason. The engine has recently been out of the car, and that little 2.3-liter unit has been treated to a full rebuild. This includes new pistons and rings, bearings, valve springs, along with all new hoses, belts, a new radiator, a new carburetor, and a new starter. The transmission fitted to the car is a 3-speed automatic, while the car also features power front disc brakes. When you combine all of this work with the fact that the car has only covered 62,000 miles, it would be fair to assume that the car drives fairly well. The owner is also including a collection of documentation with the Bobcat, including comprehensive service records, along with the Owner’s Manual, and some interesting factory literature.

The Mercury Bobcat was offered for a total of five model years, and while it didn’t sell in the same volumes as the Pinto managed, sales were still respectable. This one is a nice example, and while it might not be everyone’s idea of a highly desirable classic, try to remember the last time that you saw one as nice as this when you have been out and about on your travels. Like the Pinto, the vast majority of these ended their days in the crusher, because they were considered to be a disposable item. It might not possess the performance or raw menace of a muscle car, but you could be pretty sure that this would be a great conversation starter at the next Cars & Coffee, and would stand out wherever it went.

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Comments

  1. Bakyrdhero

    Like the Capri and the Lynx that came after it, it’s nicer looking than it’s Ford counterpart. With that said, that’s one of the ugliest interiors I’ve ever laid eyes on. I wouldn’t want to come out of the rain to sit in that.

    Like 7
  2. OddBallCars

    @Bakyrdhero isn’t it funny – I absolutely LOVE that interior! One man’s trash…

    Like 24
    • Boatman Member

      Your name says it all.

  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Charlie’s Angels comes to mind. Sabrina?

    Like 14
    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Mike, I named my daughter Sabrina after that character and her orange-and-cream Pinto. Kate Jackson was the hottest of the three in my book, though Jaclyn Smith was a close second.

      Like 9
      • Miguel

        I always put Jaclyn Smith first, but to each his own.

        Like 10
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Hey Mike, I gotta agree with your choices! And I was happy to see Cheryl Ladd repace Farrah. I hope you show this rig to Sabrina, Take care, Mike.

        Like 5
      • Miguel

        Come on, after that hair flip in the opening credits by Jaclyn, it was all over.

        Like 6
      • Little_Cars

        Kate Jackson seemed to be the last to “bloom” on that show. She looked better in magazines when out in public than on the show. Seems she may have been toned down specifically by Aaron Spelling because the others were obviously hot commodities. The pageboy hairdo didn’t help either, when the rest of the female cast sported the “Farrah flip/curl.” By the way, Farrah posed atop a Mustang II for posters later so I guess the program vehicles were specifically provided by Ford?

        Like 3
      • Mike H. Mike H.

        Sabrina was the Velma, the smart one. I thought of her as “hot” on Charlie’s Angels, but I think it was “Scarecrow & Mrs. King” that really cemented the love for her.

        Though her Pinto added to the endearment for me. . . Kelly and Jill both drove Mustangs but I preferred the Pinto, especially in the dreamsicle paint scheme.

        Like 4
      • CCFisher

        You guys can have the Angels. If I’m going back to the ’70s, I’m gonna go find Lee Majors.

        Like 2
  4. Will Fox

    People can say what they want about these. I had a `78 Pinto hatchback in the same color, with black guts.Always wanted THIS color combo with the plaid orange seats!! The interior IMHO, is the biggest draw. Pleasant shade, different than plain vinyl. As for the price? Here again, say what you want, when these Bobcats come along THIS clean, these make fun, fairly affordable cars you just don’t see anymore.

    Like 15
  5. Bakyrdhero

    This is one of the best things about cars, all the different opinions about what’s beautiful and what’s ugly. I can dig the plaid seats, but I think it’s the solid orange door panels that are killing it for me.

    Like 5
    • Moparman Member

      That STORAGE SHELF of a back bumper is the ONLY thing that I don’t Like about this car, although I’d like it even better with a 4 speed !! :-)

      Like 3
    • Boatman Member

      My thoughts exactly, Bakyrd.

      Like 1
  6. Mark

    I personally love it. In July 1978 I was car shopping. I knew the man that owned the L/M store and I had a salesman friend that I pointed a lot of people his way. They wanted me in one of their cars.

    I almost bought a 78 Bobcat IDENTICAL to this one. Right down to the seats.

    $168.00 a month. 36 months maybe.

    My dad encouraged me to be thrifty and look for a used car. I found a 71 Malibu coupe for 68.00 a month. Bought it. Paid it off early. Wish I still had either one of them today

    But I was 2 weeks away from being 19, and insurance rates on a new car was quite more than the Malibu

    Someone put me in the way back machine. July 1978.

    Love this car

    Like 10
  7. Keith D.

    Jaclyn Smith hands down. Kate Smith a close second, but I had always wished Kate would’ve let her hair grow back. Very nice car and I Love those license plates.

    Like 2
    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Kate Smith wasn’t an angel. She sang “God Bless America” and was known as “The Songbird of the South”, but I doubt that – at any time – anyone might have seen her as a possibility on “Charlie’s Angels”.

      Like 3
      • Keith D.

        Yes! Ha Ha! TYPO!

        Like 1
      • Keith D.

        When I was continuing typing my comment Jaclyn Smith was still on my mind which is why I committed that error. Thanks to people like yourself I realize I should focus more when I’m on barnfinds or else the grammar policemen such as yourself will make a comment arrest.

      • Mike H. Mike H.

        Good save on your edit, dude, but the notification e-mail does show your original comment. I wasn’t sure whether you knew the difference between Kate Jackson and Kate Smith so I felt I ought to clarify for you; sorry that you were so offended by someone trying to do you a favor.

        Mike

        Like 1
  8. blyndgesser

    Candy corn on wheels.

    Like 8
  9. 71FXSuperGlide

    That extra wide rear shelf and wide hatch would certainly make it easier to load my two 75 lb. Bulldogs into the back. :-D

    It’s a very nice example of what there can’t be many left of, although I’m not sure I would drop $8K on it.

    Like 3
  10. Maynard Reed Jr

    Used to be one running around here in central Vermont that had a 351w in it. It went pretty well as I recall.

    Like 1
  11. Rex Kahrs Member

    The interior door handle bears a serious resemblance to the BMW 2002.

    Like 1
  12. Keith D.

    @ CC Fisher…Ha Ha! Good one! Steve drove a 1973 and a 1975 Mercedes 560 SL in the later episodes. In the earlier episodes Steve drove a 1973 Chevy Monte Carlo and in a few episodes a 1973 Chevy Caprice Classic with the skirts …”Gentlemen We Can Rebuild Him”

  13. Boatman Member

    Ended at $9,500 Reserve not met.
    Boy, that gauge package is rare! I worked for a Ford dealer back then and I don’t remember ever seeing one.

    Like 1
  14. Stevieg Member

    I had a 1977 Pinto wagon with the same interior, orange body with woodgrain. 4 popper & a 4 speed. The threads for the shifter stripped out of the transmission & I couldn’t keep the shifter in it.
    I was embarrassed by the car at the time (high school student back in the 1980’s) but I wish I had it now. I know it is tacky, but I like the interior anyhow lol. Says a little about me, doesn’t it?

  15. Harry

    Nice throwback car, but I wouldn’t have an automatic in it even with a fresh engine.

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