Even before the current mayhem, classic fast Ford values had shot up. Capris, Cortinas and Cossies of every stripe have been big money for a while now, the powerful combination of nostalgia and the usual decimation of survivors sending asking prices into the stratosphere. Then appreciation started to get to the more modern fast Fords, then the less notable – then seemingly every car ever made with a Blue Oval on the front and a spoiler on the back.
Today we live in the world of the £30k Granada V6, £70k Capri and £150k Escort Cossie. Regardless of how much you loved being taken on holiday in the back of dad’s Ghia X or watching the WRC on telly, that’s madness. And let’s not forget what happened with Diana’s RS Turbo, a hammer price so obscene we’ll not repeat it for fear of causing offence.
Point being that, while great fast Fords like the Focus RS and Racing Puma will always deservedly attract attention, there are plenty of ordinary cars out there with chunky asking prices purely on account of a badge and comparative (sometimes merely supposed) rarity. Which ought to mean that this Cougar V6 costs about £40k; there were never that many in the first place, it’s in great condition and it hails from that New Edge era – think Ka, Puma, Focus – that’s now prime modern classic territory. When they’re not total rust buckets.
But no – this 74,000-mile, one-owner Cougar is just £3,995. You’d pay more for a comparable Mondeo with the same engine. It seems that the Cougar’s unpopularity when new (it’s believed that just 12,000 were sold in the UK) has continued into its secondhand life and accompanies it now all the way to near-obscurity. Which, you know what, seems a bit unfair.
Okay, there weren’t many fans of the styling when new, and it would probably be fair to say this is not one of the timeless New Edge greats in the way that both Focus and Ka are. On the other hand, it now looks so perfectly of its time (and the 1990s are fashionable again) that to solely hold design against the Cougar seems unfair. You’re certainly going to look twice in 2022 purely on account of how (genuinely) rare it is. Furthermore, the Cougar could never quite rival the smaller Puma as a coupe to really grab by the scruff of the neck and drive – but that was always going to be a very lop-sided comparison, pitched as it was against one of the greatest front-wheel drive chassis ever. By all accounts the Cougar wasn’t bad (it was Mondeo-based after all, and everyone loved that), it just lacked the traditional rear-drive appeal of a Capri or the sheer brilliance of a Puma.
Now, almost 25 years after launch and with this one already past 20, perhaps it’s time to reassess the Cougar. Or at least cut it some slack. It’ll never be the best-looking or best driving Ford ever, but, as we’ve covered, that hasn’t stopped plenty of others from commanding big bucks. Nowadays it’s a rare and interesting retro cruiser, a throwback to the days when coupes weren’t SUV based and a big V6 with a manual gearbox was a desirable flagship. This one even has the X Pack, for full top-of-the-range bragging rights. It’ll be the perfect thing for a Ford festival, safe in the knowledge you haven’t had to spend £20k for something eligible.
The MOT on this one has recently expired, which is a pity, though there’s nothing too scary in the recent history to suggest a new ticket should be hard to get. Something to factor into an offer, perhaps. More than anything it seems like the old bruiser just needs driving; it got through 70,000 miles in 2015 yet, is now being sold with less than 75k seven years later. So maybe the car is going to need a bit of money spent to bring it back to its best, but so will most cars from 2001 by now. As a rare and interesting bit of fast(ish) Ford history, it isn’t hard to see the charm in this old Cougar. Give it another 21 years and it might be worth as much as all the others…
SPECIFICATION | FORD COUGAR V6
Engine: 2,544cc, V6
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 170@6,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 162@4,250rpm
Year registered: 2001
Recorded mileage: 75,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £3,995