Nina and Tony Palazzolo of Clinton Township, Michigan, jumped through a lot of hoops to acquire this '70 Mercury Cougar Eliminator. In 1999 they had just turned in Nina's leased vehicle, and right then the decision was made to replace it with some vintage muscle for her. Since Nina and Tony were both Blue Oval fans from way back and already owned a '64 Galaxie 500 and a '66 Fairlane GT 390 convertible, it just had to be something from the Total Performance years.
Nina's vehicle of choice was a '69 or '70 Boss 302 Mustang. In case you haven't noticed, the Boss-powered Mustangs have gotten kind of expensive, and this was the case even back in 1999. After a careful evaluation of their budget, the hunt began, but soon they discovered that the kind of car they wanted in the desired condition was out of their price range. They could have afforded a rough example of the famous Boss 302, but what they were after was a completed car-something ready to have fun with.
During their search they came across this shining example of the Cougar Eliminator. Equipped with the Boss 302 engine, it was as close as one could get to a Boss Mustang and priced at a more affordable figure. However, one look at these photographs and it's easy to see that this car was essentially a perfectly restored California car with the original engine-not exactly inexpensive. The Competition Gold Eliminator was still out of their price range. They continued the hunt and found a 351 Cleveland-powered example of the same car. They were ready to conclude a deal, when the Cleveland-powered Cougar was sold out from under them.
By this time, Nina and Tony were discouraged, but they called back about the Boss 302-powered Cougar and found it was still for sale. As much as they wanted this car, they told the owner that it was still much more than they could afford. Tony was ready to hang up, when the owner asked what their price range was. After telling the owner the uppermost figure, the owner accepted the amount, and a deal was struck. Since the Boss 302-powered Cougar Eliminator was intended for use by Nina as a grocery-getter [snicker], we're willing to bet that Tony has to make an appointment for his turn at the wheel.
What's An Eliminator?
The Eliminator was a special package offered by Mercury only on '69 and '70 Cougars. The package included:
• Center and side stripes
• Eliminator logo on rear quarter-panel
• Front and rear spoilers
• Special side mirrors
• Running-cat fuel door
• Blacked-out taillights
• 3.25 axle ratio
• Handling package
• F-70 tires with raised white letters
• Hurst shifter
• 6,000-rpm tach (8,000-rpm tach with Boss 302)
Eliminator engine availability:
M-code 351C 4V; 300 hp at 4,800 rpm
M-code 351W 4V; (when the Cleveland was not available)
300 hp at 4,800 rpm
G-code Boss 302; 290 hp at 5,400 rpm
Q-code 428CJ; 335 hp at 5,200 rpm
'70 Mercury Cougar Eliminator
Owners: Nina and Tony Palazzolo, Clinton Township, MI
This telling photo shows that...
This telling photo shows that the factory got it right the first time with the rake and front and rear spoilers. This Cougar is a unique combination of aggressive looks, performance, and comfortable luxury.
Numbers-matching Boss 302
Cleveland-style Boss 302 cylinder heads
MPG port plates
Closed combustion-chamber 67cc volume
10.5:1 compression ratio
2.19-inch intake valves
1.71-inch exhaust valves
Cam Research hydraulic cam, 0.527 lift, 218 degrees duration at 0.050 inch
Original Holley 780-cfm four-barrel carburetor
Ford aluminum intake manifold
Ford Duraspark distributor
Top Loader four-speed manual w/Hurst shifter
One glance underhood and it's...
One glance underhood and it's easy to see that extra care was taken to get things exactly right. With the special air-cleaner assembly and Cleveland-style pent roof valve covers, the Boss 302 engine has a look all its own and is one of the classics from the musclecar years.
Hooker Super Competition headers with 1 7/8-inch primary diameter
3 1/2-inch collectors
2 1/2-inch exhaust tubing
Front: Factory suspension components, relocated upper control arms, factory front antisway bar
Rear: Stock leaf springs
Front: Factory disc
Rear: Factory drum
Front: Magnum 500, 15x7
Rear: Magnum 500, 15x7
Front: BFGoodrich Radial T/A, P235/60R15
Rear: BFGoodrich Radial T/A, P255/60R15
Factory high-back bucket seats; restored upholstery; replacement carpeting;
original Rim-Blow steering wheel; factory instrumentation including oil, temperature, voltage, and tachometer; original AM/FM stereo
Repainted original Competition Gold (Eliminator-only color), factory-original exterior appearance, factory front and rear spoilers
Sometimes stock is impossible...
Sometimes stock is impossible to beat, and this Cougar interior is a shining example.
From the comfort-weave upholstery...
From the comfort-weave upholstery on the bucket seats to the unique Rim-Blow steering wheel, the feel is definitely upscale...
...compared to a Ford and...
...compared to a Ford and the Mustang, which was the whole idea behind Mercury and the Cougar.
When it comes to excellent...
When it comes to excellent shifting performance, nobody beats Hurst. This Competition Plus shifter has a smooth action and positive gate feel going from Second into Third gear. It was standard equipment with the Eliminator package.
The awesome look of the hide-away...
The awesome look of the hide-away headlights is apparent, along with the tasteful design of the factory striping. We can almost hear the Boss 302 engine singing along, going 65 mph at 3,000 rpm.