LIMA — Ed Helmig, of Lima, brought his 1974 Mercury Cougar XR7 to the Westgate Charity Car Show in June.
The car holds a special place in Helmig’s heart, as two of his three daughters drove it. Due to the car being longer, his other daughter was too short to drive it. At one point someone had tried breaking into the car and caused dents. The car still ran good, so Helmig had it redone.
The 1974 Mercury Cougar was restyled and marketed as a personal luxury car. The car grew in length from its previous models. Television commercials compared the Cougar to the Lincoln Continental Mark IV. The car competed against GM’s Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Buick Regal and Chrysler Cordoba.
NASCAR saw the longer Cougar being raced in 1974. The car was successful and scored victories until the body style became ineligible in 1980 due to NASCAR mandating a smaller (110-inch wheelbase) platform. The 1974 Cougar had a wheelbase of 116 inches.
This was the first car show Helmig attended with his car. He enjoys taking the car on Sunday drives.