67 Cougar Riverside Raceway Pace Car

Just got off of the phone with the original owners son, Don Rehak, this car was Lime Frost. Don’s father told him that the decals were installed at Santa Ana Lincoln Mercury for one Race at the old Riverside Raceway in Riverside California. He was able to purchase the car soon after the race. He said that the decals gradually fell off of the car, and the family fondly remembers that it said OUGA on the door for a long time, and later just OUG.

I (Scott speaking) had heard about this car with the pace car graphics 6 years ago. Leslie, a lady who worked for my insurance agent, mentioned it, when she found out I had a classic Cougar. Her father was an executive with Lincoln-Mercury on the West Coast. Leslie told me about the car because her Dad had driven it home several times. She was a little girl, and didn’t remember the specifics, but she was at the race with her Dad. Her dad probably arranged for the pace car graphics to be installed for the race.

Thank you for taking the time to share with me what I think is a rather unusual Cat. My dad, John T. Rehak (pictured in B&W) purchase his 1967 Mercury Cougar from Santa Ana Lincoln-Mercury when they arrived on the showroom floor in early 67. As luck would have it he was able to snag what you see in the pictures. A 1967 Riverside 500 Official Pace Car. It was equipped with a 289, 2bbl and 3 speed manual in the floor, AM radio and heater and that was the extent of the options. These original pictures (before the car was even registered) were taken by the company publicist on the lawn outside of Dad’s office in Irvine California where he worked as an Aerospace Engineer for Aeronutronic/Ford (originally Philco/Ford).

As you can see from the color picture (taken in 1975 when the old girl had around 30,000 miles on it as I recall) of me and my sister, the car was coated in beautiful Lime Frost :-P. What demographic thought that was a good idea!
Anyhow, as you can see, I had already added the Mopar influenced side exhaust and required 102” CB whip antenna along with slotted mags and traction bars on the back. (She had some nasty wheel hop with the “huge” G-60-15 tires and tall 3-speed gears). Black bucket interior and a back seat that had never been sat in. We always took Mom’s Lincoln everywhere that we went because “Those kids will scuff up the seats!” in Dad’s car. (It’s ok Dad, I did the same thing with my kidsJ).

Anyhow, I sold the car less than a year after Dad gave it to me as a high school graduation present and have never regretted anything as much. I don’t know if anyone that you are connected with has seen one of these cars or if this was the only one but I would LOVE to find her if she still exists.

Don Rehak currently has a 1967 Cougar, and is looking for a Santa Ana Lincoln Mercury license plate frame like was on his Dad’s pace car Cougar. He is also wondering if the car survived, the California black plate is visible in the 1975 picture.

Awesome pictures and story Scott. I didn’t know that Cougars came with the “poverty” type hubcaps. Very cool.

Thanks for posting my story Scott.

Dad is now 91 years young and still going strong. Being raised a Ford and Chevy guy, I switched teams and have been involved with the Mopar hobby for the last 20 years or so. Recently, I have been feeling reminiscent and I thought it fitting to build a tribute to that first very special car and its original owner. My current project, a Lime Frost 67 xr7 will be headed for paint next weekend and sorry but I just can’t do the Lime Frost, :thumbdown: I was never a fan. I have been posting pics of “Project Bad Cat” on Facebook in the Marvs Garage community page. Redirecting....

There is a Lime Frost 67 standard Cougar on CL right now. On the LA list and says Simi Valley in the title. Says the car is a barn find survivor. No vinyl top, 289, 3 speed, green interior, styled steel wheels, has an aftermarket underdash A/C unit, 98K miles, says original paint. The plates are blue with yellow letters. No price given. The listing has about 12 photos. Contact info given is 805-279-5688, Ric.

This is not my car and I have no information other than what is listed in the ad for it. I do not know Ric.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

Great write up. If you happen to still have the VIN#, we could ask Phil if it is listed in the National Datebase. http://www.cougarclub.org is where you can contact Phil.

It never amazes me the things we learn about Cougars. A pace car would be cool to own.

Thanks Gavin. Unfortunately the only documentation we have that the car ever existed are these few pictures and some amazing memories. I am building the new car with the help of my dear friend Mike and making more great memories every day. :beerchug:

Quick update with a little more interesting information about the original purchase of the Pace-Cat.

I spoke to Dad on the phone last night and we discussed the car. He is following this blog and is as interested as I am to know what, if anything, that we can learn about the long lost Cat. He remembers driving past the Lincoln Mercury Dealership in Santa Ana/Tustin CA in his 64 1/2 Mustang daily driver and spying the all new 67 Cougar in the showroom window. Dad said that it was the first Cougar that he had seen anywhere around and pulled in to check it out. It was proudly displayed in the front window and he soon struck up a conversation with a dealership employee. Dad told him that he wanted to buy the car. The salesman told him that he could not sell it because it did not belong to the Dealership, that it was on loan from Ford and had been delivered to them for display after it paced the Riverside 500. As you might have been able to tell from the pictures, Dad resembled a sharp dressed G-Man back in the day and can be rather persistent when he sets his mind on a goal. Soon he was talking to the General Manager and he convinced them to “find a way to make the deal happen”. The GM eventually contacted Dad and informed him that they were able to get Ford to invoice the car to them for resale. I am guessing that the car was a very early production unit and may have never had an MSO generated?

Anyhow, I hope we are not boring anyone but I am having a great time sharing a little piece of my families history with the Cougar community.

More to come…

Definitely NOT boring (queue the muppets’ new car commercial)!

Very cool story about a very cool car! Love the pics of your dad in his “G-man” suit :slight_smile:
He looks so serious about being non-chalant, with his foot up on the bumper, LOL! “Don’t let the suit fool you, I’m just as cool as a cucumber, kid.”

Great story, maybe Kevin Marti at http://www.martiauto.com may find any further info on the car :slight_smile:

Not boring at all. It great that you and your father have this information to share. It’s a great story on a rare Cougar. I look forward to hearing more.

Very cool story and thanks for posting the pic’s :beerchug:

Great story. I’m thinking a trip to the DMV with the license plate # on that last pic in 75 would be worth a trip. You never know!!!

Zogman that’s a good idea. I tried that when researching my grandfathers Cougar. In Florida they only kept records back 10 years. It always worth a try, maybe an online seach of what DMV services are offered could help 67 Pace-Cat find the right person to talk to.