May 2012 Ride of the Month is: Harry’s 1969 Eliminator
If you were a performance fan and a Mercury guy in 1969, you were in luck. Mercury decided it was time to make a performance statement that could be summed up in a single word: ELIMINATOR!
In 1968 the only way to tell if you were in a performance oriented Cougar was to get out, and look. In 1969, the Eliminator did not leave you guessing. The instant you saw the all-business black camera-case dash, and high back bucket seats you knew you were in a serious performance car. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to drive a brand new Eliminator off the dealer’s lot in 1969? Harry doesn’t have to wonder, he knows, he was there, and this is the car he drove off the lot on August 1st, 1969…
Then 40 years later, on August 15th 2009 he was reunited with his long lost Eliminator. Today the car has been almost totally restored, lacking only the Eliminator stripes to make it complete. This is one of the very best stories in the Cougar world, and one great looking cat!
And in his own words, this is the story of Harry’s Eliminator:
I am Harry A. Unruh and live in White Rock, BC, Canada.
I first purchased this car on August 1, 1969 from George Black Motors, a local dealer in Vancouver, Canada, since closed down. It was a fun car to drive and served us well for the next 5 years. But due to numerous events and circumstances, such as buying a house, having children, and amassing too many traffic violations, I sold the car in 1974 to a local ‘kid’. Shortly thereafter I learned the car had been involved in a wreck and “totaled”. So, as far as I was concerned, that was the end of the story for this car.
But I never gave up dreaming about the car. Of all the cars I have owned over the years, it was the one car that I regretted most for not having kept.
Over the next 35 years I would frequently do a cursory search for a 1969 Eliminator similar to the one I had owned. Of course, in the early years without internet, this was somewhat more difficult to do, so most of my searches would be in either the classic car sales catalogs or at car shows.
Then, with the introduction of the internet and its great search capabilities, I was able to do a much more refined search but never came up with anything that “excited” me.
On August 8th, 2009, I did some more searching for 1969 Eliminators, mainly to see what was out there. Remember, my car had been totaled so finding it was out of the question, or so I thought. I came across a web site that was advertising for sale a Cougar that looked amazingly like mine, but the site was well over a year old so I didn’t have much hope that the car would still be available. And of course, it would NOT be my old car, but what the heck, give it a try; it would be nice to own one like it again.
I sent an email to the site owner, relating my Eliminator experiences, who promptly replied that the car was still for sale, and very likely my old car!! This car had been in a major wreck at some time before he ever owned it, and had been repaired and partially restored since.
It had also been first sold on August 1, 1969 and the dealer had been George Black Motors of Vancouver, Canada. After numerous more emails, it was determined that this definitely was my old car, and as my wife said during this whole exercise, “We just have to buy it”. So, several days later I re-purchased the car I had initially bought in 1969. I felt like a kid at Christmas!! A week later on August 15th I brought the car home; that sure brought back memories!!