Premium Pinto: 1978 Mercury Bobcat Villager 23K Survivor – $12,000
Throughout its seventy-year history, the Mercury car division achieved marginal success offering slightly more luxurious versions of virtually identical Fords. A prime late-1970s example was the brand’s first-ever subcompact, the Bobcat. Nothing more than a Pinto with a nicer front-end treatment, sales were never exactly brisk for what was supposed to be an entry-level car. For reasons not made clear in their ad, the seller of this 1978 Mercury Bobcat Villager currently listed here on Craigslist in Detroit, Michigan indicates this car has just under 23K original, Arizona miles that also features the much more desirable 2.8L “Cologne” V6 engine.
Currently offered at $12,000, while Hagerty Insurance does not consider these cars to be collectible just yet, a check of the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals that ask is $800 above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $11,200 before factoring in premiums for the V6 engine and what we believe to be factory A/C. The premium here is based on this car essentially being a 43-year-old new car.
Canadian Lincoln-Mercury dealers marketed a rebadged variant of the Pinto, as the Mercury Bobcat, beginning with model year 1974, produced in all of the same body styles. It was styled with a unique egg-crate grille and chrome headlamp bezels. The rear featured modified double-width tail lamps for sedan and Runabout models.
For 1975, the Bobcat was added to the U.S. market and sold initially in upgraded levels of trim as the Runabout hatchback and Villager wagon. Lesser-trimmed versions were offered in subsequent model years. The Bobcat was never offered as a two-door sedan with an enclosed trunk for the U.S. market. All Bobcats were restyled with a domed hood and a taller vertical bar grille styled to look like senior Mercury models. Throughout all the model years, Bobcats offered various appearance options that were similar to the Pinto’s. Many featured the more powerful V6 engine that was optional on later model year Pintos.
The Bionic Disco YouTube Channel provides this Mercury Bobcat commercial from 1976 that will have you trying to get the jingle out of your head all morning (ask us how we know…)
This 1978 Mercury Bobcat Villager has the potential to perform well in Antique Automobile Club of America preservation class judging, should the next caretaker decide to go that route with the car. If you are serious about buying this classic Mercury Bobcat, you can start the conversation by emailing the private seller. When you connect, please remember to mention you saw their Bobcat featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1978 Mercury Bobcat Wagon – All Original with 22,960 Original Miles. Rare Optional 2.8 Liter V/6 Engine. Arizona Car, Very Clean. Runs like a Top.
Pretty firm on price. Quite a rare car in Super Clean Original Condition. Clean MI Title in my name.“
Show or go: what would you do with this 1978 Mercury Bobcat Villager survivor? Comment below and let us know!