When it was first released in 1971, the Ford Pinto was an instant hit, selling close to 500,000 units a year. It was only natural that the Lincoln-Mercury business would try to get a piece of the market. Here comes the Mercury Bobcat. It was first shown to buyers in the U.S. in the middle of 1975, and its name is a fun nod to the brand’s Sign of the Cat theme. The Bobcat was basically a Pinto with some thin skin added on top of it. It had a unique vertical grille, a domed hood, better sound protection, and bigger tail lights. It’s interesting that Canadian sellers had the Bobcat a year before the U.S.
Mercury called the subcompact car the Bobcat MPG in 1976, pointing out that it got 34 mpg on the highway with the standard 2.3-liter Ford Lima engine and four-speed manual gearbox. The Capri 2.8-liter V6 engine and an automatic transmission were available as options. In 1976, Bobcat only had two body styles: the three-door Runabout and the two-door Villager wagon. Both had Cherry vinyl side trim that looked like wood. Prices started at $3,338, which was about the same as similar Pinto cars.
In line with what was popular in the U.S. small class at the time, the Bobcat’s advertising focused on having fun. To show this spirit, short comedy clips and a lively musical theme were used. The main TV ad shows the modern version of the famous ragtime jazz song “Tiger Rag,” called “Love That Bobcat.” The jingle may not go into great depth about the product, but it definitely got people’s attention because it was catchy.
In this video below, witness how charming the Bobcat’s marketing was at the time—it shows how advertising was changing. When you put together the catchy tune and fun graphics, you get a memorable picture of car ads from that time. “Love That Bobcat” is not only a catchy hit, but it also captures the fun spirit of the Mercury Bobcat in the mid-1970s. Enjoy the trip down memory lane with this vintage commercial.