My Car Quest

April 14, 2024

Ford’s Gullwing – The Ford Cougar 406 Concept

A Case of Almost Was…

by Wallace Wyss –

It was 1962. Mercedes had already given up on the gullwing, the last one they made was ’57 (not counting the modern ones) . But somehow Ford got the word late on this flashy door style and got one made in ’62.

1962 Ford Cougar Concept Car

The weird thing is, when I researched this car, I came across the name of my old friend customizer Dean Jeffries. I thought the only connection he had with Ford was the custom car he built for the Ford Custom Car Caravan in the mid-‘60s and painting Shelby’s first Cobra yellow (and various other colors every few weeks to make people think there was more than one Cobra).

1962 Ford Cougar Concept Car

But evidently he built this one off car, using doors similar to the Mercedes ’55 through ’57 gullwing (production models), though not quite as efficient, the gullwing from Stuttgart having shorter props to hold the doors open.

The chassis was a T-bird. And that’s weird too because the two seater T-bird ended at ’57 so what year chassis was this?

The engine was a 6.7 liter V8, which probably translates to 406 and the name of the car was Ford Cougar 406 Concept.

What is curious about the car is how “behind” it was in styling, like something from the year 1954, all doughy and rounded. It did have pop up headlights, its only modern feature.

1962 Ford Cougar Concept Car

This car has been in the back of my mind for decades, I think I saw it for a few seconds on screen when Jack Lemmon drove it in the movie Under the Yum Yum Tree.

I think the car was deep-sixed, melted down or otherwise destroyed, but Ford surprises me once in a while by coming up with some old dream car that I thought was long since gone. I remember one time borrowing a big ring of keys from a Ford official and checking out various buildings near The Glass House (their World HQ) and each one was chock full of dusty old dream cars.

1962 Ford Cougar Concept Car

Maybe this first Cougar inspired me to buy a gullwing (the Mercedes variety) only five years later. But gullwings aren’t the cat’s pajamas you think they are. You can’t roll down the side glass, and oh, sometimes they open by themselves!

Ford came out with another Cougar show car shortly after this one, on a Cobra chassis, that was streets ahead in styling, making this one seem so old it was banished to wherever dream cars go when they not only failed to spark a future trend but looked like they were going backwards in styling. It deserved to die…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the author of 18 car books and co-host of the Autotalk show broadcast weekly from KUCR FM radio.


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Ford’s Gullwing - The Ford Cougar 406 Concept
Article Name
Ford’s Gullwing - The Ford Cougar 406 Concept
The custom car builder Dean Jeffries built this gullwing concept car for Ford.


  1. Valter Prieto Jr says

    I see it as not so bad. Probably some spare time inside Ford’s Design, and one more concept was ready on drawings. There was time and money in excess, and that’s why these kind of thing is so interesting today.
    How we arrived at so many antiseptic SUV’s today???????

  2. The car is quite handsome and did not deserve to be scrapped although I can see where Ford would feel like at the time they laid a time capsule egg… still all these years later it would be fun to see the car. Fun still would be knowing what chassis it had actually been built on. Sure a waste to spend all that money only to scrap a very neat car. I agree with Valter Prieto’s term antiseptic SUV’s made me smile for sure. Would be neat to see a very comprehensive set of pics of the car.

  3. Bruce Caron says

    I agree with Valter. Maybe it was “behind” the styles of that time but it looks cool today. It is different like a lot of cars of that period, Corvette being one.

    The vast majority of today’s cars are, in a word, boring, Including cars from Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche, GM, Ford, etc. Mercedes does have some really great looking cars but no one offers anything outside–the-box outrageous.

    • Spot on Bruce finding interesting cars now in a sea of dull or yet another supercar that most of us would not buy even if we could afford it… a lot to be said for style, wish someone would find a box of it and give it to the stylists…

  4. Bruce Caron says

    After reading Mr. Wyss’ article I picked up an old, 3/2018, Hemmings Classic Car magazine I hadn’t yet read. I’m a little behind in my reading.

    It is weird that I grabbed this particular magazine after reading Mr. Wyss’article

  5. wallace wyss says

    George Barris was given some old Ford show cars by Ford including the Ghia-built Futura which he didn’t know what to do with until the Batman TV show came along and suddenly it was the Batmobile. Decades later he sold it for over a million. So I think this old picture might be the car. Good detective work. Now finding out where it went from there?

  6. Robert Feldman says

    It is too bad that this car never made production. If it had been built in any kind of volume just imagine what a great platform this would be for a restomod project today! With a modern chassis and powertrain and some interior updates this would be a great touring car.

  7. JJ_Triebold says

    My husband and I are at a classic car auction this weekend and we met an 86 year old man from the Detroit area who showed us a laminated photo of this car and said he has owned it for years. Unfortunately we can’t remember his name. We were eating lunch at the same table with him and his wife talking about our respective car collections. He certainly looked like he could be serious. If we run into him again I’ll be sure to get his name and tell him about your article.

  8. BTW I only found your article because I did a search for the car after talking to him. I didn’t know what to search for exactly so I just searched for Ford prototype vehicle photos and then followed the various links that came up. I was trying to find an article that told who it was last sold to because I was sorry I didn’t get his name. Yes the internet is amazing.

  9. Joe and Vickie M. form Allen Park

  10. The car looked dated in 1962 because it was already 7 to 8 years old at that time The car was correctly advertised in the October 1973 issue of HMN as a 1955, Dean Jeffries,with his Hollywood and Automobile connections, had a part in bringing it to light in the early ’60s, but didn’t build it. He probably painted it red though. Expanding on post above, Yes,contacting Joseph and Velma Mooradian in Allen Park, MI would be a good place to start if you have interest in this car.

  11. Dave Boboc says

    I’ve read that the car was based on a 1955 thunderbird.

  12. Gary Geracci says

    I dunno. I have often wondered why The companies abandon these cars. Did G.M Do that with a whole host of the Fisher Craftsman Models as well?

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