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History of CATS Classic Cougar Club

Written by Brian Carpenter, President


The CATS Classic Cougar club started in the spring of 2001 by a group of six people.


I took the lead as acting president and we kept the club pretty loose with no general rules and no dues. We decided at the time to be independent and chose not to affiliate with the CCOA. Our first show we went to as a group was 2002 at Bellville MI IMOA show.  About seven of the CATS club members attended.






















In July 2003 we had our first CATS car show at Holland MI along with John Classic Cougars. For our first show

we had 25 Cougars attending.











































In 2004 CATS had a show along with the IMOA and Johns Classic Cougars at Roush museum in Livonia MI. We had about 15 CATS members attend and had a GTE reunion with six GTE Cougars.


                                                                     After 2004 we went into the darks years as the starting members sold their                                                                      Cougars or just turned to other interests. My two kids were getting heavily                                                                       involved in sports and I didn't have the time to keep the club activities                                                                            going.


                                                                     We basically went into a state of inactivity until 2013.







In 2013 we had a small get together at

the Grand Rapids Metro cruise, mostly

organized by John Baumann.


























Talks were resuming of getting the club active again. But, my time was limited and the member base had reduced to a small number. In 2015 CCOA president Gavin Schlesinger started contacting Ray Bischoff and a few other Cougar people about a 50th show at Ford headquarters. Mark Kulwik got involved and helped make it happen with Ford and The Motor City Region Shelby Club. I had talked to a few local people before this about getting the club active again. We had a meeting in February 2016 to discuss a show at the world headquarters in June 2017. After that meeting in order to have a show at that level the CATS club needed to be active.


I got the club active again and decided to make it more organized this time.


The decision was made for CATS to be a regional club of the CCOA.  

We hope you will consider joining our club and become

a part of our Classic Cougar family!


-Brian Carpenter, C.A.T.S. President 

Meet our Board of Directors!  Please reach out and tell us more about yourself.

Brian Carpenter, President

I bought my first Mercury Cougar in 1985 at an all Ford show at Milan drag way. Just sold my high school car which was a 75 Camaro and was looking for a Mustang. Spotted this 1968 Cougar at the show was that was for sale and caught my eye as it had California plates. Didn’t know much about the Mercury Cougar, but liked the looks of it and it was different than a Mustang. Made the purchase and still own the Cougar after 31 years. My second Cougar purchase took place 2001 just after 9/11 and is a 1969 Boss 302 Eliminator. I was happy with the second Cougar until a low mile original XR7-G crossed paths with me in 2003 which I had to have. In 2005, I added a little diversity to the growing collection with a 1970 Boss 302 Mustang. Then, in 2012, two local 1967 project car Cougars were purchased for later builds. Also that same year I purchased a 1969 XR7 390 Cougar survivor, which was stored since 1973 and a 1969 XR7 428CJ 4spd Cougar in addition to a stash of 69 cougar parts from the same owner. In 2014 my son and I took one of the 67 project Cougars and built it into a road race car.

Gary Hill, Vice President

My cougar story begins before I even had a license.  It was 1972 and one of our friends who was a year older than I bought a 1968 Cougar, std. I believe.  Then another friend inherited a Cougar of the first gen of which I don't recall.  I would walk down the street to Tom's house every day to get a ride to school in his 68 std. and started to like these things.  Along came the first summer and we started to work on both friends cars while I started to finally get into drivers training. At 16 years of age I had to beg to drive "Mom's car" (God rest her soul) and didn't get to much love on that.


Finally I saved and borrowed from my dad to get a car.  It had to be a cougar.  I found a 69 XR7 and worked on it as well but it got crashed in the first snowstorm Detroit had in 1975.  After fixing that with a used front end clip I drove a two tone for a while, fell in love, and then got a brand new 1976 Cougar XR7.  Wishing I still had both of those first two cars.  Anyway, had the 76 for about 13 years, then an 85, 90, and 95.  I told a story at the 50th dinner where all of these decades since I moved to Holland I would drive by John's Classic Cougars and think that I need to stop in. I never did.  Fast forward, to 3 years ago when I stumbled across Pole Cat and bought her.  I met John and Dee at my first local show about a week later and got some of the history on Pole Cat and am addicted again.

Michael Keast, Financial Director

Mark Kulwik, Events Coordinator

While growing up in Pittsburgh surrounded by Chevys, Buicks, and Oldsmobiles, Mark finally saw the light and ventured away from the dark side while transforming into a bona fide Ford enthusiast in the mid-1980’s courtesy of a wise and extroverted co-worker. Mark was very fortunate that his first venture into the “classics” was a 1968 Shelby GT350 acquired as a pre-wedding gift to his soon-to-be wife, Judy in 1988 – Mark is extremely thoughtful.  


Turning the clock forward, the Shelby remained in the family for 27 years but was sold in 2015 and behold, was replaced with a 1968 Cougar XR7-G. Yes, another transformation took place! This Augusta Green 390 X-code beauty was brought back home to Michigan from Edmonton, Alberta, CA where it resided for the last dozen years and underwent a 3 year restoration from 2003 to 2006 with all NOS parts. Though there should be no worries from the Mustang community as Mark and Judy still have a Rio Red 1997 Saleen S281 Budget convertible in their garage but their real pride of the pack is the Cat.

Josh Brinson, Club Services Director


Josh Brinson here!  I live in Central Indiana and married to my awesome wife Darcy!  She tags along with me to various car shows, and I help her with her soap business!  She went from knowing nothing about cars, to being able to confidently answer various questions regarding the Cougar, and I couldn’t be any more proud of that than anything! I have been a Cougar owner since June 11, 2008, and incidentally, we bought the car on the same day it was completed on the production line on June 11, 1971!  I have a 1971 Cougar XR7 Convertible, only one of 1170 built, and only one of 29 built with its engine/transmission codes!  Our car isn’t in the pristine condition, but my wife and I drive it everywhere!  

I work for a car dealership network, and my current job is Internet Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator.  My job consists heavily of working on the backend side of the business, making sure all vehicle details, options and equipment packages for new and used cars are current and correct, as well as ensuring all photos of the vehicles are showing online.  In addition, I am in charged of posting all web specials, website backend work, ensuring leads and communication points are working as intended.  

In addition to being an enthusiastic Cougar owner, a member of Cougar Club of America, CATS Cougar Club, of course, and High Desert Cougar Club in Oregon, despite me being in Indiana! 

I also am an avid wild caver.  I am associated with the National Speleological Society, Indiana Karst Conservancy, Indiana Cave Survey as well as the Central and Bloomington Indiana Grottos! 

Needless to say, I am extremely busy with lots of different hobbies and having fun doing all of them!  I am excited with this new adventure with the CATS Cougar Club and promise that new and exciting things are coming soon!

John & Dee Baumann, Technical Advisor and Historian

John & Dee Baumann have 3 kids & their 3 spouses and 9 precious grandchildren! They still have the same ‘67 Dan Gurney Special, ’70 XR-7 convertible, John’s ’69 Ford pick-up. Mike still has his ’70 Eliminator, Dave has a ’65 Mercury Comet Stationwagon & John’s Classic Cougars is still alive & doing OK in this economy. They started their business in 1982 helping people find the parts & accessories they need to keep their “Cats on the Prowl”. They have spent years working on many, many reproductions for your cars.  


During all these years, they have reproduced 50+ parts for your Cougar. They have also worked with Ford Motor Company for the past 20 years as an Officially Licensed Dealer with Ford. All the parts they make are inspected by Ford & if they don’t pass their inspection, they either get them revised to where they do, or they can’t put them on your Cougar.

Mike Sutton, Trustee

I bought my first 1967 cougar in 1986, and I’m still the owner! It was a basket case that influenced my career choice to be an autobody tech. The addiction continues today, as I still buy and build "basket case" Cougars. Cougars are my first choice, but I have diversified my addiction to Torino’s, Mustangs, and F100's.

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