Norton shares passion for vintage cars


Photo submitted by Jack Norton

Senior Jack Norton shows off his 1978 Mercury Cougar. Norton's classic car is something he never thought he would buy. He loves his car because it is not anything most people see anyone else driving.

Emma Urban, Photographer

Senior Jack Norton is a proud owner of his 1978 Mercury Cougar. Norton is a huge fan of vintage cars and this was his first of many he plans to buy. Norton decided to impulsively buy his Mercury Cougar when scrolling through Craigslist, and has not regretted his decision since.

Norton’s Mercury Cougar took many hours of work to make it safe to drive, but all of the time he put in was worth it. The car is in relatively good shape for being 41 years old. There is a bit of rusting, but other than that the car is in premier shape.

“There is a bit of rust here and there and the vinyl top is gone, but those are all things that can be fixed. There are certain things that don’t work like the air conditioning and some stations of the radio, but that’s to be expected of a 41 year old car,” Norton said.

It did not take much saving for Norton to purchase the car he loves. After a few late nights working, Norton was able to save the money he needed to buy the Mercury Cougar quickly.

“I bought the car with my own money, and only my money goes into any repairs and expenses. It is my car so I have to take ownership with any issues with it, and those issues are expected with it being such an old vehicle,” Norton said.

Norton was lucky enough to get into car maintenance early in his life. With his experience, Norton is able to save on trips to a car shop and figure out the issues himself.

“I do most of the repair and maintenance myself, I also change oil at Valvoline and fix cars as a side hustle. It is something that I’ve became comfortable doing and the repairs are generally pretty quick and easy,” Norton said.

Norton’s decision to buy his 1978 Mercury Cougar was an impulsive decision. He was easily convinced into buying it when he saw how good of shape it was in for the price that it was listed for.

“The price was really good for the shape it was in. The car was an original, which is often the best kind of car you can get. Even the spare tire in the trunk is kept in the car from 1978. It also came with the original owners manual and all sorts of service records,” Norton said.

The Cougar has a very dignified and stately appearance, and seeing that hood ornament always makes me smile. I will always have an appreciation for my car, even when I eventually won’t have it.”

— Jack Norton

Norton has always been interested in older cars and has found them fascinating since as long as he can remember. He was not exactly sure which car he was going to buy when car shopping, but he knew he wanted it to be a classic car.

“I’ve always had an appreciation for classic cars and cars in general. Even my newer car, a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria, is a very old school car underneath. Classic cars are just a lot smaller to maintain and repair. Not only that, but older cars carry a fair bit of clout,” Norton said.

Nortons Mercury Cougar is different from all cars at the high school. It is unique and he is able to drive something that presents what he is interested in.

“The Cougar has a certain presence in the way it looks that you just don’t see in cars anymore. It has a very dignified and stately appearance,” Norton said.

Norton was not fully convinced to buy the car when he first saw it for sale. There were a lot of issues with the car that made it unable to be driven. Norton eventually decided to take the challenge of fixing it up and bought the car.

“I only payed $800 for the car. I was able to get it so cheap because the vinyl top was peeling, the tires were shot, and it wasn’t safe to drive due to the leaking break line,” Norton said.

Nortons Mercury Cougar has many high end features for it being such an old model. The car, being some old has difficulties with all of the features working at once, but it is all fixable if he decides to work on it more in the future.

“Sure, my car has crank windows and lacks power locks or keyless entry, but it has pretty much everything else you would see from a car today. It has a radio, clock, tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, a power driver’s seat, modern heater controls, and most importantly, seat belts,” Norton said.

Nortons car may seem like the ideal car for a vintage car owner, but it does have some quirks built into it.

“The car has no passenger side mirror, so people often ask me what happened to it. It is always fun seeing the reaction I get when I explain how this particular car never had one,” Norton said.

Norton has started collecting classic cars at such a young age, and plans to continue collecting. He loves working on his car and likes how his car stands out compared to others. Norton may have been unsure of buying the car at first, but hasn’t regretted his decision since.

“The Cougar has a very dignified and stately appearance, and seeing that hood ornament always makes me smile. I will always have an appreciation for my car, even when I eventually won’t have it,” Norton said.