This site is dedicated to sharing the history of the Cougar Sports Cars, designed and build by William Papineau.
Like many young men in the late 40s and early 50s, William was interested in sports cars. Sadly, there were few options. Imports like MG, Jaguar, and Ferrari were very expensive, and few American built options existed.
With this, he decided to design and build his own sports car. The premise was simple: Build a basic and functional sports car, of his own design, that was lacking in excessive curves, bends, trim or gadgetry that detracted from the body design, and added unnecessary weight or things to break or go wrong. His vision had actually started while serving in Korea, so he sat down and began to put those ideas into drawings. He eventually found a design that he liked and began the next phase, which was to build a small scale model of the car. Once complete, he admired it from various angles and then because the process of building a full scale body out of wood and plaster.
He eventually completed this masterpiece to a near perfect finish and chose to use this as the basis for his body mold. Many hours later, the mold was complete and he could begin the process of building his first body.
His first body was built onto a 1940 Ford chassis, with a Ford flathead V8. In an interview for the Detriot Times, 1955, William noted that it took him approximately one year from from start to finished product. Many builders of the day, reported similar results, which is impressive when you consider that they had full time jobs and families, and most builds were done in their garage, back yard, or other small area. William was no different, he was teaching High School Social Studies, raising a young family, and building a car out of a garage.
The end result was impressive, and Williams car quickly drew attention and demand from others wanting one. Over the next couple of years, he built a total of seven to ten cars. The first was on a 1940 Ford, another was built on a Studebaker chassis, two were placed on Henry J chassis (a popular choice of many sport specials), and one body was sold to be raced at the 1956 Pikes Peak Hill Climb.