The Mercury division of Ford Motor Company introduced a new breed of pony car to America in 1967 called the Cougar. It cleverly shared major components with its sister, the Ford Mustang, though its wheelbase was stretched three inches. It was designed to be a bit more luxury than sport, bridging the gap between Mustang and Thunderbird. Hidden headlamps, a 289 cid V-8, contoured body panels, a plush interior and sequential turn signals were all standard equipment. An upscale XR-7 model was available which added leather seating, wood-grain dash appliqué and full instrumentation, as was a GT model which boasted a 390 cid V-8 and handling-oriented suspension. The car was the most popular model for Mercury despite only being offered in one body-style, a 2-Door Hardtop Coupe. It attracted 150,893 customers in its first year. A 2-Door Convertible joined the lineup in 1969.
The Cougar was redesigned for 1971, visually appearing bigger than before while adopting slab sides and a more formal appearance. The Cougar was reinvented as a personal luxury car as it moved further away from its Mustang origins. Base and XR-7 versions remained part of the lineup.
For 1973, the Cougar was a continuation of the 1971 model with minor trim changes. Standard equipment included sequential turn signals, high-back bucket seats, wheel lip moldings, two-spoke color-keyed steering wheel, consolette with ashtray and power front disc brakes. The ragtop Cougar would prove to be Mercury’s last convertible of the decade. Fewer than 4,500 topless Cougars rolled off the assembly lines in 1973 – 1,284 base models and 3,165 XR-7s. All were powered by a 351 cid V-8.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
168 hp, 351 cu. in. V-8 engine, three-speed automatic transmission, power assist front disc/rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112.1".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Stephen Goodal