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30k Mile Garage Find: 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7

While the Cougar began life as Mercury’s entrant into the pony car space in 1967, by the time the fourth generation came about in 1977, it had become an intermediate with a variety of body styles. But as the Cougar XR-7, it was positioned as a personal luxury car and for the next 20 years, it would be closely aligned with the Ford Thunderbird in terms of audience, style, and execution. The seller’s car has had just one owner in 41 years and earned under 31,000 miles over this period. Located in Longwood, Florida, this vehicle is available here on eBay where the no reserve auction sits at $4,046.

During the Cougar’s fourth-generation (1977-79), the XR-7 would be a direct counterpart with the Ford Thunderbird. To separate it from the T-Bird and standard Cougars, the XR-7 had its own rear fascia. Not unlike the Lincoln Continental Mark V, the rear was given a (vestigial) continental tire trunk lid (with angular lines) and taillights similar to the Continental Mark IV. The XR-7’s roofline was had more narrow hardtop windows and used louvers on the forward section of the opera windows. The XR-7 came with a host of standard features, including all sorts of power assists, a rear stabilizer bar, walnut wood-tone instrument panel, a flight bench front seat, and a partial vinyl top. For the 1979 model year, the same as the seller’s car, the XR-7 was the dominant Cougar product at more than 163,000 units.

The seller’s car comes with a few details and photos. We’re told it’s a one-owner auto that would be perfect for your Sunday drive. This tells me it may have been the primary transportation for an elderly driver given the low miles, averaging just 750 miles/year since new. The exterior finish appears to be dark blue with a beige roof covering and side trim. There is discoloration on part of the hood. We don’t know if the paint is original, but what we can see doesn’t seem to need any major attention, especially in the area of rust. The interior is also beige in color and the fabric is velour as was common in those days. It looks to be a rather comfortable cabin to settle down in.

Under the hood, we’re told the engine is a 351 cubic inch Windsor V8 which would have only produced 151 horsepower, not a lot to propel a car that weighs in at close to two tons. An automatic transmission would have been the only choice for the shifting of gears. Unlike the Cougars from the late 1960s, this era of the Mercury doesn’t seem to carry resale prices outside the realm of used cars. NADA suggests that $7-8,000 should be the range that a standard Cougar would go for, so the XR-7 might go a little higher.


  1. Avatar photo Moparman Member

    Once upon a time, these cars seemed to be everywhere; now one as nice as this one is a rarity! Just the thing to drive to Coffee and Chrome! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 8
  2. Avatar photo Fahrvergnugen Member

    At least it doesn’t have the “luggage straps” used on the Tbird to what, stop the trunk from flying open???

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Gary hunter

      Lawd, I remember those straps being tragic.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo ADM

      The worst combination was that dark jade metallic, almost a dark emerald green, with those saddle colored straps, a saddle colored half vinyl top, and interior.

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo ACZ

    Needs a rudder and a propeller.

    Like 4
  4. Avatar photo Bob C.

    This color scheme was quite common at the time.

    Like 5
  5. Avatar photo MoparMatt

    The rear deck treatment reminded me more of a 1964-1966 Imperial than a Mark V

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo Derek

    If there was ever a vehicle that summed up what was wrong with U.S. car design at the time….

    If you want to move 5 people about and be able to park, buy a Honda Accord.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Gary hunter

      One has to remember that in the 70’s Honda was considered a poorly built budget form of transportation thus, low class .

      Like 16
  7. Avatar photo ACZ

    That Cougar may be a bloated beast, and not the car a 67 was, but I’d take three of them over a friggin’ Honda.

    Like 24
    • Avatar photo KKW

      Amen brother. Like any “true” American.

      Like 2
  8. Avatar photo Gary Haas

    I had a 72 Mach I stolen in 1980 and bought a 77 XR-7 w/a 351 and pwr everything. Got great hwy mileage, decent acceleration, and rode like a Lincoln. It looked like the poor-man’s Mark V. THIS is what we drove in the polyester/disco era: Personal luxury cars. Even the once-mighty Dodge Charger morphed into a Cordoba.

    Like 7
  9. Avatar photo GDTOKC

    Bought a new one back then. It had the vinyl interior & the car was a head turner. When it came time to sell it, I couldn’t get a buyer to look at it as the passion for the color combo cooled very quickly. So few pictures and literally no information; especially with such low miles, what is the seller hiding? Maybe something, possibly nothing

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Gary Haas

      Mine was a dull “dove gray.” Sold it to my Dad for $2,000 in 1982 (5 yo car) when I left for Japan. These personal luxury cars will always be cheap-wheels, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them, just not a market for them.

      Like 3
  10. Avatar photo Linda M Wyett-Baird

    Love this car.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo SamM

    I had one of these,, White with the gold 2 tone. mine was the 400m and had a console/floor shift and leather interior. It had the permacast wheels, which looked worlds better than the fake wire caps on this one. The permacast wheels had a nasty habit of fusing themselves to the hubs after a winter or two. I got so frustrated with one rear wheel not coming off one time, nothing I tried worked. I ended up driving it around the block (a few times,,hard) with no lug nuts on. Still didnt come off. Ended up selling the car with it on. never did come off for me.

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Claude

    I used to have one Cougar Xr7 two tone green it had a 351 Cleveland best motor ever in that time the body rusted out typical Ford they all rust out but the meter outlasted the car missing it now I own a Camaro Iroc Z28 350 Lti Corvette motor 600 hp in very very very mint condition love it all original no rust neither

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo ADM

    I once drove a new ’79, with a 302. It was comfortable enough, but the steering left a lot to be desired. It was too light, and had no on center feel. You had to constantly correct to keep from wandering.

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Warren S. Geisler

    Had a ’77 XR-7. Black/ copper/ copper with 302. AC etc. Loved it. In 1977 bought one Blue/ blue blue Landis top. 351 Cleveland. AC etc..
    With 18,229 orig. miles. One owner garage find in as new condition. Has won best in show, 3rd place, top ten. Now has 20,880 miles. It is like a one off. Love it. 43 y.o.. Maintained, serviced, and repaired by the best. Value- who knows. To me a MasterCard moment TWICE! Who would have known!!

    Like 2
  15. Avatar photo Mike W H

    I’ve been watching old TV Re runs (Cannon, Mannix, and Barnaby Jones spring to mind) and now I’m jonesing for an old boat from this period.

    This would work.

    Like 3

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