45k Genuine Miles: 1978 Mercury Cougar XR7 “Midnight Chamois”

By the second half of the 1970s, car manufacturers were faced with ever decreasing levels of performance from their engines, so a number of manufacturers chose to concentrate more on luxury trim packages, transforming what were performance cars into true grand touring cars. Mercury was one of these manufacturers, and they appear to have done this successfully with the Cougar XR7 Midnight Chamois edition. This particular 1978 model is a stunning car that is in incredible condition, and it is a testament to careful ownership. It has been garage kept in Dallas, Texas, for its entire life, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Cougar has reached a paltry $2,030, but it isn’t surprising to learn that the reserve has not been met.

The styling and color combination on the Cougar may not be to everyone’s taste, but you can’t help but admit that the car is in exceptional condition. The same lady has owned the car since new, having fallen head-over-heels in love with the car when she saw it sitting on the showroom floor. It has been carefully and meticulously maintained, and it did undergo a very high-quality repaint at some point in the past. The Dark Midnight Blue paint has a wonderful depth and shine to it, while all of the trim, including the vinyl top and vinyl treatment on the “Continental” style trunk lid, appear to be perfect.

The wow factor continues inside the Cougar, which is completely original and unmolested. The “Midnight Chamois” Decor Pack brought with it upholstery in Midnight Blue and Chamois, and this does not have a single mark or indication of wear on it anywhere. The dash is perfect, as is the floor console and the Tiffany carpet. The car also sports its fair share of creature comforts. I mean, what would luxury be if you didn’t have power windows, power locks, power seats, air conditioning, cruise control, remote adjust exterior mirrors, tinted glass, a tilt wheel, an AM/FM radio, and an illuminated entry system? That’s a pretty comprehensive list that is designed to make life inside the Cougar as pleasant as is humanly possible.

This Cougar continues its theme of originality under the hood. You get a 351ci V8, an automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The car is so original that the plug wires are dates as 1978, and even the battery cables are original. The car starts and runs perfectly, with the automatic choke working as it should. The engine sounds very clean and crisp, while the automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The car is said to drive straight and true, with no rattles or squeaks. This is exactly how you would expect things to be with a car that has a mere 45,000 genuine miles on the clock. The Cougar has also been fitted with a new set of Cooper raised-white-letter tires.

When this Cougar was new, it would not have been a cheap car, and you can be sure that there were plenty of people who would have liked to have owned a car like this if finances had have permitted it. If you are one of those people, then maybe this is your second chance to right that wrong. I know that if you were to decide to buy it, I certainly wouldn’t blame you. I certainly wouldn’t say “no” to the idea of parking it in my garage.

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Comments

  1. AndyinMA

    I love it. What can I say, I am a product of those times.

    21
    • Bill

      Great looking car and well taken care of

      8
  2. GeeBee

    One of those color combos you really like, or vehemently dislike. I’m in the dislike camp on this one, although, it is interesting!

    8
  3. Fred W

    Now at $4550, 6 days to go. Should go upward a lot more. This was about as classy a ride as you could buy in ’78.

    10
  4. normadesmond

    Hated this color combo then & I being
    an old stick-in-the-mud, I still hate it now.

    5
    • NotSure

      As a teen at the time I loved this car and color. I’m still crazy for the dark or Navy blue. With this one clearing 4 decades I hope that it finds a new owner as caring as the first one

      8
  5. poseur Member

    Loved them then & even more so now (due to glut of toneless paint options).
    Up there with black n gold TA & crazy MoPars of the early 70s.

    9
  6. Beatnik Bedouin

    Seeing this car makes me glad that the 1970s are far behind us… ;-) Smart-mouth remarks aside, I am sure that this Cougar will find an appreciative home.

    Adam, American cars from this era were in no way ‘Grand Touring’ machines. They were slow, thirsty and, for the most part, poorly assembled. On the plus side, they stopped better than Detroit Iron of a decade earlier, due to the addition of disc front brakes.

    6
  7. CATHOUSE

    Adam,
    If by “power exterior mirrors” you mean that the driver could put their fingers on a control knob and manually adjust the mirror, then yes, the car has power exterior mirrors. The mirrors are not controlled electronically.

    7
    • Adam Clarke Adam Clarke Staff

      Thanks so much for that Cathouse. I’ve corrected that in the article. I like it when people pick me up on things like that. I’m happy to admit that I’m not perfect. Cheers.

      4
      • CATHOUSE

        You are welcome Adam. None of us are perfect, certainly not me for sure. Keep up the articles. I enjoy reading all the different writers here and have learned many things over the years. Thank you for all your efforts.

        1
  8. That Guy

    This car is high-school era for me. I would have sneered at it then. Today, I figure I’m too old to rock it ironically and too young to feel nostalgic for it. That said, I think the colors and condition are spectacular and I’d own this over most other 70’s American luxobarges. Not a lot of cars could wear these colors well, but this one does and I don’t mean that as faint praise.

    5
  9. Superdessucke

    I really believe Ford should bring these packages back for its CUVs and SUVs. The focus is no longer on driving anyway, and the sore backs and knees of many of their purchasers would greatly appreciate these beautiful blue and tan soft seats. Far more than the faux ST packages they’re offering up now.

    4
  10. Smokey Member

    I Like It, ………….I just Plain Old Like IT !

    9
  11. Dave

    Mom always told me “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. OK I won’t.

    4
  12. Capriest Member

    Being a Mercury guy and a huge sucker for chamois interiors and tacky 70’s luxury packages I love everything about this car. 351 windsor doesn’t hurt either. An M engine would have killed it for me.

    7
  13. David

    I’m horrified to now remember I actually liked this car when new. I wish the car was left behind with other bad memories. This car in many ways shows the compromise a buying customer would accept for “top of the line”.

    2
  14. Jesse Maiolo

    This was a sister car to the Ford Thunderbird of that era. Both roomy cars and as far as the 70’s go, one if the nicer cars out there. Next step up would be the Lincoln Mark 4 or 5, whatever was out back then. Friend of mine bought one brand new and we all loved it. This example is a nice time capsule for sure but it’s not a collector car by any means. Of course, it’s worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it these day! I was never a fan of this color combo but if I had some spare change i’d Probably bid on it must to have something from the year I turned 21!!

  15. Rodney - GSM

    As close as you could get at the time to be a true “Suburban Pimp”.

    7
  16. CCFisher

    Who was it at Ford who decided that orange makes a good accent color? Yuck then, yuck now.

    2
  17. z28th1s

    My grand parents bought a new ’79 Cougar with the dark green and tan color combo. It was was a very nice car and served them well for many years.

    3
  18. James

    Midnight Cham-wow that’s a gaudy car! Decent styling though, my aunt had one when I was a kid and I remember thinking how big it looked. :)

    1
  19. Ike Onick

    Midnight Chamois D’Elegante Brougham Limited EXP Bonzo The Chimp Edition. Nice.

    3
  20. Dave Graham

    I not only “LOVE” this color combination, I really love the unique video presentation by the seller. I’ve been a car salesman since 1974, and back in the 70’s and early 80’s ordered many new Dodge and AMC cars in these type of color schemes. My guess is it will hit $15,000 before the auction ends.

    2
  21. dweezilaz

    ‘By the second half of the 1970s, car manufacturers were faced with ever decreasing levels of performance from their engines, so a number of manufacturers chose to concentrate more on luxury trim packages, transforming what were performance cars into true grand touring cars. Mercury was one of these’

    The Cougar was never a “performance” car, though one could option it up to one just like a Mustang, Javelin or Camaro.

    In this case the Cougar was always a “grand touring car”, whose image was quite different and well above a garden variety Mustang and no 6 cylinder need apply.

    I thought these were grotesque then and still do: everything that was wrong about 70s cars summed up in the LTD IIs, Elites, Torinos and Cougars: too big, too wide, too heavy, too gas hungry, too faux luxury vinyl,opera window, shag carpeting and wheezy performance.

    The phrase ‘wretched excess’ could have been invented for these vehicles, but the Mark series and standard Lincoln of this period topped all of them.

    I can see where people would find this car attractive and did. I don’t and never did, but hope it finds a loving home.

    • ICEMAN from Winnipeg

      Wretched excess? The new Rolls Royce Cullinan makes a 70s era Caddy Eldorado SuperFly look tastefull in comparion !!

    • Jett

      Are you familiar with the Boss 302 Cougar Eliminator? The Cougar XR-7? XR7-G? These were available with anywhere from a high-revving 290 hp Boss 302 to a highly underrated “335 hp” 428 Super Cobra Jet, which in reality, put out closer to 400 hp. The Cougar was most definitely a performance car, if it was optioned correctly. A Boss Eliminator would have run circles around just about anything back in 1969, and a 428 SCJ could dangle with any mopar or generic motors pony car.

      1
  22. ccrvtt

    I believe they were referred to as the “Mini Mark” – junior editions of the Lincoln Mark III-IV-V. They were targeted to the aspirational class that thought those cars were cool. I went out with a girl (once) who called it a “lady’s car” and allowed as how she wanted one. That wasn’t the only reason there was never a second date, but it was a contributing factor.

  23. Stevieg Member

    I almost bought a white Cougar like this with the same chamois trim package and same interior a couple years ago. It was in Phoenix & every bit as clean as this car. If I remember correctly, I think it had the moonroof too. I might be wrong about that.
    Looking @ this car makes me wish I had bought it. I would have felt like a pump rolling it in my neighborhood lol. But I have a sick, deep rooted love of cars that reflect excess. I would buy this one in a heartbeat if I had the funds.
    I gotta go round up my girls now lol.

    2
  24. Bakyrdhero Member

    So gaudy that I like it. I was more a fan of the Thunderbird of this era. I thought the nose and tail had a much cleaner design.

  25. ICEMAN from Winnipeg

    No tachometer?!?! My 79 Thunderbird had one.

    1
  26. Todd Priest

    Wow! What a blast from the past. I never would have remembered this color but do recall seeing it often as a teen.

  27. Bob_in_TN Member

    I am glad there are others who, like me, admit to liking this car and its loud color scheme. To me it screams “late 1970’s” and that is fine with me. Though, I think this particular car would look better with whitewalls.

    In the current sea of white/gray/silver/black cars, I wonder if color schemes such as this will ever return on mainstream models. Ford has some attractive blue shades, and the Black Label interiors on certain Lincolns are eye-catching. But otherwise, even the two-tones on F-Series are subtle– light gray or light brown accents, around the lower bodyside only.

    1
  28. r s

    A console, but a column shift? Ruins the car for me.
    Of course it looks like a sitcom star’s suit from the 70’s in those colors…

  29. Robert

    I use to have one identical to that car.Until I slid down the embankment,strong motor so I pulled it .My car was just as nice as that cougar

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