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8,300 Miles! 1977 Mercury Cougar XR-7

Wow, what a time capsule! This 1977 Mercury Cougar XR-7 has a mere 8,300 miles on it and it appears to be in almost like-new condition. It can be found here on craigslist in Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, the AC is ice-cold and the seller is asking $15,500. Thanks to Ikey H. for sending in this tip!

Low-mile cars in unbelievable condition like this Cougar XR-7 are still out there. Just to get the seller’s asking price out of the way, because I know a lot of you audibly gasped when you read that they’re asking $15,500. I know, you had one that you sold for $2,500 and your cousin’s next-door neighbor’s uncle had a nice one that they bought for $4,500 in the mid-80s. Unfortunately, this isn’t the mid-80s anymore. It’ll take a very dedicated buyer to throw down 150 $100 bills for this car, but it could happen. Recent sales point to around $10,000 for a #1 condition car.

Back to this Cougar XR-7. In the late-70s, my best friend in high school had a new Ford LTD II, or his parents did, he was still in high school like I was. At the time, it seemed like a really nice car and it’s related to this Cougar XR-7. A Cougar would be a step up as most Mercurys were over their Ford cousins. This is a fourth-generation Cougar and the XR-7 trim level would have been more related to the Ford Thunderbird than it would have been to the LTD II.

The seller has given more detail photos than overall photos which I don’t think really show off the car as it should, but what do I know about photography… cough… They have included a lot of detail photos which is great, but I always like to see wide, overall photos. The interior looks great as you would guess on an 8,300-mile car. The seats both front and rear look absolutely like new.

The engine should be Ford’s 351 cubic-inch V8 Windsor which would have had around 150 hp. There was also a 351 V8 for the California market with 161 hp. This car has new belts, hoses, and fluids and also new tires. Any thoughts on this time capsule XR-7?


  1. Avatar photo TimS

    I hate red-on-red and I want it anyway.

    Like 10
  2. Avatar photo OhU8one2

    I believe the color was called Lipstick red. A good friend of mine painted his hopped up street bug this color back in the 80’s. It’s a little to bold for me,but hey. He was glad he chose that color. His bug had to be the fastest one I ever rode in. He could beat Z/28’s all day long.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Robert

      I had one that was Lipstick Red. It may be the shade but this one looks a little darker.

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Raymond Smith

    Love these cars. Driven many of them back in the day. For what it is worth the engine is an “M” series (stands for modified. We called them Cleveland prior to that). You can tell by looking at the shape of the valve covers.

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for the info, Raymond. I thought that the M/Modified engines were for the California market and the Windsor engine was for the rest of us?

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo CATHOUSE

        I don’t think so Scotty. I can remember seeing plenty of the 351M/400M engines here in PA back in the day. They were in a lot of the Cougar/Thunderbird/LTD II/Ranchero line of cars and they were also in a lot of the late 70s F series pick ups and Broncos.

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Bill Wayda

      Raymond , you are correct, this vehicle is sporting an “M” engine.I worked
      on these for FOMOCO from the time they came out until the discontinuation. We used to call them “boat anchors” because that’s all they were good for. Almost every one blew out the bottom end before the 100,000 mark.Granted, there are many with more miles on than that, before anyone gets their hairs up. But being a Ford tech, all through the 70’s , 80’s and 90’s
      , I saw many, many bad ones.

      Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    I’ve always liked the big Torinos and Thunderbirds and Cougars of the 70’s. They were stylish and had a presence. This is a great example. It even has the upgraded instrumentation. I’d be glad to own this one.

    Like 6
  5. Avatar photo nlpnt

    The interior wouldn’t be that much of a step up – a look at oldcarbrochures.com shows that the trim options for the LTD II and Cougar had the exact same ones, as did the XR7 and T-bird – but the ’77-79 Cougar front styling always looked both more upscale and a generation newer than either of the Ford Division fronts, possibly because they reused it in almost identical form for the ’80s Panther Lincolns.

    Like 2
  6. Avatar photo art

    Hmmm…someone left his or her screwdriver on the radiator..wonder what they were up to on an 8500 mile car?

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo jwzg

      Hopefully changing the hoses.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo PRA4SNW

      I saw that too and was wondering what it was,

      Like 0
  7. Avatar photo art

    oops, 8300 mile car.

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo David LaLonde

    Ordered a new 77 Thunderbird, same exterior color, nearly all the same options including the instrumentation and HD suspension. Also a 351 engine however I had a grey split bench interior. Those wheels were on stop order and restriction for a long time so I ordered hub cabs and replaced them with similar ARE wheels. Awesome car and it gives me ideas on this one and oh by the way I’m near the car in Arizona! Hate the price but love the car….

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo Chris H

    When I was a kid (like 6), my parents had friends who had one. Red w/ white top. I remember thinking how absolutely huge it was! I felt tiny inside of it.
    This one is in unbelievable shape, but not sure it’s worth quite that much.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo RCinphill

    In the late 80’s I had the T-bird version of this car – lipstick red, white vinyl top and white bucket seats with console. Loved the car. One day I was heading down Michigan Ave in Ypsilanti, Mi and hit a huge water puddle, the next thing I know the passenger floor carpet is flipped up onto the passenger seat and I, and the rest of the interior, is covered in underlayment, insulation and water. The car had no rust on the outside but apparently there were issues underneath. I can’t say I miss living in Michigan…

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Dusty Rider

      LOL, had that happened to me on the way to a hot date in my ’66 Rustang.

      Like 2
  11. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    Once again, the influence of Elwood Engel’s classic ’61 Lincoln design persists 16 years later in this 77 cougar. The flat slab sides would continue on at Lincoln for a few more years. It’s remarkable how long-lasting that slab-sided design would be, both at Lincoln/Ford/Mercury, and at Chrysler, where Engel went after he left Ford.

    Like 5
  12. Avatar photo AnalogMan

    This car might have been from deep in the infamous malaise era, but damn it has personality! Not like a 66 Dodge Hemi Charger, but then it isn’t priced like one either. It’s funny how not long ago so many people made fun of 70/s/80’s American cars, which objectively, weren’t built all that well and had lousy performance thanks to the early primitive emissions control systems. But this car sure as hell has style. It was ‘modern’ enough and with such low mileage, it would work as a (reasonably) reliable and very unique daily driver. You’d never see yourself coming down the road in one, and I think it would have much more character and be more fun to drive than some anonymous econobox.

    I don’t know about the price, but then, it’s impossible to put a ‘fair’ value on something like this. It’s probably the nicest, lowest mileage late-70’s Cougar left on the planet, and there are likely no comparable sales. $15-$16k gets you a 5 year old Chrysler 300 with similar miles, which would be much more reliable and comfortable, but not as much fun at Cars & Coffee.

    It’s worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. For my money, it would be hard to justify $15k for this, because the value would drop with every mile you put on it. But at anything under $10k, I think it would be a cool, fun, different ride.

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

      Well said AnalogMan. With such low miles it is hard to figure out what to do with it. Maybe drive it a few hundred up to a thousand miles per year to Cars & Coffee and on local car club cruises. If it had say 28,000 miles it would be easier (for me) to drive it more.

      And as you say, a malaise era car… but with loads of personality and style.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo AnalogMan

        You hit the nail on the head Bob_in_TN. What do you do with a like-new, ultra-low mileage malaise era semi-quasi-‘collectible’ car like this?

        On one hand, it would be tempting to treat it like a low-mileage driver and just have fun with it and drive the wheels off of it. But on the other hand, it’s almost certainly the nicest one left, and it would be a shame to use it up and watch it turn into a rusty beater, and have its value go down to nothing. But then again, who really would “collect” a 77 Cougar and treat it as a garage queen?

        I’m with you. If it had 28,000 miles (and was priced at $8-$9k) it would be a no-brainer to drive it as a fun, unique driver that would turn heads, reliable enough for daily use but also to take to local shows on weekends (but only after some thorough rust-proofing, otherwise it would probably disintegrate into the ground in just a few years).

        It’s growing on me. I think I’d rather daily drive this than most cars available for that price. A modern car with 8300 miles priced in the low to mid teens would be considered a reasonable deal – so why not drive something with character and style instead?

        Like 4
  13. Avatar photo jwzg





    Oh, and a 400 crank.

    Take some weight off the nose and add a shi#-ton of torque. It may be a 16 second car, but dadgummit, it’d be a lot more fun to drive and likely get better gas mileage due to efficiency gains.

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo jwzg

    A 400 crank, with headers, a set of aluminum heads with intake and a fuel injection system would give this beast a crap-ton of torque along with much better VE for better economy. Might be a 16 sec. car, but it’d be a LOT more fun.

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo David LaLonde

    This is likely one of the few people who can truly appreciate the miles on this car >> https://www.ocala.com/article/LK/20100430/News/604239721/OS

    Like 2
  16. Avatar photo norm bissonnette

    I worked for a courier company back then. We had a couple of these as bare-bones 4-drs with heavy duty suspension ,vinyl bench ,rubber mats ,wide rims with dog dishes .Not overly fast but tough and handled well . They took a lot of beating .

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo FordGuy1972 Member

    Can’t find fault with this Cougar anywhere, it looks showroom new. Of course, you have to take into consideration that it’s big Malaise-Era car which means leisurely performance and it’s probably a pretty thirsty beast. However, it was designed more for comfort with loads of options as opposed to driving thrills. I don’t think it’s worth the ask, it seems pretty optimistic to me. I’d guess somewhere around $10k would have folks interested. This would be a very nice daily driver in good weather and with care should hold up well. If the new owner takes babies it and doesn’t rack up crazy miles, he should be able to get his money back.

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Del

    By this time Cougars had bloated up so it was hard to tell them from any other mid sized Ford.


    Like 0
  19. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    A close friend way back when walked into the local Ford/Mercury dealership one day in 1977 and bought one of these off the floor. Black with biscuit interior. He was happy with it but the car he traded in was the one that got away. A 1970 Cuda, built 440(?), pistol grip, no stripes or add-ons, but it did have a front rubber bumper.. The Dealer gave him $1500 for it on trade. A few weeks later a local hillbilly family bought it and immediately added a cheesy bolt on spoiler along with k-mart stripes and graphics. The last time I saw it (only a few months later) it was on blocks, next to their trailer along with the others.

    Like 2
  20. Avatar photo Bob

    Tough call on this one. Does the buyer keep it a low mileage original, or just drive it? Back in 1980 I bought a 60 Buick with 20K miles, like new for $850 as a daily driver. I put 6K on it in 3 months, fell in love with it and she became my collector car. After 10 years, I sold her to another collector who took her to California. Would love to know where she is today.

    Like 0
  21. Avatar photo Gary

    Beautiful car! I had a triple white ’75 XR7. Just like the one Farrah Fawcett drove in the commercials. I loved that car, drove it for 12 years. It was a great car, got decent gas mileage as well. Very smooth ride, mine had magnum 500 wheels.

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo Danny

    “Barn find”? Must have been a nice clean air conditioned one. This site has become a joke.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo PRA4SNW

      Last I checked, no one forces anyone to visit here, or read posts that aren’t true Barn Finds.

      Like 10
      • Avatar photo Danny

        Correct, but when the site is called barnfinds, guess what I expect to see. Maybe could be retitled “Car sales with some barnfinds”?

        Like 0
  23. Avatar photo RobB

    My senior year in college, I had worked 2 jobs to save enough money to be able to make monthly payments while in school. I ordered a 77, green with chamois interior and half chamois top. I loved that car, but, traded it in the very next year out of school and bought a brand new 79 Trans Am.

    Like 0
  24. Avatar photo Jim king

    Greetings all!…I gotta agree with Raymond here, those are definitely Cleveland or modified valve covers….

    Like 0
  25. Avatar photo David G

    Engine is a 351M, not a Windsor. Both were used in these cars, along with the 400. Transmissions in these is what you have to watch for. The 400 comes with only the medium duty FMX or heavy duty C-6 transmission. The 351M can have the FMX, or (as does this car) the light duty C-4. The C-4 is marginal for strength behind the 302 engines, let alone the 351s. Not sure if Ford did this to save a few pounds of weight for potential but tiny improvement in mpg, or because their rotational mass takes less horsepower to spin than that of the FMX or C-6, giving a very heavy car a little boost in off-the-line acceleration. In any case, the C-4 should never be in anything bigger than a Granada/Monarch. The 351W engine in these cars seems to be luckier, as every single one I have seen so equipped has the stronger FMX transmission. Axle ratios are horrible, at 2.50:1. The 3.00:1 is a nice swap that makes this a whole different car from driver’s perspective.
    This is a beautiful car, and will surely be cherished by the next owner.

    Like 1
  26. Avatar photo Paul MacD

    It is a beautiful car! I had a 351M 77 t-bird that was a beautiful driving car. If I recall, it was the first year for the smaller gas filler for unleaded fuel only. We used to knock that plate out of the filler neck and beat the guts out of the catalytic converter, then run regular gas, improving fuel economy and performance. That colour does not look like the lipstick red to me, but a darker red, code 2M I believe.

    Like 0
  27. Avatar photo Paul Duca

    What is so rare about the C-4 transmission? They all had automatic

    Like 0

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