BF Exclusive: 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 With Rare Sunroof

The First Generation Mercury Cougar offered buyers access to the pony car experience in a more luxurious package than the equivalent Mustang. The list of optional extras was as long as your arm, and one of the rarer ones was the factory moonroof. The original owner of this 1968 Cougar XR7 ticked that box on their Order Form, and that feature remains intact. The XR7 needs a total restoration, but the significant collection of included parts should help the new owner begin that journey. The XR7 is listed here on Barn Finds Classifieds in Fairfield, California. The entire package could be yours by handing the seller $20,000.

The seller indicates the Cougar started life wearing attractive Seafoam Green paint before a previous owner performed a color change to its current shade of red. I don’t think they did this classic any favors in that approach, and returning it to a factory appearance would seem an obvious choice as part of the restoration. The panels are straight, and the car is surprisingly solid. The floors and frame have no rust issues, while the panels are also clean. That doesn’t mean the car is 100% rust-free. It appears the original owner selected a White vinyl top to complement the Green paint, and it eventually succumbed to the rigors of all Mother Nature could throw at it. Sadly, nobody peeled away the vinyl before moisture could accumulate, resulting in some nasty roof rust. Repairing it would be a significant undertaking, requiring many hours of work and countless patches to achieve a decent standard of finish. The seller offers another option that would simplify the process because they include a replacement roof in the deal. Fitting that would consign the rust to the pages of history. That also leaves the buyer with a further decision to ponder. The original owner ordered this classic with the optional moonroof. Cutting away the existing roof could mean losing that feature. Still, its relative rarity and potential positive impact on the value would make grafting it into the new top worth the effort. That is a choice awaiting the buyer, and my approach would be to reinstate the moonroof as a priority. The exterior trim is all present, and most would respond well to the application of a high-quality polish.

It is unclear whether this Cougar is numbers-matching, but decoding its VIN reveals it rolled off the line equipped with the F-Code 302ci V8 producing 210hp. The original owner added a three-speed Merc-O-Matic transmission, along with power assistance for the steering and brakes. This combination would have allowed the XR7 to produce a 16.8 -second ¼-mile ET. However, there could be more to consider with this classic. The seller indicates it runs and drives well, although a new brake booster is in its near future. They fitted an upgraded Edelbrock carburetor, but I believe the original resides in the trunk. They also include a collection of parts that could unleash some significant performance improvements. These include a shiny new Edelbrock intake, a new distributor, a billet pulley set, and some excellent cosmetic pieces. Allied to the carburetor upgrade, the new intake should push the engine’s output to match the J-Code’s 230hp, although I wouldn’t rule out a higher figure. Making the changes isn’t urgent, and the buyer could ponder that before committing to a course of action.

The Cougar’s interior is complete, and the new owner could return it to a serviceable state without splashing a mountain of cash. Top of the list would be a new dash pad because the original is so wavy it looks like a skilled surfer could hang ten with no drama! There is a slight seam separation on the driver’s seat, but a competent upholsterer could address this without the need for the buyer to dip into their restoration budget for replacement upholstery. The first course of action would be to clean everything thoroughly. That may reveal that it would take more time than money to return the inside of this classic to a high state of presentation.

Returning this 1968 Cougar XR7 to its former glory will take work, but the next owner can commence the project with a classic featuring strong bones. With the rust issues addressed and a fresh coat of its original paint shade gracing the panels, it would stand out in the best company. If the buyer focuses on the finer details, they will be the proud owner of a classic that would command respect and receive plenty of favorable comments. With values of early pony cars increasing at an impressive rate, it could also represent a sound long-term investment. Hmm, a striking classic that could offer an excellent future financial return. I can’t see any negatives in that equation.

Asking Price: $20,000
Location: Fairfield, CA
Mileage: 107714
Title Status: Clean
VIN: 8f93f553220

Contact The Seller


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    These were cool and classy cars. I can visualize it restored back to its original Seafoam Green. But plenty of work to get there. I hope our resident Cougar expert will weigh in.

    Like 5
  2. CCFisher

    I was all set to ask why you didn’t feature any photos of the sunroof, then I clicked through and saw it. A photo of the replacement roof would have been nice. If it doesn’t have a sunroof (and it probably doesn’t) the most distinctive feature of this car will be lost.

    Like 4
  3. Will Fox

    What Cougars had in those years was a power-operated ‘sunroof’–not a moonroof. It was a power-operated metal sunroof. A moonroof is typically tinted glass; Ford didn’t develop that feature until `73 on the silver-edition Mark IVs.

    Like 11
    • Steven Horton

      Mr Fox,
      Thank you, sir. I never took time to consider that the terms “sunroof” and “moonroof” were anything more than an argument of semantics and that there is an actual difference.
      Learn something new every day 😃

      Like 1

    Other than the roof what is shown does not look too bad. Since there are no underside photos my first question would be how much water made its way through all those roof holes and onto the floorboards. My next question would be does the sunroof work? And does the replacement roof also have the sunroof? My guess is that all of the seats have been recovered. The top area on the back section of the rear seat is almost always split wide open from sun damage. And for all that roof rust this car had to have been sitting outside for quite some time.

    The sunroof is an interesting and uncommon option. Other than that option though this car is pretty much a run of the mill Cougar.

    Like 6
    • karl

      True, and if the car was originally a California car, it may very well have been ordered by a dealership as a sunroof would be a welcome option to a potential customer.

      Like 3
  5. karl

    True, and if the car was originally a California car, it may very well have been ordered by a dealership as a sunroof would be a welcome option to a potential customer.

    Like 1
  6. Al camino

    A cougar looking for a fish

    Like 0
  7. DON

    Looks like even a California car can succumb
    to the tin worm ! That roof must have leaked for years to get that bad – I would really want to check the inner rear quarters and trunk area as the water likely poured down there every time it rained ; there is rust on the dash parts as well, so you know the floors are going to be suspect as well

    Like 5
  8. David Nelson

    $20k? Seriously? I have a 68 xr7 I have had since 2013 with next to zero rust and a lifetime CA car to boot, AND including a bunch of new parts and orig window sticker and orig invoice! I def want to sell for way less!

    Like 5
    • Chicago Mikie Member

      David, I’d love to see a picture of your Cougar. 1968 XR-7 and 1970 XR-7 are my 2 favorite Cougar models. I actually had a 1970 Orange Cougar Eliminator in 1976. I had NO IDEA, and neither did the seller, that my Cougar was any different than the average Cat on the street at that time. Boy — I do now!

      Like 1
  9. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    This is one of those cases where a Marti Report is so important and helpful.

    Like 5
  10. stillrunners

    Coast cars no matter where – West – East or South – will rust around the edges for sure due to the salt air.

    Like 0
  11. Mountainwoodie

    I had a ’67 Seafoam green convertible in 1975. Sold it for 700 bucks lol. If this has a sunroof I dont see it other than the turned up remnants of the vinyl roof towards the front. That said, I dont think it matters. I wish I could think of something positive to say about the condition of this car. Much less the ask.

    Like 1

      When you know what a Cougar sunroof looks like it is very obvious that this car does indeed have one. There are more than enough photos showing it.

      I do not know what kind of 67 convertible you had but it was not a Cougar unless someone just cut the roof off one. The Cougar was not offered as a convertible until the 1969 model year. Any 1967-1968 convertible Cougars you see out there are modified cars, not factory produced.

      Like 5
      • Mountainwoodie

        Hmmm…..47 or do years does things to the memory but you are clearly correct .now that I think about it….it had the slightly larger body and concave light panel in the rear. So my mistake. great car though. Of course gas was only 35 cents down South

        Like 0
      • CATHOUSE

        Yeah, I know what you mean. Sad thing is that I did not need to have 47 years pass by to have trouble remembering some things.

        Like 1
  12. George Mattar

    Sunroofs equal tons of rust. Often poorly engineered, but owner abuse more likely the problem Having worked in numerous body shops the last 45 years, I have seen roofs completely rotted from clogged drains. Cars sit out. Leaves, dirt, pine needles, you name it get it there and boom, roof done. Most useless option ever. My dad bought a new 86 Mercedes 300. He had to have a sunroof. Nothing but trouble.

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      You are so correct. Most of the American cars in the 1970s and 1980s had water drains in the 4 corners. Like you mentioned above, debris tended to clog the drains and then during a rain storm, the sunroof would leak because the water backed up in the channels.

      Many repair shops had a simple solution to the problem. They would open the sunroof and take a compressed air nozzle, press it’s rubber tip up against the drain hole in the corner, and send pressurized air into the tube.

      This ended up creating even worse problems. While it did open up the drain holes, because the drains were typically a metal tube only a few inches long attached to flexible rubber tubes then led the water down thru the front door posts [A pillar] and the rear quarter panels [C pillar], those rubber hoses were often where the clog was located. Directing that blast of air down the tube rarely unblocked it, and often made the rubber tube shoot off the end of the metal tube! Voila, it’s no longer clogged!

      So the next time it rained, the vinyl headliner was the only thing directing the water away from above the driver or passenger’s head! Eventually the water started seeping thru the sew lines and into the main interior area.

      I can’t remember how many cars I’ve had to pull the headlining down and install replacement rubber drain lines. I always used the next larger clear vinyl flexible hoses* to help keep them from clogging up again. I always used hose clamps where the metal to flex hoses joined. If there was no room for the clamp, I used epoxy to hold the lines in place.

      *I used air line hose for fish tanks.

      Like 1
  13. Steven Horton

    As far as I remember 1967 & ’68 Cougars came in two formal roof coupes – standard and XR-7. A convertible Cougar didn’t come out until ’69 or ’70

    Like 0
  14. Claudio

    The seller has lowered the price, i still think there is one digit too much in the asking !

    Like 0
  15. gary

    20K? it will take 40k to restore it. not worth the money

    Like 0
  16. Andrew

    I have an original numbers matching 1968 Mercury Cougar with the factory moonroof, power steering and power brakes, two speed rear defroster, air conditioning and the bench seat option. Cardinal red with parchment interior. This car came with everything except the big block motor. Final build plate and the paperwork under the rear seat about the moonroof. All the body is solid during an extensive restoration especially all the rust was repaired where the drains were for the sunroof. It still needs more work but it is minor. Excellent investment if you get it for the right price. I will entertain reasonable offers but you are getting one rare cat. They have a similar one at the Ford Museum in Michigan but that one has the big block motor. I know what I have and I know that it is a very special car with all the options except the big block motor

    Like 1

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