Bill Blass Edition? 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7

This one’s a head-scratcher. The seller has this one listed as a 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Bill Blass Edition but I can’t find any information on there ever being a Bill Blass Edition Mercury Cougar. A Lincoln Mark V, but not a Cougar. Anyone? Whatever it is, the seller has it listed here on craigslist in Wahpeton, North Dakota and they’re asking $4,950 cash. Here’s a screenshot of the listing in case it goes away.

The fourth-generation Mercury Cougar was made between 1977 and 1979 and they were related to the Ford Thunderbird and also the Ford LTD II. We’ve seen some examples of the Lincoln Mark V Bill Blass Edition and they’re pretty posh, not exactly something that a person runs across too often and I don’t know if many younger buyers today would be interested in such a thing, but I could be wrong.

This almost looks like it’s a “tribute” car to me, especially since I can’t find any info online about a Bill Blass Edition Mercury Cougar, but the seller says that he and his brother bought this car brand new in Fergus Falls, Minnesota in 1980 from a dealership and it has all or most of the cues of a Bill Blass Edition, at least from the exterior. Our Adam Clarke showed us a fabulous “Midnight Chamois” edition Cougar a couple of years ago here on Barn Finds. That’s about the only posh, Florida-like special edition that I’ve heard of for the Cougar.

It seems as if the seats should have had a little more bling, like an accent stripe in the body color to me? The interior looks basically brand new and from what I can tell, the exterior does, too. The seller says that everything is original right down the floormats and they’ve put a ton of money into keeping it looking like new, including service on the axles, bearings, gas tank cleaning, and a complete engine overhaul a decade ago.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any engine photos and they don’t say what the engine is, but I’m assuming it’s a 351 cubic-inch V8 with around 150 horsepower. It appears that there’s something going on with the faux convertible top at the rear window unless that’s a shadow or something. The seller was keeping it for their kids but the kids don’t have any interest in it and they’d like to see it go to someone who will keep it looking great. Have any of you heard of a Bill Blass Edition Mercury Cougar?


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  1. Sam Shive

    That color on the dash would make me loose my breakfast ever morning. And The Two Tone Paint …….Gotta Go. The rest of the car is good.

    Like 1
  2. CCFisher

    I have never heard of a Cougar XR-7 Bill Blass Edition, and I was alive and into cars in 1979. Perhaps this is the work of an enterprising Lincoln-Mercury dealer who ordered a bunch of Cougars in a color scheme that *could* be Bill Blass colors, and sent them to a local aftermarket shop for fitment of the fake convertible top.

    Like 28
    • Bob P

      My immediate thoughts exactly

      Like 6
    • Terry

      And they did a poor job on that top too.

      Like 4
  3. Blake Green

    Dealer special trim addition. Having had 3 silver XR7’s from this generation of cougars, I’d be all over this, fake or not, if I had the space. These were the ultimate road cruisers, although after one to many, that cat head on the end of that huge hood liked to hunt for ditches…just saying

    Like 12
  4. Lash


    Like 12
  5. Superdessucke

    I was following cars pretty closely during this era and I never heard of this. I would also be willing to bet a substantial amount of money that this car is a home creation and never actually existed from Ford Motor Company.

    At the time, there was a Bill Blass Lincoln Continental Mark V, which was the brand’s most expensive product. There is no way in hell Ford would have put the name on a much cheaper and less prestigious model. Nor would it allow licensed dealership to do that.

    Like 7
  6. Tom

    I’ve seen them before but not advertised as a Bill Blass. I quick google search found 2 for sale painted Lincoln Bill Blass Blue. One article suggests it’s the work of American Coachworks.

    Like 8
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Fantastic! Thanks, Tom!

      Like 1
  7. Tucker Callan

    Mt Father was a L-M Dealer. Never heard of a ‘Bill Blass Cougar’? Kevin Marti may know? Dad drove a ‘Chamois Edition’ similar to this,, w/out the fake top, & 2 tone body side paint.

    Like 2
  8. Fred W

    I just went to “Old car brochures dot com” and went through the ’79 Cougar brochure. The two upscale levels were “Chamois Decor” and “Brougham’. This one looks like the Brougham.

    I really need to get a life.

    Like 12
  9. Chris Marr

    I worked for Lincoln-Mercury at the time. No such animal. I think the suggestion it was a dealer special edition is probably the best guess.

    Like 6
  10. Bud Lee

    Where’s the curb finders ?

    Like 6
    • Terry

      Where’s the fuzzy dice for that matter

      Like 3
  11. Ed

    I think Tom solved the mystery for us. My first car was a 1977 Ford LTD Landau. Had a Metallac Navy blue paint with ivory vynil top and belt line trim and interior. Never saw many others with that color. Years later found out Ford designed these to mimic the Bill Blass line. It was actually a beautiful car.

  12. Dan W.

    Would’ve been OK if they left a Cougar name off. A far cry from the cool 68 XR7 I had.

    Like 5
  13. Terry

    These Cougars were a disaster compared to the original 67-69 cars we know and love. Ford had really lost its way when these came out..big, boxy, poor handling, low-powered and gas guzzling..the anti-Cougar actually.

    Like 2
  14. Buffalo Bob

    I’ve seen Bill Blass Mk IV’s, but never Cougars. They were blue & white & had the BB anchor logo on them. Inside & out. Cool for the time, but would be considered tacky now.

    Like 1
  15. Gerard Frederick

    What an awful color combination – simply vomit inducing.

    Like 3
  16. Joe

    There was no such model from the factory in 1979.

  17. PTB

    Just a note to all you “know-it-alls”. I bought a 1979 Bill Blass edition Cougar from Bozeman (Montana) Ford/Lincoln-Mercury brand new. It was OEM, not a dealer special…color combo was navy blue/white with a navy blue convertible-looking fabric top. Still have the original window sticker…

    Like 7
    • Perry

      The guy I just sold it to knows Bob Moore, the dealer we bought it from. I’d like him to set the record straight. I can assure you it was sold as a Bill Blass edition. The Blass Lincoln was only in navy blue, but as I recall some dealers asked Ford to make some Cougar versions, and they got creative with the colors. Dark blue, emerald green, maroon & tan. Bob Moore had all of the colors on his lot. We bought it mid 1980. It was never repainted other than minor touch ups.

  18. Tinkertoy Member

    There used to be a company in Easton Pennsylvania that used fiberglass to make a shell that would go over the roof of the car and it could look like a Landau or it could look like a convertible and it could cover up windows and whatever then it went to the shop to have it once the fiberglass was installed on the car the shop would put the vinyl top on it and it would come out looking like this that was a long time ago that was in the 70s

    Like 1
  19. George Dray Member

    To my knowledge, all Bill Blass MK’s were blue and white. Nothing like these god awful colors.

    Like 2
  20. Autoworker

    I married my lovely wife in 1979. Traded in my car for a “family car” 1978 baby blue XR7 with a white top and interior . I traded in my 1971 Camaro Rally Sport 350, rubber nosed split bumper! I haven’t been the same since. Still married to her though.

    Like 2
  21. Maestro1 Member

    The improvement in the profile of the car without the silly side window is endless. I can live without White cars in general and would paint the White sections another color, and leave the sort of vague Biege alone. No, there’s no Bill Blass Cougars that I know of and Barn Finders are correct about his signature colors, which this isn’t. Blass colors are Blue and Tan. If I had the room I’d get serious about the car, which would be a nice bizarre driver. And whatever else it is, it’s a Mercury, which means Ford parts everywhere.

  22. JCA Member

    Sometimes something is so ugly that it’s actually cool. That is not the case with this automotive disaster. I’m with his kids, I wouldn’t drive this if it were given to me for free either.

    Like 2
  23. Mark C

    I happen to actually like these 70s Cougars, and I’ll admit maybe there’s some nostalgia there. However, I don’t think an uglier shade of beige exists.

    Like 2
  24. stevetex49

    Sorry Bout That. Should kept the car dumped the Girl. CAR GUYS FOREVER.
    just kidding about the Girl !!!

  25. S

    You know, this car isn’t that bad or anything – why do so many people have to make these critical and negative comments? This car is in excellent condition! The white interior is very nice. What is wrong with a tan dashboard?

    Like 4
    • JCA Member

      What’s wrong with cousin Eddie’s shoes?

      Like 3
  26. S

    This is also not a bad price for a car in very nice shape!
    People ask way more money for cars in much worse shape!

    Like 3
  27. Jcs

    Well, at least the comments thread is entertaining…

    Like 4
  28. Joe

    I was deleted on CL a few days ago.

    • karl

      you were ?

      Like 1
    • Jcs


      Like 1
  29. DON

    Ford sure got a lot of use with the Torino/Elite/Montego/LTD ll /Cougar platform ! I remember that weird orange caramel color interior was used on a lot of Dark blue Cougars and Lincolns ; they used the same color body moldings as the interior. I dont remember ever seeing a two tone like this on any car , but I do know Ford had that awful Crayola “flesh” tan color, but it seemed like that color was only on Fox bodied Fairmonts and Mustangs

  30. Kevin

    I had a 78 t-bird,nice riding car,had a week anemic 302 that got horrible gas mileage, even as a 2 barrel, all rebuilt, engine tuned,running smooth,only got 10 mpg,local,15 highway, this cougar is one ugly cat in my opinion, but personally, after 76,didn’t like them much anyway, 69-70 were best to me,my 1st car was a 70 xr7 351-c,that would scoot,or a 67 289 xr7 with headers that would also, get up and run.

    Like 1

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