Live Auctions

Cobra Jet Convertible! 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7

Well admittedly, this one doesn’t look like much. The debate will be what it is versus what it was – does the value carry forward? On paper, this is a rare car and worthy of a close look. It’s a 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible Cobra Jet, Ram Air equipped model. It is located in Franklin, Indiana and available here on eBay for a current bid of $11,000, reserve not yet met.

No question about it, the VIN provided in the listing checks out; I don’t believe I have ever come across one of these. Cougars are generally associated more with a luxury bend than performance tracks, the go-fast features being left up to the Cougar’s corporate cousin at Ford, the Mustang. That said, the Cougar was available with its own performance chops that were every bit as daunting as those available to the Mustang. And the Cougar was, after all, a Mustang at heart, just stretched out a bit.

The elephant in the room, in this case, is the missing 428 CI, 335 gross HP CJ Ram Air engine (Ford marketing material of the time refers to this feature as either “Ram” or “Ram Air Induction”) – it’s nowhere to be found. In its place is a non-running 351 CI V8 that the seller believes is a Cleveland variant.  I’m not that adept at visually spotting a Windsor vs. a Cleveland engine so I’ll ask for some input on that matter from our Ford expert commenters. This Cougar has a three-speed automatic transmission, whether it is the original C6 or not is unknown. Not only non-running is this Merc, but the seller also advises that it has not run in many years.

Cruising the exterior, it’s a pretty quick study, it’s mostly straight but there is rust-through in places and some seriously missing rear parts like taillights, quarter panel extensions, bumper, etc. The driver’s door looks like it’s off a bit and that could be due to misalignment, failing hinges or the convertible uni-body settling out. Most of the trim is present, so that’s helpful to have as well as the convertible top mechanism as they can be expensive. The top fabric obviously needs to be replaced but that’s not a major problem.  While the Ram hood scoop is still in place, there are no images or words regarding the underside components that fit over the top of the air cleaner induction assembly.

Underneath, there are concerns; recall what I said about “convertible uni-body settling out”, I could have substituted, “Convertible uni-body failing” but it’s hard to tell for sure how extensive the rot is and what it is adversely affecting. This much is certain, the seller stating that this Cougar is “rusty” is the understatement of the day. There are two images of the trunk included but it’s not possible to get a good look at the pan as the mat is still in place, it would be nice to know what’s under it. The 2X4 trunk lid support is part of the deal…….

Not to sound like a school kid but the interior is gross. It looks like it is mostly there, not sure why the rear seat and piston covers have been removed. A deep cleaning is in order and that may help a potential buyer better determine what they are actually getting. One of the first impulses would be to pull up the carpet and see what’s residing underneath but a close inspection of the underside of this convertible may immediately answer that inquiry and negate the need to rip up the rug. Small point, but it looks like the glove box is missing; I wonder how hard it is to find one of those for a ’69 cougar?

Completely intact, with its original engine, this Cougar would probably be considered a “holy grail” muscle car. The seller claims that this is one of only 127 Ram Air induction cars built in ’69 and he does have a Marti report that gives specific details on how this rare Cougar was originally equipped. The legitimacy of this Cougar XR7 would seem to be without question. What is questionable is the value of its rarity. With the original engine or even a date-correct replacement, that rarity would translate into a significant dollar value. Without it, it seems more like just an XR7 Convertible, and a pretty worn out one at that. There are 41 bids that have been tendered, not sure how many actual bidders but there are those that see value here. With four auction days to go, this one will be worth watching. So, what do you think, rare and valuable; rare and not valuable or nothing really special now?


  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Rare? In its original form with the missing engine it was rare.
    Valuable? If it wasn’t a rusted out, stripped out, worn out wreck it might have been valuable but my opinion must obviously differ from the bidders…if they’re real.
    This was a nice car-it’s a shame it’s been so sadly neglected.

    Like 44
    • Cadmanls Member

      Oh my what it has become, probably was a great car at one time that did some stop light, what #&@! Was that!

      Like 3
    • MBorst

      The body overall is in great shape for this car. The unibody can be blasted, repaired and strengthened with a kit like used on the late 80s F body for T-tops. My 69 cougar had holes in every quarter and around the door handles when it was only 5 years old ! That’s Michigan.

      Like 2
  2. Bultaco

    The frame rust likely means that this body is toast unless the rot is confined to one area. Doubtful since the car looks like it has sat in an Indiana cow pasture since the Reagan administration. If the car is original aside from the missing engine, it might be worth restoring around a better body tub. It sure would be beautiful and rare if restored.

    Like 13
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    This is one of those cars which I can, in my mind, visualize what it once looked like. It would have been quite the car. I can’t quite tell if it was originally Black, or maybe that iconic color Black Jade. Either way, it would have been a very eye-catching and desirable car.

    Today, it’s very rough, I don’t know if it will ever get back to anywhere near its former glory.

    Like 7

      The seller states the original color was Dark Ivy Green per the Marti report.

      Like 4
  4. elrod

    Engine is a Cleveland. Rad hose is straight up out of the block/ 8 bolt valve covers. Tragic corpse of a classic. RIP.

    Like 14
  5. Maestro1 Member


    Like 1
  6. Gaspumpchas

    the inner rockers are what give the unibody the longitudal strength and they are shot by the looks of the pics and the fact that the doors stick, Its literally breaking in half. In ford’s infinite wisdom they ran the rain drains from the conv top into the inner rocker and voila. If you get the rugs taken up and get a good look at the rust, you must decide if you want to take this on. Not for the faint of heart. I did a 65 falcon that needed inner rockers, and it took a full years work on a rotisserie. Way too much coin for this sailcat. Whats a sailcat? Its a cat that’s been run over so many times you can pick it up and sail it. Sorry. Look this one over good then decide, without the original mill I don’t see the high price. Good luck.

    Like 9
    • Classic Steel

      They are a 🐻 !
      I put them in my 67 mustang convertible along with torque boxes and the rear lol ones , floors, outer rails etc. and skins years back…

      If this was still a ram air original engine in it would be worth it but it isn’t.
      So let it go unless you got money to burn and want to stimulate the local body shop generously 😺

      Like 2
    • Johnny

      Ford ran the drip rail the same on the 70.,s Ford truck and Bronco also. I guess so they could rot out in a few years and sale new one. Two years ago I was offered a Torino GT in alot better shape then this for free,but I had no place for it. The frame is shot on this one.The floor from underneith is bad too. Plus not original motor and ton running. Alot of work hear,plus parts to run down and price for them. You can find alot better shape for less. I,m sorry but if I was present when someone handed him $11,000 for that. I,d fall fall down laughing. Some of these people will see one all fixed up and right away-think they can get a high price. They don,t consider all the work ,time and money put into these project. Oh the 70 GT offered to me. A guy trailered it to Charlotte and got $3,500 out of it,but it was in alot better shape then this on. It had solid floors and trunk too.

      Like 3
  7. Bernie H.

    NO,NO,NO,and NO again!!! Thats a 351C engine, common in any junk yard inventory. Unfortunitely this is a parts car only, and some of the desirable parts already gone. The photo of the rust is the inner/outer frame rails and whats left of the torque box. The original frame rail is a “D” shaped tube with the FRONT torque box on one end and a smaller torque tube style box at the rear that supports the forward spring hanger. The rocker panel attaches to this tube and is usually galvanized for rust protection. This one has gone too far to repair PERIOD!, I used to do these and now retired at age 77, had enough rust flakes in my eyes. Bad deal if over $2000. Bernie

    Like 16
  8. Bill Shields

    I seem to remember that the red Cougar convertible in James Bond’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was one of these Cobra Jet wonders.

    Like 7

      You are correct, a 1969 XR-7 convertible with the 428 was used in that movie.

      Like 6
      • don

        And they beat the hell out of it too – unless the Cougar had a stand in !

      • CATHOUSE

        As I recall Mercury provided 3 Cougars to the movie studio for this film. One of the cars is on display in a museum in England.

  9. Maverick

    Parted out already. Just bones.

    Like 4
  10. Mark

    Wapakoneta….home of the man…..Neil Armstrong!
    If you ever get the chance, stop in at the space museum. It would be a welcome break after having travelled to see this parts car I’m sure.
    Looks like a lot of work. GLWTS.

    Like 1

    All the missing parts on the rear are no problem to replace. Just about every one of them is the same as any 1969-1970 Cougar, coupe, convertible, standard, or XR-7 they are all the same. The only 2 pieces that are 1969 only are the taillight bezels and the side marker lights, both of which are reproduced. The glovebox is also no problem to replace, there are plenty of used ones available.

    If there is a transmission in the car it is highly doubtful that it would be the original one. The bellhousing bolt pattern is different between a 351C and a 428, the transmissions do not interchange. Most likely this car now has an FMX transmission.

    What is under the trunk mat? That would be the gas tank. Those very rarely rust out, they usually are just full of old useless gas, varnish and rust flakes. Anyone doing a restoration, even just to driver standards, would replace the tank with a new reproduction.

    Of much importance is the fact the correct original 1969-1970 XR-7 convertible only top well trim, the correct 1969 power top switch, and the correct 1969 XR-7 interior parts are still intact. Those are harder items to find than the missing engine and transmission.

    In my opinion this car is very restoreable. And it most likely will be restored as long as the seller does not have an unreasonable reserve.

    Like 6
    • MBorst

      The rear, taillights exc,,,,,
      Are different ! This car has its own unique taillights from the other 69 cougars ! I had a 69 XR7 I identical inside but the rear lights were different in the scj. Most schools cougars of this year came thru as Eliminators. There was one in Allegan, Michigan we would see crossing around from time to time. It is a dreadful shame the original engine is missing ! This would be an expensive project car at $5000 . I think you’ll never find the proper taillights for this car. 😥 yes that is a 351C . Mine came with a 2bbl Windsor but still ran good. I’d love to have this for the right price. And cougars weren’t a wanna be mustang. They were in a class all their own.

      Like 1
      • CATHOUSE

        You are very wrong. The taillights on this car are the exact same as any other 1969 Cougar. I am a Cougar collector and have been a Cougar parts vendor for close to 40 years so yes, I do have quite a bit of knowledge on these cars. I can go out into one of my storage buildings right now and supply you with multiple pairs of 1969 taillights.

        Like 2
  12. Mountainwoodie

    You gotta love our fellow humans. A car thought so valuable that it was left to ROT and deteriorate. AFTER they disposed of the valuable part. Now the seller wants to sell it to you based on the fact IT USEDTO BE valuable. This guy is probably hoarding Purell in his garage ! Ok I feel better now.

    Like 9
    • Gaspumpchas

      Hey mountainwooodie, maybe its the guy who bough 17k worth of disinfectant in his garage and cant sell it!!!!!

      Like 7
  13. Karl

    Very sad like was said I can see this car in my mind and it was beautiful! I have always been a big fan of the Cougars almost as much as the Boss Mustang. To look at this car now all I can say is how sad!!

    Like 2
  14. Lance G Nord

    It’s always sad to see a rarity like this in such sad condition. A 69 XR-7 428CJ convertible in pristine condition is worth about $125,000. This one is worth about $3K or $4K on a good day and only if it has parts you desperately need.

    Like 4
  15. Wes

    Bernie H is incorrect. The listing on e-bay lives the first 5 letters or numbers, and most important part of the VIN as: 9F94R… The 9 indicates model year 1969, the F identifies the factory, Dearborn, Michigan, the 94 indicates a Cougar XR7 convertible and the R indicates a Cobra Jet 428 w/4 Barrel. A 351 mill would be either an H or M code. These were year specific, and not all engines were available in every year, but, the R code always represented the CJ428, until 1971, when it was replaced with a J code and then dropped for the remainder of the model run, ending in 1973.

    Like 3
  16. John

    That is one sad cat. If it had its original motor, original tranny, original body structure and original miscellaneous pieces that are AWOL, it would be worth 5 figures, even needing extensive restoration. I’m having a hard time seeing 4 figures as it sits, waiting for the earth to finish reclaiming it.

    Like 4
  17. David Fowler

    In my opinion it is just a parts car maybe $500. I am sure the bidders are joke bidders. A cougar will bring half what a mustang does but same everything but look. You cannot rebuild a rust bucket like this and ever come out. They did make two Boss 429 cougars I think one has been located and being built.
    I use to tune a 428 cougar back in the 70’s had to lift engine to get to two of them. Ran great would blister a vet. WCCC has a cougar junk yard this should be there for sure.

    Like 2
    • MBorst

      What it’s wccc ? My old 69 351w XR7 ran pretty dang good. Vetted have a name. Surprisingly most aren’t any lighter so it was more motor n gears. I also had a VW that would give a Vette off the line fits. But if course beyond that they’d beat me.

      • David Fowler

        Every heard of google, lol. West Coast Cougar Classics. They are the biggest cougar supplier in U.S. with huge junk yard.

        Like 1

      Both Boss 429 Cougars have been found. One is pretty much a complete car and has been displayed at many different shows including MCACN, Ford Carlisle, and the Cougar Nationals. It is questionable exactly how much of the original parts of the second car actually have survived. Even so it is suppose to be undergoing a restoration for the past several years.

  18. Jim Palmer

    Not worth the money is is currently at even. Would be the one to own with the original workings, but now it is just a shell with a VIN.

    Like 1
    • John

      Sort of a shell …

      Like 1
  19. Timothy Phaff Member

    No matter what gentlemen someone needs to spend the money to bring this rare bird back to factory specs even if the engine & tranny #s don’t match. If this beauty is broken down for parts it’s gone forever so please SOMEONE SAVE THE CAT!!! Meo, Meo

    Someone out there has the means to save history!

    Like 2
    • David Fowler

      So you think it is wise for someone to buy this pile of rust, not numbers matching. Then spend probably at least $120,000 to restore it. It is $100 / Hr. in most shops + parts. Then when finished would sell for in the $20,000 range at best. Makes lots of sense. Rare does not make a car valuable for sure. I have a 1972 Q code 4 speed Mach 1 T-5 German export model. The only one in the T-5 registery. It got hit in the L.F. with 32,000 miles on it. I am letting it rust away in back yard not worth fixing even if it is the only one. I have the Marti to prove it. Supply and Demand set the price of a car not rarity.
      If you feel so strong about it spend your money and fix it. I have seen people spend $85,000 to restore a 6 cylinder mustang and when done perfect it was appraised to be worth $14,000. It could easily win Concourse in MCA but not worth anything.
      They are just cars and the people that associate with them are dying off. Today’s generations want a throw away car not a classic. Look at what happened to Model T and Model A prices, way down.

      Like 1
      • MBorst

        I know a guy that would do complete for around $50g maybe a bit more considering the convertible. You can’t buy a new car like it today !

      • MBorst

        Sorry I didn’t read all the way they. Your 72 mach 1 may be the only one but the year killed it ! 72 body style change made them less desirable and they were getting heavy into the smogger generation

      • CATHOUSE

        Please let me know where I can buy a properly restored 1969 R code XR-7 convertible, even with non numbers matching engine and transmission, in the 20K range. I’m waiting, but not holding my breath.

  20. NreJersey

    I notice that the trunk lid is propped open with a piece of lumber.
    This thing is a mess.
    The only way the VIN for this car will live on is by doing an illegal re-body.

    Like 1
    • David Fowler

      Not illegal as long as you keep the metal with the VIN#. I have seen several Camaros done that the only piece from the original car was the cowl with the VIN#

      Like 1
  21. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    It appears to me the seller is selling the vin.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  22. David Fowler

    There is not a car made that can be restored for $50,000. He might do a half ass cover up but not a restore for sure. I have 18 classics so I know them.

    • MBorst

      Never half-assed. Your user to California prices. He has a full frame rack and does do full body off restores ! Nothing half-assed. New floor pans everything ! Including custom air-conditioning on cars the didn’t have it if that’s what you want. And engine rebuild. I’ve seen it. His wife is a customer of mine. He did 2 way 60’s Chevelle’s for a guy while I was there over around a year’s time. It is a hobby for him so he doesn’t charge $100 hr note does he want to charge that. I’m not to familiar with places in Cali. I have cousins that lives there. One happens to okay or did own the Largest foreign car “salvage” yard, I believe in Orange county but not sure. California regulations are for me since everything there may cause cancer. Ha

      • David Fowler

        I am in North Carolina not California that is even more. No way anyone can do a true restoration of a car for the money you say. It is impossible. My friend has been in business for 35 years and has a waiting list. Send me links to this guys builds.
        My friend has won national awards with his cars a 66 GTO he did won the Pontiac nationals first time out with two deductions one for radial tires the other for an Interstate battery. They considered the car perfect otherwise with over 800 cars to be judged.

  23. Oliver Rojas

    This car was built before i was born, and even that being the case, i still think the lines mesmerizing the Cougar mission important, which was to provide a upscale option to the Mustang. The body panels of the car are in tact, and it is unlikely often find this for a Cougar with a convertible option and ram hood induction. i think what is almost as interesting as the car is the story behind it. Imagine the allure of this car sitting in the showroom, the glee of the person as they drove it off the lot. What has to ask, what events followed there after and led to the car sitting and being neglected? Who in their right mind removes an engine from a car that is optioned to be a classic? I cannot claim to be immune from making similar mistakes, but i venture to say that it is someone who did not understand what they had in their hands. Worth keeping, and for the time being restoring with the current motor. first step is seeing if the engine is locked up or will rotate when cranking it manually from the drive shaft. outside of that, it looks like most of the parts are their to start it.

    Like 1
  24. David Fowler

    It is crusher fodder nothing more. Take parts of and sell and crush it before rust takes it all away.

  25. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    You got it – flaunt it ! Did I spell that right – why not post that Martini report – hell you paid for it and the scratch for the car….might just help. Took a look see at the bidders….not real fishy but it’s not a Cuda……..

    Like 1
  26. David Fowler

    I do not know if I can here. How do you attach a file to here? I will try a print screen. A guy with a 71 was asking over $140,000 for his but nobody wants mine. Will not let me print screen or attach. It is out on the net in lots of places. The T-5 registery is one. I have had since the 70’s but nobody wants. worth more as parts than as a complete car. That cougar is not worth anything. Just parts.

  27. David Fowler

    Oh BTW the Cudas have dropped over 50% in last couple years. People finally realized they were nothing special. They never ran never handled and I blistered them in autocross back when new. Our loading dock worker had a AAR cuda and a Hemi Superbird. Never paid but few hundred for them in 1974 when the gas shortage hit. They did not run just a dream people have made.

  28. David Fowler

    Do not hold your breath nobody is going to restore one because nobody wants them. Go buy it if you love it spend three times it value to restore and you will have what you want.

  29. Daniel

    While decrepit condition for sure, Petersen restorations (check them out on You tube) specialize in repairing VERY rusty 64.5-70 mustangs and even get them to rollers for sale to this who want to finish them mechanically. That said, this would be ~$60K at least in parts and who knows what in labor to get there so unless one wanted a rare project and didn’t mind being upside down once done, it’s a hard pass.

  30. bone

    I can only imagine the buyer has a base model Cougar shell somewhere and it will soon be a XR7 Cobra Jet

  31. TimM

    Wrong motor and rotted to death!! Literally!!! I can see a lot of better ways to spend $11,000 and probably another $50,000 if you did the work yourself!!!!

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