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Cobra Jet Eliminator Clone: 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7

If the Camaro was Chevy’s answer to the Ford Mustang, was the Cougar Mercury’s answer to the Pontiac Firebird? Not exactly. While the Cougar and Firebird were introduced at the same time for 1967, the Cougar had been in development since the early ‘60s. And in it’s first year, the Cougar would handily outsell the Pontiac offering. This ’67 Cougar XR-7, the luxury edition, is being groomed as a Cobra Jet/Eliminator clone, although neither would be offered in the Cougar until 1969. A significant amount of work has been done with the engine, but the rest of the car will be left to the buyer to complete. Here on craigslist and located in Lake Isabella, California, this Cougar project is being offering for $15,000.

The Cougar name was part of the Mercury portfolio from 1967-02, skipping 1998. While the nameplate is usually associated with two-door coupes, the Cougar was also built as a convertible, 4-door sedan, station wagon and hatchback at one time or another. With just shy of three million cars produced, the Cougar is the highest-selling product ever marketed by Mercury. Over 34 years, the Cougar is second only to the Grand Marquis in the Mercury model line (beat by two years).

On top of that, the Cougar was the most successful model launch in Mercury’s history, with nearly 151,000 assemblies for 1967, including 27,000 of the upscale XR-7. The Cougar was named Car of The Year by Motor Trend, beating some formidable competition: Chevy’s new Camaro, Ford’s revamped Thunderbird and Cadillac’s new Eldorado. Because the Cougar was a snappier version of the Mustang on which it was based, the ’67 edition had concealed pop-up headlights and sequential taillights out back like the ‘65-66 T-Birds.

With this 1967 XR-7, the seller is trying to create a clone of the Eliminator with a Cobra Jet 428 engine. But neither of those were offered in the Cougar until 1969-70, so this would end-up as a one-off when completed. Considerable time and money have been expended on the engine, with modifications and add-ons that include:

  • Edelbrock aluminum heads, performance camshaft and Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold
  • Holley 750CFM carburetor, Doug Thorley headers and three-inch Flow Master exhaust
  • Nine-inch Ford Currie rear end with 390 gears & Detroit Locker Posi-traction
  • 6C automatic transmission (set up for racing), electronic ignition and H-D KONI shocks
  • Pedals and bell housing provided for a 4-speed manual should the buyer want to go that route, but no transmission or shifter are provided to accomplish this

The body looks good from what we can tell, but the photos are taken in a dark garage. The car appears to be black on black, with the black top having once been two-tone or vinyl. There is no rust mentioned or that we can see. There are no photos of the interior provided but given the list of those kinds of items the seller says is coming with the car, there’s a lot of work to be done. For example:

  • All rubber window seals, window felts and vinyl top kit
  • New dash pad, head liner, interior chrome handles (there is no mention of seats or carpeting)

Before you could drive the car, the front brakes will need re-doing. It’s a California Black Plate car and the seller says he would consider trades but doesn’t mention what he might be in the market for. Cougars of this vintage don’t seem to command what Mustangs do, ranging from $8,800 in Fair condition to $23,100 in Concours, according to Hagerty. But these figures are for standard Cougars, not XR-7’s, and don’t consider what an Eliminator/Cobra Jet clone might add to it, even if the wrong model year.


  1. Rig

    428’s were available in 1968 Cougars

    Like 1
  2. Steve R

    The seller would have been smarter to call it an XR7-G clone, for Dan Gurney special, rather an a clone for a car that didn’t exist for another year. The main value is in the parts, mainly the engine and rear end, not the car itself. Even then, the current asking price isn’t likely to garner much interest.

    Steve R

    Like 5

    The XR-7G and Dan Gurney Special options are two very different things. The XR-7G is basically a sub model while the Dan Gurney Special (DGS) is only a dress up option getting you a different hubcap, some chrome engine dress up items and a decal on the quarter window.

    Like 4
  4. Craig

    Wish I had that snowy December 1982 morning as a do over. My brother’s then girlfriend asked to borrow my 67 Couger XR7 to go to work so she could leave her 78 tbird home for my visiting parents to use if they wanted to. She rolled it over on highway 666 just outside of Cortez Co. I’m glad no one was critically hurt. But my Couger was totaled.
    Craig from Dearborn Michigan

    Like 1
  5. CCFisher

    Someone should tell the seller that it’s impossible to clone something that never existed. Otherwise, someone would have made a fortune by now cloning real, live unicorns.

    Like 8
  6. Knightomite

    The car is worth more billing it as …..

    Original 1967 cougar,
    Engine upgraded to 428 CJ
    It’s not a clone ..it’s a first edition!

    Like 4
  7. Troy s

    Best thing here is the 428 engine, looks good and we know how they can go. As for the Cougar itself, needs attention for sure but it’s not a clone of anything really, doesn’t need to be either.

    Like 2
  8. Dan

    I love that year Cougar body but hate that aftermarket hood. It seems to me when you try and customize a cool car you normally make it less valuable.

    Like 3
  9. Geno L DeBortole

    That’s not an FE 4 Speed Bellhousing in the picture, just saying.

    Like 1
  10. Toys4Ted

    Looks like he’s willing to deal price went down 2500. How low will it go?

    Like 0
  11. George Mattar

    You cannot clone a car. The correct term is a replica. Your editors don’t even know proper English.

    Like 1
    • Bmac777

      Ain’t that the truth!
      Good thing noticed you did.
      But it would be nice to replicie it.

      Like 0
  12. BRY

    Hey I have one for everyone, in 1968 did cougar have a xr7 in GT? Mine was a 4v 390 auto very loaded had GT badges on lower front fenders. Also did ANY early cougars have a honeycomb aluminum rims from factory? I think I have a set

    Like 0
    • Steve R

      See if you can order a Marti report for your car, it will give you a definitive answer to your questions.

      Steve R

      Like 0
  13. mainlymuscle

    “Clone” is most definitely proper “Car English “.And I ,personally, dig “one of none ” cars.

    Like 2
  14. Tucker Callan

    The R code was available in the mid-68 models. Just about this time, in `68.

    Like 0
  15. steve

    I would probably use clone (or replica if you prefer) when the trim level/options exists in that year but did not come in the car being sold (say in 69 for this example of a 428/Eliminator). Something that could not exists in a given year, I might use tribute instead.

    Just my thought

    Like 3
  16. James

    I would be very careful of the “428 cobra jet” claim. Ford “FE’s” are notoriously difficult to identify without a bore measurement. No numbers on the outside will tell you what it is. Some numbers can tell you what it is not based on dares, etc. Also, the main feature of a 68-70 428 Cobra Jet engine was the cobra jet heads, which are not with this car. Engine could literally be anything from a 332 to a 428. Big loss in value on this car if that is a 390.

    Like 2
  17. james shuster

    i had a 67 white with a red interoir 289 3 speed and that car would move love to hav had a 428 wow talk about a mover in a small car

    Like 0
  18. Howard Kerr

    While I realize Chevy allowed you to combine the SS and RS packages on Camaros, and I believe the Z/28 could be combined with an RS package, I don’t see what is to be gained with this one of none combination on a desirable XR7. But then, I am a Mercury fan and a lover of Cougars.
    While Mustang gave you a base 6 cylinder in its car, props to Mercury for making a V8 it’s standard engine…at least until 1980.

    Like 0
  19. Carnut Pop Pop

    I had the XR7 as my first car and only in subsequent years did I realize how special this model was. Too young to know better, I was far from meticulous on the car’s maintenance, tune-ups, etc. But it had the original bones of the XR7 option: 289-4 bbl., full front leather seating, the four analog gauges, cockpit reading lamps, door ajar sensors, dashboard toggle switches, the works that are pretty much standard today. Even the 8-track tape player w/AM radio. Every few days I think about that car, wondering, “What if I would have kept it?” The ’73 Saudi oil embargo ended my love affair with the car. Ah, 20/20 hindsight.

    Like 3

    To BRY,
    Yes, in 1968 there was a GT option for the Cougar. And just for the record the GT option was also available in 1967 and 1971. For the 1967 and 1968 model years the GT option was available on both the standard Cougar and the XR-7. The GT option got the buyer the S code 390 4V engine, front disc brakes, some suspension upgrades and the GT emblems on the front fenders. There are also a few known 1968 GTs with the R code 428CJ engine. The GT option could be had with the 3 speed manual, the 4 speed manual or the C6 automatic transmission.

    The only thing close to a honeycomb wheel would be the original Radar wheels that were a part of the 1968 XR-7G package. These wheels were found to have a cracking problem and were quickly recalled. They were replaced by the optional Cougar styled steel wheels. There are still a few cars out there with the original Radar wheels installed.

    Like 0
  21. Dan Palmer

    “But these figures are for standard Cougars, not XR-7’s, and don’t consider what an Eliminator/Cobra Jet clone might add to it, even if the wrong model year.”

    It doesn’t matter since the only Eliminator/CJ thing about this car is, apparently, the engine, which isn’t even numbers matching. I can see a bump from the extra parts and the engine (as long is the work is well documented) but I don’t attach value to the seller planning the clone but not finishing it.

    Like 0
  22. RoughDiamond

    I currently own a ’68 Nordic Blue vinyl top delete XR-7 GT with 390 FE (NOM) motor, factory close ratio Toploader and 3:25 limited slip rear axle. It’s about 85% complete. I’ll try and post a pic here.

    Like 0

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