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Convertible Cat: 1972 Mercury Cougar XR7

Pity poor Mercury, it was a long, slow demise for a once-grand American marque. In the late sixties, they had the Cougar by the Coccyx as they made their foray into the pony car market – and the future was bright. The original Cougar (’67-’70) picked up where the Mustang left off with some additional size and features. Gen II (’71-’73), such as this 1972 Cougar XR7 convertible, changed with the times but some would argue that it maintained better proportions than the visually outsized Mustang. Styling is subjective but one thing that’s not is the stellar condition of this Houston, Texas resident. Let’s step back into Mercury’s esteemed past and give this drop-top the once over. It’s available, here on craigslist for $25,000.

Cougar came in two flavors in ’72, standard and the more exalted XR7. Body styles were two as well with a coupe/hardtop and a convertible. Approximately 53K Cougars prowled off of FoMoCo’s Dearborn assembly line in ’72 but only 3,200 were convertibles and just 2,000 of those wore the XR7 badge such as our subject car.

This convertible is resplendent in what appears to be code 2E Ford Red. It’s not said if the finish is original or a respray but it presents beautifully. No rust, dents, divets, creases, no nuffin’ mars this car’s exterior. Same with the contrasting folding top – no crease marks or dirt streaks, often evident with a white top. The Magnum 500 wheels are American Racing’s take on the always popular style and do this Merc justice at all four corners.

Powering this convertible is a 164 net HP (not 250 as stated in the listing), 351 CI “Cleveland” V8 engine which is described as, “Rock solid, dependable and powerful it is easy to maintain…”  It’s attached to a three-speed automatic transmission, and based on the engine’s appearance, my thought is that the 41K mile recording may be genuine.

Inside we find white, high-back vinyl bucket seats displayed against a contrasting black center console and carpet – it’s a visual feast! Nothing is out of place and it’s a sure bet that the interior will require no attention. OK, the door panels are showing a trace of lumpiness but I’m picking nits. Of note is the radio/cassette player, an option not available in ’72 as an 8-track player was the only media option. This swapped-in unit fits and bends perfectly – it looks like original equipment.

I haven’t focused much on Mercury’s pony entry as the Mustang and Camaro, along with the ’70-’72 ‘Cuda have a tendency to suck all of the air (and $$$) out of the room. This is a superb example of a bygone brand and model; it makes you wonder how things went so horribly wrong. Well, for starters, turning the Cougar into an outsized disco-duck mobile, and then later, adding a rear set of doors to it, didn’t help with the cause. As for Mercury itself, brand engineering it from a Ford, to the point that it offered nothing Mercuryesque, was its death knell. Too bad, maybe if Mercury had kept making cars like this very fine Cougar XR7, things would have turned out differently, right?

Comments

  1. KC John Member

    Gorgeous. My favorite cougar body style. Seems reasonable on pricing to me.

    Like 15
    • Mark Heldt

      Ugly back end.

      Like 0
  2. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Nice looking car, though not a fan of the Cougar/Mustang morph to late model Thunderbird behemoths.

    Like 5
    • Daniel Joseph King IV

      I owned a 73 XR-7 Convertible probably the best car I’ve ever owned !!!

      Like 1
  3. Howie

    This looks and sounds like a great deal!! But posted 16 days ago.

    Like 5
  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Very nice. It benefits from having the small bumpers. Would be a fun cruiser.

    Like 10
  5. Scrapyard John

    I love it. This looks like it’s worth what they’re asking. Would be a fun car to have. Honestly, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen one of these as a convertible out in the wild. You’d probably have the only one in town!

    Like 7
  6. CATHOUSE

    It appears that the car has been repainted. There are no signs of the original pinstrips that should be on the car. The door panela have had a lot of work done to them. Original ones do not have carpet along the lower edge, it should be white vinyl top to bottom. There are visible screws holding the door panels on, those were never there from the factory. You can see a horizontal seam that runs from the chrome racetrack trim to the front edge of the door, that seam should not be there. On the one photo showing the left door in the open position you can see that the rubber door bumpers are missing. On the open trunk lid photo you can see the paint overspray on the wiring going to the trunk light. Those are all signs of short cuts to me.

    Like 17
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Gee, ah, is there anything good that you can say about it?

      JO

      Like 16
      • bone

        I think he’s just saying, it may look better than it actually is , so buyer beware. there is overspray, and that can be a red flag to many. Its also advertised by an auction company , and the ads description looks like it was copied from Wikipedia , with no history about the car mentioned.

        Like 6
      • Steve Watson

        I’d consider trading my performance 79 Corvette for that.

        Like 2
      • Tucker Callan

        Cathouse is a purest. He has forgotten more about these cars,, than most people will ever know!!

        Like 4
      • CATHOUSE

        Well Jim ODonnell it is good that it still survives. Beyond that I can only comment on what I see in the photos and what information the seller includes in the text of the listing. The auction link that the seller provided comes up as an error and does not show me anything. As is always the case anyone that is interested in this car, or any other classic/vintage vehicle, would be well advised to do an in person inspection so that they will know exactly what they are considering buying.

        Like 1
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Beyond that, I can only comment on what I see in the photos and what information the seller includes in the text of the listing.”

        OK, I get that and thoroughly agree with doing an in-person inspection but it just seems odd to me that the photos and seller’s information only reveal negatives to you and no positives. I have reviewed thousands of old cars here on BF and can always find something positive, or a quality in every example. After all, this isn’t a car show and I’m not judging for points.

        Try this link, it works and reveals more than the craigslist listing.

        https://www.clasiq.com/auction/1972-mercury-cougar-xr7-convertible/

        JO

        Like 0
    • Angelino

      Are you going to mention that it doesn’t have the original air in the tires?

      Like 15
      • CATHOUSE

        I didn’t figure that I had to mention that as anyone with an ounce of intelligence would already know that since the seller has posted that the tires and wheels have been upgraded to 15 inch versions.

        Like 2
    • Big C

      Is this your ex-wife’s car?

      Like 8
      • CATHOUSE

        Hardly. She prefered an MG that logged more miles on the back of a rollback than it did on its own.

        Like 1
    • BleedNRed

      Unlike some of the others, I think your comments are a great analysis to some of us who might not have seen those things (and perhaps interested in purchasing). They are greatly appreciated by some of us.

      I owned a 71 Cougar in this same color scheme. I loved that car. Now that I live in sunny southern California (at least for now), I would love to own that very same vehicle in the convertible configuration. This may not be the one, but it’s nice to see they are available and reasonably priced.

      Like 8
      • CATHOUSE

        Thank you BleedNRed. I appreciate that at least someone understands the context of my post.

        Like 2
    • Davey Boy

      I have to say that it’s odd that you can get into the site to see that car because when I went to look at it I was able to see every bit of it my brother had one like it only a hardtop he still wants one he was that impressed with it I think it’s a beautiful car I won’t knock anything on it but I think you should try harder to get in there and see it

      Like 0
  7. RalleyeRimRay Member

    Cathouse :
    It’s too bad the door panels and very minor but fixable items on this great Cougar convertible dont fit in your criteria of fixable or replacable items…..it’s a 50 year old car !! Its a solid, good looking cruiser, most of us would be proud to own it. Quit your whining.

    Like 12
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Rimray, what makes you think most of us would be proud to own this car?

      And for that matter, when is pointing out a vehicle’s inconsistencies considered “whining”?

      Like 4
    • CATHOUSE

      Having damaged door panels on any 1971-1973 XR7 is not a minor thing or easily fixed. Have you ever tried to find a pair? Used ones are next to impossible to find. They are almost always split on the armrest area and the backer boards warp badly, that is why there are screws holding them on. There used to be a company making reproductions but those have not been available for several years.

      Now replacing the missing rubber door bumpers is a minor issue that is easily fixed. And that makes me wonder why the owner did not spend the couple of dollars that the replacement reproductions cost.

      So RalleyeRimRay you say that this is a solid car. How do you know that? Have you performed an in person inspection? I am not saying that it is not a solid car, I have no idea just based on internet photos. It might be very solid. Or it might be a bondo bucket, the only way to really know what is under that paint is to personally inspect the car.

      Thank you to 370zpp for understanding the difference between whining and constructive criticism.

      Like 2
    • Davey Boy

      yay!!!!!

      Like 0
  8. Old greybeard

    Beautiful car, always liked these cougars.
    Mercurys, like Oldsmobiles, can be affordable compared to their more known Ford and Chevy cousins.

    Like 1
  9. C Force

    She’s a real cherry,a solid #2 car.when’s the last time you saw a cougar from this year,much less a convertible.The 250hp rating is actually more accurate,its a 351c they were an underrated motor,the 4bbl version made closer to 335hp.

    Like 5
  10. Tucker Callan

    I have judged cougars on a National stage w/Cathouse. Again,, he dosen`t miss a trick. Not many people on the planet, have his eye, or knowledge!!

    Like 8
    • Christopher Gentry

      Did’nt Diana Rigg AKA Tracy drive one if these in On Her Majesty secret service ? But yes best looking of the courses

      Like 0
      • Tucker Callan

        `69 xr-7 428

        Like 0
      • Fred

        Diana rigg was in a show called the avengers !

        Like 0
  11. 64 Bonneville

    It’s a nice car, great fun car for somebody starting in the hobby. IMHO I would be in the $15-17K range as far as price. I passed on a 73 XR-7 ragtop, Turquoise w/ white interior, power windows, too priced at $9K. 2 years ago, should have made the move.

    Like 3
    • Daniel King

      $9k would have been a super deal , if it was in good shape?

      Like 1
  12. Fred

    The show Diana Rigg was in was called the Avengers !!!!

    Like 0
    • Fred

      Also her character name was Emma Peel

      Like 0
  13. Christopher Gentry

    And she played Tracy in Her majesty’s secret service. Bond made as her.

    Like 1
  14. Christopher Gentry

    Stupid texting. Bond MARRIED her. Not made her. 🤣

    Like 1
  15. Christopher Gentry

    And I stand corrected. It was a 69. Looked up a picture of her and car. Tried to attach it. But I’m not that smart

    Like 0
    • Fred

      The series ran from 1961-1969 we watched it back in high school

      Like 0
      • Fred

        The car she drove was a blue Lotus Elan . Given to her at the end of season 6 1969.

        Like 0
  16. Christopher Gentry

    Oh yeah I’ve seen more than a few episodes if the Avengers. Good program. Think she drove a lotus in that. Steed of course the Bentley

    Like 0
    • Fred

      Thanks for bringing back the memories of that time of my youth.

      Like 0
  17. Stan Leonard

    I noticed that nobody mentioned whether this car still had its sequential lights in the rear tail lights. Besides the 351 Cleve, wasn’t that the real signature of the XR7? I think that Cougar was the first to come out with that feature since the sixties. Of course, now it’s available in the newer Mustangs.

    Like 0

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