Golden Cat: Clean 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

This golden cat sure does shine! In 1969, the Cougar was still based on the same platform as the Mustang, so it hadn’t grown up to Thunderbird size yet. This smart looking example is located in Phoenix, Arizona and is listed for sale here on oldcaronline. The asking price is $10,500 and it’s a fixed price, not an auction.

Before you start to write and complain about the wheels, there’s a set of styled steel wheels included. If original, they will look like this. I would also reverse the tires when I mounted them, I think. I do like the paint and, for once, the vinyl top. The seller tells us there is no rust at all and that the body is perfectly straight. It certainly looks the part in the pictures.

The interior doesn’t look bad, either. Was the dash originally gold as well? I found a couple online with this interior/dash combination, but I also found some with colored dash pads as well. While the seat shows some wear, I could live with it like that for a long time. I do wish there were more pictures, though. And where exactly did the center of the steering wheel go?

Given the interior condition, I’m surprised at how pristine the engine looks! Even though it is listed as rebuilt with zero miles, it still looks terrific. Of course, I wish there were a belt on the air conditioner, but I’m guessing the seller is leaving that for the next owner to sort out.

You can see from this portion of the Marti report that the car was equipped with leather seats from the factory. I wonder who leased it?

Now here’s where I start to have issues. Although I do like the look of the vinyl roof in the color it’s in, unfortunately it left the factory in black. We’re not given a shot of the front of the car, so we can’t tell whether or not the front bumper guards are there or not. We’re also told it has 71,000 original miles, which has me wondering why the engine rebuild was necessary. In any case–do you see enough to request more pictures? We’re told they are available!

 

 

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Comments

  1. Woodie Man

    While some were dancing at Woodstock, a junior executive Mad Man was stylin…..

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  2. RicK

    I had a Seattle Times paper route from 70-72, and the circulation manager at the time to whom I answered to had a 69 Cougar similar to this one that he had bought new, except it had a factory 4 speed (he ordered it that way) I rode in it several times and it was very impressively fast, especially when he would light up the tires and chirp the gears. Was a big deal for a 13 y.o.kid like I was at the time that didn’t know any better) He later traded it in on a new ’71 Cougar 4 speed special order, and I rode in that one several times also and it seemed to be just as fast..

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    • Trey

      What was special order about it?

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      • Mike_B_SVT

        If we are talking about the ’71 4-speed that Rick mentioned, “Special Order” probably means that he placed an order for the car instead of just buying one off the lot. So technically a “Retail” order, as opposed to “Stock” order type.

        That’s my guess anyhow 😉

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  3. JP

    Yes it is missing a few pieces like the steering wheel pad and the bumper guards but they are available. There is actually no vinyl top on the car as it was removed before I got it. The previous owner was going to go no vinyl top and paint it.

    The special order was for an employee of Ford. It was not sold to a dealer.

    The dash is original and the interior is actually two tone with nugget gold and chocolate brown.

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    • Trey

      The fact that it was sold to an employee doesn’t make it a special order.

      Is there something that’s contrary to regular production? Then yes it’s a special order.

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      • JP

        I was referring to what Rick said. It is a DSO 84 Home Office Reserve car. The main difference is that it never sat on a dealer lot.

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      • Mike_B_SVT

        I agree – technically not a “special order”. The Marti calls it out as Order Type: Company Lease Plan. Which explains why it has SO many options! Company Lease basically allowed them to purchase options at a significant discount, so more boxes got checked for the same price.
        Again, this falls under the common usage of “special order” meaning that the person physically placed the order and specified the options, as opposed to just buying it from dealer stock off the lot. So while there are no “special” deviations from what was normally available from the factory (hence no 6 digit DSO), it was still ordered especially for someone 😉

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  4. kevin

    wow such an amazing find.

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  5. Howard A Member

    The words “Holy Grail” are tossed around a lot lately, and I don’t like using those cliche’s, but this, for me, is the “Holy Grail” of all Cougars. Anyone that’s a fan of the original Cougars, has to agree, ’69 was the nicest. Absolutely lose the wheels. Some cars look ok with those, but this car screams for Magnum 500’s or even stock wheels.( but not those silly wire wheel covers) I highly doubt you’ll find a nicer XR7. Worth every penny, this one is.

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    • doug6423

      How about a nice set of Spinners on it??

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    • Randy

      I agree this car is worth the ask, but it’s hardly a Holy Grail, IMO. 1969 is the best year for appearance, but 428 CJ 1970 cars bring the premium money in the market.

      An M Code 4-bbl engine is worth a 10% premium in this car over the H code 2-bbl, and the extra options add some value, but that’s about it. There’s work to be done on this car too.

      Holy Grail Cougars are Boss 429’s (2 each) or standard (non-XR7) convertible 428CJ 4-speeds (2 each) and others. Not this one.

      Nice car, and worth the money if you are close. Wish I was.

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      • Howard A Member

        Hi Randy, I said, Holy Grail for me. While there’s no denying there were nicer Cougars ( the Eliminators were pretty cool) I, and many others, I’m sure, never had the chance to own one those cars, and this is far more what the average person would have bought in ’69.

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      • JP

        Having been in the Cougar community for a while now I would say that the holy grail is the 1968 GTE 427. Those cars were made for the highest performance.

        But to show how rare this Cougar is I’ve attached the Marti breakdown which I’ll bet is rarer than a lot of CJ cars. It goes to a 1 of 1 without counting 9 of it’s options.

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    • JP

      Thank’s for the compliment, the guy I bought it from only restores 1969 Cougars. He was going to do a full restoration on it and is why the engine compartment is already done. He found an R-code to restore and sold this one.

      The wheels are something I had off another car, they are vintage Indy Mags and not copies. Cougars did not come with Magnum 500’s stock they came with Styled Steel Wheels. The set I have are original have been media blasted and primered. I attached a pic.

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      • 70kingswood

        I have to agree with JP. the holy Grail to me would definitely be a 68 GTE equipped with the 427! what a classy screamer!

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    • Puhnto

      I prefer the ’68, not that anyone asked!

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    • olddavid

      Every once in a while I am moved to check my cash balance. Now, I remember why I don’t do this more often. The car is a good buy, however. Someone will enjoy a daily driver with minimum fuss.

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  6. JW

    I always favored the early Cougars over the Mustang because they just had that luxury feel along with some power. I would take this over the black Chevette for a night on the town in a heartbeat.

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  7. JP

    If anyone needs more pictures of the Cougar email me at 1se7enty7@gmail.com. The ad it is linked to only allowed 5 pics.

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  8. Blyndgesser

    Who needs a big block? A 351-4v Windsor with some gentle mods is a heckuva motor for this car.

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  9. Trey

    JP, if you were “in the Cougar community for a while now” then you should know “1 of 1” is bunk. Suggesting this one is more desirable than a CJ because it can be broken down to such minute details misses the point that ANY car can be broken down as such.

    Anyway, what stands out about this car is that it has the 351 Performance Package (which is indicated as GT on the Marti). It should have stripes on the hood similar to what the CJ cars did, and prob a non-functional hood scoop too.

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    • JP

      No, 1 of 1 is not bunk. How can a car with no options be broken down as such? Never said anything about being more desirable, only rarer.

      You are also wrong about the GT option, it included different springs, shocks, larger front sway bar and wider wheels if steel. Nothing to do with paint or scoops.

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    • Mike_B_SVT

      I wouldn’t say that 1 of 1 is “bunk”. But it does need to be taken with a grain of salt, IMO. Everyone wants thier classic car to be unique, so that’s how the production stats are crunched. Plus it makes for good car show conversations. IMO, this cars’ rarity and desirability is due to condition and the sheer number and content of options – 17, many of which you don’t normally find on any classic car, let alone having them all on one car. You will have to look a long time to find another ’69 Cougar in this condition with that many comparable options.
      No, it is not a Drag-Pak Eliminator, but don’t dismiss it as “common” just because it is a 351 / FMX car.

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      • Trey

        All cars are 1 of 1, so it means nothing that someone’s car is the only red/white/858ci/7-speed/mag wheels/FM-CB radio with power ashtray.

        This car has two special distinctions: Its long list of options, and the 351 performance package. Those are the things that carry weight for the collector.

        And, per your other post, I still don’t consider it a special ordered car. ANYONE could have ordered this car as it sits. The fact that someone ordered it at discount makes no difference.

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      • Mike_B_SVT

        Yes, anyone could have ordered a car like this – if it were not for the lease program it would be just another Retail order. Retail orders are often referred to as “special order” in everyday discussions, even though that isn’t the right term. Which is what I was trying to say in my previous comment.

        To say that 1 of 1 “means nothing” is to deny that classic cars are unique and that every single one has a style and personality of its own. 1 of 1 fires the imagination and tells a story of days gone by, when you could tick the boxes in any combination and make the car your own. 1 of 1 tells me that someone who spent the extra $12.98 for the power ashtray option was probably a smoker. 1 of 1 tells me that Speed Control was a rare option (1,146 built, about 1% of production), and maybe the original owner did a lot of highway driving. To an owner, a buyer, and anyone who sees this car at a show, 1 of 1 means much more than nothing. 1 of 1 inspires people to want a classic car of thier own, that is as unique as they are.

        Most classic cars are bought, sold, and owned by normal people, not collectors. Not every car has to “carry weight for the collector” in order to be desirable and have value. If you need to see Drag Pack or 858ci 7-speed on the option list for a car to be interesting and “collectible” then you are missing out on what really makes the classic car hobby special, and unique.

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      • JP

        My point (which everyone seems to have missed) is that it is a 1 of 1 without using all of it options, in fact not even half. Sure lots of Marti reports get there using all the little things but mine doesn’t even take into consideration the A/C, power windows, and console which normally make a car rare.

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  10. CATHOUSE

    Jamie,
    Having a dark colored dash pad in a light colored interior is normal for a Cougar. There were no light colored dash pads used in the 69-70 Cougars. I do not know why, just that that is how it was done. The steering wheel center pad most likely was falling apart, something that is very common. Especially for a car from a warmer climate part of the country.

    I would go on to say that it appears that this car has been repainted. I do not see the factory pinstripes that should be just below the upper body line. It also appears to be missing the XR-7 emblem that is glued onto the right side of the decklid. Those are commonly lost during a repaint.

    This still appears to be a very good deal on a nice car with a high number of options. If an inspection of the car shows it to be rust free and in good mechanical condition the asking price is more than fair IMO. You could spend about another 1K on it replacing the vinyl top, the steering wheel center pad, and buying new tires for the factory styled steel wheels, that would go a long way on this car.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Cathouse, thanks for the info! 🙂

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    • JP

      It has one repaint done in the ’90’s. I took pics of the floors before I installed the carpeting, they are incredibly clean.

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      • olddavid

        JP – It appears to speak for itself. Good luck, as the price is very fair.

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  11. 86 Vette Convertible

    I think I know where the center of the steering wheel went. Back in 1968/69 I worked for a company that made interior parts for Ford, Chevy and Chrysler. IIRC Ford had this big ugly blob of plastic and foam that fit on the center of the wheel (pre-airbag), it was for driver protection in case of an accident but was it big and ugly (about 3″-4″ diameter and 4″-5″ tall IIRC). Most of the younger people with Fords and Mercury’s in that time period took them off just for that reason or changed out the steering wheel from what I remember.

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    • CATHOUSE

      You are describing the 1967 steering wheel. The 1969 3 spoke steering wheel center pad was concave and basically flat. Totally different parts with a completely different look to them.

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  12. Rustytech

    I have always liked the body style on the 69’s. This car looks really good to me. The seat and steering wheel are easy fixes, I would definitely put a vinyl top back on this one, but would be tempted to go with a matching gold. Park this in the middle of a group of Mustangs ant I’ll bet it would get more attention.

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  13. TBall

    JP – In my humble opinion, you have absolutely zero apologies to make nor do you have to defend anything you stated. Based on what is known and can be seen of this care it is worth every penny asked for it. Honestly, my preference with a ’68, however completed correctly the ’69s are very attractive as well. If I had the spare case, a garage stall and you were closer, I’d be talking to you. I was a member of the local dealership Ford Drag club back in the day, my first car was a ’68 XR7 and I met Dyno Don and is ride at one of our meetings. What I never saw was a cat with those stripes on the hood – like anything options can be added or subtracted. So lack hood stripes and hood scoop do not make this any less a rare vehicle. This is an extremely well cared for Cat with a rare grouping of options. Rare, nice, and correctly priced – certainly a wonderful and hard to locate combination. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Brian Scheel

    Nice optioned X-R7! Cruise is really rare on 67-69`s, I’ve had about a dozen or so, 67`s to me are cleaner looking, with a 390, 4sp, h-pipe, 4 piston K-H brakes, leather seating( std on xr7) steel style wheels, etc! Seems to be a fair price for what is offered! Nice if were later production with the 335 series motor(351 Cleveland) worth noting surprised that it’s not equipped with a sunroof?? Totally rare and a pain in the bottom when the cable drive system needs work! Cougars are way better than most stangs, no 6cyl in a Cougar!!! Enjoy your B/F`s

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  15. Keith

    My buddy and I are restoring a 69 Cougar convertible right now, so it’s nice to see one “done” (more or less) for inspiration. Ours is not an XR-7, but also rare in that it is a pastel yellow exterior with gold green interior. The 69’s definitely seem to be the cat of choice for most Cougar lovers, and I don’t think you can go wrong with one! This one seems like a very good price for what it is and it’s condition.

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  16. JP

    Sold

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  17. Thomas Gardens

    I bought this car from JP. Worth every penny. I love it and its getting restored to the same disco gold with black vinyl roof. Thanks JP. Tom G

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    • JW

      Congratulations, nice car IMO.

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