Manual and Turbocharged… Mercury? 1986 Mercury Cougar XR-7

When most folks think about the now-defunct Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company, they don’t usually think about sporty vehicles or manually rowing through the gears. However, with the popular FoMoCo Fox platform underpinning it, this 1986 Mercury Cougar XR-7 that Barn Finds reader Rocco B. found here on Craigslist should be a fun driver.

This XR-7 is available in Lake Linden, Michigan with a clean title. The seller is a former Ford automotive engineer, who painstakingly took care of the vehicle upon purchasing it in 2008. The advertisement details various fixes for neglected maintenance, as well as “select functional (and reversible if desired) upgrades.”

The exterior of the vehicle features a Razzi aftermarket aerodynamics kit, and the seller notes that it received a respray at one point during its life. The body does have some small imperfections, but because this car originally came from the west coast, the undercarriage is in impressive shape.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find a maroon interior theme, which nicely contrasts the black exterior. There are some flaws with the fabric, such as sun fade and a few burn holes, as well as other minor imperfections, such as scuffing on plastic trim bits and missing paint on driver’s door switch panel. Even though there are some blemishes, the more important thing is that functions such as the lights, power functions, cruise control, air conditioning, vehicle message display, and more all operate as intended.

The XR-7 features a turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine, which pairs to a 5-speed manual transmission and a 3.45 ratio limited-slip differential. The car has 99,950 miles on it and the seller mentions the vehicle received a tune-up upon purchase. It’s worth noting that after the 1986 model year, Mercury began using a V8 engine in the Cougar XR-7, making this the last four-cylinder and rear-wheel-drive model the company produced.

For $3,500, you could have this Mercury delivered to you – the seller is very confident in its condition and offers to personally deliver the vehicle anywhere in the lower 48 states, though it will come at a slight cost. Would you take delivery of this Cougar, or would you pass on this turbo Mercury?


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  1. CapNemo CapNemo

    A respray. Is that when you rinse it a second time after washing it? Gosh this beer is cold.

    Like 7
  2. Chris In Australia

    Looks like very, very poor imitation of a GNX.

    Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      ’86 Thunderbird looks soooo much better. Surprised they sold ANY of these & that this design didn’t singlehandedly kill Mercury – back then!

      Like 3
  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    Pretty unattractive car, unless you like black, I suppose. I know a guy with one of these, got a lot of power. Hard to imagine that out of a freakin’ Pinto motor. Be a nice car if it had some color or chrome. Black to me is just the total lack of imagination.

    Like 3
  4. Coventrycat

    The fact that a former Ford engineer is selling it adds no value to me. And it’s ugly.

    Like 3
    • Steve R

      Even if it’s true.

      Steve R

      Like 2
    • detobias

      well here’s the value:
      nice that seller – engineer or not – saved original exhaust system and other bits..
      also seller has performed lots of maintenance, corrected non-stock items, and performed some (reversible if desired, but mainly invisible) upgrades using later model Ford parts – e.g. neoprene V/C gasket and PMGR starter

      Like 2
      • JJ

        That valve cover gasket was junk, I replaced it with a Ford ranger gasket from the Ford dealership

  5. Keith

    fugly fugly fugly…..

    Like 1
  6. Col Patrick Montgomery

    No one appreciates a great looking treasure. I’m going after this ride. She’s too pretty to not have. And it has a clutch and standard transmission.

    Like 2
  7. Marko

    I kinda like it. Maybe do a 5.0 litre Coyote V-8 and Tremec 6 speed conversion, with a 9 inch diff and 4 wheel brake conversion. Would make one heck of a “Sleeper” car.

    Like 1
  8. Richard Gugenberger

    My friends wife had a Turbo Coupe 5 speed what a great little car , I would love to get this Mercury version , love the unique style and black paint !!

    Like 3
  9. CanuckCarGuy

    I really like these but the body kit, tacked on rear spoiler and painted rims are beyond nasty…the XR7 turbo in an unmolested state, is a very sharp car. I’d only be in at half the asking price, given the work it needs to regain its self-respect and former glory.

    Like 1
    • detobias

      CraigsList ad says rims were powdercoated

  10. Troy s

    I’d completely forgot about these Cougars, one look at this and I remember why. No getting around that roof line.
    At all.

  11. Mercfan

    Beef it up and drop in a 600 horsepower 351

  12. James Turner

    I owned a 1968 Cougar XR7 with factory hi-po 390 CI engine and a C 6 auto tranny. It was Black also with Ford mag rims and wide oval tires. Very fast back in the day, ( Early 70.s ) Anyway, As far as I am concerned there’s no way this 1986 could ever be close as far as looks and performance as the late 60,s Cougar XR 7.s. It looks like a Mennonite black bumper Vehicle with an inadequate Turbo 4 cyl. and also no true dual exhaust pipes or sequential turn signals, Hidden headlights Etc.

  13. Col Patrick Montgomery

    ya’ll ought to quit on yappinng about this car. I already bought it.

    Like 3

      Congrats on your purchase. Welcome to the world of Mercury Cougar ownership. Personally I like how this car looks. I hope that you have a wonderful time with it.

      Like 1
      • JJ

        He didn’t buy it it’s sitting in my driveway

    • JJ

      Sorry, she’s mine 🤷🏻‍♂️ Literally

  14. lonman

    I wonder if Col PM Dawn bought it why is it listed listed for sale in Craigs? People should take their adds off once a vehicle is sold. I have a 84 Mercury Cougar LS with the 3.8 Essex engine, and it runs good. Body wise it is not exactly perfect, but it is a good driving car around town for me. Recently, I had a guy come up to me, and asked me if I were selling it. I tried to sell it, but he never came up with the money. If you are interested in mine Col PM Dawn, I just might sell it. Then you can drive the XR7 on weekends, and drive the LS as a daily.

  15. detobias

    easily converted back to “stock” if you chose to:
    – body kit is held on w phillips screws and plastic pushpins
    – find 10-hole wheels = not too tough ;)
    – filling holes in trunk lid after removing spoiler..or easier find another trunklid

  16. twilliams

    Because it’s still for sale? My landlord owns the car, I just saw him today and the car yesterday. It really is a neat car in good shape from what I’ve seen.

  17. Col Patrick Montgomery

    It’s on its way back here to Idaho. it’s SOLD!!!

    Like 1
    • twilliams

      No it’s not, I just saw it sitting on main Street with a for sale sign on it. Literally five minutes ago!

      • JJ

        No it’s not, it’s in my driveway 💀😂

  18. detobias

    just spoke with owner, car is still FS ..
    the Colonel seems to be mis- representing a nonexistent deal

  19. detobias

    looks like price has been reduced..
    and the CraigsList ad has some been updated with some new pix :

  20. detobias

    owner says car is inside winter storage but still available to sell.
    he says it’s ok to call him – contact at nine o 6 three seven O O four I eight

  21. detobias

    car has been sold

    Like 1
    • lc

      I was interested in it, but I think he was several states away from me. I have never come across an 84 to 86 XR7 for sale. I believe those are the years they made them. And the Turbo Coupe was continued into the 87/88 years. I actually have a 84 Mercury Cougar LS with the 3.8l. It runs outstanding. It has blemishes; however, it runs good! I have been in contact with a Soldier who has been wanting to buy it for over a year. He has a 2.3 Turbo engine that he rebuilt, and a T-5. Apparently, he or someone in his family wrecked their 84 XR7, and salvaged the engine and trani out of it some years back. He wants to swap it into mine, and give it to his Dad on his 50th birthday!

    • JJ

      Thank you so much!

  22. lc

    Well, I finally sold my 84 Mercury Cougar LS for a whopping $700 bucks to that Soldier. It was a very good running car. It just needed some attention to the body and interior blemishes mainly; otherwise, it was normal maintenance stuff.

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