Mustang Alternative: 1967 Mercury Cougar

1967 Mercury Cougar

America has had an on-again, off-again love affair with the Mustang since day one and in recent years they have become extremely popular, but with popularity comes inflated prices. Over the past few years I have watched the original Pony Car slowly climb in price, from being down right affordable to simply overpriced. As Fastbacks and GTs make their steady climb out of affordability, I’ve been looking for cheaper alternatives. Sure you can do like we did and get a base car with an inline six, but if you want V8 power you might be better off looking elsewhere. Thankfully there are a few alternatives that might not look all that similar, but can offer the same experience for a lot less coin. If you must have the real deal, you could buy a rough project like the ‘64.5 Mustang that Jim S. found here on eBay. Or you could go with this 1967 Mercury Cougar which can be found here on eBay for $3,950.

Mercury Cougar Survivor

Those who aren’t Mustang fanatics might not know that the Mustang was actually based off of Ford’s existing Falcon platform, making it another great Mustang alternative. If the Falcon just isn’t your style though, don’t fear because there is another car that shared the platform. When Ford introduced the Mustang, they had no idea just how successful it was going to be, but once the magnitude of the car’s appeal fully set in, the company started looking for any way to squeeze even more money out of it. They introduced a wide range of new options and even let their subsidiary brand, Mercury, build their own version of the Mustang. The Mercury version was based on the same floor pan and even shared the internal sub structure, but with all new sheet metal, a few unique traits, and a new name.

Mercury Cougar Interior

Mercury’s Cougar was a bit longer and more luxurious than its pony car sibling, but for the most part handled and performed the same. Its styling helped to differentiate it from the Mustang and to the untrained eye, could pass as the Mustang’s cousin rather than its sibling. Mercury was known for being a more grown up brand, so the interior was redesigned to be more comfortable. As you can see, this Cougar is going to need its interior refreshed. I just wonder if parts for this will be as easy to find as the Mustang…

Mercury Cougar engine

Mercury aimed the Cougar somewhere between the Mustang and the Thunderbird, both from a luxury standpoint and a performance one. Unlike the Falcon and the Mustang, the Cougar was never offered with the inline six. Base model cars like this one came standard with the 289 V8 and the 390 was optional. They eventually even offered the mighty 427 as an option, but less than 400 were built. The seller has gotten the engine running, but it will still need a good servicing and the carburetor may need rebuilding. I don’t know how I feel about the way the seller revs the long dormant engine in their video, but it does sound good!

Mercury Cougar

The Cougar is probably one of the best Mustang alternatives you can get, simply because it is basically a Mustang! They aren’t as common as their sibling, but are almost as recognizable with their electric razor grill and sequential tail lights. This one seems like a reasonable deal for a running and driving car, but it will need some work before it will safe for road use. The seller claims their reserve is set low, so I would let this one play out a little longer in hopes of getting a better deal. Even at their asking price, you would be hard press to find a V8 Mustang in this kind of condition for this kind of money! There is one thing I’m curious about though, if the Mustang is a “Pony Car”, is the Cougar a “Kitty Car”?

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Comments

  1. Don

    This is a great price for this car, I wish I had the time, I would jump on it.

  2. Drew V.

    If I wasn’t half way accross the country from it, I would love to have it. A daily driver while doing a cosmetic resto…

  3. Robert J.

    Personally, I think Cougars are the coolest of the three (on shared platform). My father in law has a showroom new looking 1965 V8 Mustang coupe and I am currently the person who keeps it in top shape – when I go visit. As lovely as these and Mustangs look though, they ride like an ungreased Conestoga wagon. You really need to upgrade the suspension and brakes to make them even relatively fun to drive in comparison to say a ratty old British sports car.

  4. Don Andreina

    I like the first Cougar more than the Mustang, and this is nice and cheap. I’d get rid of the rub strips and pinstriping along the side, clean it up a bit, park it in the street and enjoy the ride. Nice find Jim.

    • Don Andreina

      Correction: Nice find Josh.

  5. jim s

    yes this would make a great daily driver, even with the automatic. i did not know that you could not get a inline 6 in these. i would hope most of the part are shared with other fords which should make it easy to keep on the road without breaking the bank. another great find.

  6. DT

    What is that between the windshield and the hood covering the vent???

    • Pat A

      Just like a Mustang, the water dams under event cowl would rot out and leak on the carpet. These were an aftermarket plastic cover to keep rain out of the cowl area.

  7. DT

    Ive never seen one with a straight 6

    • Howard

      That’s because Cougars never came with a 6 popper.

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    Damn! That’s nice. I always liked the Cougar; in some instances better than some of the Mustangs.

  9. St. Rome de V8

    I have a Cougar, a 69 with the 390. I’ve had it for decades. Still fun to drive, and I’m a fool for the gimmicky sequential signals and hideaways. Cougar parts are not difficult to find, and of course some are shared with Mustang. This one looks good. Not a high end car like an XR-7 or GT, but priced well.

  10. William Henshaw

    Sweet deal. I’ve always liked the ’67 and ’68 Cougars much more than the Mustangs, they did a great job of styling these cars so that they have an identity of their own. This one looks as if it could be put back on the road in a weekend, but I’d give it a week. It’s too far from Washington to make an inspection trip. I’ll look closer to home.

  11. Barry Thomas

    Great find. Not the cache’ of a Mustang, but still a great looking ride and the ’67/’68, in my opinion, looked better than its restyled and slightly bloated Ford competition. A friend had one back in the day and we thought that he had “arrived” (not a great car town where we lived).
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

  12. jimmyrk3

    I wish someone had answered DT’s question about the cover on the grill between the hood and windshield. Call me curious…

    • St. Ramone de V8

      Ya, what is that? Maybe a screen to keep needles and tree litter out?

  13. PaulG

    1967 Motor Trend “Car of the year”.

  14. vince Habel

    He should get his price for this. If I was looking to buy a car I would jump on it. I have always liked the 67-68 Cougars better than any Mustang.

  15. Bob

    It’s just a cowl cover. Cougars and mustangs were prone to rust in the cowl area, so alot of people would just cover them.

  16. Mike_B_SVT

    Good lookin’ car. Watch for the typical issues with the vinyl top ~ i.e. rust around the back window, especially around the bottom corners. And of course the floors and cowl, as they share those rust issues with the mustang as well.

    Cougar base engine was always a V8 (at least for the classic years, ’67-’73), with displacement dependant on the year.

    Many Ford / Mustang cross-over parts are available in reproduction or other aftermarket replacement versions. Cougar-specific parts are also “easily” available here in the Northwest, with two of the major Cougar specialists located here: Cascade Classis up in WA, and West Coast Classic Cougars here in OR. There is also a good “support group” in the two main Classic Cougar forums: http://www.MercuryCougar.net, and http://www.ClassicCougarCommunity.com. Pop in and check us out, and if you feel inclined, make a post if you are looking for “expert opinions”.

  17. AJD350

    That thing on the cowl should be a moderate red flag. It’s a vent cover to keep water out of a leaking cowl. These as well as the Mustangs are prone to rust inside the cowl that leads to water on your shoes in the rain. It’s repairable but often is a fairly involved job.

  18. pursang

    Sounds like it is missing something.

    Like one or two cylinders.

    Nice, desirable car though, for 2 grand.

  19. William Henshaw

    @DT I can’t tell you what that is, but I did see something like that on another car when I lived in Georgia. It seemed to block the air intake, why? Something else I’ve never seen before, on the close up of the right front corner there’s a lock. What is that about?

  20. Mike_B_SVT

    That cover over the cowl is probably there because the cowl has rusted through and leaks into the car.

    The lock on the front corner of the grille is most likely for a “vintage” car alarm system. Used to see them on the fenders of corvettes often.

  21. fred

    A lot more car than you would get for a Mustang at the same price level. I’m not into 60’s cars, but if I were, this would be the one.

  22. Mark in Medford

    Yes, the panel over the cowl vent is there to block water and items like pine needles from falling into the cowl, it dosent mean that there is a leak its just very hard to keep that area clean and harder to clean out once junk falls in there. I have owned 10 early Cougars and 67 is my least favorite but this seems to be a decent buy on this car. The Cougars had a longer wheel base and longer rear leaf springs that result in a smoother ride.

  23. Charles

    From the pics this looks like a good buy!

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