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Q-Code Convertible: 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7


The seventies were the beginning of the end for the American muscle car. Stricter emission laws and higher fuel prices were slowly choking these high-powered bruisers into submission. This 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 was built for one of the few remaining customers who did not care about how much fuel they burnt while doing a burnout. It has been stored in a Virginia garage for past 20 years, but is now ready to return to the road. Take a look at the eBay auction here where bidding starts at $1,500. Thanks goes to Larry K. for sending this in.


1973 also marked the end of the convertible Cougar. The styling of these second generation cats may appear dated today, but it was right in line with the fashion trends of the day. The big grill and bright color would have made this car feel right at home on any car lot across America. It was what you couldn’t see that made this car special.


The q-code 351 Cobra Jet was the highest output engine you could get in the Cougar in ’73. It was good for about 264 horsepower and this one was even connected to a four-speed manual transmission. The seller does not even mention if it runs or not, but we assume they have attempted it because of the battery charger sitting under the hood.


Unfortunately, there is rust. The seller removed the carpet and seats to get a better view of the damage. We can see light through the floors so they will need to be replaced and the seller mentions a hole in the trunk floor that needs patched up too. Let’s just hope this is the worst of the corrosion.


The exterior doesn’t look bad in the photos  so you might get away with not having to respray the whole car. It should be interesting to see where the reserve is set here. It is well optioned, but we have a feeling that the demand for these second gen Cougars is not that high. We could be wrong though…


  1. J. Pickett

    Nice car to restore, I hope someone with resources and talent takes it on.

    Like 2
  2. twwok

    Can’t see the point of restoring this one unless you just want to.

    Like 0
    • Robert J

      That is probably the case with 90% of the cars we restore. We do it because we just want to.

      Like 0
  3. Richard

    I’m developing a sneaking admiration for Cougars. They’re sort of like alternate universe Mustangs. A stick shift 351-4V convertible has got to be a rare bird, and that by itself should make it worth the effort to restore. Mechanicals won’t be a problem, since it’s nothing more than a Mustang under the sheetmetal. I hope somebody tackles this job.

    (Still hate those 5mph bumpers, though! The ’71-’72 cars looked so much cleaner with their simpler bumpers.)

    Like 0
  4. Horse Radish

    Well written piece !

    I guess the times have come and gone for MOST of these.
    But for the few people that really like these, it would be a costly little project, but not impossible.

    Like 0
  5. paul

    That front bumper & nose, kills it for me, but I guess some will like it.

    Like 0
  6. John

    Just wanted to point out one small error.

    “We can see light through the floors so they will need replaced and the seller mentions a whole in the trunk floor”

    it should be HOLE not WHOLE

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Thanks John. All fixed.

      Like 1
  7. Kman

    Wasn’t there a 400+ Cobra Jet in some other Fords? Could swap? Or go whole hog and get a new Ford ‘Coyote’ crate engine at 600 hp, which btw, suggest to me that muscle cars are alive and well and there is a new “who’s biggest and badest war on.” The choice of crate engines ready to go from the factory, with power never seen in the classic days, is pretty awesome now. Just look at the various versions of Chevy ‘crates’ for Corvettes.

    Like 0
  8. Mark Mccoy

    The last convertable made by Ford until they came out the Mustang convertable in the 80s was a powder blue Cougar equipped just like this one, it would be cool if this one is that one.

    Like 0
  9. Matt

    unless you owned a powder blue Cougar in 1973… and you just have to relive 1973… this one is a loser. You’ll never recover what you spend on it. I’d rather have that pink Marauder… LOL

    Like 1
  10. ted

    I recall back in 1980 I bought a 67 Cougar with the hide a way headlights gave$100,00 for this jewel It was a 4 speed and had a 289 engine,I didnt know if it come with a 289 or not,This car would run and Id give anything to have it back today,

    Like 0
  11. scottski

    1973: The Year The Designers Died.

    Like 1
  12. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    Sold for $2,975.

    Like 1

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