Restore Or Wreck? 1971 Mercury Cougar GT

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

The future of this 1971 Cougar GT is very much in the balance, and its future may lie as a restoration project, or it may become a donor car for another restoration project. There are some rust issues, but as is often the case, it may be repairable with the right sized wallet. It is currently listed for sale with the opening bid set at $500 in a no reserve auction. The Cougar is located in Richmond, Missouri, and is listed for sale here on eBay.

There are certainly some rust issues to deal with on this car, and for my money, the worst of these have affected the A-Pillar on the driver’s side. If the car is to be restored it will be vitally important that this is repaired properly. The last thing that you would ever want is a second-rate repair on this if the car were ever to decide to go wheels-up. The floors and frame are said to be solid, except for one small spot in the floor on the driver’s side. There is also rust to be dealt with in both quarter panels, and the front inner fenders. The exterior is basically complete, and while there are also a few dings and dents to be dealt with, there are also some replacement parts for these included in the sale.

The news under the hood isn’t great. The 351-4V Cleveland V8 and automatic transmission are long gone, as are the brake booster, front brakes and spindles, and the hood scoop. These were all sold off by the previous owner, so any restoration will have to include replacement of all of these parts. The car does still have its dual exhaust, and the owner also has a numbers-matching intake that will go with the car.

The dash and door trims of the Cougar look quite good, but once again, the previous owner seems to have been intent on parting the car out. The front bucket seats and floor console are both gone. We don’t really get any further information about the state of the interior trim, which is a shame. The car still has its original AM radio, but the seller also has an AM/FM unit and will be including this in the sale.

This Mercury Cougar GT certainly needs a lot of work. The big question has to be whether it is financially viable, or whether the car’s future rests in being a parts car. If you just happen to have a 351 engine and transmission just sitting around in your workshop doing nothing, then it might be worth the effort. If you don’t, then it really is an expensive proposition. Its relative rarity may tip the balance in its favor, and this is something that will need to be considered as well. While it is a sad looking sight, there seem to be enough good pieces on the car to justify buying the car, even if it is only for parts. What would you do with it?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Bakyrdhero

    This needs a lot of work. Were these desirable when new? I’m a big fan of the 67-70, but never really looked at one of these. Seems like a big departure from the original concept.

    Like 7
  2. John M.

    I’d pass on this toothless Cougar.

    Like 6
  3. BoatmanMember

    Cars are usually parted out for a reason. I’d look hard for that reason.

    Like 7
  4. Steve R

    This is a parts car with all of the good items already sold.

    Steve R

    Like 14
  5. Brian

    Too bad it’s in such shape. I’ve always liked the shape of these, especially the sail pillars. The exception is the front end. The front end is frumpy compared to the previous generations. They should have gone with hidden headlights and cleaned it up a bit. If it was a 429 car it would be worth saving. 4v Cleveland is a great engine but the car is rough to do much for what it would end up being worth.

    Like 3

    For those who like the 71-73 Cougar body style this would be a good car to restore. Mercury only made a little under 800 of them so they do not show up for sale very often. This car started out life in the Washington DC area so that explains the rust. I would ask for a photo of the front crossmember where the strut rods attach as that is a major rust area.

    Most of the good, and expensive, parts that make the car a GT are gone. Replacing the hood scoop will cost as much as the opening bid. Then you still need to find a correct 1971 M code engine and small block C6 transmission. They are out there but again more money to spend. The only good part that hopefully is still in the car would be the indash tach, if it is still there. You would need to ask for a better photo to say.

    Replacing the seats, console, disc brakes would not be a problem. Those are all just regular Cougar parts and readily available.

    Like 5
  7. cold340t

    Parts car. Only 4spd. Cougars or 429’s of this era are worth restoring.

    Like 3
    • Tony

      Thanks for your input, Craig Jackson.

      Like 2
  8. James Martin

    I needed motor and trans for my Ford pickup. Dont you want to buy the rest. I even through in an old wisor motor for free.

    Like 1
  9. Lance Nord

    I had a 71 Cougar in red except a white vinyl top (that I converted to a half vinyl top when I repainted the car). I loved that car. Sadly, without the go parts, this poor kitten is likely just a parts car now.

    Like 1
  10. John B

    Oddly, there is one of these cats lying fallow close to the road on my normal route back home(on the coast) from SW Virginia. I have observed it in its gooey-green glory for ten years now. Kinda wondered if any plans were in the offing. Will take a picture or two next time. There is always a good number of similarly forlorn cars to be seen on these trips …hope I do not get shot by an overzealous owner!

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds