Rust-Free Driver: 1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7

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Some enthusiasts aren’t able to tackle a project build, and locating a rock-solid, turnkey classic becomes a priority. That’s where cars like this 1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7 step up to the plate. It presents exceptionally well for a driver-grade classic and is in sound mechanical health. It hasn’t been beset by rust issues, and all someone needs to do is submit the winning bid, and they can hit the road behind the wheel of a vehicle promising years of motoring pleasure.

Mercury launched the Cougar in 1967 and was rewarded with total sales of 150,893 cars. That tally dropped significantly in 1968, but the XR-7 total climbed from 27,221 to 32,712. Our feature car rolled off the line that year wearing Yellow, but the seller admits it underwent a color change to its current Cardinal Red with a Parchment vinyl top. It is unclear when this occurred, but the Cougar still presents nicely, with the paint shining beautifully and the vinyl appearing crisp and clean. There are no significant cosmetic shortcomings, and the underside shots confirm nothing beyond a dusting of dry surface corrosion. There is no evidence of current or previous steel penetration, and there are no signs that the situation will change soon. The chrome and glass are excellent for their age, and the Cougar sits on a set of period-correct Cragar wheels.

The positive vibes continue when we focus on this Cougar’s interior. The dashpad is slightly warped, but that is the only issue worth noting. The Parchment trim is in good order and is surprisingly free from the marks that often plague trim of this color. There is no appreciable wear, and the carpet is excellent. Mercury marketed the Cougar as a more luxurious version of the Mustang, and this is reflected in the floor and roof consoles, woodgrain trim, and the classy gauges that almost mimic the look of those found in a Rolls-Royce. The seller states that the air conditioning doesn’t function, believing that the issue is a faulty dryer line. The radio and some interior lights are inoperative, but there are no other problems requiring attention.

Things become slightly more complicated when we dive into this Mercury’s engine bay. The seller confirms it houses a 302ci V8, and the VIN indicates it should be the J-Code producing 230hp and 310 ft/lbs of torque. However, the seller references the 2-barrel carburetor, which suggests it is an F-Code delivering 210hp and 300 ft/lbs. The performance difference between the pair is relatively insignificant, but it deserves clarification. Shifting duties fall to a three-speed automatic transmission, while the driver will welcome the power steering. The seller recently fitted new tires and shocks and upgraded the front end with a disc brake conversion. The engine wears a few cosmetic enhancements, and an aluminum radiator keeps temperatures under control. The Cougar starts at the first turn of the key, running and driving well. It is a turnkey proposition that promises years of fun for its new owner.

This 1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7 isn’t perfect, but it appears its few minor shortcomings could be tackled by the new owner in their home workshop. The seller listed it here on eBay in Edmond, Oklahoma. Bidding sits below the reserve at $11,100, following strong interest. There is time for interested parties to join the action, and if a turnkey classic is your heart’s desire, this XR-7 could be a strong contender.

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  1. Stan

    Nice cat 🐈
    4 barrel Autolite, and a fresh 3.55 gearset ⚙️ w Trac-lok, would add some purr.

    Like 2
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    Looks pretty good. Red/white is always an eye-catching combination, but its original yellow would have also been attractive. Good ad with lots of pics. A few repairs needed. Overall could be a fine and fun turn-key summer cruiser.

    Like 5
  3. Fred

    Gorgeous, I love the Cragars.

    Like 3
  4. Nelson C

    Pretty enough to put in a book. I like the look of this Cougar.

    Like 3

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