That Sinking Feeling: 1967 Mercury Cougar

Are you looking for a project car? One that has never seen snow?! Just kidding of course, this 1967 Mercury Cougar is sitting outside and it appears to have been sitting in that same spot since the seller drove it there two years ago. Or, they say that it was running two years ago, whether it was driving or not is but a single phone call away. You can find the seller’s info here on Craigslist in Woodstock, Connecticut. They list an asking price of $1,750. AMXBrian sent in this find – thanks, Brian!

Huuuuuu’weee, as they most likely don’t say in Connecticut. This snow cat is sunken in the ground which is never a good sign for keeping things rust-free underneath. But, first-year Cougars are pretty desirable and the body on this car looks pretty solid. Some detail photos or, even better, a personal visit with the seller dragging this Lime Frost-colored car out of its quagmire so you can check underneath is an even better idea. Seeing a car sinking into the ground like this gives me a sinking feeling, literally and figuratively. What a waste for a car that was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1967.

Cougars, I mean, the car kind.. were Mercury’s answer to Ford’s personal pony car, the Mustang, but being a Mercury they weren’t ponies, they were cats. That made no sense at all. I personally prefer the Cougar, they’re a bit more luxurious and they had cool features like hidden headlights and they also had sequential tail lights, similar to Mustangs but on a larger scale. You can see one of the grille pieces that are adjacent to the headlight grilles on the trunk lid in the photo above. Here is where that grille piece goes. That is one fairly crisp-looking front end, despite part of the grille being relocated, and this car, in general, being abandoned for at least a couple of years out in the middle of a field. There are all sorts of videos on YouTube showing some restoration techniques and a person could spend hours / days / weeks / months / years just doing nothing but watching other people restore vehicles online.

This is the only interior photo, and, um.. wow. Yeah, the next owner will have his/her work cut out for him/herself here. There are bits and pieces that look pretty good, but let’s be honest, every square inch of this car, inside and out, needs to be restored. The seller says that this car is a “complete car for restoration”, but that the title is missing. In some states that’s really no big deal at all, but in some others it can be a hassle. I believe that this is an upscale Couger XR-7 because of the T-handle automatic shifter, but I’m not positive. One of you may know for sure. A woodgrain dash would be another tell-tale sign but we can’t see the dash.

The smallest engine available in the Cougar was a 289 cubic-inch V8 with 200 hp. A four-barrel 289 car would have had a bit more at 225 hp. I can see some fairly severe rust on the LF fender top, so just imagine how much is underneath! The seller says that this engine was “running 2 years ago”, do you think you could get it running again? Is this car too far gone, from what you can see in these photos? Hagerty lists a #2 excellent-condition car as being worth $18,000. You’re not even going to come close to restoring this car for that so it would be a labor of love.

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Comments

  1. Dusty Stalz

    That rust is in the LF fender top.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      ..just seeing if you were paying attention, Dusty.. (thanks for the correction)

  2. Cameron Banks

    Definitely not an xr7, you can see the standard model pad on the dash face. Shifter handle was available on standard decore models as standard with that package, there’s actually 3 different trim packages with cougars. Low optioned car probably just has automatic and power steering. Common first year exterior color lime frost also. Sweet find though.

    • CATHOUSE

      I agree that the car is not an XR-7. In addition to the dash face pad you can see the enough of the seat upholstry to see that it is the standard style and not XR-7. You can also see enough of the left door panel to know that it too is the standard style and not XR-7. All standard Cougars with an automatic transmission received the chrome shifter handle. An XR-7 especially if it had a console would have had a plastic colored keyed shifter handle.

      One minor correction to the above post is that in 1967 there were only two interior trim styles, standard and XR-7. Starting in 1968 that changed to the three different interior trim styles, standard, decor ( or deluxe ), and XR-7.

      • Ron

        Actually, the decor group interior was an option in ‘67, and this car has it.

      • CATHOUSE

        Sorry Ron but your information is incorrect. In 1967 there were only two styles of interiors in Cougars, the standard style which this car has and the XR-7 style. The 1967 standard style morphed into the 1968 decor style with a few changes. Every standard 1967 Cougar built left the factory with this style interior, the only option was what color.

    • CATHOUSE

      This car has the bag for the windshield washer fluid. Only the early 67 Cougars had this bag. The later cars received a white plastic container for the washer fluid. The XR-7 option for 1967 was a mid year introduction. By the time the XR-7 was being produced all Cougars were receiving the plastic washer bottle. So, again, this car is not an XR-7.

      • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Thanks for the great info, CATHOUSE and Cameron!

      • CATHOUSE

        You’re welcome Scotty. I do not know much about many of the vehicles featured here on BFs and I have learned quite a bit during my time here. I do know Cougars pretty well though so this was my chance to share what I know with those who have shared with me.

      • Cameron Banks

        Also the steering wheel doesn’t contain the wood grain trim and the door handles are standard model ‘67, lots of differences between ‘67-‘68 even more so then the mustang. Window crank handles, interior panels, I have two cougars myself ‘67 xr7 with Inverness green metallic exterior with saddle leather interior 289 2bbl c4 numbers matching, and a ‘68 standard decore model Caribbean blue exterior with aqua interior 302 2bbl c4 not many options but the ‘68 is my daily so I added factory power discs and factory air collected from cougars mustangs and ‘68 fairlane also numbers matching.

  3. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    What’s that top in the back groung – T-Bird ?

  4. Rich Truesdell

    Why anyone wanting an early Cougar would even consider the listed car when this one is available, done for $12.5K, is crazy. It will take a lot more than $10K to make it comparable to this car… done.

    https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/cto/d/1968-mercury-cougar-survivor/6419407685.html

  5. 86 Vette Convertible

    Parts car IMO. It would take too much for too little gain to get it roadworthy again. If you were working on a Cougar and needed some parts, it might be worth that but with no title and in the condition it is, I don’t see it hitting the road again.

    My 2 cents.

    • CATHOUSE

      Most likely you are correct that this is only good for a parts car. The only thing that might change that would be the VIN number. If it is a really low number there are a few Cougar enthusiasts that would be willing to bring it back to life, providing that they could overcome the missing title.

  6. RicK

    Not aware of any Mustangs that had sequential tail lights similar to the Cougar (built in the 20th century anyway)

    • BOP Guy Member

      I really know more about GM cars of that era, but didn’t the GT/California Special have Thunderbird sequential taillight turn signals? I know I’ve seen them on the GT/CS, but they could’ve been altered by the owner.

    • Mountainwoodie

      Didn’t the Mustang California Specials have sequential taillights? I had a ‘67 or ‘68 Cougar Convertible with a slush box in this color green. Lots of fun for a college kid!

      • CATHOUSE

        Most likely you had a 1969, or newer, Cougar convertible since 1969 was the first model year that Mercury offered the Cougar with a factory drop top.

        Yes, if you do a search you will find photos of 1967-68 Cougar convertibles. However if you dig a little deeper you will find that they all started out as a hardtop and were converted later in life.

  7. rjonst

    Two years ago, it probably also had the front unibody (suspension reinforcements) intact. From laying on the ground like that, it;s likely to be rusted away..

  8. Mikestuff

    I graduated from high school in 1967 (and yes, I went to the 50th anniversary this year). I had a group of friends in school, in the last couple of years there was a guy who was 2 years younger than me, plus another guy who wasn’t around as much.
    There were girls, 2 sisters and 2 of their friends. My younger friend just got his driver license at the end of the school year didn’t like driving much.
    He said his dad was going to buy him a new car and I was in awe of the new Cougar. I saw his dad one night at his house and said, jokingly to him, Hey Bob. Why don’t you buy a new Cougar? Turns out, he’d already been looking at one.
    So the next time I saw my friend, he was driving a new white Cougar XR7 with a red vinyl roof . V8, automatic etc and it was so cool. His dad let him take it when we went out and since he wanted to make out with one of those girls in the backseat, I drove it more than once. Man, I still remember to this day how fast and cool it was. I’ve driven 100’s of cars in my life and still remember driving that one. One time we drove out towards the Great Salt Lake and the song on the radio on repeat, or so it seemed, was “Foggy Mt. Breakdown” by Flatt and Skruggs.
    Always had a thing for Cougars. Except when my in-laws bought an 80’s four door version. Icky.

  9. GearHead Engineering

    Connecticut does not issue titles for old cars – I think it’s anything over 25 years. You can request one (and pay a fee of course) but people don’t bother because it is not required. You only need a bill of sale to transfer ownership in state.

    This particular car has been for sale for over a year, and shows up on CL periodically. That snow on the ground is from last year or earlier – the seller hasn’t changed the pics. Same seller has an early Javelin (allegedly a rust free Colorado car) that has also been listed for a very long time.

    I like Cougars, but this looks like a parts car to me. Expect it to be VERY rusty underneath – between the salted roads and the damp soil there probably isn’t much left.

    – John

  10. stilbo

    Parts car… And not even sure if there would be $1750 worth of parts to salvage as I’m thinking that the seller might be stretching the truth when they say that it was “running two years ago”. To sink this deeply it must have been parked directly on a geologic fault line. I’d bet that the entire floor pan from the torque boxes back is pretty much totally gone. But the carpet is still green. The 289 is likely a 2 bbl and I’m sure someone could put it to use, it’s pretty much a boat anchor but a better boat anchor than a 200 six cylinder. And seriously… What is it with Craig’s List photos? Is it a requirement that photos be extremely bad and no more than seven can be submitted at a time? Okay.. Spleen vented.

    • KKW

      A 289 is a boat anchor? One of the best small blocks ever made is a boat anchor? I don’t think so.

      • Stilbo

        That probably was a bit harsh.. I have three pre 67 289s in the corner of the barn. My first car was a ‘67 S Code 390 Fairlane GTA and I’ve been an FE nut since. The last twenty years I’ve been on a 351 Cleveland kick though. If I had the bucks I’d buy a pair of Kasse Boss heads for that Lincoln 460 sitting next to the 289s.. And I’d love to stick a built 289 into a 51 Chevy panel truck just for the Bow Tie guy’s appreciation.

  11. Classix Steel

    The good and bad of this cat..
    Bad title and possible bad
    floor pans rotted,,.

    The good is many 67 parts (pans, rails, engine and drive train) from
    A mustang will interchange and that’s cheap aftermarket parts from CJ poney parts and others.

    I have put worse back in my past and this one depends on how much sweat equity one is willing to do.

    The owner needed to at least put blocks under it to get off the ground and shoot some pictures for online folks to acces the sub frames and torque boxes etc.

    My 67 from another mother is attached :-) It was a basket case in a gagage that owner put on a tarp to allow me to weld pans, rails and rear clips and door skins etc. then toss the boat anchor NOM for a 289

  12. Roger

    My cousin had a ’67 XR7 in dark green/tan interior with the 289 and 4 speed that he bought used in ’69 and drove until the body fell apart around 1978,he has another one now that he’s in the process of redoing for the second time that has a later 302 and automatic installed,hopefully I get back home to see it when he gets it finished.I like the 69-70 model Cougars probably a little better than the ’67-’68’s but they’re all cool little cars though.

  13. Len

    Darn! I wish it was closer. I could slap a 4bbl on that engine and it world be perfect for my 67engineless Mustang FBGT

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