Solid Project: 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7

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This 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7 has been sitting for decades. As is often the case, the owner commenced the restoration process brimming with enthusiasm and good intentions, but the project stalled when a car more to his liking appeared on the scene. As project cars go, this looks like a bit of a belter. Not only is it complete, but it represents a rust-free platform as a starting point. Located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, you will find the Cougar listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding now sits at $4,550, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The Inverness Green Cougar shows a lot of promise as a project car. It is also a vehicle that could be restored in a home workshop. One of its greatest attractions is that it is rust-free and contains all of its original Mercury steel. The owner has already pulled the windshield to make sure that all was okay. He stripped the windshield gutter, treated it, and then repainted it in Inverness Green. The floors have also been stripped, treated, etch primed, and finished in Rustoleum Black. The panels and the frame are as clean as you could ever hope for, with nothing more than some surface corrosion to treat. It is also surprisingly straight, with no significant dings or dents. The windshield is new, the rest of the glass is in good condition, while the external trim looks like it would respond positively to some thorough cleaning and polishing.

The first thing that the owner did with the Cougar was to remove and discard the carpet. It was beyond help, but now that it’s gone, we can clearly see how good the floors look. The upholstery has seen better days, so a full retrim is on the cards. The original front seats are particularly bad, with the foam crumbling beyond salvation. However, there is another set of seats included with good foam. They might be a better proposition for restoration. The console is included in the sale, but it is another item that will require restoration. The ultimate answer here might be to source an interior trim kit. These are not as cheap for a Cougar as they are for a Mustang, and they aren’t as easy to find. However, they are out there, and they would be worth the cost if the interior is to look factory-fresh once again.

Under the hood of the Cougar is its original 289ci V8, backed by a 3-speed Merco-O-Matic transmission. The vehicle also scored power steering and power brakes. This little V8 would have been producing 225hp in its prime, which was enough to send the XR7 through the ¼ mile in 16.2 seconds. It is what’s under the hood that was the catalyst for the owner to change project cars. He had commenced work on this one when a ’68 Cougar with its original 390/4-speed came onto the market. He bought that car, and work on this one stalled immediately. The good news is that this Cougar is a numbers-matching classic that has never been modified. It hasn’t run for decades, so it will need some work before it is considered roadworthy. If the buyer is considering a high-end restoration, they will probably pull the engine so that the engine bay can be repainted. That would be the perfect opportunity to inspect the 289 and detail it within an inch of its life. That way, when the hood is lifted on completion, people will be confronted with something pretty stunning.

The Mercury Cougar shares more than just its underpinnings with the Ford Mustang. Both cars were presented as concepts to Henry Ford II, and he rejected both for production the first time he saw them. However, he relented in both cases, and these proved to be wise decisions. With 150,893 Cougars rolling out of the showroom in 1967, Mercury found itself with a sales success. Today, Cougars don’t command the same sorts of values in the market as equivalent Mustangs. That means that they aren’t a bad option for an enthusiast with a tighter budget. This one looks like a straightforward restoration prospect, and if the owner keeps their eye on the finer details, it is a car that could be worth around $30,000 in today’s market once complete. If you are looking for a DIY project car, maybe this one deserves a closer look.

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  1. MitchRossMember

    I can’t fathom why Cougars are worth less than Mustangs. In my totally irrelevant opinion they are so much better looking.

    Like 53
    • Larry D

      You wrote: “I can’t fathom why Cougars are worth less than Mustangs. In my totally irrelevant opinion they are so much better looking.”

      I tend to agree with you except on the better looking comment. I think Cougars are just as good looking as Mustangs but not necessarily better looking.

      But I guess the reason they aren’t worth as much is the same as the reason Firebirds, in general, aren’t worth as much as Camaros. Supply and demand. There just isn’t as much demand for a Pontiac or a Mercury as there is for a Chevrolet or a Ford.

      To prove my point, both Mercury and Pontiac are now out of business. Ford and Chevrolet are alive and thriving.

      Like 4
      • S

        Ford & Chevrolet are in business because they were the entry level, high volume brands, while Mercury and Pontiac were a step up and were not intended to be high volume sellers. Chevrolet and Ford also sell trucks, which Pontiac and Mercury never did – and where has the market gone in the last 25 years or so? To trucks. Those brands already had them. Cougars may not be as popular as Mustangs, but Firebirds, and especially Trans Ams, are extremely popular and command a lot of money. There’s no way a Z28 is as sought after as a Trans Am. My point is, it depends on the model.

        Like 4
      • Howard Kerr

        You are also forgetting that one of the major stockholders in the company is the Ford family. It’s not likely the cars from that company will be sold under another name anytime soon.

        Like 0
      • Sheldon Potts

        I always liked the 67/68 cougars better than the mustang but the 69/70 mustangs were better looking than the cougars. I also thought the firebirds look better than the camaros in the early years as well

        Like 1
  2. Luke Fitzgerald

    I’m with ya mitch

    Like 8
  3. Timothy Phaff

    I own a factory 68 XR7 GT390 Fully loaded 4-Speed Cougar and at 57 years old this is my 2nd one just buying last April. The 1967,68 Fastback Mustang is indeed a looker as its beautiful body lines making it aerodynamic and attractive. I have a fresh 428CJ & C6 tranny that’s looking for a roller and this is a fine Cougar but when I saw the “THIS CAR HAS ZERO ROT ANYWHERE ON IT.” that turned me off for I can see rot holes after the sandblasting happens. If someone is looking to restore an old Ford this is the one. 95% of this Cat is available in new parts making this a great resto job. Good luck to the new owner

    Like 4
  4. Fogline

    Curious about the comment on the trim pieces. I am guessing there is someone making repro items for cougars. Wondering if someone on this board has a source they like as we just inherited a ’72 convertible that requires some love.

    Like 1

      Check out the Classic Cougar Community forum. There are some reproduction parts available for the 71-73 Cougars. Most of the parts available are the ones that are the same as a Mustang. There are a few Cougar specific parts available but not a lot and I cannot think of any 71-73 trim that is reproduced. Good luck with your Cougar.

      Like 1
  5. Maestro1

    Fogline, several suppliers advertise in Hemmings Motor News, available at any substantial newsstand, or call them in Vermont, pone number on the Internet.
    The Car: If I had the room, absolutely. When finished I will be North of $25,000. and have a sexy ride. Somebody jump on this car, and for Interiors call SMS or Legendary.

    Like 1
  6. James Bishop

    Mr. $ sign , you commented on a Z/28 is never sought after like a Trans am . You are so wrong . The most wanted Cars are Camaro’s and they far out weigh the money they can command , The Trans -am , is peanuts compared to the Camaro . The most wanted Trans -am is the 1969 T/A with the white/blue 400 /4speed , it gets the most money of T/A’s . Z/28 ‘s are more rare and far more superior (67-69 ) the real factory race cars of the day then. You must not know much about Camaro’s , The 302 was bad ass or the 5 different 427’s Chevrolet made in those 3 years or the 396 L-78 375 HP all available in Camaro’s . Go look up a 1967 -1969 Z/28 and you can see what is really sought after . It’s not a T/A . They are ok it’s a GM product but no match for the mighty Camaro Z/28 .

    Like 0
  7. Bmac777

    I like them both , but a 69 Trans Am is rarer than a 69Z and it’s for that reason they sell for more $.
    If you look them up like you said to do , you would see that
    Ebay has 12- Z28’s ranging from 60 – 100k
    1 Trans Am for 139k
    It seems that your “peanuts in value” comparison shows that your Camaro knowledge is lacking

    Like 2
  8. Bill Faulkner

    West Coast Classic Cougars

    National Parts Depot

    John’s Classic Cougars

    3 great sources as well as other out there

    Like 0
    • Fogline

      Thanks, Bill. I will check these out.

      Like 0
  9. Bernie H.

    A lot of chit chat here, did nobody really read the writeup?. Why a bill of sale only!!, looks like it had Washington tags, so where is the title?..The VIN number given is not a FOMOCO Vin number, looks like maybe a state issued ID of some sort, sooooo go back to the state to trace that number and start looking for the owner and title. The price appears OK , but factory replacement parts are not easy to find like Mustangs. The engine looks like a two barrel setup, so thats only 200hp not 225.

    Like 0
    • Steve R

      The “VIN” number listed in the ad is more than likely the sellers phone number, 401, is a Rhode Island area code.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  10. Kevin

    I had one just like this,needed lots of work,pockets weren’t deep enough, so away it went, but memories are part of this journey.

    Like 0
  11. Reginald Berry

    Having owned a 67 fastback Mustang I must admit that it is refreshing to look a the Cougar the styling is so clean and with the hidden headlights is could be a stunning pony car that you don’t see everyday.

    Like 0

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