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Unlikely Survivor: 1989 Mercury Cougar

1989 Mercury Cougar

This may not seem like a car worth featuring, but we have to remember anything built pre-1990 is now over 26 years old! So, it’s becoming harder to find cars from this era in good shape. The seller claims that it’s a one-owner survivor and that it has been used sparingly over the last 20 years. The odometer is showing 136k, but it’s in surprisingly good condition. It’s located in Northern Wisconsin and is listed here on craigslist for $3,650.

Nice Interior

The interior does look really nice for a car with so many miles. You’d think the wrinkled velour on the bolsters would be showing more wear. Take note of the automatic seat belts – luckily a short lived safety trend. Those things were always a pain when they would move back on you at inopportune moments.

38 V6

This generation of Cougar was based on the Thunderbird platform. The base engine was this 3.8 liter V6, but later on you could even get a supercharged V6 and even a V8. This was the last of the rear-wheel-drive Cougars though as Ford switched to FWD 1999 and ended Cougar production in 2002.


The car’s location made me think wonder about rust immediately and unfortunately my concerns were confirmed. There’s quite a bit of corrosion along the bottom of the car and although that might be acceptable in some parts of the country, it’s not something I’d want to deal with on a car like this.

Digital Gauges

Still, where else are you going to get such cool gauges? Digital gauges were all the rage in the late eighties and this Cougar does not disappoint. But, are the gauges, nice interior, and presumably good mechanicals enough to make this rusty eighties car desirable enough to keep around?


  1. Todd Zuercher

    The rust killed it. And yes, there are very few of these left on the roads anymore. I always liked this generation of Cougar/T-Bird, particularly the supercharged versions.

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  2. grant

    3600 for a rusty ’80’s Cougar? Seriously?

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  3. Blueprint

    Still have to admire Ford for having come up with a large rear-drive platform with independant rear suspension. The T-Bird had a prettier and more slippery shape, very Nascar-friendly, and IIRC the car that brought us the generic jellybeans we see racing today (because a great car shape was an unfair advantage?). Still have that Mark Martin T-Bird in my model kit to-do stash.

    The Cougar’s roofline was tragic, but their less sporting appeal means more survivors like this one.

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    • Rando

      I always liked the “formal” roof of the Cougar better than the T-bird.

      Like 1
  4. Steven C

    I always wished they had put the 3.0 vulcan v6 in these. Much smoother running, just as much power, and better fuel economy. I have had taurus with bolth and the 3.0 was much better engine than the 3.8 in those.

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  5. mark

    Digital gauges were all the rage……………..they went away quickly because they were well ……………digital and were a pain in the rear when they quit working.

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  6. RJ

    Friend of mine had a Thunderbird of this vintage. Auto seat belts packed up. As did the digital dash, power seats and windows. Not to mention the console and large transmission tunnel made front leg room a joke for a car this size. Many of these Cougars sat in my high school parking lot 13 years ago. They were well used then and did not last long with teenage abuse. This is a $1,000 car to me.

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  7. Mr. TKD

    What that rust? NOPE.

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  8. patluvsvettes

    The price is way too high for a car that age with 134K on the odo. With that rust, makes it worth about a grand in my book.

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    • George

      Trade-in to a dealer: $100. The worksheet may give a higher number but $100 is all they are really allowing.

      Like 0

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