Unmolested Survivor: 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7

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Mercury joined the pony car party in 1967 with its Cougar range. It did so against initial misgivings from within Ford’s Upper Management. However, it proved a wise decision, with the badge accounting for over 42% of the marque’s total sales in the first year. This 1967 Cougar XR-7 is an unmolested survivor. It is a turnkey proposition that needs nothing but a new home. It is worth a close look because it offers much to its next owner.

The Cougar is a car that nearly didn’t happen. Ford was reluctant to allow Mercury to produce its owner version of the Mustang but relented in time for the 1967 model year. It proved an inspired decision because while the Cougar didn’t sell in the same numbers as its cousin, it undoubtedly stole sales from the General Motors opposition. The badge remained active until 2002, forming the backbone of Mercury’s product range. The most sporting variant was the XR-7, and this one is a gem. It is an unmolested survivor the first owner ordered in Polar White with a contrasting Black vinyl top. The seller doesn’t mention a history of repairs or restoration, suggesting it is a genuine survivor. A close inspection reveals minor paint blemishes and chips, but the healthy shine means the overall presentation is comfortably acceptable for a survivor-grade classic. The vinyl is in good order, and there is no evidence of existing or developing rust. The car is situated in a dry location, and if it has spent its life there, it could be totally rust-free. The trim is in good order, and the tinted glass has no visible issues.

Lifting this Cougar’s hood reveals the A-Code 289ci V8, which produces 225hp and 305 ft/lbs of torque. A three-speed automatic transmission performs shifting duties, and power steering reduces the driver’s workload. The Cougar is marginally slower than an equivalent Mustang, which is understandable. It rolls on a slightly longer wheelbase and carries an additional 250 lbs. However, the ¼-mile ET of 16.2 seconds and a top speed of 121mph were considered respectable in 1967. The seller uses the word “original” when describing this XR-7, suggesting it is numbers-matching. They say it has plenty of power and can still chirp the tires. Potential buyers can consider it a turnkey proposition where they could fly in and drive it home.

One glance at the interior reveals Mercury’s focus on luxury with the Cougar XR-7. This car’s new owner receives air conditioning, leather seats, a console, an AM/FM stereo radio, a wood-rimmed wheel, classy sports gauges, a tachometer, a remote driver’s mirror, and lashings of timber trim. The carpet might be slightly faded, but the interior’s overall condition is good. The seats, particularly the fronts, have the typical wrinkles and marks that are inevitable with aging leather, but there is no evidence of developing holes or other issues. A couple of badges exhibit wear, although the dash, pad, and console look excellent. The compass is the only visible addition, and removing it shouldn’t be difficult.

Mercury sold 150,893 Cougars in 1967, which was above expectations. The XR-7 proved popular, with 27,221 buyers taking one home. Those figures fall far short of the Mustang’s total, but Mercury aimed its cars at buyers seeking more luxurious motoring experience. The seller has listed this 1967 XR-7 here on eBay in Phoenix, Arizona. Eleven bids have pushed the price to $9,600, which is below the reserve. I believe the bidding will need to top $16,000 before it reaches that point, although it will probably sail well past that figure before the hammer falls. Have you ever owned a Cougar? It will be fascinating to learn whether it was enjoyable enough for you to consider joining the bidding war on this one.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. CCFisher

    I mean, you could also argue that Ford’s executives were correct to be wary of releasing the Cougar. A substantial number of Cougar sales undoubtedly came at the expense of the Mustang. Sales of the Mustang were off by around 150,000 units for 1967. Some of that is due to the Camaro, but probably not as much as you’d think – people were firmly entrenched in either the Chevy or the Ford camp back then, and guys who crossed the line had to find a whole new circle of friends!

    Like 7
    • mick

      Of course we’ll never know for sure but, I think the Cougar did not affect Mustang sales very much. Did the increase in sales for Mercury improve their bottom line? Sure. It was a new niche they had created (within Mercury). Was it a one-to-one (Cougar sale vs Mustang no-sale)? No. So, it was a net positive. Plus, the Cougar was attractive to a little older audience. Maybe Mustang sales were headed in that direction anyway. I don’t believe Firebird sales adversely affected Camaro sales. Pontiac had it’s own muscle car division and a large Pontiac faithful. So did Mercury, though maybe not to the extent Pontiac had. I believe the audience overall increased with the Cougar and it did not steal sales from the Mustang . . . IMHO.

      Like 7
    • al

      how true that was back than high school cars where 1956 bel aire convertible than a 1958 Impala 348 3 speed stick than when I got out of service had a 1963 Impala 283 stock 3 speed stick on column than new 1967 Vette got married child on was got a new 1968 Torino 390 4 speed just didn’t like Chevelle s and yes some of my old friends drowned me

      Like 0
  2. Terrry

    This car was popular enough to encourage Mercury to brand other cars of theirs with “cat” names (Lynx, Bobcat) and changed their motto to “The Sign Of The Cat” at dealerships. And these early Cougars were nice cars, an up-level Mustang if you will.

    Like 18
  3. Stan

    Love the Mercury’s 😎

    Like 8

    I am not so sure that I would call this car an unmolested survivor. It appears to have been repainted as the pinstripes are not correct and the front license plate mounting bracket has been painted body color. The jacking instruction decal is missing from the underside of the decklid. My guess is that the vinyl top has been replaced as the XR-7 emblem is missing from the left side sail panel. The hubcaps are not correct.

    The original owners manual shows that this car started out life in NC so it has not spent its life in AZ. The seller makes no mention of when the car moved to AZ.

    On the plus side this car does have quite a few nice options. Start with the A code 289 4V engine, automatic transmission and power steering. The AM/FM radio appears to be the correct one. Then add in the rear bumper guards. It also appears to have a rear window defroster and the very rare speed control.

    Like 19
    • 71 Boss351

      I agree with Cathouse – it is a repaint. Don’t forget that it has a/c although the seller doesn’t say much in the description of everything works. The photos by the seller seem to indicate that this XR7 lived most of its life in NC.

      Like 2
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

      Thank you CATHOUSE for your typical excellent information. I remember where I was, and when it was, when I saw my first Cougar. I was mesmerized. It was cool and sporty and luxurious and classy, all at the same time. Liked them then, like them now.

      Like 12
      • CATHOUSE

        You’re welcome Bob. And thank you for the kind words.

        Like 0
  5. Nelson C

    Exciting times. Everyone could drive a great looking car. Taking the muscular lines of the Mustang and creating a tight and lean car like the Cougar. Was almost like a whole new vehicle.

    Like 6
  6. Rob

    Love this car. The only thing that takes away from the classy look is the Pep Boys spokes! Really? Bad choice!

    Like 5
  7. Tiger66

    “However, the ¼-mile ET of 16.2 seconds and a top speed of 121mph were considered respectable in 1967.”

    Car and Driver’s road test of a 225 hp XR-7 showed 17.5 seconds in the quarter. The 16.2-second figure is yet another computer simulation from automobile-catalog.com (ProfessCars™ software car dynamics simulation). If you’re going to use those, you should note that they are not from actual road tests and don’t necessarily reflect real world performance times. Or you could just use the actual road tests instead.

    These cars could be quick, but for that you needed the 390 engine.

    Like 4
    • Nelson C

      That said I would add that the old car actually feels faster. It’s a more viseral experience. The combination of windows down and less nvh isolation gave the passenger a greater connection to the vehicle. Lower the window, turn up the radio and accelerate.

      Like 2
  8. Bunky

    Always liked the early Cougar. ‘67-‘68 is the best. After ‘71 they were Fat Cats 👎🏻
    I almost bought a’67 XR7/GT in ‘73. It had the K code 271hp 289. Amazingly quick for its size. Ended up with a ‘68 442 which was my favorite car ever, but it spent a lot of time in the shop.

    Like 3
    • z28th1s

      The ’67 GT Cougar was only available with the S Code 390-4V engine. If the Cougar you almost bought had a K Code 289/271 engine it had been swapped in.

      Like 4
    • Harrison Reed

      I did not like Mustangs with that chopped-off rear. Mercury improved it so much, that I liked it! But I could not own one — too low to the ground. I need to sit UP when I drive, with my legs downward from the knee — not stretched out in front of me. I also prefer luxury and comfort, to sportiness; soft cloth and velour, to leather. I am badly crippled by arthritis, and climbing DOWN INTO a car is out of the question, now. I do miss the running-board and high seats in my 1946 Ford, which was so easy to get into and out of!.

      Like 1
  9. Mike Fullerton

    My girlfriend’s oldest sister owned a 1967 base Cougar. It was black on black, no vinyl top, but vinyl interior. I knew it was a 289 but on the code, it had power steering and power brakes, but no a/c. The sister would occasionally let the girlfriend use the car on a Saturday night. Fabulous car to cruise in. I was 14 and girlfriend was 16. Girlfriend’s dad died in 1963. Left the family with a 1957 Ford 4 door wagon. It was the mom, girlfriend and younger brother. In 1966 mom bought a 2 door Corvair coupe. We cruised a lot in that car too. We lived in Eastern Iowa, unless the snow was so deep the bottom was dragging on it that car could go any where. Ahh good times and good memories.

    Like 3
  10. Elmo


    I don’t believe I have ever seen the gills on the rocker panels before. Nice touch.

    Like 2

      The gills as you call them are a part of the 1967 XR-7 package. In the Cougar world we usually call them the hash marks. They were a one year only part. The 1968 XR-7s received a full length aluminum rocker panel cover.

      Like 3
      • Elmo

        I appreciate the knowledge drop.

        Like 1
  11. 71Boss351

    Speaking of memories, I think the 1967 Custom Cougar was one of first Hot Wheels cars to come out in 1968! I can still remember the TV ads to this day.

    Like 1

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