1967-68 Mercury Cougar XR7

September 29, 2010

By Bobby Webb

Envisioned to be a car of elegance, luxury and class, the 1967-68 Mercury Cougar XR7 was purposed to be a complement to the Ford Mustang eventually evolving into a highly styled car that was affordable.

Similar To The Ford Mustang Yet With Differences

The 1967-’68 Cougar XR-7 was largely based on the refaced ’67 Mustang. It only came in a single body, though, which was a two door hardtop notchback. It didn’t have the convertible or fastback body options available like the Mustang (convertible tops weren’t available until 1969). Underneath, though, the Mercury Cougar embodied what a Mustang was but with a few differences. The Cougar XR-7 had an 111 inch wheelbase while the Mustang’s was only 108 inches. The front suspension of the Cougar XR-7 had coil springs that were mounted over the upper control A-arm while the rear had leaf springs. This was similar to what the Mustang had but the ’67-’68 Cougar had a softer ride due to softer suspension bushings. Another difference between the Cougar XR-7 and Mustang is that the Cougar had articulated drag struts on its front suspension. This put less shock on the Cougar’s body structure which helped give it a “luxurious” image. To further the luxury, the Cougar XR-7 was also equipped with a special package to deaden sound.

Luxury and European Styling

The ’67 Cougar, meant to be a more refined vehicle, was offered with three engines:

  • 200hp 289 c.i. V-8 (two-barrel carburetor and single exhaust system)
  • 225hp “Super 289” c.i. V-8 (four-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts)
  • 320hp 390 c.i. V-8 (GT Equipment Package with Ford’s big block engine)

The 390 engine, which was available for the Cougar and other Mercury cars, was called the Maurader 390 GT. The GT package allowed drivers to turn the Cougar XR-7 into a genuine muscle car. Along with these three types of engines, each could either be bought as a three speed automatic, three speed manual or as a four speed manual.

The ’67-’68 Mercury Cougar XR-7 was pretty unique when it came to styling. Probably the most noticeable feature on the car was its full-width split grille on the front that looked similar to an electric shaver. The front end also had concealed headlights. At the rear of the Cougar there was also vertically slatted grillework with sequential taillights which borrowed its look from the Ford Thunderbird.

Although the exterior of the Mercury Cougar was unique compared to its relative, the Mustang, its interior was identical. In general, the ’67-’68 Cougar shared a steering wheel, console and two pod dash that was remarkably similar to the Mustangs. That is until the Cougar XR-7, introduced in January 1967, which gave the car a more “European” style. The XR-7 model came with a wood-grained steering wheel, an overhead console and a simulated wood-grained dashboard that had a full set of black-faced competition instruments. The “European” theme was further accentuated with a series of Jaguar style toggle switches which were used to control the various interior lights. The XR-7 also had center automatic transmission shifter that was “T” shaped. The upholstery inside the Cougar XR-7 was leather and vinyl.

With the introduction of the Cougar, and more specifically the Cougar XR-7, Mercury finally had a pony car which became an icon for them for several decades.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bobby_Webb

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

64 Impala, The Impala Project September 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Your quite right about the look of elegance. I did a junk yard review earlier this year and found a Mercury XR7 convertible in the yard. Too bad the top was dry rotted. Otherwise it was a nice car and would be a good restoration candidate.



Jim Davis September 29, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Dear Bobby, I really enjoyed your article about Mercury Cougars! They definitely had their own identity; and were a Step Up from the Mustang in many ways! Just wanted you to know how much your articles and videos are appreciated by myself and other enthusiasts. I look forward to them. Thanks again for sharing all of your time and efforts! Sincerely, Jim Davis


Bobby Webb September 30, 2010 at 11:28 am

Thanks for your comment. It means a lot to know that some readers are enjoying the articles. I have several good ones coming up.


Nadiene October 19, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Looking for that perfect color for my 69 cougar being restored.I guess I never realized just how hard that would be.


Bobby Webb October 20, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I am certainly not an expert in colors but if you are doing a full restoration I would highly recommend the original color. If you don’t like that color it is really just your personal preference. I love Black, White, and Red but that has really nothing to do with your choices. Please send pictures and info when the restoration is completed and I will publish a post of your car. Thanks for the comment.


aaron blackburn February 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

thank you for the info on the page. i found it interesting and helped to know more about the car. i just bought a 67 cougar and have been tring to figure out if it was the xr-7 and have been haveing a difficult time. its all original matching numebr and running engine.but it has the leather interieor, it has the wood grained steering wheel, and the T shaped shifter.

any info that might help me figure it out/
i havent ran the vin to find out yet but wwill be soon.
thank you


onebadcat June 23, 2011 at 3:16 am

The easiest way to tell is the wood grain dash bezel and the ceiling console with map lights that come standard on the xr7 models only. Also checking the door tag or v.i.n. is your best giveaway. The body code for a standard coupe is 65A while an XR7 is 65B and a standard coupe with bench seat is 65C in the v.i.n. the number for standard is 91 while the number for xr7 is 93.


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