I have a real affinity for American cars built in 1965, 1966, and 1967. The designs were just…good. Really good. One such design that I am particularly fond of is the first generation Mercury Cougar. For those too young to appreciate Mercury, they were the quasi-luxury brand positioned between the lower tier Ford branded vehicles and upper crust Lincoln division. Really for quite some time though, there was very little difference between the cars produced by Ford Motor Company that were branded with the Blue Oval and those badged as Mercury. Apparently Ford saw it that way too and said “screwit” and eliminated the charade altogether.
But once upon a time there were greater differences. For example did you ever sit in a Mustang and think, “If only this was just a little more…luxurious with a bit of “European” flare…?” I didn’t think so, neither have I. I also never thought, “gee, we ought to hide the headlights” either. But interestingly, that’s what the Cougar was, and did. But just to keep honest cars honest, the Cougar had about as much European styling as Chef Boyardee. Yes, that’s right I just equated a mid-60’s muscle car with Beefaroni. That’s just the way I roll.
When you look at the profile of the 1967 Cougar you can definitely see the lines of the Mustang that it was a cousin to. But the styling is very unique and to my eye, more attractive. The grille had the appearance of an electric shaver, or a comb, or heck – Theodore Roosevelt’s mustache – with two panels that flipped open to reveal the headlights. That was a novel and modern styling idea at the time, to conceal what everyone knows ought to be stuck on the front of the car. Kind of like the idea of having a refrigerator that has wood panels to match the rest of the cabinets in the kitchen.
The upscale XR7 version included the luxurious simulated wood-grain dashboard. T-shifter, and vinyl upholstery. Seriously, those things were the upgraded luxury package. That was the state of things in the car business in those days. The standard package came with synthetic tree stump front seats, with simulated wood grain of course (hey some people prefer sitting on stumps, you know who you are), a broken off broom handle as a gearshift lever, and simulated plastic dashboard. You don’t want to know what it was actually made of. Of course I’m just kidding, well sorta.
What I’m getting at is that our standard of luxury has changed, but so what, this XR7 isn’t really a luxury car, it’s a muscle-y pony car. But it wasn’t a bad place to sit as you made that V8 howl. Oh, and you looked sharp while doing it. Especially to those bamboozled onlookers who were nonplused that someone would ever buy a car without headlights.
This Polar White example has had a refresh on the body and paint, and has 1968 Cougar styled wheels in a wider size than original, which are wearing fresh rubber as of last year. New Power front disc brakes have been installed, and the vehicle has power steering. There are 620 lb lowering front springs and GT rear leaf springs. The vacuum system for the headlight covers has been replaced by an electric system but still included in the sale is the original hardware. The headlights themselves are halogen, and there are many other bits and pieces that have been added and replaced. Enough in fact, to warrant its own website which can be found HERE.
The odometer reading of 14,500 is likely specific to the 302 Ford/350 HP crate motor , which was built by the Engine Factory. This beefy power plant hooks to the rear wheels via an AOD Automatic Overdrive Transmission with a 3.55 rear gear ratio. JBA Shorty Headers and Edelbrock heads and carburetor have been installed. The car has a clean title and is said to be in “like new” condition by the seller.
The interior has likewise had extensive refurbishment. Living in a hot place, I will mention that the AC has been converted to R134a with factory ducts. Helpful, very helpful. But again the car has had so much work on it that I may as well point you again to the link above, where this lovely vehicle can whisper all of its secrets in your ear, or HERE to the listing on craigslist. Oh, and rest assured, the XR7 model is the luxury model, so one needn’t be concerned about getting synthetic wooden splinters in one’s hinder parts.