Mercury Cougar XR7
When they introduced the Mustang in 1964, it became a global hit. It also started a revolution among Detroit’s major players. Three years later, almost everybody had a pony car in their lineup. Chevrolet introduced the Camaro, Pontiac presented the Firebird and Mercury had the new Cougar. Since Mercury was a luxury division of the Ford Motor Company, it was obvious that the Mustang and Cougar would have a lot in common.
However, Mercury tried its best to hide their plebian roots and introduced a true luxury GT model. They built the Cougar on the Mustang platform, but they stretched it a couple of inches to add comfort and achieve ride quality. Also, the Mercury Cougar was available with V8 engines only, while the small six-cylinder units were reserved for entry-level Mustangs. The body panels were unique, as well as the front fascia with its hidden headlights. In the interior, Mercury offered a wood-trimmed dash, leather seats and all kinds of creature comforts.
Some could say that the Cougar was just a luxury Mustang but in fact, it was an independent model and a successful car. Until 1969, Detroit didn’t offer any convertibles in the form of a muscle car. They were all coupes. The ultimate version that perfectly combined muscle car power and luxury was the mighty Cougar XR-7. This model had the 390 V8 engine with 320 HP. But buyers could also opt for the GT package which included a beefed-up suspension, stronger brakes and steering.
The XR-7 was a popular model and they produced over 27,000 in 1967. Over the years, the Mercury Cougar was in the shadow of the Mustang. But in recent years, prices have started to come up for this piece of the luxury muscle segment. However, you can still get the XR-7 for around $45,000. This makes it a real bargain compared to some other muscle cars.