Junkyard Gem: 1972 Mercury Cougar XR-7

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Beginning with the 1939 model year and persevering with through 2011, the rule in Dearborn was that almost all Ford fashions would get a dressed-up sibling wearing Mercury badges (and Canadians even got Mercury F-100s and Econolines). When the Mustang first hit showrooms in 1964, the countdown for a Mercurized model started. That automobile, the Cougar, debuted as a 1967 model marketed as “the man’s car.” In the present day’s Junkyard Gem is a much-abused instance of the early-Nineteen Seventies Cougar, present in a San Francisco Bay Space automobile graveyard some time again.

Simply because the Mustang packed on weight and price because the Nineteen Sixties grew to become the Nineteen Seventies, the even more heavily gingerbreaded Cougar did the identical. For 1971 by way of 1973, the Cougar was nonetheless primarily based on the Mustang chassis however weighed a number of hundred further kilos and was greater than seven inches longer. The curb weight for this automobile was 3,298 kilos, versus 2,941 kilos for the lightest ’72 Mustang coupe.

Sure, there is a Mustang beneath all that chrome! When the Mustang went to a modified Pinto chassis beginning within the 1974 mannequin yr, the Cougar moved over to the midsize Torino platform and stayed there till it rejoined the Mustang on the Fox platform for 1980 (although the distinction of being the Mustang’s near-twin went to the Mercury Capri at that time). For 1989, the Cougar grew to become an MN12 Thunderbird sibling, the place it remained by way of its 30th anniversary … after which the Cougar bought the axe. The Cougar story wasn’t completed at that time, nonetheless, as a result of the title bought revived in 1999 with a Mondeo-based version that lasted through 2002 and bears the excellence of being one of many few Mercury fashions with no corresponding Ford-badged counterpart.

Alongside the best way, there were Cougar sedans and even station wagons, with the curb weight of the heaviest-ever Cougar bloating to effectively over two tons (the winner of that honor is the 1977 Cougar Villager wagon, scaling in at an astounding 4,482 kilos). In 1972, although, all new Cougars had been coupes or convertibles, and all of them got here with manufacturing facility V8 energy.

The build tag on this one tells us that it was assembled at the River Rouge compound in Dearborn and bought by way of the Kansas Metropolis gross sales workplace. That tells us that somebody drove this automobile to California after shopping for it within the Midwest; Ford additionally built 1972 Cougars in San Jose, so California Mercury buyers would have purchased locally-produced ones. It is a top-end XR-7 in Medium Brilliant Yellow paint, with the inside in Medium Ginger.

The engine was gone after I bought there, however this sticker tells us it was a 351-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) Cleveland V8 with two-barrel carburetor, rated at 163 net (not gross) horsepower. Junkyard buyers nonetheless seize 351C engines quickly after they hit a yard’s stock.

The construct tag specified the transmission as a three-speed FMX computerized, and the engine pullers left it behind. A three-speed manual was the base transmission.

The inside bought picked almost clear by boneyard scavengers.

There is a late-Nineties parking sticker from Pioneer High School in San Jose, and the type of physique rust California automobiles typically bought round window trim.

The checklist worth on this automobile was $3,323, or about $23,997 in 2022 {dollars}. This was almost as pricey as the most expensive 1972 Mercury Montego, the GT.

A 1967-1970 Cougar on this situation may need been price restoring, however there wasn’t a lot hope for this automobile as soon as it entered the junkyard ecosystem.

Civilized like a chic lady, savage (MEOW!) like a cat. I all the time really feel unhealthy for the leashed-up (and doubtless drugged) large felines in Cougar commercials of the Nineteen Seventies.

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