Conceived as an upscale sporty car to bridge the gap between the Mustang and Thunderbird within Ford Motor Company’s model lines, the Mercury Cougar enjoyed immediate success as Motor Trend magazine’s Car of the Year for 1967. Sharing its basic structure with Ford’s wildly successful Mustang, the Cougar was based on a slightly longer-wheelbase chassis and exuded an upmarket Grand Touring persona with its hardtop body design, covered headlamps, and wide taillights. Performance was integral to the stylish Cougar’s success, with the full range of Ford Motor Company V-8 engines and drivetrain combinations available. More than just a stylish cruiser, the Cougar earned its performance stripes in 1967 when it nearly won the hugely popular SCCA Trans-Am racing series over its Ford Motor Company running mate, the Mustang.
A handsome restyling came for 1969 with a longer, wider body, plus a new convertible and the Boss Mustang-styled Eliminator, while the XR-7 remained the image leader with upscale trim and upholstery. The Cougar XR-7 also scored a high-profile movie appearance with a ski-equipped convertible, driven by screen siren Diana Rigg as Tracy di Vicenzo, in the 1969 James Bond epic film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which starred George Lazenby in his sole appearance as the debonair Agent 007.
The Cougar was a robust seller when new and 100,085 were produced for the 1969 model year, including 23,914 XR-7 Hardtops. Just 504 left the factory with the potent 428 CJ Ram Air engine, laughably under-rated at 335 horsepower. Only 139 of them came with Ford’s tough “Toploader” 4-speed manual transmission. Of them, this Cougar XR-7 is the only one equipped with a 3.25:1 Traction-Lok rear axle.
This “1 of 1” Cougar was ordered through Ford’s Philadelphia Ordering District and built at Ford’s Dearborn factory on January 8, 1969, finished in Yellow paint over Black leather bucket seats – the colors it retains today. Following assembly, this extremely rare Cougar was delivered new to Richards Motor Sales of Bridgeton, New Jersey with a long list of factory options. In addition to its high-performance options, the Cougar was also optioned with power front disc brakes, power steering, a Tilt-Away steering wheel, a floor console, Philco AM radio and 8-Track Stereo tape player, complete tinted glass, and Deluxe seatbelts with a warning light. Appearance options Styled Steel wheels, color-keyed floor mats, and a Black vinyl roof. Another rare option was a set of Firestone FR70X14 Wide Oval Radial tires, which likely enhanced the ride and handling characteristics of this muscular yet luxurious Cougar very nicely.
As offered, this singular Cougar XR-7 benefits from an exacting restoration including a high-quality repaint in the factory-specified Yellow, an outstanding interior that stays true to its factory specifications, and excellent brightwork throughout. Other highlights include a factory tachometer, front and rear spoilers, Hurst shifter, and twin racing mirrors. A Deluxe Marti Report accompanies this “1 of 1” Cougar, confirming all factory details, options, and statistics.
In a sea of Mustangs available in today’s collector-car market, a high-quality Cougar is a true rarity. With its heavy load of factory options, legendary Ram Air 428 Cobra Jet powerplant, 4-speed transmission, and 3.25:1 Traction Lok rear axle, this “1 of 1” 1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Hardtop is simply a collector-grade example of Mercury muscle. Check it out by contacting Larry at Grogan Classics in Watford, Ontario and make it yours today!