At least Mercury wasn’t the division that never quite fit where it was intended, as had previously been the case with the planet Venus. Dearborn’s front office never did much to modify the public’s perception of it over its long history as either a luxurious Ford or a baby Lincoln. In the 1950s and the early 1960s, there were a few brave attempts. However, Mercury’s announcement of the Cougar’s arrival for 1967 was a moment when it stood out exactly as intended. This time around, Mercury’s design team didn’t just tweak the Mustang’s look; they completely revamped the platform to create a vehicle that was both longer and broader than the previous model. The 200-hp 289-cu.in. V-8, which was standard equipment, was the source of power. Elegant, slender wrap-around front and rear bumpers with delicately sculpted sides and bigger sail panels emphasize the coupe design of the vehicle. In keeping with the front end’s style, the rear end of the Cougar was given large taillamps with sequential turn signals. Vinyl bucket seats, soft carpeting, and a three-spoke “sport style” steering wheel adorned the cabins of these cars. The result was a car that combined the personal luxury features of the Thunderbird with the agility and adaptability of the Mustang.The Cougar, one of several new “pony cars,” was a huge hit in its debut year on the market, selling 123,672 units. And as if that wasn’t enough, the modestly more luxurious Cougar XR-7 was released midway through the year, drawing an additional 27,221 buyers.
For the first time, the 1969 Cougars were offered with a convertible option for the first time in the series’ history. Hidden headlamps, beautiful bumpers, and a racy-yet-formal C-pillar and backlite are just a few of the design cues that remain. There was only a slight “sweep” from the front fender’s leading edge to the top of the front wheel opening, and then on to the door, disappearing into the quarter panel immediately in front of that opening, on the sides, which were smoothed down considerably. With the addition of a 193.8-inch-long body, the Buick-like character line was given a boost. It was also 2.9 inches wider, but the wheelbase remained the same at 111. The 289-cubic-inch V-8 engine had been phased out in favor of a 351-cubic-inch unit rated at 250 horsepower when fitted with a two-barrel carburetor and a three-speed manual transmission. If that wasn’t enough, there were also four-barrel 351 and four-barrel 390 variations available. A 335-hp version of the 428 CJ, with or without Ram Air, was at the top of the list. A four-speed manual transmission or an automatic transmission was also an option.
Mercury’s engineers built a new foundation that was longer and broader, along with a suspension designed for spirited-yet-discerning drivers based on the basis of the original Mustang design. A 200-horsepower, 289-cu.in.V-8 engine was fitted instead of a six-cylinder as the vehicle’s primary power source. Using European design cues, stylists created an aerodynamic body with a rounded front and rear fascia, recessed headlamps, and sequential turn signals that echoed the front fascia. It had a three-spoke “sport style” steering wheel, vinyl bucket seats, and luxurious carpeting, all of which helped make the Cougar a harmonic blend of Thunderbird luxury and Mustang athleticism. Additionally, 27,221 expensive Cougar XR-7 cars were sold in mid-year 1967, drawing in 123,672 purchasers. The Cougar had a promising start, and this particular specimen from 1969 is a testament to that. This was the year when a convertible model was introduced, as well as a more polished look for all 1969 Cougars. Hidden headlamps, elegant bumpers, and a sporty-yet-formal Cpillar and backlite were still present, but their flanks were smoothed, save for a gentle “sweep” that dipped and gradually fades into the quarter panel just in front of the wheel opening, just before the fender edge. A 193.8-inch torso instead of a 190.3-inch torso contributed to the graceful sweep. The vehicle’s wheelbase remained the same at 111 inches, but it was expanded by 2.9 inches.