1967 Mercury Cougar: The pony car goes Brougham
What is Brougham? Simply put, it’s a state of mind. A state of mind where you value elegance and luxury and fine appointments and quality fabrics over stomping, hot-rod speed and burning tires and high insurance premiums. Something with a touch of class.
And so it was that Lincoln-Mercury division took a Mustang, made it elegant, and turned it into a beautiful pony car: the original Mercury Cougar.
OK, calling it a Brougham is a stretch. But I’m known as the Brougham Guy around here, so sometimes I get carried away. Velour and opera lamps are in my blood. But there’s no denying the Cougar was meant as an upscale sibling to the popular Mustang. I’ve always loved the electric-shaver grille with hidden headlights and matching taillights. And it was a success: 123,672 were built in the car’s inaugural year.
Sure, that was nothing compared to the 356,271 Mustang hardtops, 71,042 Mustang fastbacks, and 44,808 Mustang convertibles sold that same year. But it was very respectable for sedate Lincoln-Mercury Division, which naturally had an older, less-excitable clientele.
The Cougar added a bit of much-needed spice to the Montclairs and Colony Parks in the showroom. As the 1967 brochure confided, “Untamed elegance … that’s Mercury Cougar. America’s first luxury sports car at a popular price. With a European flair and thrust to its styling.”
“Mercury Cougar is a car of today—a contemporary machine for exciting people. And the best luxury sports car you can buy for the money.”
I say Brougham, but the Cougar really gave a Jaguar-like vibe—if not in overall shape, then in its restrained but elegant looks, inside and out. The upmarket XR-7 was even more so.
The Cougar XR-7 had a factory price of $3081 (about $27K today), which was $230 ($2K) more than the base Cougar. A total of 27,221 were built on top of the 123,000-odd base Cougars made for 1967. The primary difference was inside, with a more ornate leather interior and woodgrain dashboard—again very much aping contemporary Jaguars, right down to the toggle switches in the center of the instrument panel.
A two-barrel 289-cubic-inch V-8 with 200 horsepower was standard on Cougar, with a 225-hp, four-barrel 289 and 320-hp, four-barrel 390 optional. All but the base engine required premium gasoline; the 390 was only available with the Cougar GT package.
This fine example was discovered by fellow classic car spotter and pal Jayson Coombes. It was at a show held in late August 2022 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As Jayson related, “I tried to get enough good photos for potential articles for you, should the mood strike you. LOL! I thought you’d like the Cougar. I loved how unmolested it was, even down to actual wheel covers.” It appears to be Fawn, an original 1967 color.
Although this wasn’t a huge car show, the vehicles on display were of extreme interest to guys like Jayson and me. No usual late-model Chargers, or 1980s Corvettes, or resto-mod 1967–69 Camaros. Nope! Instead there were classy pony cars like our featured vehicle, a tan and brown 1984 Coupe de Ville, 1970 Riviera, 1979 Continental Mark V Cartier (which can be seen in the background of some of these photos) and even a late-1970s/early-’80s Dodge Challenger.
You know, the one based on the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda? And its corporate sibling the Plymouth Sapporo? I’m including one photo of it because they are almost extinct. And to drive the muscle car Challenger people crazy. Yes, they did exist.
And as for the Cougar, I always loved them. Even today I’d love to see a more elegant, notchback Cougar version of the current Mustang. If wishes were horses … But we can all still enjoy surviving examples. Like this one.
The Cougars of that era were all very nice, (no snide comments, now…)
The future Mrs. James Bond drove one in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, (1969.)
I think they all had sequential rear directional lights too.
I learned to drive in a 68 Dan Gurney my Dad ordered from the factory . It was a really nice car that his neighbors were jealous of. But with the console I had to take the test in my Mom’s 66 Bonneville station wagon. It was the metalic green on green with a black vinyl roof. It is actually sitting in the woods of West Virginia at my brothers property rotting away.
How much is a Mercury cougar 1967 worth now?
Great article. Cool pics! It sure looks like the owner had just replaced all the springs, or maybe installed really short tires. I don’t remember one sitting quite that high after they’d been in the world for a few years.
Love the sequential tail lights!
Loved them when they were introduced. Visited the L/M dealer with my older brother who ended up with an SS396 Chevelle. But I loved that Cougar more.
I loved the 67 Mercury cougar that was my first car I bought it used in 1973 with 100,000 miles on it it was one of those odd green colors with black interior much like the one in your article.
I owned it for about 6 years. Wish I would have kept it and kept it up. Instead I moved to a triumph TR6 they were fun cars I owned several of them
I really appreciate your articles thank you for posting them
Check out Mustang history. My roommate had a Mustang Le Grand or Grande. Same thing; leather and a lot of “sophisticated” add ons.
While Mercury has been deader than a doornail since 2010, at least the Cougar lives on in a small way, since all ICE Mustangs since have used sequential rear turn signals (even if they did premier on the 1965 T-Bird).
I suspect it was because I was 15 in 1970 — ogling cars just before I had a license to drive — but I have a deep affection for 1970 Cougar convertibles. My friends in the PCA and SAAC always laughed derisively at this odd devotion, but I will begin my search in earnest for a great resto-mod once I retire.
My widowed mother and her as yet unmarried younger sister both bought XR-7s in 1967, one red, one burgundy. Classy cars for classy ladies! Sidebar practical note: No traction in an Ontario winter without 100 pounds of salt in the trunk, but otherwise just fine.
I had a 1967 Copper with Black vinyl top 289 four barrel I bought used. I love that car until March of 1971 when I was hit in the front end by a Corvette that cut me off. Insurance wrote it off, so I bought a 1971 Blue with white vinyl roof and white interior, it was a 289 4 barrel as well. The in 1978 bought a Midnight Blue with Tan top and interior. They all drove well and we had very few problems. The 1978 was a big vehicle though with a 351 engine.
As a kid, my mom had a 66 Mustang coupe. 289. Nice little car, until my uncle wrecked it. So that’s where my love affair started. As a teen had a 67 coupe-piece of junk but I was too naive to realize it. Then proceeded to own three 69 coupes and a 67 fastback. My high school girlfriend’s mom drive a 68 cougar base model. Immaculate interior rusty exterior because it was her daily driver. I’m from eastern Canada-so the snow killed it. My high school job there was a lady that worked at the Chinese restaurant who drove a 67 base model. She didn’t know what she had. Always wanted to talk to her about it but her command of the English language was not good. Then years later happened to be picking up my better half and there in the back fenced area sat a 1968 XR7 Cougar! The maintenance man for her work said that is the big boss’s car. After a few calls and some gentle persuasion I bought that bad boy. 27 years late that car sits in my heated garage. I am the second owner of a numbers matching, 95% original, factory big block, factory air, factory automatic, Wimbledon white/maroon interior, 68 XR7. Considering all the Stangs I’ve had-one walk around this car and you say, “this is one cool car”.
I like the 60’s Cougars. Nice looks and a great Mustang alternative.
lived next door to the Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Ft Lauderdale when these were new; there was a pale yellow one in the showroom I could see from my bedroom window. It was the first car 3 year old me was smitten with
For reasons too long to go into here, I had three ’67 Cougars between fall 66 and summer 67. First one was Cardinal Red, black vinyl roof, comfortweave upholstery and a 289 4 barrel. Next was an XR-7 with the 390, Glacier Blue black vinyl roof, blue leather seats, radial tires, styled steel wheels and so forth. Loved that car but I had to sell it. The car was on a 90 day note and when I moved, I could not get it financed at my new city. Bought and financed a white XR-7 which was nice but the pick of the litter was the GT. I wish I had that car today. I have a very soft spot on my heart for those ’67’s.
Our family purchased a Ford only dealership in 1963 and I am convinced that the ’67 Cougar was the reason we took on a Mercury franchise as my dad absolutely loved this cool cat! I can remember when he brought home an orange Cougar Eliminator with a 4 speed. Took my buddies and me for one hellacious ride smoking a big stogie and laughing as we far exceeded the speed limit. Ah, the good ol’ days!