1967 Mercury Cougar: The pony car goes Brougham

Thomas Klockau

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.

Jayson Coombes

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.

Jayson Coombes

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.

Jayson Coombes

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.

Jayson Coombes

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.”

Jayson Coombes

“Mercury Cougar is a car of todaya  contemporary machine for exciting people. And the best luxury sports car you can buy for the money.”

Jayson Coombes

I say Brougham, but the Cougar really gave a Jaguar-like vibeif 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 dashboardagain very much aping contemporary Jaguars, right down to the toggle switches in the center of the instrument panel.

Jayson Coombes

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.

Jayson Coombes

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.

Jayson Coombes

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 196769 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.

Jayson Coombes

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.

Jayson Coombes

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.

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    My first car was and is a ’67 Cougar XR-7 that I bought in 1973 for $1,050. It was a 289 4V (225 HP) and C4 automatic with about 70,000 miles on it. Still driving it for a total of about 337,000 miles, but now it has a 302 and AOD in it. My wife says it’s my first love, and I have to agree since I’ve had it 5 years longer than I’ve known her! Still a beautiful car that I love to drive.

    Well, since the word “Brougham” was in the title of this article, my dad bought my mom a 1969 Mercury Marquis Brougham 4 door with electric and Vacuum everything. This land yacht was simply stunning. It had every possible interior and exterior luxury option the good folks at the dealership could give it. Of special note, and special blood rush to me, (I drove this naughty girl all over the place in So. Cal loaded with friends), it was equipped with a 429 4bbl Police Interceptor! WHY DID IT HAVE THIS ENGINE?? All three of my older brothers, myself included, got speeding violations in this artificial burl wood encrusted luxury rocket! So sad that a drunk driver T-boned me and the insurance co. chose to total it in 1979.

    I have never had the pleasure of riding in an XR7, but I would guess they were a sexy and quick little cousin to this Big Momma of my early driving adventures.

    The Cougar was my dream car since I first got my driver’s license. I was fortunate to find one, parked on a streetcorner in the 1970’s. I only paid $500.00 for it. Unfortunately, someone rear ended me, and it was totaled! I have dreamed of finding a replacement for years.

    My first car at 18 was a green 67 Cougar with black vinyl top. Got a deal on it from a waitress I worked with at a local restaurant. She had cut into a funeral procession and got clipped in the left rear quarter panel. I got out the old trusty dent puller, a grinder & sander, and filled in with bondo. Topped it off with a can of similar color spray paint. Wooden steering wheel, automatic 289. Best memory was while spending a little quality time with my girl, a few minutes after parking I heard this strange, metallic creaking noise. Turned out it was the hideaway headlight covers closing. Loved the sequential turn signal lights…cool!

    My dream garage has a ’65 Mustang convertible in it, a ’67 Cougar coupe, and a ’68 GTX. Those were some fine-looking cars indeed. Funny how the Cougar has always vanished from the Top Five when I forget about it yet instantly pegs at Number One when that grille catches my eye…

    I loved the Cougar until 1970 – after that, not so much. As a kid I used to build models of them and vowed to myself THAT was what I would drive as soon as I got old enough to get a license.
    My first car? A 1967 2 door Mercury Marquis Brougham. And in the many years (and a few hundred cars) later, I STILL have not owned that sweet Cougar. I’ve come close a time or two but just never justified the purchase. Someday perhaps, but time’s running out. I do have my few classics I enjoy though.

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