1967 Mercury Cougar GT
2dr Hardtop Coupe
8-cyl. 390cid/320hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The Cougar was the most successful model launch in the history of Mercury, with 150,893 built in 1967, of which 27,221 were XR-7s. Surprisingly, a convertible would not be offered until 1969. It was named Car of The Year by Motor Trend magazine, beating out the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Thunderbird and Cadillac Eldorado.
Base price was $2,851 – only $350 more than the Ford Mustang on which it was based, while the luxury XR-7 model started at $3,081 and accounted for 20% of sales. Mercury management was delighted to discover most cars traded in were equivalent models from the competition. In SCCA Trans Am racing, Cougar lost the season title to Mustang by only two points.
The Cougar’s genesis was part of the Mustang’s development and the original 1962 clay model by designers David Ash and Joseph Oros was actually called the Cougar, with a cat emblem in the center of the grille. A number of fairly ghastly prototype Cougars followed the Mustang model, but two 1965 concepts were combined for the final version from John Aiken’s Advanced Studio. The body was set over the Mustang sub-frame, but the wheelbase was three inches longer and a drag-strut added to the front suspension for improved directional control. Rather than being slab-sided like the Mustang, the Cougar was barrel-sided with a strong lower character line.
Meanwhile, vertical grilles concealed pop-up headlights, while the motif was repeated at the rear, with sequential taillights from the 1965-66 Thunderbirds. The luxury XR-7 had simulated burled walnut and a full set of gauges, with toggle switches in the center of the dash.
The Cougar was aimed upmarket against Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac coupes. Engine options started with two 289 cid V-8s, with 200 bhp and 225 bhp. Top motor was a 320 bhp, 390 cid Marauder V8. A 3-speed manual gearbox was standard with a 4-speed optional and a “select-shift” automatic transmission, in which drivers could hold both first and second gears. A dual brake system was offered, with power brakes and disc option, power steering, cruise control, sports console AM/8-track or cassette stereo and a swing-away steering wheel. Interior trim was luxurious with leather option and air conditioning.
Option prices included the GT performance package ($325.85), which included the 390 V-8, heavy duty suspension, dual exhaust and disc brakes; air conditioning ($355.95), AM/FM stereo cassette ($188.50), styled steel wheels ($115.15), tilt swing-away steering wheel ($60.05), power steering ($95), power disc brakes ($84.25), Oxford vinyl roof ($84.25) and cruise control ($71.30).
Mercury analyzed the popularity of options and reported that 80.9% of Cougars had automatic transmissions, 13.8% had 3-speeds, 5.3% had 4-speeds, 76.8% had power steering, 22.2% had power brakes, 13.9% had disc brakes, and 33.9% had air conditioning. Motor Trend testers reported the 320 bhp, 390 cubic-inch-powered Cougar could do 0-60 mph in 8.1 seconds, with a 16-second quarter mile at 89 mph.
Cougar buyers could choose from 16 colors with various two-tone options and either white or black vinyl tops. Exterior colors were: Onyx, Glacier Blue, Turquoise, Sage Gold, Fawn, Burgundy, Polar White, Caspian Blue, Trafalgar Blue, Lime Frost, Cinnamon Frost, Tiffany Blue, Nordic Blue, Jamaican Yellow, Inverness Green and Cardinal Red. Other lists include Sheffield Silver and Cumberland Beige but omit Tiffany Blue and Nordic Blue.
Interiors were available in vinyl, comfort weave vinyl and leather with vinyl for the XR-7. Bucket and bench front seats were also available. Vinyl colors included Black, Red, Blue Aqua, Parchment, Ivy, Gold and Saddle. Comfort-weave vinyl colors were Black, Blue and Parchment. Vinyl bench seats could also be Black Blue or Parchment. XR-7 leather vinyl colors were Black, Dark red, Dark Blue, Parchment, Dark Ivy Gold, Aqua and Saddle.