The Mercury Cougar was introduced by the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford on September 30, 1966. Far exceeding initial sales projections, the Cougar accounted for nearly 40% of 1967 Lincoln-Mercury sales. The Cougar received the 1967 Motor Trend Car of the Year award (the first Lincoln-Mercury vehicle to do so). The Lincoln-Mercury counterpart of the Ford Mustang, the Cougar was initially introduced as a two-door hardtop.
With 2,972,784 examples produced, the Cougar is the highest-selling vehicle ever produced by the Mercury brand; its 34-year production is second only to the Grand Marquis in the Mercury model line (produced for 36 years). During the 1970s and 1980s, the Cougar was closely tied to the marketing of the Mercury division; Mercury advertised its dealers as "The Sign of the Cat" with big cats atop Lincoln-Mercury dealer signs. In line with the Cougar, several animal-related nameplates were adopted by the division, including the Bobcat, Lynx, and Sable.
The first-generation Cougar was offered in two trims, an unnamed standard trim, and the Cougar XR-7, introduced in early 1967. Available for both the standard Cougar and Cougar XR-7, the GT option package was developed as a sportier version of the Cougar. Standardizing a 390 cubic-inch "Marauder GT" V8 (320 hp), the Cougar GT was fitted with upgraded suspension, larger brakes, wheels, and tires, and a low-restriction exhaust system.
For 1968, the GT-E was introduced above the Cougar GT. Offering a racing-derived 390 hp 427 V8 (paired solely with a 3-speed automatic), the GT-E received its own badging, quad exhaust, and a redesigned grille; power front disc brakes were standard. As a running change, the 427 engine was joined by a 428 Cobra Jet as an option, the latter was officially rated at 335 hp. A total of 394 GT-Es were manufactured; of which 357 were equipped with the 427 and 37 were built with the 428CJ.
For 1971, Lincoln-Mercury released the second-generation Mercury Cougar. Seeking more direct competition for the model line, the division largely benchmarked the Cougar against the numerous GM A-body coupes, placing the Cougar in competition with the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. While again sharing much of its bodyshell with the Ford Mustang, the Cougar began to transition away from its role as a "plush pony car", deriving aspects from both sports cars and luxury cars.
The second-generation Cougar is the final version derived from the Ford Mustang and the final version offered as a convertible. A light blue/white 1973 Cougar XR-7 convertible was the "last" convertible assembled by Ford Motor Company as American manufacturers ended assembly of convertibles during the 1970s in anticipation of increased rollover safety standards.
They never made a 429 Super Cobra Jet Ram Air Cougar, you may say, and to a certain extent you are correct. This car, however, is 1 of 17 cars built for District Sales Office ( DSO) use as Press/Promo cars to showcase the new Cougar, with the Cobra Jet. 12 of the cars were Automatics and 5 were 4 Speeds. All 17 cars were painted Bright Metallic Blue with White Tops and Interiors. They were all pretty well equipped, this car having AC, Power Windows, Power Seat, Power Top, and Power Door Locks.
This car was shipped to Ford R&E at the old Packard Proving Grounds in Utica, and was upgraded to the Super Cobra Jet Ram Air there. In the Automotive Production World this would be known as a "Test Mule". Test Mules are typically destroyed, however, an engineer there checked the car out one weekend and it never returned. The car lived most of its life- from 1989 to 2017 at the NATMUS Museum in Auburn, Indiana. The car was featured in the Sept 1987 edition of Muscle Car Review, and the July, 1988 edition of Muscle Cars; copies of which accompany the car. Additionally, the car is noted in the Book Mercury Muscle Cars.
This car is the only one of the 17 DSO cars equipped with the 429 Super Cobra Jet, making it literally a One off, or 1 of 1 car, one of the rarest Muscle cars in existence.
For the most part the car is largely original having covered only 39,500 miles from new. The interior and carpets are in excellent conditon, and the drivetrain has never been out of the car. An MSD ignition was added for increased reliability but the original Dual Point Distributor is still with the car. With the expection of the Tach which does not work with the MSD ignition, everything works on this car.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a truly one of one Muscle Car.