At first glance, this great-looking 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7 coupe seemed like the kind of low-mileage survivor that spent most of its life hanging out in the garage. A one-owner Southern California car, the Pick of the Day is actually testament to the power of good, persistent care and maintenance in keeping a vehicle like new.
As I read the lengthy description provided by the Santa Monica, California, dealer on ClassicCars.com, it seemed to follow the familiar route of collector cars that have been barely driven and as a result have remained in pristine condition. But I could feel my eyes bug out when I read what’s on the odometer: 221,980 miles!
Amazing. Other than a repaint in its original Dark Moss Green Metallic, some expected mechanical repairs and unspecified cleanup of the interior, the California “black plate” Cougar stands as a survivor of a much different kind, one that has weathered highway travel, traffic jams and parking lots for nearly a half century, and lived to tell the tale.
One of the photos in the extensive gallery with the ad shows the array of paperwork that plots the history of this car going back to when it was sold new to its local owner on July 31, 1967, by a Beverly Hills Lincoln Mercury dealer.
“The car was purchased and has always been owned by its original and only Southern California owner, and boasts its original Protecto-plate and all original service records showing that at no time was any expense spared on this car’s preventive maintenance,” the seller says in the listing.
“The engine is extremely strong and responsive with excellent oil pressure and no noticeable oil leaks, and which sounds absolutely magnificent, the transmission shifts smoothly through the gears and the engine temperature always remains cool.”
The Mercury Cougar is the luxury version of the Ford Mustang, as any Ford guy could tell you, that adds an array of upgraded features and trim as well as evocative styling, with headlights hidden in the grille and extra-wide taillights with sequential turn signals, which was highly exotic for the era.
This one has the familiar 289 cid V8 with a four-barrel carburetor and Merc-O-Matic transmission. The saddle-tan vinyl interior is enhanced with a simulated-wood dashboard with the sporty addition of black-faced competition gauges, toggle switches, overhead console and T-bar shifter.
As might be expected, the car is not perfect, the dealer says: “Please note that it does have a few shopping-cart dings and paint chips and a very small dent on the driver’s side rear fender.”
The car recently had its full service, repairs and replacements, which include an Edelbrock performance carburetor, a new radiator, power-steering hoses and heater core. The original air-conditioning compressor has been removed and not replaced, so that would need to be remedied if you wanted to stay cool.
The price tag for this unusual Cougar is $15,500, which might be a leap of faith considering its high mileage, although the apparently compulsive maintenance schedule and the car’s overall condition are reassuring. According to the dealer, the car is in turn-key condition and ready to go out and turn heads.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day