1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Hardtop Coupe / Photos Specs

The 1971-1973 Mercury Cougars were the last of the Cougar Pony Cars. The car featured in this article is a 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7. The XR-7 was the upscale model with leather seating and a wood grained dashboard.

mercury cougar xr-7

1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7

First and Second Generations Mercury Cougar

The first generation Mercury Cougars were produced from 1967 through 1970. These first generation Cougars can be said to be Mercury’s version of the Mustang. The 71-73 Cougars were somewhat more of a luxury car than a Pony Car during these model years. These were the second generation Cougars and had received a restyling.The Mercury Cougar actually started to have some resemblance to the Thunderbird and the Continental Mark IV. In fact, some will say that the second generation Cougars are not “real Cougars”. They prefer instead the first generation cars.

The 1971-73 models were heavier cars . Design changes for this generation Mercury Cougars included a much more prominent center grille and exposed headlamps.The more luxurious XR-7 models were the top of the line. Compared to the 1972 Cougar, the 73 model styling was largely unchanged with the exception of the grille and the tail lights.

cougar xr-7 specifications

The 1973 Mercury Cougar was also the last year for it’s Mustang chassis. Although it used the Mustang chassis through 1973, the wheelbase was three inches longer. The 1973 model was the last year of the Cougar ’personal car’ concept that was first introduced in 1967.The 1974 model year saw significant changes for the Cougar models. That model was essentially a large luxury car.

Sales Pick Up in 1973

Sales had been sliding for a while and it wasn’t until the 1973 model year that sales finally turned up. As an example, total production in 1971 for the Cougar XR-7 Hardtop Coupe was 25,416 vehicles. The 1971 production for the XR-7 Convertible was 1,717 vehicles. Two model years later in 1973, the production for the XR-7 Hardtop Coupe was 35,100 units. For the 1971 Xr-7 Convertibles it was 3,165 units. The ragtops, first introduced in 1969, obviously are the much more rare Cougar XR-7′s. It’s interesting to know that the 1973 Cougar Convertible was the last Mercury ragtop of that decade.

Mercury Promotes the 1973 Cougar

Mercury advertised the 1973 Cougar as a smooth riding car, as smooth as the high priced luxury automobiles. The reason per Mercury was simply “ we build them better“. The Mercury Cougar also had good success on the competitive racing circuit during the late 60′s and early 70′s. This was promoted by Mercury as well however during the early 1970′s, new emission and safety standards imposed by the government along with the gas shortage crisis pretty much put an end to the real muscle car era that began in the mid 60′s. What Mercury really did with it’s Cougar model was to offer excellent performance along with a comfortable ride.

1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Specifications

The 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 was built with a 351 cubic inch eight cylinder engine delivering 168 HP with a two barrel carburetor. This model also was available with a four barrel carburetor putting out 264 HP.Transmissions included a three and four speed manual and a Select-Shift automatic.

mercury xr-7

Another engine available in limited numbers in 1973 was the Big Block 429 CJ V-8. This engine was rated at 375 HP. There was a police version for this engine as well.

Transmissions included a three and four speed manual and a Select-Shift automatic.

Overall outside car length was 199.5 inches on a wheelbase of 112.1 inches. Overall width was 75.0 inches. By today’s standards the second generation Cougars were large cars. Weight for the 73 Cougar was 3,500 lbs.

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One Sharp Looking 1969 Pontiac GTO

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Where to Find Serial Numbers on Classic and Vintage Cars

mercury cougar muscle carThe new car price for a 1973 Mercury Cougar ranged from $3,400 to $3,900. The XR-7′s being on the higher end.

Mercury Cougar XR-7 Collector Cars

For the 1971-73 era , the 429 CJ cars are the ones in greater demand by collectors.

As of this writing we see second generation Mercury Cougar Hardtop Coupes with asking prices between $10,000 and $18,000. The price is dictated by condition and mileage plus any restoration performed.

The Cougar convertibles also have a wide range of asking prices. You should find some in the high teens area and for XR-7′s in great condition in the mid twenties to the mid thirties.

(Articles and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)

The 2006 Ford GT Mid Engine Supercar / Photos Specs

This Ford Supercar model, the two seater Mid Engine Ford GT was first introduced at the North American Auto Show in 2002. One month after this release, Ford Motor announced that the car would be put into production. The car featured in this article is the 2006 Ford GT with a 5.4 liter mid engine turbo charged power plant. Output from this engine is 550 HP.

2006 ford gt

2006 Ford GT

Ford GT and Ford GT40

The Ford GT is an all-American Supercar that was created in honor of the history of the GT40 race cars that dominated Le Mans in the mid-1960s. The new GT was designed for the road as opposed to the GT40 of the 1960′s.

The car is the street version of the Grand Prix race car. The body design and lines are stunning from any angle. Every curve and line on the Ford GT  is a creative reinterpretation of the GT40 race car. The Ford GT is obviously a real head turner.

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Ford’s first win at Le Mans, the 2006 Ford GT was offered in a limited-edition Tungsten Grey color. Ford Motor developed this color in 2004 for the show cars…the Ford GT, the Shelby Cobra roadster concept and the new 2005 Mustang GT. These were featured in the North American International Auto Show Ford “Performance Trilogy”.

ford gt engine

5.4 Liter 550 HP engine mid mounted

The 2006 Ford GT was of the first generation (2005-2006). The second generation Ford GT’s will be out for the 2016 model year and will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the 1966 Le Mans victories.

Ford GT Vs. Chevy Corvette

There is no question that in 2006, the Ford GT was a competitor to the Chevy Corvette. Both of those impressive vehicles were true sports cars. With that being said, there were many wide differences. Start with the price tag. In 2006, the Chevrolet Corvette was priced at around $70,000. On the other hand, you would have had to pay around $140,000 for the 2006 Ford GT.

In ways other than price, the two cars were quite similar. While the Ford GT had a 5.4 liter V-8 engine putting out 550 horsepower, the 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 sported a 7.0 liter V-8 rated at 505 horsepower. Both cars did do the 0-60 at 3.7 seconds.

The Ford GT’s 5.4 Liter Engine

The Ford GT engine was based on the largest V-8 in Ford’s modular engine family. This eight cylinder Ford GT engine has an all-aluminum block. with four valve cylinder heads. The crankshaft is forged steel and forged aluminum pistons. This engine allowed serious supercar performance. The 550 HP put out by this engine is generally comparable with the original, larger engine that went into competition GT40 cars. Those GT40′s were pure race cars that had impressive results at Le Mans. In 1966 they placed 1, 2, 3. Ford also had great racing successes with their GT40 race car at both Sebring and Daytona.

2006 ford gt first generation2006 Ford GT Specifications

As mentioned above, the 2006 Ford GT Supercar was equipped with an Eight cylinder 5.4 liter mid mounted engine producing 550 HP. The engine block was all aluminum with forged aluminum pistons. It’s said that the top speed for the 2006 Ford GT is over 200 MPH. Fuel efficiency is rated at 13 city and 21 highway.

Transmission on the 2006 Ford GT was a six speed manual with overdrive.

Dimensions of the 2006 Ford GT are different from the GT40 race car. The 2006 GT is 18 inches longer and 4 inches taller than the GT40. Dimensions for the 2006 Ford GT includes an overall length of 182.8 inches, a wheelbase of 106.7 inches, a width of 76.9 inches and a height of 44.3 inches. The car’s weight is rated at 3,350 lbs.

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ford gt supercar2006 Ford GT Collector Values

The 2006 Ford GT is a popular sports cars with plenty of excellent owner reviews.Some believe the 2005-2006 Ford GT, sometimes known as the GT40, is the best American car ever built.

The first generation Ford GT’s sold for around $140,000, sometimes a bit higher. As of this writing, we see one 2006 Ford GT with a price tag of $285,000.

The Ford GT ended up being a fine investment. These Supercars are unique and, as mentioned above, Ford Motor Company will be producing the second generation GT’s beginning with the 2016 model year.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)


One Beautifully Restored 1950 Chevy 3100 Half-Ton Pickup

The vehicle featured in this article is a beautifully restored 1950 Chevrolet 3100 Series Half-Ton Pickup Truck. As you can see with these photos, the truck is a real head turner and a true classic.

1950 chevy 3100 half ton

1950 Chevy 3100 Half Ton

Chevy Advanced Design

The truck’s design really dates back a few years to 1947 when Chevy came out with a new model of pickup truck which they termed the ‘Advanced Design‘ .You can call it an entirely new truck body design. A comparison between the 1946 Chevy truck and the Advanced design 1947 model show two entirely different looking trucks.

This change ushered in many significant changes and upgrades. For instance, standard equipment included a heater and a defroster. This was an obvious significant upgrade.

The cab was enlarged by eight inches and was seven inches taller. This allowed for seating for three. The windshield was made larger and was cut into two pieces. Visibility was improved. Changes were made to the front of the truck body. The grille now had a horizontal design and recessed headlamps. The fenders became rounder which made for a smoother looking body and overall better aerodynamics.

chevy 3100 pickupGeneral Motors designated the Advance-Design series name to 1947 through 1955 trucks. It’s interesting to note that Chevrolet was the number one truck manufacturer during all of the Advanced Design years. This was quite a feat considering that Ford came out with their new F-Series trucks after 1948.

Some of the characteristics of Chevy’s Advanced Design pickup trucks included…

1) The letters on the tailgate were not painted but rather they were the same color as the tailgate.

2) The bed planks/boards were southern yellow-pine, painted black, and were not varnished. It was said that the boards were “stained” with coal tar oil and then finished with linseed oil.

3) Most 1/2 ton pickups prior to 1955 used 16″ wheels (15” wheels were an option on ½ ton trucks during the 1954 and 1955 model years..

4) In-dash radios were an option beginning with the 1947 truck model..

5) A single tail/stoplight was standard and a right taillight was available as a dealer- or customer-installed accessory.

6) The Chevy 3100 Pickup was available as a half-ton, three-quarter ton and full ton capacity. All three were available on both short and long wheelbases.

Characteristics of the 1950 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup

The 1950 3100 had a 6 cylinder Thriftmaster engine. The engine delivered 92 HP. The carburetor had an improved fast-idle/choke mechanism that helped cold weather starts.All of this continued until 1955 when Chevrolet put in their new V-8′s.

Transmission was a three speed manual on the column and the brakes were four wheel drum.

The deluxe cab had optional Nu-Vue windows which had chrome trim. The cargo area had a wooden floor. There was an optional chrome grille and bumpers.

Vent windows in the truck’s doors were introduced. During the mid year, the wood cargo bed went from nine boards to eight boards.

1950 chevy advanced designThe engines in pickups continued to be 216 cubic inch low oil pressure types. This lasted to 1953. This was the last year of the 80 MPH speedometer for the 1950 Chevy 3100. It was also the last year for chrome window handle knobs and chrome wiper knob.

The 1950 Chevy 3100 had telescoping shock absorbers rather than the lever action type.

All in all, the Chevrolet 3100 Pickups were highly customizable vehicles. Engines could be upgraded and various trim schemes were available.

The 1950 price for the Chevy 3100 Pickup was about $1,250. The truck weighed 2,575 lbs.

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An excellent reference source for Chevrolet Trucks is the book…Chevrolet Pickups by author Mike Mueller. The book tells the story about how Chevy Trucks evolved over the years.

The 1950 Chevy 3100 Pickup is a Popular Collector Vehicle

The 1950 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup Truck is a very popular collector vehicle. In fact, the 1950 Chevy 3100 Pickup is probably the most popular from the Advanced Design era. The Chevy 3100 truck today is great for stock restorations and hot rod conversions.

chevy 3100 half ton pickupOne factor to consider regarding the original engines is that before 1953 the 216 cubic inch engines put out relatively little horsepower. Using these models with original engines would not fit modern truck demands.

As of this writing, asking prices for Chevy 3100 Half-Ton Pickups have a wide range. Good running models, not fully restored but with some replacement parts, can be found in the mid teens and less. On the other end of the spectrum we have seen a show quality fully restored Chevy 3100 Half-Ton priced at just under $40,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)

1951 Willys Station Wagon / Photos Specs Model History

Willys-Ovcerland, then Willys Jeep, produced station wagons from 1946 to 1964. It’s interesting to note that some regarded the Willys Wagon or Station Wagon as more of a truck than a car. The vehicle featured in this article is a finely restored 1951 Willys Station Wagon.

1951 willys station agon

1951 Willys Station Wagon

The Willys Station Wagon was introduced by Willys-Overland in 1946, the same year in which it introduced the Universal CJ Series. The CJ Series was the Jeep built for civilian use.

The Jeep Station Wagon Design

The Willys Wagon, also called Station Wagon, has the distinction of being the first all steel station wagon by at least three years. It was also the first all steel mass produced station wagon. The all steel construction made production a bit easier. The design was unique, not only the all steel construction but also because the Willys Wagon had a front end that resembled the wartime military jeep.

The Willys Jeep Station Wagon was designed by Brooks Stevens. In 1944 Stevens and others formed the Industrial Designers Society of America. Brooks Stevens not only designed automobiles but also kitchen appliances, architecture and even the Miller Brewing logo.

The Willys Station Wagon could carry seven people. The vehicle was given the nickname by some, including James D. Mooney, president and board chairman of Willys-Overland Motors, as  “The Peoples Car”. The vehicle also gained a reputation as a safe vehicle that was relatively easy to maintain. Some referred to the Willys Station Wagon as a Jeep of another name.

willys wagonsOver it’s nearly twenty year production run, the Willys Wagon went through many changes, some significant, others not. Significant changes to the design and engine were instituted in 1950. These included a modified grille that was made to form a pointed “V” in the center, with 5 horizontal bars added to the 9 vertical ribs. The changes in available engines in 1950 included an F-134 Hurricane for the 473 model, and a new 161 cu in (2.6L) version of the Lightning six for the 673 model. For the 1950 model year Willys added another model to the lineup with it’s new Sedan Delivery version.

The Willys Wagons had inline four cylinder engines through 1947 but upgraded to an inline six beginning with the 1948 model year. In general, it could be said that the Willlys Wagons were underpowered considering their weight and size.

Changes of Ownership

Willys went through several ownership changes during the 1950′s and 1960′s. In 1963 the company was called the Kaiser-Jeep Corporation. In 1970 the company was then sold to the American Motors Corporation. Willys eventually moved from the United States to Brazil, where it was engaged in the production of jeeps until 1983. Jeep finally ended up being a part of the Chrysler Corporation where it resides today and of course is quite popular.

1952 Willys Station Wagon Specifications

In the ‘ 50s and ‘ 60s years of production Willys several times changed its owner and eventually moved from the United States to Brazil, where she was engaged in the production of jeeps until 1983.

1952 Willys Station Wagon Specifications

Just as in previous years, the Willys station wagon had a selection of different engines for the 1952 model year. These included an F6-161 Hurricane and an F 4-134 Hurricane. The F 4-134′s were also used with the Jeep CJ series. The Hurricane engine had it’s beginnings back with the Go-Devil Flathead engine.

willys wagon dashboardTransmissions available were three and four speed manuals.

Brakes were four wheel drum.

Dimensions included an overall length of 176.3 inches and a wheelbase of 104.0 inches. The 1952 Willys Wagon weighed 2,900 lbs.

See the Auto Museum Online articles on the links below…

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Willys Station Wagons as Collector Cars

Willys has several models that have gained popularity among car collectors. The Jeeps of course have a solid following and strict passenger cars were a part of Willys’ past. The Willys Station Wagons such as the one featured in this article has gained collector popularity as years passed.

willys hurrican engine

This Willys has a 350 Cubic Inch V-8

Willys Wagons over their long production run came in a variety of styles. The older wagons such as those of the early 50′s have been rising in value. For the collector, the trick has been finding one that hasn’t been mauled. Finding originality is the challenge. Like most other collectible vehicles, the more original and the more restored Willys Station Wagons will fetch the higher price.

For some sample values, as of this writing we see a 53 Willys Utility Wagon, excellent condition and rust free, priced at $23,500. Also, a 1952 fully restored in show condition for $36,000 and a restored 1951 model with a $24,900 asking price.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)






1969 Karmann Ghia Convertible / Photos and Specs

Volkswagen built and sold the Karmann Ghia between 1955 and 1974. This was VW’s offering to the sports car market.

karmann ghia convertible

1969 Karmann Ghia Convertible

Years after the war the standard of living was increasing at a fast pace and VW executives believed a newly styled car was needed for it’s lineup.

They didn’t have far to look because in the early 1950′s Karmann approached Volkswagen with just such an automobile idea. Karmann had worked previously with VW on the Beetle Cabriolet in 1949 and had good access to company management.

The two seat VW Karmann Ghia received an excellent reception from the public. The car by all means was not a powerhouse in the horsepower department but what it lacked in power it made up with it’s smart looks. The automobile featured in this article is a beautiful 1969 Karmann Ghia Convertible.

karmann ghia convertibleThe building and styling of this vehicle was accomplished byKarmann and Ghia. One was the Karmann coach builders of Germany, established in 1901, and the other was Italian design and coach building company Ghia. Together they would create a signature car for Volkswagen in both coupe and convertible styles. The convertibles came out in 1957. Volkswagen’s plans were that the Karmann Ghia, much different than their popular and historic Beetle, would emerge as their image model.

A Different Volkswagen

When the Karmann Ghia was designed, VW was selling and marketing only the Beetle and the VW Bus. Luigi Segre of the Ghia Studios is credited with the new sports car styling. This styling was the result of a public that was asking for more out of Volkswagen. Segre is also noted for his styling of the Renault Dauphine as well as a Plymouth Explorer concept car.

Volkswagen took longer than normal with their new post World War Two offering but that was quite understandable considering they had to emerge out of the German wreckage of caused by the war.

The Karmann Ghia’s engine was the same as that offered on the VW Beetle, a four cylinder air cooled design. The styling of course was completely new however the Karmann Ghia was built on a Beetle frame. The Karmann Ghia had some advantages over the more boxy Beetle. The Karmann Ghia offered a bit better cornering and better crosswind handling. The more aerodynamic Karmann Ghia was able to go faster than the Beetle by about 9 miles per hour on average.

The car was very appealing. It’s swoopy, rounded looks plus excellent construction plus the VW Beetle drivetrain made this little sports car irresistible. The convertible Karmann Ghia’s top as built similarly to the Beetle Cabriolet. This meant several layers of insulation and a glass rear window, not plastic.

karmann ghia coupeBetween 1955 and 1974, a total of 443,482 VW Karmann Ghias were produced. Out of that number there were about 80,000 convertible models built. During this long production run there were three types of Karmann Ghia’s produced. These were the Type 14, Type 34 and the TC.

1969 Karmann Ghia Specifications

The 1969 model Karmann Ghia’s rear mounted engine was a 1493 cc flat four delivering 57 horsepower. The first Karmann Ghia came out in 1955 with 36 horsepower.

Transmission was a four speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel drum.

The 1969 Karmann Ghia had a wheelbase of 94.5 inches and an overall outside length of 163.0 inches.  The car’s weight came in at approximately 2,300 lbs.

New car price for the 1969 Karmann Ghia ranged from about $3,000 to $3,500.

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Karmann Ghia Collector Cars

1969 vw karmann ghia convertible

69 Karmann Ghia dashboard

The Karmann Ghia remains a relatively popular collector car. These were popular automobiles during their production run which lasted a very healthy twenty years. That fact alone shows how well these cars were accepted. The cars lasted well having been built on the sturdy VW Beetle frame.

As of this writing, Karmann Ghia’s for sale have solid but certainly not outlandish asking prices. We see a fully restored 1966 coupe model in show quality condition with 90,000 miles with a price tag of $27,000. A 1974 final year Karmann Ghia coupe with limited restoration is priced at $12,000.  Another 1974 model with no restoration work is priced at $7,500. Depending on the miles and degree of restoration, if any, the price range can go from $2,000 to $27,000. Fully restored 1957 convertible models may have the highest asking prices.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)