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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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)

1953 Mercury Monterey / An Early 50’s Standout

The 1953 Monterey was the premium model for the Mercury line of automobiles introduced in 1950. When it came out as a two door coupe, the Monterey was considered a full size near luxury car. The first 1950 model had quite different styling than the 53 model. The 50 model had a very rounded look both front and back but would become very popular to customizers later on.

1953 mercury monterey hardtop

1953 Mercury Monterey 2 Door Hardtop

All Monterey models were built at Ford's Lincoln-Mercury Division's St. Louis. Missouri plant from 1950 to 1974.

The 1953 Mercury Monterey model had several engineering advances. A lot of the styling with this car was also shared with Ford's Lincoln brand as well as Ford models. The Mercury Monterey was positioned between the Ford and Lincoln lines. If you wanted something a little fancier than a Ford but couldn't or didn't want to pay the price of a Lincoln, well the Mercury Monterey was your car.

Edsel Ford's Mercury

The Mercury brand came on the scene in 1938 compliments of Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford. The line would eventually cease production during the first week of January 2011.

Anyone familiar with the history of the Ford Motor Company during the 1930's knows that Edsel Ford spearheaded much of the company's progress.  The plan for the Mercury line was to establish an entry level luxury car. The first Mercurys came out with flathead V-8's producing 95 horsepower.

53 mercury monterey

Smart styling on the 53 Monterey

When the Mercury was introduced it was part of the Ford Division. After the Second World War Mercury became part of the new Lincoln-Mercury Division.

1953 Mercury Monterey

The year 1953 represented the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Motor Company. One year earlier Mercury had an extensive redesign of all their models.

Mercury's 1953 model year marked the last year of the  flathead V8 engine. This was also the case for Ford models as well that year. This engine beyond a doubt was one of the most famous, successful and celebrated automobile engines ever built.  Today, you may still see some of these popular flathead V-8's brought back to life to power a variety of hot rods and customs. The flathead V-8 was replaced in 1954 with a new and advanced Y-block overhead-valve V8 engine.

The Mercury version of this engine had better performance numbers with a standard four barrel carburetor which helped the engine deliver 161 horsepower. A new Y-block overhead-valve V8 engine

1953 Mercury Monterey Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1953 Mercury Monterey came with a 255 cubic inch flathead V-8 engine delivering 125 horsepowwer. This represented an increase over the 1951 model's 112 horsepower. A new Y-block overhead-valve V8 engine.would replace it in 1954 with a standard four barrel carburetor.

Transmission was a three speed manual. Optional was a  Merc O Matic automatic three speed transmission. Ford Motor introduced their automatic transmission in 1951 which was designed by Borg Warner Corporation. Ford Motor Company was a bit late into the automatic transmission game and didn't open their first transmission plant until 1950.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Front suspension were independent coil springs and rear were longitudinal leaf springs.

1953 mercury monterey trim package

Classic Mercury Monterey trim

Dimensions for this car included a wheelbase of 118.0 inches,an overall length of 202.2 inches, a width of 74.0 inches and a height of 62.75 inches. , Average weight was 3,400 lbs.

Total 1953 Mercury Monterey production was 148,700 vehicles. Out of that number there were 64,033 four door sedans, 76,115 two door coupes and 8,450 convertibles.

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Reference for this article and an excellent book for anyone interested in the history of Mercury automobiles is....55 Years of Mercury : The Complete History of the Big "M" by author John Gunnell.

1953 mercury monterey dashboard and interior

Dashboard on the 53 Mercury Monterey

The Popular Mercury Monterey Collector Car

Classic car collectors are enthusiastic about the Mercury models of the early 1950's. Collectors like the clean styling and the manufacturing quality including technical sophistication. The Monterey convertible model is the most popular collector car from this first generation.

As of this writing, the first generation Mercury Montereys command strong prices. Restored Montereys for sale are priced in a fairly wide range. Depending on the model and degree of restoration and how old the restoration is, prices can be anywhere from the mid $20,000 range to approaching $50,000..The highest priced models would usually be convertible museum quality cars as opposed to drivers.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)

 

The Durable and Powerful 1964 Mercury Comet

A bit of automotive history tells us that the Mercury Comet was supposed to be an entry level compact  Edsel. After the Edsel's non stellar performance, the Comet was reassigned to the Mercury line. From the very first the Comet was a success with sales of more than 100,000 vehicles it's first year. Second year sales were 185,000.

1964 mercury comet

1964 Mercury Comet

Mercury essentially had two types of automobiles for the 1964 model year. These were the full size Monterey, Montclair and Park Lanes and the compact Comet, although the 64 Comet was a bit larger than the generic compact. The Comet started to approach intermediate in size.

The Mercury Comet went through a few concept changes since it's inception in 1960. During that year the Mercury Comet came as either a sedan or station wagon. The Comet was a relative of the Ford Falcon. Both automobiles were designed at the same time. As car collectors are aware, the Ford Falcon chassis went on to become the underpinnings of the Ford Mustang. Because of it's relationship with the Falcon, the Comet was more compact than intermediate.

1964 comet

64 Comet

Changes to the 1964 Mercury Comet

At first the Mercury Comet was marketed as a compact and economical automobile. For the 1964 model year, the Comet model was redesigned with a sporty style. Also offered were more  V-8 engine options. The 64 Mercury Comets had power. New models for 1964 were the series 202, 404, Caliente and Cyclone. The Cyclone was Comet's performance model and replaced the previous S-22.

Body styles for 1964 included a two door coupe and convertible and a four door sedan and station wagon.

1964 mercury comet grille

64 Mercury Comet grille

Comet Gets a Boost from Competition Successes

The performance image for the Mercury Comet was aided greatly when a fleet of Comet Caliente hardtops averaged more than 105 mph for 100,000 miles in Daytona.

Customized drag racing Comet's with 427 cubic inch big blocks were also catching a lot of attention. After results of the endurance run were advertised, sales of the new Comets began to grow dramatically.  Mercury also competed in the East African Safari to solidify it's durability attributes.  The East African Safari was known as the most demanding rally with about 3,200 miles of the worst roads in the world. The Mercury Comet didn't win this rally but it certainly proved that it could take some of the most brutal punishment any car would ever encounter anywhere. The durability of the Mercury Comet was a given.

1964 Mercury Comet Specifications

The Mercury Comet came out in 1964 with two Inline Six engines, a 170 and 200 cubic inch, and two V-8's. These were a 260 and 289 cubic inch design. Horsepower on the sixes were 101 and 120 respectively and for the eights, 164 and 210.

Transmission choices were a three speed automatic or a four speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel self adjusting.

Front suspension was made up of an independent ball joint and coil springs. Rear suspension were longitudinal leaf springs.

1964 mercury comet tail lights

Comet tail lights

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Dimensions included a wheelbase of 114.0 inches and an overall length of 195.1 inches. The car had a width of 71.4 inches and a height of 55.3 inches.

Mercury produced a total of 231,000 vehicles for the 1964 model year. Out of that number there were a total of 188,000 Comets built.

The Comets VIN should be found on the inside of the left fender.

Mercury Comet as Collector Cars

The Mercury Comet has a lot of history attached to it notably coming out at a time when the American automakers started to compete with compact cars. It's also notable that the vehicle at first was intended to be a compact Edsel.

mercury comet dashboard

64 Comet dashboard

Auction and asking prices for first and second generation Comets vary of course by model and condition, mileage plus degree of restoration. In the case of the 1964 Mercury Comet, the car represented the first of the second generation Comets and had a total redesign.

You may see an asking price range running from $7,000 to $30,000. The S-22's have some of the higher asking prices as do finely restored convertibles. The Cyclone produced in 1964 took the place of the S-22. The Comet S-22, which had been added along with the Custom models in 1963, had six bullet shaped tail lights and the regular Comets four oval lights. The 1964 Comets had six round taillights as shown in the photo above.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)