Featured here is a good looking 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7.

73 mercury cougar xr-7
1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Convertible

The first generation Mercury Cougars were produced from 1967 through 1970. The Cougar’s first generation were said to be Mercury’s version of the Ford Mustang.

The years 1969 and 1970 were the pinnacle for Detroit’s muscle cars with their highest horsepower output. The second generation Mercury Cougars that were built for the 1971 through 1973 models were more luxurious than those first generation Mercury pony cars. Although the second generation models were more luxurious, the 1973 Cougar’s were the last model year where performance did take precedence over comfort. Beginning in the 1974 model year the Cougar would get larger and become a luxury coupe rather than a pony car.

mercury cougar xr-7The Mercury Cougar was positioned between the Ford Mustang and the Ford Thunderbird. The car carried the performance label for Mercury and eventually the icon for the Mercury name for several decades. There were two Mercury Cougar models to choose from in 1973. These were the Base and the XR7.

The XR-7 Package

The Mercury XR-7 Package first came out in mid year 1967. The XR-7 option was available for all the model years that the pony car type Cougar was produced. The exact styling included with the XR-7 did change a bit throughout the years however the basic elements included a wood trim interior, leather seating areas, full instrumentation, special interior lighting, driver’s side remote rear view mirror beginning in 1969 and interior and exterior badging.

During the Mercury Cougar’s 1968 model year the automaker introduced the XR-7 G option. The “G” stood for Dan Gurney, a famous race car driver and at the time head of the successful Cougar racing team.

At this point it should be noted that there were two separate packages related to Dan Gurney. In 1967 Mercury came out with the Cougar Dan Gurney Special package. This package had vinyl interiors, a Dan Gurney rear window sticker, special wheel covers, and a chromed up engine.

The XR-7 G package in 1968 had much more interior and exterior dressing up. Leather seats and door straps, wood grain interior, chrome hood pin locks, sunroof, console with fog lamp and sunroof switches, a fiberglass hood scoop, badges, and much much more.

The Dan Gurney Special package lasted into the 1968 model year and the XR-7 G package was for 1968 only. It’s important to differentiate between these two packages which both relate to Dan Gurney. They came out relatively close together and they can be confusing for collectors.

The 1973 Cougar and the New Federal Regulations

With the new federally mandated safety and emission regulations in place, the 1973 Mercury Cougar’s had changes. One such exterior change was the larger federally mandated impact absorbing front bumper. The center grille piece was now larger sharing its appearance with the 1971 Mercury Cyclone. In addition to that the 1973 Cougar was the last of the Mercury pony cars with lower horsepower ratings going into place. The 1973 model year marked the last year of the Mustang-based Cougar and the final run of Cougar convertibles.

The 1973 XR7 convertible like the model featured here was the most popular Cougar and less than 3,500 were produced. This was out of a total Mercury Cougar 1973 production of 60,600 vehicles.

1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Specifications

73 cougar specs

The 1973 Mercury Cougar Convertible was built with a 351 cubic inch Cobra Jet V-8. The engine was rated at 255 HP. There was also a base two barrel 351 with 168 HP.

Transmissions were either a three speed automatic or four speed manual.

Dimensions include a 112.1 inch wheelbase, 199.5 inch overall length, 75.1 inch width. Weight was 3,525 lbs and the new car price in 1973 was about $4,000.

Additional Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1970 Chevy Camaro RS/SS

1973 Chevy Camaro Z 28

Reference material for this article includes..Mercury Cougar 1967-1973 by Chris Halla…Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide…55 Years of Mercury: The Complete History of the Big “M” by John Gunnell.

1973 Mercury Cougar Convertible Collector Cars

1973 cougar xr 7Mercury unveiled the Cougar just four days after Chevrolet debuted the Camaro on September 26, 1966. When he Cougar was introduced in 1966 as a 1967 model, the Mercury Cougar won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.

Big-block engines were offered every year through 1973, when the Cougar became more focused on personal touring than being a muscle car.

Current prices for the 1973 Mercury Cougar Two Door Convertible average about $16,000 with the high end being just short of $30,000. The XR-7 Two Door Convertibles average about $23,000 with the high end being in the $40,000 + area.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)