With all the generations of the Cougar that Mercury sold, from the Mustang-based ’67 through the Mondeo-based ’02, which one sold the best? That’s right, the rococo Thunderbird-sibling 1977-1979 models, and most of them were luxed-up XR-7s.
Yes, the Man’s Car, slathered with chrome and vinyl and menacing feline-themed badging, proved to be the ideal machine for the Disco Period of the Malaise Era, and I’ve found this well-preserved ’79 in a Northern California self-service yard.
The California sun really beats up car interiors, but the leather-influenced vinyl on this car’s Twin Comfort Lounge seats still shines with Quaalude-tinged glory.
Cougar badges may be found all over this car, though the mean-looking cat-faced hood ornament got snapped off by some junkyard shopper before I got there. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when most junkyard cars were of 1970s vintage, I grabbed a few Cougar cat badges in addition to dozens of “leaping ungulate” emblems from early-1970s Impalas, and now they decorate my garage walls.
Very few analog clocks from Detroit cars will function after about age five years, but I hooked up my $6 junkyard car-clock tester to this date-function-equipped beauty and it worked just fine. Now it resides in my extensive collection of junkyard-obtained car clocks.
The ’79 Cougar XR-7 had a 140-horsepower 302-cubic-inch (5.0-liter) V8 as the base engine, but the original purchaser of this car wanted a little bit more power to move 3,887 pounds of somewhat obese cat and paid extra for the optional 5.8-liter, 151-horse 351M V8.
The padded landau roof shows signs of sun damage and almost certainly hides catastrophic rainwater-induced rust. It sure looked classy when new, though. MSRP on the ’79 XR-7 came to $5,994, or about $22,500 in 2019 dollars. Lots of flash for not much cash!
Isn’t this your year to join the cat set?
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