The Pontiac Firebird also arrived in early 1967, while the American Motors Corporation tackled the segment with the Javelin later that year. However, Ford didn’t settle for just one pony car.
Encouraged by the unexpected success of the Mustang, the company allowed the Lincoln-Mercury division to offer its own version of the pony. It arrived in September 1966 as the Mercury Cougar.
While it shared most body panels with the Mustang, the Cougar received its own front fascia in the form of an aggressive razor-type grille with hidden headlamps. Positioned between the Mustang and the Thunderbird, the Cougar was essentially a fancier pony car with a slightly longer wheelbase and V8 engine only (the Mustang came with an inline-six as standard).
And just like the Mustang, the Cougar grew larger in the early 1970s. The car was redesigned from the ground up for the 1971 model year when Mercury turned it into an even fancier two-door and aimed it at the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Mercury discontinued the Eliminator but retained the XR-7 trim and the optional GT package.
But the fact that the Eliminator was gone did not mean Mercury stopped offering high-power engines. In 1971, the Cougar was available with the massive 429-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) Cobra Jet V8.
Specifically, only 448 units left the assembly line with the Cobra Jet option, which is less than 1% of the total 1971 Cougar production. And only 47 of them were convertibles. The metallic green example you see here is one of them and is rarer than hen’s teeth.
It’s one of only two painted Dark Green Metallic and the only one that got the Ginger leather bucket seats. That’s right, baby, there’s not another Cougar XR-7 like this one out there.
And as you might have already guessed, it sounds quite incredible when the gas pedal goes down and the rev counter goes up. Find out more about that in the video below.