Overshadowed by the Mustang, 1967–70 Mercury Cougar interest is on the rise


After the surprise success of the Mustang, launched in April 1964, Ford had its hands full producing the popular pony car. As competitors in this hot new market planned rival models, Ford countered with one of its own. Mercury unveiled the Cougar just four days after Chevrolet debuted the Camaro on September 26, 1966.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/04/12/1967-70-mercury-cougar-is-heating-up

I just bought one and it is begin delivered to me tomorrow evening. This acquisition includes an amazing story and would be some great fodder for a Hagerty article that transcends simple barn finds. 1970 Cougar Eliminator, exact same car that I bought new in 1970; so I am the original owner, again.


Actually the most valuable are the 1968 GTEs One at auction going for $230,000 (XR7 428 4 speed) and another $180,000(Std 427 Auto). Another rare model is the XR7G which was built right along side the 1968 Shelbys many equipped with factory sunroofs. I happen to own one of each as well as a 1 o1 1969 XR7 Convertible 428SCJ 4 speed with 4.30 detroit locker.


@mopardon Yes and that Standard GT-E with automatic trans sold clear back in Jan of 2011 for 165K hammer price (180 with commission). It is amazing that hardly any GT-Es have really hit a major auction since, other than the Owls Head Museum’s 4 speed model. I’d agree, the 427s are the most valuable Cougars…

My black XR-7 427GT-E (the one in my avatar) is insured through Hagerty for 200k. They had no problem agreeing with that value :wink:


WHAT? No mention of the GT-E in the article? The last Ford with a side oiler 427? And undoubtably the most valuable if in condition one? An outrage!


I was fortunate enough to drive a 68 GTE with my Buddy on a Demo ride at a Denver CO Merc. Dealership. Dark Green 427 Automatic XR-7. Sure seemed fast to us 18 year olds! Years later I made friends with a guy at Bandimere drag strip in Denver, he had a Dark green GTE, we were never sure if it was the same car. Over the years he ran several different FE combos. I loved that car!


I could only afford a used Mustang as a kid. Our next door neighbor had a 1968 XR7 and the class of it was far and away above any Mustang I had ever seen. The wood grain interior plus the more sophisticated gauges blew me away. Beautiful car, hard to imagine it was related to the Mustang.


Not quite sure the Cougar should be put in the category of easy to restore. Easier than a 66 Lincoln Convertible for sure! Often when establishing values they go by auction results. If the GTE rarely makes it to a major auction house then they just are not counted. From what I have seen the 70 Eliminators have surpassed the 69 Eliminator in value. I base this on multiple cars selling privately for over $200k.


I’d much rather see the raw data than a percentage. Ten quotes in 2017 and twelve quotes in 2018 is a 20% increase right there. In any scientific article the value of “n” is more valuable than a percentage which I can deduce on my own from the raw data. Second, average quotes are for the value of just past $21,000? Is that in grade 3 condition? If so grade 3 condition 68 hardtops are worth between $8-10K. As always I suspect the quoted value is to replace the car but doesn’t reflect the actual value of the car if you had to sell it. Some will no doubt disagree. However, how many can say they are an original owner of a 1968 Cougar? Anyone else other than me? Mine is insured for $24K replacement value but selling wise it is about $12K on the open market.


@mmcd7276 - The tough part on conditioning the quoted vehicles is that we can’t. The owner may or may not be required to submit photos as part of the underwriting process (assuming the person chooses to move forward with a quote) and even then we cannot grade a vehicle based on photos.

The owner could tell us what they feel the grade of the vehicle is, but without a means to verify, it is tough for us to use that information.

The vast majority of vehicles in the private market are #3 condition, therefore if one was to tie a condition to quoted vehicles, #3 would be the safest option.


My Father’s Mid-Life Crisis

My father was a quiet man. With a wife and seven children, four of whom were girls, there was plenty of noise in the household, that is when Dad was not sleeping. You see, he worked midnights. That meant he slept during the day. For most of the year he came home after we left for school and was still sleeping when we came home. We had our dinner and after the kitchen was cleaned, Dad woke up and had his breakfast about the time the youngest were going to bed.

Because we had such a large family, the station wagon was the mode of transportation. I recall a pink and white mid-fifties Ford wagon. That vehicle was replaced with a 1964 brown Ford Galaxie Country Squire. This was the car I learned to drive on and the one I took when I borrowed the family car to go on dates.

When I graduated from high school, Dad thought it was time to get a second vehicle. Besides myself, two of my sisters and Mom were driving and the car was always in demand.

Now Dad was not an extravagant man. All the family cars we had up to then and even after that were “practical”, inexpensive, or both. That’s why were all surprised one day when Dad brought his new car home from the dealer. I don’t know if he talked it over with Mom but he certainly didn’t consult me ahead of time.

Dad bought himself a luxurious 1968 Grecian Gold Mercury Cougar XR7, with a black vinyl top. The XR-7 model featured a simulated wood-grained dashboard with a full set of black-faced competition instruments and toggle switches, an overhead console, a T-type center automatic transmission shifter and leather-vinyl upholstery. Besides Dad, I was the only one allowed to drive this car.

This was by far my vehicle of choice for dates. The only drawback was that I had to have the car home before Dad left for work at 11:30. It was worth the sacrifice as I loved this car.

The early Cougar was considered a ‘pony’ car with a 111” wheelbase and a small block 302 cubic inch engine. While I would have preferred Dad select the four-barrel carburetor, or even the 427 cubic inch engine, I still loved the acceleration of this small car.

The car had bucket seats with a center console, so necking in the front seat was out of the question.


@Walt… You needed the optional bench seat with fold down armrest. For necking and…

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It’s about time the Cougar gets it’s long over due recognition. However in contrast to Hagerty’s claim they are easy to restore, not quite true. The after market is starting to produce more quality reproduction parts for Cougars, but until late 2018, sheet metal panels such as quarter panels and roofs were not available Quarter patch panels are but that was about it). Dynacorn has started producing these now and I am sure will produce more in the coming months and years, but availability is limited. Also, there is a lot more to a Cougar than a Mustang. Vacuum actuated headlights, complex wire harnesses that are specific to year and model, and sequential turn signals that most of which are not available preproduction (a solid state sequencer is available), some interior parts ECT. With that said, do your research when considering one and don’t let what I said scare you away from Cougars. Parts are available and so are a lot of unmolested pretty complete cars that are relatively inexpensive to get into (I have seen $1000-$3000 for good mostly complete restorable cars on a regular basis). I spent nine years restoring my 68 (partly because of money and attention to detail to build a concourse original car) but it was well worth it for me, and If you decide to go with a Cougar, you won’t be disappointed, but your feet may be tired from all the leg work you may encounter, and you need to have a solid idea where you want to go with your restoration.
If you find yourself at car shows in Colorado, look for “Patience” (68 Cougar Augusta green black vinyl top) and me. We’d be happy to discuss the benefits and pitfalls you may encounter. Lets prove to the world that cat’s have nine lives and get more of these back on the road!


My first car, 1971, senior in High School, 1967 Cougar $1500 for a 27,000
mile 289/auto, dark green, black vinyl top. Great car!!


I always liked those 1967-68 Cougars; much classier than the Mustangs of those years. My second choice would be the 1970; I never really took to the horizontal grill format of the 1969.


In 1973 I was 20 years old, was looking to buy my first car, and had my heart set on finding a Mustang, preferably a '66 GT. Instead I came across a nice dark metallic green '67 Cougar XR7 that was a little rough in the body but had a beautiful black interior and a black vinyl roof. Paid $1050.00 for it and took it home. Been driving it almost daily ever since and it put over 330,000 miles on it. The original 289 has been replaced with a 302 and the C4 transmission has been rebuilt a couple of times but it just keeps on going. I repainted it green three times because it would not hold up in the hot New Mexico sun, so in 2001 I painted it black and it still looks great. When asked if I’d sell it I just reply “sure, but you don’t have enough money”! Fact is no one has enough money and I’ll never sell it!

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Beautiful car, just curious, what size wheels/tires do you have on the car? I ask because I am replacing the original ones on my 67 XR7 and those look really good. I was told 225/60R15 with 4.5 in backspacing wheels will fit without any issues.


Thanks! Wheels are from a '73 Dodge Charger. 14" X 6" (I think) with 4" backspace. Paid $50 for them shortly after buying the car. Very similar to the Magnum 500 wheels Ford had at the time. Tires are P235/60R14. Have to run 1/8" spacers on the front to keep them from rubbing the upper control arms, a problem I didn’t have until I replaced the original front drum brakes with disks from a '69 Cougar. Your choice will probably work but you might want a little less backspacing just in case.


Thank you for the information. I found this article helpful: https://www.hotrod.com/articles/fitting-tires-wheels/. The article that states the wheel/tires sizes that will fit various muscle cars.


That sounds like a helpful article. I’ve been a subscriber to Hot Rod since 1969 so probably have that magazine stashed away in the attic but don’t remember it. Smart to go with at least 15" wheels since 14" tires are getting difficult to find in stock anywhere. I’ve thought about going larger but kind of hard to justify the expense, especially when what I have looks pretty good. Good luck with your project!