Monday, February 20, 2012

1988 Mercury Cougar XR7

Sometimes I like to pretend that America stopped making cars between 1974 and 1993. It soothes my soul to think that cars like the AMC Eagle were never really brought into this world, but rather reside only in the land of hallucinations and nightmares.

Occasionally, however, I see something that helps me believe that at least one person in the American auto industry was using his brain for more than 10 consecutive minutes.

Today that gem in the junk heap was this '88 Cougar XR7. I'm sure some of you know of the Cougar, Mercury's small-ish coupe. The car has quite a storied history, stretching from way back in 1967, when it was the kin of the Ford Mustang, all the way to its anticlimactic demise in 2002 because of slow sales. The XR7 nameplate has for most of those years signified the high(er) performance version of the Cougar, and is a tad rarer than the base Cougar.

This XR7, for sale in Niagara Falls right now for a cool $4,500 belongs to the sixth rendition of the Cougar, which was based on the Ford Thunderbird and housed a 302ci V8. Yes, it looks weird, but in a good way. The upward kink and vertical rear window that gives the Cougar/Thunderbird its unique greenhouse are symptomatic of the (mostly failed) styling experiments of the 80's, and help the car stand out from the myriad of straight-edged boxes that make up most car designs from that era.

For some reason, clean, low mileage performance cars from the past, even if the performance too is indicative of the past, appeal to my sense of adventure. Would an '88 Cougar be a sensible car for a young family? No. Would it be a wise use of my non-existent money? No. Would it help me save the planet and lower my gas bill? Perhaps, if I drove only down steep hills. But something about it grabs my curiosity and won't let it go. It's big, it's loud, and it's red. And I want it.

Forgotten. Full ad

Creepy Cougar ad from 1987:

1 comment:

Matt D'Avirro said...

Awesome find. The red rims really bring the whole thing together.

And that commercial was amazing.