1972 Mercury Cougar XR7 Convertible - Red/White 351c 2v

Hi there,

So, I have been on the hunt for a 1971-1973 Cougar Convertible (Red with white interior) for over 10 years. Auto-tempest brought up my “unicorn” (it was actually on Craigslist). I couldn’t afford a 67-70 Cougar nor any classic Mustang (anything decent starts at $25,000 & up), so I took a chance (many cars I see in the $7,000 to $20,000 range online are usually “flips” - which I avoid religiously due to the usual questionable repairs or hiding of rot).

The one I found is a survivor, it’s not a trailer queen, and it isn’t a flip. The ownership going back to the original owner is in my hands… 29,195 original miles (it spent 1972-2007 in Florida nicely garaged). It then was taken to Iowa and has been with the 2nd owner for 13 years (also garaged). It has never been driven in snow & rarely in the rain. It has not been beaten by the sun, and it has been protected from rodents & other ills. It was run almost weekly during the decent weather months (it never sat for more than a month). The under carriage is in incredible condition. The interior is unmolested, and the plastic parts are original & in incredible shape. The seats are not showing any signs of being ready to start splitting at seams (I do not know if they are original tho, as there is no “Cougar” embossed on the upper seats - if anyone recognizes the seat style, please let me know). The convertible top is in great shape (the rear plastic window/apron was recently replaced tho) & the top goes up and down as easy as when it came from the factory. And the factory steering wheel is in good shape also (the inner rubber horn ring works).

The car is also in incredible condition. I drove it from Iowa to my home in Illinois (350 miles) & it drove incredibly smooth (I suspect that I will need to rebuild the carb tho given the seals will most likely need to be addressed). Issues are minimal - the A/C doesn’t work (it needs to be changed to R134a, I am pretty sure the unit functions otherwise - I’ll know within the week). The drivers door lock won’t lock (should be an easy fix). And the instrument cluster won’t light up at night (I will be changing the #5 4amp fuse tomorrow). Otherwise, once I tune it up & change all of the fluids - I should be ready to use it

I have the Marti report. It definitely was a repaint (it was blue when manufactured), but you can barely tell. It appears the car was repainted in the 80’s. I will be doing a tuneup on it tomorrow (using Motorcraft parts to keep things stock).

These pictures should speak for themselves. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t a rotisserie queen. It is about as stock as a Cougar can be. The only change is to the stereo (and speakers), it has the classic car 2 post digital AM/FM Stereo.

I just clay bar’d & waxed the car today… (see pics) and just replaced the “Dean Alpha 365” whitewall tires… with new Hankook Kineroy’s (blackwall tires @ Discount Tire).

I plan on attending as many car shows as possible with this beauty, and I’d be interested in hearing what other Cougar owners think of it (and what ya’ll think it is possibly worth).

Here is the Marti report.
Serial Number 2F94H52####
2 1972
F Built at Dearborn
94 Cougar XR-7 2-Door Convertible
H 351-2V V-8 Engine

Serial Number of this Mercury scheduled for production at Dearborn

01/72 January, 1972
76F Cougar XR-7 2-Door Convertible
3B Light Blue Paint, Ford #3429-A
DW White Leather Bucket Seats/Black Components
X FMX Select Shift Automatic Transmission
2 2.75 Conventional Rear Axle
23 Jacksonville DSO (District Sales Office)
DEALER #: 23C137

Your vehicle was equipped with the following features:
White Power Top w/Glass Backlite
E78X14 Belted White Sidewall Tires
Convenience Group
Power Steering
Power Front Disc Brakes
Air Conditioner - Manual
AM/FM Stereo Radio
Protection Group
Color Keyed Racing Mirrors
Tinted Glass Complete
Wire Wheel Covers

Your vehicle was actually produced on January 21, 1972 – three days behind schedule.

Welcome to the madness and congrats on finding your unicorn phat cat! From the pictures it looks like it cleaned up nice. It only took me a little over a year to find mine :laughing: As far as what its worth, probably more than what you paid for it since it was such a long quest, i’d definitely insure it properly! Go to Hagerty and use the value tool to help.
The one thing I usually say to new owners is to get the service manual on CD, its an invaluable tool when working on these cars but just a heads up it doesn’t include a wiring schematic. Since you mentioned bulbs, I made a list and quantity needed for everything when I got mine and ordered them from Rock Auto. I got them cheaper even with shipping than buying 1157’s for the tail lights at the local auto parts store. Also West Coast Classic Cougar is a Cougar specific group and they know Cougars. Be sure to check out the notes on parts like head lights which are voltage specific.
So drop the top and enjoy the ride :smoke:

I actually got an original Ford Service manual with the car (& a bunch of other goodies as well).

Man, what a great find and great story! Very happy for you. Nice COMPLETE car - neither exterior mirror missing, correct air cleaner present, and so on.


Great story on your quest for the right car. It a beautiful car. I too have a 73 XR-7 convertible that I owned since 1975 and sold in 1990 but found and bought back in May or 2020. I was so glad to finally get my old Cougar back. Unlike yours I have a lot of work to do to it. I should have it back on the road with in the next year to eighteen months.

The upholstry on the seats looks just like that used on a standard 1971 Mustang. According to the Marti report the car should have the normal 1971-1973 Cougar XR-7 style upholstry. In my opinion someone had the seats redone at some point in time. I also see several screws holding the door panels on that should not be there. There is a lot of wear on the steering wheel and that along with the recovered seats makes me question the low mileage. The hood pad has also been replaced with a reproduction. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to cut down your car. If it is a rust free car and as solid as you say it is still a good platform to have a great time with. I am just not so sure that you can totally believe the history story as it was told to you.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

FYI, I don’t look at comments as someone trying to cut down the car. I asked for informed opinions and I am getting them, and your opinion matters to me. Truly. And I hope you have more to share also. Its all good. And if you think I am wrong about something, please let me know (I’d rather learn from this experience and leave my ego at the door). I plan on being a part of this group for a LONG time (I am 57, so I think I have a few years left on this blue orb). And considering I am also the owner/admin of the “Chrysler Sebring Convertible Club” (www.sebringclub.net), I believe I might have a little car guy in me. I have a 2013 Chrysler 200 Limited Hardtop Convertible) and with a 3.6 Pentastar V6… it gets a 14.7 in the quarter mile. :astonished: I’ve owned a green 1970 Chevy Mallibu w/ 396 & 4 speed muncie (in 1982), a 1967 Pontiac Firebird w/ 326 & 2 spd powerglide (in 1983), a 1985 Mazda RX7 GLS-SE, a 1979 Nissan 200SX, a 1984 Chevy Corvette, a 77 Triumph Spitfire, over 12 Subarus (mostly 81-88 GL Wagons), & 6 Chrysler Sebring Convertibles. And I’ve wrenched on all of them.

So, I suspected standard Mustang Seats (I thought the style looked familiar) so I think you are spot on there. I agree about the XR7 upholstery. Regarding the mileage, I have documentation of the maintenance done to the car since 1973… the engine is not tired (excellent compression)… and the rest of the interior has enough patina (I truly don’t see any reproduction parts anywhere). No lifter or rocker arm noise to speak of, it genuinely has some serious giddy-yup. And it has original A/C. The AM/FM digital stereo & speakers are the only thing modern (and it is made to look stock tho). I suspect that the steering wheel is actually a replacement (given the incredible condition of the rest of the interior), but the horn on the inner ring works good so it is possible it was put on for that purpose. That is a guess tho. You never can tell with steering wheels from this time period. If I find one in better condition, I just may buy it & put it on.

Regarding the screws in the door panels you mention… I am going to look into that (it is possible it was done to tighten the panel onto the door itself). A faux pax as far as I am concerned, but not devastating either (the panels are in good shape otherwise).

Yes, the hood pad was recently replaced… I am fine with it being a reproduction tho (most of the pads I see are disintegrating or are a better reproduction). My goal is to make it about as stock as I possibly can with the rest of the car tho. I just took pics of the under carriage (and a video), I will figure out how to post them in this forum (I have to find a depository to link the pics to this forum… photo-bucket used to be the way but there aren’t any decent hosting sites out there any more). The under carriage is rock solid, and was saved by a lot of undercoating back in the day (which was not used to cover up poor welds, cardboard, or crappy metal work or rot… I tested every inch of it before I pulled the trigger). It drives straight & true (and tracks wonderfully). It goes over train tracks choppy roads and doesn’t get out of sorts. I replaced the tires yesterday to ensure no flats on any car show excursion with Hankook’s (the previous “Dean Alpha 365” tires were from 2008 w/ a 40,000 mile warranty & I am not a fan of Dean Alpha/Cooper tires).

Of course, this car is not an eliminator or XR7G… so it isn’t that special when it comes to collectability. I am looking at it as a survivor that has been garaged, maintained, driven, and has had some parts replaced over time. It is numbers matching, but that isn’t really that important to me either. It is a driver, and it will be driven. It gets a ton of looks (head swivels) & any time I stop at a gas station or store - I get comments about it. It isn’t a trailer queen, which I am not a fan of anyways (just go to the Ford Nationals in Carlisle, PA & you’ll see a ton of Mustangs - quite a few of which have had a rotisserie rebuild or were stripped down to the point it was rebuilt & has perfect everything). I see a lot of money that people are spending (only rarely, do I see a labor of love anymore). I am glad the paint isn’t a perfect “new” paint job, but it is beautiful nonetheless (it has held up well).

I was looking for a car that would be rare at any car show. That wouldn’t cost $30,000 or more. And I found one in the middle of Iowa.The 2nd owner (who I bought this off of) was not a car guy per se. He had a company (he obviously had money), he lived in the swanky part of town (a perfect & clean garage) and the Cougar was for his weekend cruises. He didn’t pull wrenches on it, he farmed out the work to local shops. Now, the first owner (from Florida) loved this car, he just changed the color to make his wife happy. As paint jobs go, it is a pretty damn good one considering it was not done by a shop like Fantomworks. He was also a grease monkey/backyard mechanic who loved on this car (he made sure the under carriage got plenty of undercoating). For all I know, he may have swapped out the seats for the look and feel of them. If I can find original white cougar seats/rear seats somewhere tho, depending on the price - I’d get them and put them in to make it look about as stock as possible so a Cougar aficionado wouldn’t notice unless looking much closer.

Most people at car shows don’t know the details like people like us do. They only see a very nice car that runs & drives. My goal is to get it as close to what it looked like in 1972 as possible, and where other Cougar guys will look at it with an approving nod.

Thanks. That was the goal, to find a complete car that needed only minimal work (I’ve had enough projects in my life, and people want too much for their projects - that they’ve usually given up on). I can drive this car, while attending to it’s needs… it will NOT be sitting in a garage & forgotten/ignored/abandoned (like I see on quite a few car shows).

Regarding those mirrors, the drivers side one is in great shape. The passenger side one tho… needs attention (I am on the hunt for another one that hasn’t been inadvertently bent).

Congrats on finding your Cougar. Do you have a recent pic of it? (I somehow have this feeling it might not look as good as when you originally sold it)

I look forward to seeing your progress on yours.

Thats a nice find! Overall looks to be in great shape and should not need much to enjoy right away!

Followup question: Is that a Windosr (from the valve covers) or one of my beloved Clevelands?

It’s a Cleveland

Your right about that. I will have to do a complete repaint, find replacement door panels, I’ve already found one and some other bits and pieces. The car don’t look near as good as when I had it the first time but at least it is not beat up and is still straight. I would have never bought the car in the shape its in had I not owned the car for 15 years. I was more than a little excited when I found it in that tractor barn. I have some more pictures of the car on this same page giving more history of the car. it is listed as 73 XR7 convertible.

I couldn’t pick out the pent-roof shape at the front of the valve covers…and if the Marti report said, I repeatedly failed the reading comprehension test. Q: How did you tell?

I couldn’t pick out the pent-roof shape at the front of the valve covers…and if the Marti report said, I repeatedly failed the reading comprehension test. Q: How did you tell? (I meant the red car, not Chelle’s)

That is the one I looked at. It is defiantly a Cleveland. Here is a picture of my 35C 2V from my 71 when I was taking in to be rebuilt. Note the raised area at the rear of the valve cover, Windsors don’t have that. Plus the round shape at the top at the front oc the valve cover both tells me it is a Cleveland. Not being able to see the upper radiator hose going in to the bloc or a higher vies does make it harder to tell witch one it is.

Both of the Convertibles here are nice Cougars in there own way.

Here is the 351W in my 70 XR-7 when I was putting the T-5 in it. The Valve covers are Chrome reproductions of the stock ones.

And a gratuitous shot of my 71 XR-7.

I am glad that you did not take my comments as a cut on your car as they certainly were not meant that way.

It is quite normal to see screws along the edge of the 71-73 XR-7 and decore style door panels. They are known to warp and pull away from the sheetmetal. They warp bad enough that the factory style clip used to hold the panel to the door will no longer work. That is usually when the drill comes out.

Your car is still a convertible so that adds something to the collectibility. And it is still a nice looking car. Even though it is no longer 100% stock you are correct, most people looking at it would have no idea what is original and what is not original. It is a great car to take out for a drive and have a lot of fun with.

As for original white XR-7 seats I do have a pair of front bucket seats. The left side was a power seat so there is a hole in the side for the control switch. They have the seat back release in the outer corners. I also have the back section of a convertible rear seat, it will need some repairs though.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

I am glad that you did not take my comments as a cut on your car as they certainly were not meant that way.

It is quite normal to see screws along the edge of the 71-73 XR-7 and decore style door panels. They are known to warp and pull away from the sheetmetal. They warp bad enough that the factory style clip used to hold the panel to the door will no longer work. That is usually when the drill comes out.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

Just throwing this out there and it irk’s me to see the screws, of course not your doing. Ive posted this before but there are new phat cat threads so I thought it was worth saying again.

When I replaced my door speakers I couldn’t get the panels to go back on either as Randy mentioned. Refusing to go the drill route I took sticky back velcro strips and did one side on the door and one side on the panels, let the car sit with the doors closed for about a week for them to set and problem solved.

Hope your enjoying your Vert, and remember there are no stupid questions here, all of us have learned starting somewhere and there is a ton of knowledge here. :smoke:

I have it at a local mechanic (to look at the wiring going to the Instrument Cluster) as I replaced the fuse & it was “no joy”. :frowning: I have the 1972 Ford Service manual on electrical (I have every 1972 service manual Ford printed), and asked them to go down the rabbit hole (this could get… expensive). Normally, I’d do it - but we are talking about original wiring (& I don’t want to make things worse). Everything works, except for the clock, the cluster lighting, and the interior lighting. We’ll see if this turns into a debacle (hoping not).

Also, the A/C system has been converted to R134a prior to my purchase (it just didn’t have a tag indicating so, which I just rectified). They replaced the belt, did a vacuum test, and then charged the system (and added oil). The A/C now works (wonderfully cold), but there is a glitch… at certain rpm’s, the A/C starts making noise (like it is out of balance) so I have to goose the gas to get it to stop. So I am not using it until the entire system is smooth, and the mechanic will be looking at that also.

In the interim, I installed new plugs. wires, points, cap/rotor, & cleaned the carb (I may be old, but I can still do some maintenance). There is one vacuum leak left, and the mechanic will hunt for that also.

Moving forward slowly but surely. :slight_smile:

Just be careful on the printed circuit on the back of the cluster, they are brittle after all these years :smoke: