71-73 Cougar vs Mustang

Did some searching and didn’t find a discussion comparing the similarities between the Mustang and Cougar of these years. I have had several of these Mustangs and just bought two 73 XR7’s. One for parts and the other is the runner. So, what parts are interchangeable? Any body, interior parts interchange?

Thanks in advance

Most of the mechanicals interchange between Mustang and Cougar such as engine, trans, rear end, brakes, steering, etc. Obviously the sheet metal, trim, grille, tail lights, wiring harness, dash, and interior parts like door panels don’t interchange. But the console, window regulators, steering wheel, and more are the same. So bottom line is that there are some similarities, but many many differences. Things like front and rear springs (and drive shaft) are different. Best of luck with your Cougar!

Will the interior door panels line up? Seats, carpet, and headliner?

Thanks again!

I think that you are going to be the one telling us what fits. So much is going to depend on XR-7 versus standard. Even between those two Cougar models there are lots of differences. It is a really tough question. Internally the seats are probably the same but you would have to take the two apart and set them side by side to know. The upholstery is certainly different. Some parts might line up, and swap over, but not match well with the rest of the interior. It is very common for folks to think that the Cougar parts guys just charge more for Mustang parts. And in part it is true, because they are so much smaller than the big Mustang parts houses so they are not buying things at the same price. But when the Cougar specialists list a part at least it usually fits. I would say that any one that has ever done a Cougar restoration will probably have a shelf full of Mustang parts that were “supposed” to fit the Cougar.

I think the door trims will interchange. But the Decor and XE-7 panels are far different then the base Cougar interior, but are similar to the base Mustangs. The Decor and XR-7 panels are the same molded panel as the Mach-3 and Grande with Cougar specific trim. The steering column is the same for Mustangs and Cougars. As Bill stated, Cougar guys end up with a lot of Mustang parts that were supposed to fit but didn’t. Though sometime they also don’t fit the Mustang well ether.

I am not planning a restoration, but more of a restomod, so being “cougar” correct won’t be the goal. However, I do want the car to be completely done that is redone and like new, for what it is. Therefore having mustang door panels or other parts will be ok as long as they are new and clean.

On that note, do the Mustang coupe quarters or lower quarter patch panels match? Look similar and as far as I know reproduction quarters aren’t available yet, correct?

A good rule of thumb is that if there is any possible way to make a Mustang part work, the dealers will claim it to “also fit” the Cougar. Even is it doesn’t So If the retailers are not making the claim it most likely will require a huge amount of rework. You are not the first to go down this path. It is your car and it is far better to save one than see it go, but CouStangs typically sell for next to nothing so make sure it is a labor of love. Given that did you know that Shelby wanted to use the Cougar dash in the Shelby Mustangs? As you discover what will and won’t “work” please post there so in the future there will be a place to find these answers.

Often the value is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. Not unlike my 71 Mach 1, many said the “big” Mustangs will never be desirable and low and behold they are coming around! Kinda the same with the 71-3 Cougars. I will certainly post along the way and see how it goes. One thing is for sure, it will always be a Cougar, wouldn’t want to lose or change that!

Thanks again