Looking to buy a 71-73, what to look for

Well Saturday, my beloved 2005 whippled supercharged Mustang GT was sandwiched between two SUVs in traffic, resulting in this :frowning:

The back is even worse. I’m pretty sure it will be totaled out. Anyway, in the aftermath I have decided to go a different route. All I have pretty much ever owned is mustangs ( '66, 86, 88, 97, 05), thought I’d shift things up a bit. Now I know most of the trouble areas to look for in older mustangs ( cowls, floor pans, trunks etc…) but I’ve never had the opportunity to look at many 71-73 cougars. What areas should I pay attention to? How hard is it to find certain replacement parts/ what parts are there no repros for? I think I’ve found the car I want, its about 8 hours away, but I will have about 2-3 weeks off for Christmas so I could make a 1-2 day trip out of it. The place also has several classic mustangs within my price range so I potentially could have other cars to test out while I’m there. The car seems to be in great shape ( paint, fresh interior, dash looks good, no rust I can see). Just any advice you guys can give me would help.


You are in luck! Richard just bought a 71 Convertible and we will be doing a video on what to look for when buying a 71-73 in about a month.

Ouch Yogi, sorry about the stang ! It seems you have pictures of the cat, you could post them here as many in the know can pick stuff out from the pictures. Also there may be somebody closer that could do a quick heads up for you. Good Luck on your quest :smoke:

Keep the drive-train and transplant it.

As Cougars share a lot of parts with Mustangs and were built on the same assembly line they also share the same problem areas. If you know what and where to look on a Mustang then you know what and where to look on a Cougar. One particular item on the 71-3 cars to look at is the front frame crossmember where the strut rods attach to, these are prone to rusting out. Like any other car there are certain parts that are hard to find and are not reproduced. You could take a look at the WCCC online catalog for an idea of what is available in reproduction form.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

Well that would be great. A car that I found that I really like the looks of, is in Illinois. Since I’m down in Alabama, I’d definitely have to be sure about it before I committed to make the drive to try it out. Looks in pretty good shape from the pictures:

Yogi, have you spoken to the folks where the car is? What kind of information did they provide? Is the car a new paint? Also do they have a lift on prem, can they get you pic’s of the undercarriage?

Yes I gave them a call and asked them to provide me with better interior shots and pics of the underside. They do have a lift and I would be able to get a closer look if I go up there.

I also found a XR7 that’s considerably cheaper ( Around 7 grand) and seems to be in similar or better condition

Good news, insurance is offering me a settlement that would give me enough to pay off my loan plus about 1600 to put towards a new car. I also may have worked out a deal with a car club member to swap out the Whipple Supercharger with his stock parts for some additional cash.

I loved the 71XR7 I had many years ago and both the cars your looking at look great. I would personally go for the silver one, depending on the shape of the body, many options and an XR7.

The green one is priced high for a non- XR7, base engine car. But I like the color, the low miles, and its unadorned roof. The silver one has more desirable options with the am/fm, power windows, and it’s an XR7. The price seems much more reasonable too. Do you know what engine it has? Whichever one you decide on, it sounds like you will be able to do a thorough inspection.

they both are H code, 351 C 2Vs from what I have been told and the pictures I’ve seen. I felt the price on the green one was on the high side, but I think its my favorite color and I’m really not a fan of vinyl roofs. My wife likes the silver one and I think it would be better budget wise for me, as it would free up lots of extra money for modding :slight_smile:. For some reason the extra pictures of the green car aren’t loading, so I will repost

I will agree the XR7 has the more desirable options and the green was a little pricey. Of course I would lean towards the one “my wife likes” :laughing: but I will agree on the not a fan of vinyl roofs. The green looks like it has had some improvements from the PO, gauges, stereo, I for one am leery on how people go about these mods, just from past experience. It looks like the green is in a large building/garage surrounded by cars, do you need to put a deposit down to get it out for a test drive? I know that sounds ridiculous but I have had it happen to me and if your 8 hours away thats one thing you don’t want to experience if you don’t like the car. :smoke:

OK, I’ll assume the role of the grown up here. For a daily driver I would go out and get another modern car. I know a '73 would do better than a '59, but in case you haven’t seen the crash test between the '59 Chevy and the '09 Chevy, here is a link:

I’ll drive the oldies to the cruise on the weekends, but for going to battle every day on the freeways of America? I’ll take something that has had another 40 years of safety technology put into it. Since you’re a Mustang guy, go buy another modern Mustang so you have a better chance at continuing to post here.

Thanks for the concern, but I’m in a somewhat small city in Alabama. I never used the interstate or freeway in my car, and really only use my car to get to work ( about 5-10 minutes away) and to cruise with my car club on Wednesday nights. I mean I only put about 11,000 miles on my mustang in the 2 years I owned it. We have a modern car ( Camry) for travel. Even though it is a “Daily Driver”, it will still see very limited use from me. This town is pretty sleepy until the Crimson Tide plays on Saturdays, but then I’m never out in Gameday traffic.

Thanks for all the help guys. Right now Im heavily leaning towards the silver Xr7. I’ll keep you guys in the loop.


Dad relents. Have fun! :wink:

I owned a '73 XR-7 for a few years and really enjoyed it.

I’ve looked at other Cougars of this era here in California and there is another place to check for rust: the rear trunk panel, behind the bumper/tail lights. I noticed rust there on a number of cars, which surprised me, since it’s rather out of the way of road splash, etc.

Well my loan is approved and Im heading up to Chicago tomorrow to check the car out on Monday, I’ll report back soon

Also can anyone explain how shipping a car works? This will be my first doing so. I doubt they deliver to your house, I guess you pick up at like a nearest hub?

Some will deliver right to your door depending on where you live. If you’re in a residential area they most likely won’t. But I live in the sticks and both cars that I had shipped came directly to my house.

Whatever you do make sure the shipper is insured. If you deal with a broker, they won’t necessarily perform the due diligence to make sure the trucker has insurance. And if he doesn’t and something happens, you are screwed.

I’m going to assume your looking at the silver one since you said Chicago and not Staunton. I also live in a residential area and they delivered my car to the closest cross street the 18 wheeler could maneuver in, couple 100 yards from the house. Enclosed carriers are of course more costly, but I like the added safety security of an enclosed trailer, and as Al said make sure they are insured! These days there are a lot of people with car trailers looking to pick up some quick cash and not necessarily worried about your car. Good luck with the inspection :smoke:

Yeah I’m checking out the Silver XR7, I think the consensus on the green is that its too high, and my budget looks much better when buying the XR7. I had some friends check out the car today and they did note some minor issues that the pictures didn’t pick up, but nothing too serious. A bit worried that Im gonna drive all this way for a bust. I hope not, but I can’t seem to find anything but convertibles or rusted out projects down south. Either way I guess it will be a nice vacation for me and my Wife!