New Cougar owner

Have recently purchased my first Cougar, a 1971 XR7 429CJ.
Im still waiting on my Marti report, but after researching, am pretty confident the vehicle is all original.
Last registered back in 1993, the owner has passed, and the widow doenst know a great deal about its history. The engine has been removed- she remembers it driving fine, but thinks it was removed to freshen up.
Being RHD, not sure who did the conversion, but i dont think there are many of these versions in Australia.
Plan is to rebuild the motor, and get back on the road.
How many 71 XR7 429 CJs were made ?







154 XR-7 hardtops were built with the C code 429CJ non ram air and a C6 automatic. it looks like 448 total 429CJs were built.Numbers from Kevin Marti’d book “Cougar, by the numbers” You have a cool and rare Cougar there. I would love to see some pictures of the RHD conversion and the dash.

Thankyou Badcatt, im guessing not many of the 154 made their way downunder. Im trying to find out more history, but all i have from the previous owner is that it was owned by a police lady in New South Wales.

It will be interesting to see the Marti report.
Your DSO is 97 which is an export code, so it was originally built to leave the US. Did you also order the “Eminger” invoice?

The RHD swap looks very professionally done. And it was originally owned by a police officer and a lady one too. I bet that car has some stories to tell.
I hope you can document some of them. Keep us updated on the resurrection of this one.

Have only ordered the Deluxe report. What is the Eminger ?

Just realised what it was. I did receive an email from Marti saying they may have it. So I will order it

Nice conversion. Most just had an XC GXL dash installed, Someone took the time to do a proper conversion on the panel and crash pad

Hey Leonbray, just noticed your location, Brisbane. Im also in Brisbane. Is there a local Mercury car club? Im current in the Bayside Vintage Restorers Car Club with my other cars.


There isn’t a Mercury club in Brisbane but a few of us have joined Thunderbirds of Queensland (TOQinc)

Marti report received.
Looks like only 16 were ordered for overseas
Had a few options added

Have the cougar at home now.
Son made a little film of the special occasion :slight_smile:

a little update. As the engine was removed from the car, and heads were stipped and the previous owner wasnt sure why it was out, I pulled the bottom end apart. No8 big end bearings, fell out of the cap when bolts undone. I think that was the reason the engine was out. All other’s were fine. Sent the engine and heads to machine shop.
Good news no cracks in head/crank/block. But because of the scoring from no8 big end, crank needing regrinding- no 20thou under. Also bores needed re-boring- so new pistons - 30thou over now. Have ordered all new parts and have the engine back now, but wont be rebuilding to i pick up some parts when im over in the states in Feb. Shipping and tax to Australia is a killer.

I’m not sure what it is, but I find RHD conversions fascinating. Especially when they’re well done.

Cool project!

PS - historical note: I went to college at Rutgers in Newark, just a few blocks from the dealer’s address. Not sure it was ever an actual dealership, more like an export office maybe, given the proximity to the ports @ Newark.

A little update, I was contacted by a person, who believes they owned the car, and imported it from Hong Kong.
Have attached the email sent to me, but its a little small to read. Along with a photo of the car from the 80s,

I believe it 100% to be the car, as there was only ever, 1 ginger 1971, xr7, 429cj rhd with a full black vinyl roof.

So wouldve been converted in the States after it rolled of the production line.

Pretty cool history.

"Hey Ken,

Here is the story of your Cougar as I recall it.

This car was brought in to Australia by myself and my Father in approx. 1984/5 from Hong Kong. At the time we were importing mostly European cars from there and also some Japanese cars from Japan.

My Father called me on one of his trips to say that our contact in Hong Kong ( Who traded cars from places like Hong Kong, Japan, China, Brunei etc) had come across this Mercury Cougar that originally belonged to the Head of Ford Asia until his time was up and was then sold locally to a person. When they found this car it had been stored and unused for many years. The storage of the car was exceptional good as it was in pristine condition other than the paint on the top surfaces due to the car cover. It had been converted RHD in the USA as we understood the story and by evidence of the conversion it looked like it was factory done.

I didn’t know at the time they found it that it was a genuine 429 CJ car. IT ONLY HAD 9,000 miles on it and was absolutely NEW inside.

I had it repainted completely due to the slight blemishes in the bonnet and boot. There was absolutely no rust anywhere and the vinyl roof was never touched or replaced. All of the chrome was taken off the car when it was painted and stripped and redone by one of Victoria’s top chrome platers. Due to it commonality with the same year Mustang, a new windscreen was fitted.

I purchased the Globe wheel with new tyres. The engine was taken out and given to Mick Webb in Heidelberg Victoria ( Mick used to do engines for a lot of race car people including some of the top running super car Ford teams of the day) and it was given a freshen up still retaining the stock components and standard specs. (Re-Hone bores, new rings, new bearings, re-seat valves with new springs, complete new gasket kit, re-build carbie). Car was re-assembled and finished off as you see it in the pictures presenting like new.

Now the sad part.

I’m only about 19/20 years old at the time and don’t understand what I have in my possession. A mate of mine had a Torana SLR 500 4 door which to this day I don’t know if it was an original or mock up and was no-where near as nice a condition as the Cougar, and I do the unthinkable and swap cars with him. I think his Father who was quite a savvy car collector new better than both of us and I sure he sold it some years latter for probably a tidy profit as he was also a small time car dealer.

I lost track of the car for decades until I saw it on the Shannon’s site after Google searching Mercury Cougar as I had done from time to time over the many years.

I’m positive that this is the same car and hope you rego search finds that our because this car would be very rare considering the story.

A beautiful car that I should never have sold/swapped and to this day regard as one of my life’s true mistakes.

I’ve included a picture of my current Mustang along with a couple of my old race cars.

Kind Regards,

If you haven’t bought the pistons and had the crank done yet, get 460 pistons and crank. The CJ rods are the same end-end.
I say this because I had a 71 Torino SCJ 4spd, 3.90 posi, back in the 70s, I was second owner, that broke a int valve at the keeper and messed up the piston but just touched the cyl enough it needed boring. Since I had it out, as per Ford’s “off Highway Parts” manual I stroked it out to a 460. I found the 429 CJ heads don’t like rpms below 3000 and when I converted it to a 460, 2000 worked just the same as the 429 at 3000.
Besides, you could take it out to a 523 and no one will know the difference. The difference between SCJ/CJ heads are not in the castings, just the 7/16 stud and nut/lock nut they used for the SCJs solid cam. One thing to be careful of if you use a bigger cam, is the rocker arm slot is just enough for the stock lift. I went to a Crower solid .560 lift and bend pushrods due to the small rocker arm slot until I found the problem. Back in 1975 there wasn’t to much shared info on this stuff. Seems some of the manufactures didn’t make them very long for Ford. 351C and Boss 302s had the same issue.

First drive this morning after the driveline and other repairs.

Congratulations Ken on getting it back on the road again… another 429 car lives!

Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do…

It’s cool that our 2 nearly identical cars led such different lives. Mine was built in Dearborn, sold and has lived its whole life within 20 miles of the assembly plant. Yours has literally traveled the world… Hong Kong, Australia.

It would be fantastic to have you share images and your story in ATSOTC Magazine. Please consider sending details to David via his email