About Mercury Cougar
After 34 years of production, the Mercury Cougar is the best-selling model of all time. It has 2,972,784 units produced. It is the second best-selling model after the Grand Marquis. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was closely tied to its marketing department. The company promoted the "cat brand" by placing large cats on signs at Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. In addition to the Mercury Cougar, the department featured several cat-themed models. The fifth- and sixth-generation models were downsized and given a compact Fox chassis. The XR7 was paired with the Thunderbird. And the regular model became the equivalent of the Ford Granada. The sixth generation was redesigned. It was offered only as a two-door coupe. The Mercury Cougar was intended for the market between the Mustang and Thunderbird. It was designed as a pony car. It was more comfortable and better equipped than the Mustang. But its performance was still better than the Thunderbird.
Lincoln-Mercury launched the Mercury Cougar on September 30, 1966. The Mercury Cougar far exceeded original sales forecasts and accounted for nearly 40 percent of Lincoln-Mercury's total sales in 1967. Unlike the Mustang, the Cougar was initially offered only as a two-door hardtop car. In 1968, the 289 engine was temporarily replaced by a V8 to meet new federal emissions standards. This engine developed 210 hp and 230 hp. The former became standard equipment in the XR-7, and a lower-compression version of the 289 became available mid-year. The two-cylinder 390P Marauder engine was introduced in the non-GT Mercury Cougar. The recently introduced GT-E model was equipped with a V8 engine. Mid-year, on April 1, 1968, the Ram Air Jet was introduced, replacing the GT-E with the 427 engine. In 1970, the base engine was still a 351 cc twin-cylinder. The 390 engine was dropped, but the 428 Cobra Jet was still a powerful engine, as was the Boss 302.
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For 1969, the Cougar, like the Mustang, received a mid-year redesign. The straight sides of the body were replaced with a "bottle car" style, with the body design extending from the hood to the rear wheels. No significant changes were made to the roofline. The air vents were removed. At the front, the full grille has been retained. But the split grille has been replaced with a horizontal one. Narrow rear windows replace the previous curved design. The concealed headlamps have been retained. The two vacuum actuators are replaced in the steering system to form a central vacuum actuator. The engine supplied vacuum to the headlight trims. They were stored in a reservoir under the bumper. For the headlight doors, coil springs were used as a safety system to ensure that the headlight doors were in a neutral position when opened. A convertible body was added to the model range. It was available in standard and XR-7 versions with an electric soft top as standard.
The success of the Mercury Cougar led to a series of changes in the range. The mid-size Mercury Cyclone. It was similar in size and equipment, soon replaced the Cougar, and the company discontinued the Cyclone in 1972. The imported Capri model. It was slightly smaller than the 1965 Mustang. It began to replace the Mercury Cougar as the compact sports car in the Lincoln-Mercury lineup. Disc brakes were added in the front and drum brakes in the rear, and in 1973 electric brakes became standard equipment. Another change was eliminating the 3-speed manual transmission and replacing all engines with a 3-speed automatic transmission. The 4-speed manual gearbox was rarely offered. The Cougar chassis was lengthened by 3 inches. The front wheelbase was extended from 58.1 inches to 61.5 inches.