Old Cougar Memories

Jan 3, 2007
Tacoma, WA
Real Name
Ken St John
Saw this in a newsletter this morning concerning a 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 coming up for sale on Barrett-Jackson.

1969 Cougar XR7

Reminded me of a similar '69 Cougar XR7 that was mine for my final two years of college (70-72).
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Now ... as is often the case ... there's a story concerning MY Cougar. My Dad was a bank branch manager at a location that did a lot of business with various new car dealers. One day, one of the owners stopped by and asked my Dad if he still had a son in college (me). Yup, why? "I've got a car for him!!" "Thanks, but nope ... can't afford it," my Dad told him. "Yes, you can ...bring him by and have a look." So, on Saturday we went and looked. I loved it, of course ... it was barely 2 years old and boy, was it was cool looking! The problem? The dealer had it for months and could not find any takers. Why?

Well, it had belonged to a captain out at Ft Lewis, and apparently it had been used in some shady dealer's advertising down south. Low cost ... but then you found out it wasn't equipped well so you'd look at something more expensive. And I mean NOT well equipped ... this was a Cougar XR-7 PERIOD. No options at all!! Had a 351-2V, 3-speed manual transmission, NO power steering, NO power brakes, NO air conditioning, NO power windows, NO power seats, an AM only radio, and so on!! It had all the "standard" equipment but that was it. Did I care? No way!! It was so cool looking!! Dad got it for a steal of a price (as I recall it was less than $1,000 at a time when a properly equipped one would be in the mid $2k range). And I was thrilled!!

Drove it for a couple of years and wanted to keep it, but my then girlfriend (soon to be wife) made it clear there was no way she'd drive it ... ever!! She had a particular issue with a feature that I thought was pretty cool ... Ford called it the "Rim Blow" steering wheel. There was a small flexible rubber grip around the inside edge of the steering wheel and when you squeezed it anywhere it wold honk the horn. I always thought it was kinda convenient. But, with no power steering, whenever she tried parking ... it was REALLY noisy!! :) So, as I prepared to go on active duty after our wedding, she made me get a "sensible" 1972 Ford Pinto 3-door .... instead of my Cougar :(.

I've often though that if I still had that old Cougar it might be worth a pretty penny since it was SO weirdly un-equipped!! I'm sure Barrett-Jackson will sell this one for a very handsome price!!



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