It’s the 21st century and before you know it, it’s 17 years past the turn of the millennium. Time sure flies by but some things just won’t die. Take the 1967 Mercury Cougar for example. Known as part of a breed of timeless cars, its fame has only skyrocketed over the years. As a matter of fact, it has been recognized as one of the most in demand vintage vehicles among collectors in the market. But how exactly did this machine come to life? Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
It all began when Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury division decided to bridge the gap between the Thunderbird and the Mustang by means of its own pony car: the Cougar, known at the time by its codename T-7.
You see, the Mustang was then known as the T-5. The idea for both cars was developed almost within the same period but the mighty pony car for Ford got the upper hand and was released first. Seeing how much of a commercial success it was, the T-7 went into production a year later after then Vice President of Cars and Trucks, Lee Iacocca, gave the signal for its production. By February of 1965, the design was finalized.
It was no secret that Mercury spent a good amount on publicity and marketing campaigns, a decision that was proven invaluable later on. After its showroom debut and its media previews in the Bahamas and California, sales began in late 1966 which went more than great. The company had a high projection at 85,000 units by the end of its first model year, a feat many deemed silly. But it crashed records as sales closed in excess of 150,000 units.
The Cougar was released in two models: the base and the XR-7. The latter being the more favored with its full set of black-faced competition instruments and toggle switches, simulated wood-grained dashboard, T-type center automatic transmission shifter, overhead console and fine vinyl and leather upholstery. On top of that, buyers could choose between the 200 hp 289 cu in two-barrel V8 and the 335 hp 390 cu in four-barrel V8 engines. It evens runs on a larger wheelbase than the Mustang at 11 inches.
But what set the 1967 Mercury Cougar apart was its infamous and widely celebrated “electric shaver”. This full-width split grille feature that concealed the headlights and the Bird sequential taillights gave the car its persona, one like no other.