2k: Cougar Bait: 1981 Mercury Cougar XR7 Coupe

The Mercury Cougar led an interesting life before the Mercury brand name was dissolved in 2010. The Cougar has been variously based on Mustang, Thunderbird and Mondeo platforms, but the non-Mustang versions are tragic. Find this “pony cousin” Fox body 1981 Mercury Cougar XR7 Coupe for sale in Moon Township, PA for $2750 via craigslist.  Big thanks to tip from DT reader Doug!

The Fox body based fifth generation Cougar was a welcome change from the huge body-on-frame monstrosities that preceded it. It will be lighter, stiffer, and generally just feel less like a 19th-century Conestoga wagon.  This Cougar also features a Landau top – a vinyl toupée that resembles the middle aged male pattern baldness of the Cougar’s primary buyers. Sexy!

The foxy Cougar is powered by the Legendary Ford 5.0 V8 equipped with a carburetor…so it should probably be called a 302…anyway, in stock trim puts out a wheezy 130 horsepower.  Expect leisurely performance when mated to the stock 3-speed automatic transmission. All manner of high power Ford V8s will fit in this hole though!

In its day the Cougar could be optioned with some digital instrumentation, but this version looks much older than it is, so it it must have been a low optioned example…probably a great thing considering the fact that any 1980s era electronics ceased functioning in 1991.  

The seller describes this Cougar as pristine condition classic…but we really can’t tell from the set of poorly framed and out-of-focus pictures…it might be pristine…or it might look like Lindsay Lohan’s bedroom.  Regardless, the asking price is low enough that it could be used as a daily driver for a few years and then sold to an XR7 enthusiast for little or no loss. Or it could be built into the ultimate 11-second sleeper drag car.

In the meantime, you’d be riding in the height of Malaise Era style. We would suggest a Mark Hamill or Dorothy Hamill style bowl haircut and oversized brown-tinted glasses to go along with the theme!

Find a more inconspicuous Fox body somewhere? Email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com