When it comes to the intermediate car market of the late 60s – early 70s, it’s easy to forget about the sophisticated cousin of the Mustang, the 1971 Mercury Cougar XR7. Despite Chevy announcing the Monte Carlo as the first personal luxury intermediate car, the Cougar has been offering this since its inception in 1967.
The 1971 model was revamped in order to shed some weight yet look bigger and keep up with its competitors. The new grille and the larger rear bumper created a larger and fatter look that would hopefully keep pace with the competition.
The 1971 Mercury Cougar XR7 upgrade
The new generation of Cougars saw the return of the convertible, the XR7 package and the GT package.
The car featured here today has the XR7 upgrade which includes a unique interior with a wood-tone trim. Although this feature isn’t pictured here, it adds great character to the car. Additional features included:
The muscle car heritage
I think it’s less obvious here that this car is related to the Mustang – less obvious when you look at the older models – but there are some stylistic choices similar to the Pontiac Firebird. Personally, I’m a fan of the new-look front grille and headlight design. I think it gives a great overall look to the car. The body shape on this one is also somewhat a little unique and looks amazing.
Considering the 1971 Mercury Cougar XR7 is perhaps one of the forgotten car models, its appearance on the big screen has kept it alive for generations, including an episode in series 2 of Miami Vice. And let’s not forget the appearance in the 1973 movie The Thief Who Came to Dinner but personally, my favorite appearance has got to be in the music video of Pharrell William’s Happy.