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This Anniversary Edition 1987 Mercury Cougar Survived The 80’s And Has Only 750 Miles!


This Anniversary Edition 1987 Mercury Cougar Survived The 80’s And Has Only 750 Miles!

1987, if you were around to experience it, was one hell of a year. Many consider it to be the pinnacle of the Decade of Excess, and looking back, it really was chock full of awesomeness. For example, The Simpsons (in their primordial form)  and Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted, on TV, Hair Metal was at it’s peak of power with epic releases by bands like Whitesnake and Dokken (if you like that sort of thing), and soon-to-be classic video games like The Legend of Zelda and Castlevania were getting played by kids everywhere.

And then, there were the cars!

Chevrolet and Pontiac were finally getting their groove back with the 350-powered Camaro and Firebird,  and Buick unleashed the legendary turbocharged GNX. Ford updated cars across their lines with refreshed exteriors, like the Mustang and the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. Electronic Fuel Injection was proliferating across many manufacturers, bringing new levels of reliability (and complexity) to dealer showrooms everywhere. After years of the performance equivalent of hot garbage, things were finally starting to look up again!

Ford’s Mercury Division was also caught in the technological and stylistic wave that was cresting during 1987, with updated models across the line. One of them was the Mercury Cougar, which had received updated styling alongside it’s platform mate, the Ford Thunderbird. They started the year with two trim levels: the personal luxury LS, and the sportier XR7. In 1987, the XR7 was the top dog in the Cougar lineup, featuring the low-output 5.0 MPFI V8 and the 4-speed AOD automatic. While not enough to light your Aqua Net-crusted hair on fire like the Grand National, it featured struts up front and the Mustang GT’s quad shock rear axle in the rear, albeit with a Traction Lok 7.5″ ring gear instead of the Mustang’s 8.8 inch unit. It also borrowed the Mustang’s 15″ 10-hole alloy wheels and featured sporty (for the era) rubber. Inside, you got a fat sport wheel and a console shifter, and a set of really cool digital gauges with a fuel and trip computer. For the time, it was a nice package overall.

Full Disclosure: I had one of these! Actually, I had two, but that’s a long story. Back in 1999, I picked this one up for a paltry $250 and learned some hard lessons wrenching on it. But it made V8 noises, handled reasonably well, and looked cool. Man, I miss that car.

About midway through the year, Ford remembered that it was the 20th Anniversay of the release of the Cougar, and hastily pumped out a commemorative model. They were a mix of the LS, XR7, and the upcoming 1988 XR7 in one convenient vehicle! All of them were maroon with the Mustang Turbine wheels, painted gold. Interiors were similar to the LS cars, with tan split bench seats with red piping. According to the Fox Body Cougar enthusiast site CoolCats.Net, Ford cranked out exactly 5002 of these majestic beasts. And you know where this is going: yes, we found one, and it’s for sale! Let’s take a closer look at this forgotten kitty.

Here it is! Back in 1987, seeing a car that had color keyed bumpers was striking, as most cars were either two-tone or had bolt-on bumpers. The strangest feature of the Cougar’s design is that rear quarter window and oddly swept C pillar. Some find it weird, and some like it. Many prefer the aero-style rear window on the Thunderbird, but I find the Cougar’s take on it unique and cool. What do you think?

Here’s a closer look at that weird C-pillar. Depending on the model, there would be a badge there. Regular LS cars got a Cougar logo, XR7’s got a gray and black XR7 badge with a futuristic font, and the anniversary cars got their own special commemorative badge. And hey, remember luggage racks? For a little while, these things were considered as cool as regular spoilers to some people. And yes, they made aftermarket ones that people bolted to all sorts of stuff, including performance cars. All 20th Anniversary Cougars came complimentary with these.

For 1987, part of the updated Ford styling included composite-style “Euro” headlamps with capsule bulbs. This was a big deal back then! While some cars, like the Mercury Sable, went absolutely insane with this concept, the Cougar showed some restraint and kept a traditional grille between the lights. Also on display here are the Mustang GT-style Turbine wheels. The Fox-chassis cars, with the exception of the Lincoln Mark VII, received 4-lug hubs, so there was some cross-pollination of wheel styles here and there. And since it’s a Fox Chassis car, most Mustang upgrades will also apply here!

It always boggled my mind that they went with the split-bench LS seats instead of the sportier Lear buckets and center console from the XR7 in the Anniversary cars. They still had a consolette in between the seats, which housed controls for the windows, locks, and seats. They also got a leather-wrapped wheel with a tilt column. Fancy!

As I noted earlier, Ford decided in the middle of the model year to roll this anniversary edition out. This one was built 30 years ago this month!

 

In the 80’s, a car wasn’t cool unless they offered a digital dash somewhere along the line. And when optioned right, the Cougar had one of the coolest. It had a full slate of features that most modern cars don’t have, including a digital speedo, curved graph tachometer, full featured fuel computer, and… WAIT, does that read 714 MILES on the odometer??? Yes, this cat has only traveled 714 miles in it’s 30 years on the planet. Wow!

So, now we have a clearer picture of why it’s for sale. This is an ultra low-mileage example that was likely stashed away for a future investment like owners of other limited edition collector cars did. The only problem here is that the original owner probably didn’t anticipate the demise of Mercury as a brand, and the demise of the popularity of the personal luxury coupe. While cool, it’s still a used 1987 Cougar, albeit a very clean and original one. These Cougars are not really considered to be true classics like the 1979 Trans Am 10th Anniversary or any of the many Corvette, Camaro, and Mustang Pace Cars released over the years. The seller is asking for a reasonable $16,900 for the car, and considering it’s basically a brand new 1987 Cougar, that’s not out of line.

So, what would you do with a brand new 1987 Cougar? I know what I would do with it. Back when I had that silver one pictured above, these 20th Anniversary models were the holy grail of Fox Cougars, and I wanted one BAD. Low mileage be damned, this thing’s original 5.0 would be pulled and palleted while a scrappy, supercharged 347 would take residence under the hood. I’d toss in a five-bolt swap and 8.8″ rear axle from a LSC, and bolt on a set of Cobra wheels. Then, I’d drive the wheels off of this thing with a grin spanning ear-t0-ear.

What would you do with this rare cat? Would you use it as an investment piece, or create one of the best sleepers the 80’s could offer? Is it sacrilege to pull apart such a low mileage, rare car? Let us know what you think below!

HERE’S THE AD!

Nearly Pristine 1987 Cougar XR7 20th Aniv edition. 740 Orig miles. Not a typo, Seven Hundred Forty total miles. Every Factory option except power moonroof. 5.0 Engine, Special paint, wheels, badging. Even has rare Cougar’s Owners trunk kit with all items in place. Factory wheel lock with paper envelope still attached. 2tone Suede interior, heated dual power seats, memory seat, factory graphic equalizer, twilight sentinel headlights and auto-dim feature, truly too much to list.
Brand new tires.

 


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7 thoughts on “This Anniversary Edition 1987 Mercury Cougar Survived The 80’s And Has Only 750 Miles!

  1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    Even though this comes from the Ford Family I wouldn’t even have driven 750 yards in this fugly piece of 80s crap!

    Reply
  2. scott stelicha

    I have a 97 30th anniversary cougar with a 01 mustang motor and vortech supercharger talk about a sleeper . people laugh until they check it out .really a fun lowbuck car. I get to the shop early every morning to check out bangshift and saw this car this morning . keep up the great work .

    Reply
  3. coffeejoejava

    Found one at the local Pick and Pull. Grabbed one of the commemorative plates signifying its status as a 30th anniversary edition. It is on my bulletin board of stuff I collect from there!

    Reply
  4. sbg

    forgettable cars – which is why it has such low miles. Forget about it again, and maybe in another 30 years it’ll be worth 16k.

    Reply
  5. Richard Jones

    I\’ve owned two of these cars. Both put almost a quarter million miles on them with very little need of repairs beyond ordinary maintenance. They are a very comfortable vehicle to travel in over great distances. More importantly, real adults can easily sit in the rear without scraping their heads against the roof or needing a shoehorn to get in back. Try doing that in a similar Camaro or Firebird of that era!
    Mercury \”pulled out all of the stops\” in creating this tribute to the very hard won twentieth anniversary of their signature Cat (does anyone else remember Cougar Wagons? Shudder). Contrary to the article, Mercury designers were actually planning this Special Edition Cougar a year in advance, including getting genuine gold cloisonné badges approved by the Factory for the first time ever. Medium Cabernet paint and genuine ultra suede leather with maroon piping was also only available on this unique edition, as well.
    About my only gripe is the Granny Style column shifter which is so out of place compared to a Floor Shifter. However since it came standard with the identical 5.0 SEFI Powerplant as in a Mustang GT, with staggered quadra shocks and true posi-traction, I can live with the shifter…

    Reply
  6. Richard Jones

    I’ve owned two of these cars. Both put almost a quarter million miles on them with very little need of repairs beyond ordinary maintenance. They are a very comfortable vehicle to travel in over great distances. More importantly, real adults can easily sit in the rear without scraping their heads against the roof or needing a shoehorn to get in back. Try doing that in a similar Camaro or Firebird of that era!
    Mercury “pulled out all of the stops” in creating this tribute to the very hard won twentieth anniversary of their signature Cat (does anyone else remember Cougar Wagons? Shudder). Contrary to the article, Mercury designers were actually planning this Special Edition Cougar a year in advance, including getting genuine gold cloisonné badges approved by the Factory for the first time ever. Medium Cabernet paint and genuine ultra suede leather with maroon piping was also only available on this unique edition, as well.
    About my only gripe is the Granny Style column shifter which is so out of place compared to a Floor Shifter. However since it came standard with the identical 5.0 SEFI Powerplant as in a Mustang GT, with staggered quadra shocks and true posi-traction, I can live with the shifter…

    Reply

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