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Bench Racing: How Would You Prepare This 5-speed 1987 Mercury Cougar?

Bench Racing: How Would You Prepare This 5-speed 1987 Mercury Cougar?

If there is one thing I know that BangShifters are good for, it’s spending other people’s money when it comes to a project car build. And I’m amazed that we don’t exploit that more often, because you guys come up with some killer ideas, even for some of the more farfetched project cars we can think of. So, with that, I’m fielding a soft pitch to you guys, just to see what you come up with.

cougar 2

Our mark is a 1987 Mercury Cougar 20th Anniversary Edition. What was that, really? Badges, Cabernet Red paint, and gold trimming. It’s not easy on the eyes and these Aero Cats aren’t exactly popular, but they are Fox Body cars and can be tweaked just as easily as any Mustang can be. According to a couple of Cougar fan pages, these were all auto-on-the-column cars, since they were based on the Cougar LS, but somehow this 20th Anniversary Editon ended up with a T-5 five-speed, four-wheel disc brakes, a 3.73-equipped 8.8 axle, and a new fuel tank. It also has a huge hole where the 5.0L V8 used to sit…apparently the engine is a dead player and isn’t being included with the sale. It’s not quite show-quality, but it’s far from rough, and there’s a lot left in the Cougar to like.

So how would you build it up? 347 stroker and a TKO500? Coyote swap and a six-speed? EcoBoost V6 from a wrecked Ford Edge and it’s automatic and drive it for the mileage? Drag car? Give this one a shot, let’s see what you guys can come up with!


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11 thoughts on “Bench Racing: How Would You Prepare This 5-speed 1987 Mercury Cougar?

  1. Beagle

    I’d either turbo a Kubota 2.2 liter diesel, and spray paint the windows black so nobody sees me, or a 545″ inch 460 and make no apologies.

    I had one given to me and happily drove it because I was broke and hate walking. I like the MN12 ones okay, but the Fox I never got used to the looks of.

  2. Keith

    Thats either a 20th anniversary car with a swapped interior or a lookalike. All 20th cars has a 20th only tan leather interior.

  3. Matt Cramer

    Either a big block drag car, or to confuse everyone, get a set of Lincoln Mk VII diesel engine mounts and use them to put in a BMW S52 out of an M3 backed by a ZF six speed. (The Lincoln used a BMW diesel, but the mounts can be used for much more interesting motors…)

  4. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    I wouldn’t waste my time and money on something so fugly it could melt your eyes!

    1. jerry z

      I have to agree with the back window, it’s just makes the car fugly. Should have done some other styling changes.


    Myself, I like the cougar better than the t-bird…more muscular and seems to retain some of the early 70’s look with the long hood and short deck and high 1/4’s. Clean it, detail it and drop in a nicely warmed over 5.0 with a centrifugal supercharger….then enjoy driving it….Dont know that I would go too over the top with it….I’m in a cruising mood lately and not a go fast mood so…that opinion may change.

  6. Bill Mesker

    If it was me I would put a Coyote 5.0 with a turbo tuned to run on 87 octane and drive it. Just me though. If I want to run it at the strip then I’ll tune it to run on 93 but otherwise for a daily low boost would be fine for around town. High boost for the strip only.

  7. BennyB

    Leave the exterior.
    Build/install 11:1 small block.
    Have a straight-up four speed; no SROD.
    Wear gold chains to match wheels.
    Consider spool and DDing.

  8. BeaverMartin

    Total budget build. I’d drop in a 5.0 out or an Explorer or a 5.3 LS which ever is cheaper at the scrap yard, the LS would be faster and more reliable. Plasti-dip the body white and throw on some mustang take off wheels. Bonus points for seeing the haters faces when you unveil the LS under the hood.

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