- Upgraded 302ci V8
- Merc-O-Matic transmission
- Ford 8-inch rear
- Air conditioning
- Power steering / power brakes
- Pioneer stereo system
When it comes to pony cars, Mustangs definitely aren't the only game in town. While they may be the best known FoMoCo product of all time, their Mercury-branded cousins offered more powertrain options, similar underpinnings, and a much greater sense of refinement throughout. From the sporty GTs to the luxurious XR7s, the Cougar offered something for every set of priorities. Of course, you didn't need to opt for either of those packages to leave the dealership driving a stylish car with plenty of power on tap. Proof of that can be found in this restored 1968 Mercury Cougar. With an upgraded 302, automatic transmission, and a nicely appointed interior, this car is a more than just eye candy – it's a bonafide cruising companion ready for the back roads and local shows. Priced under the $20k mark, you simply won't find more turn-key fun for the money.
According to the data plate, this Cougar rolled off the line at Dearborn, Michigan just a few days after Christmas of 1967 and made its way to the greater Atlanta area to connect with its original buyer. While most of the car aligns with its original specs, the factory Lime Gold paint was swapped in favor of a bright red much better suited to the Cougar's sporty aesthetic. A frame up restoration ensured the sheet metal below was first rate before the top coat was applied and, today, the car presents well. Panels fit together nicely and the paintwork has a nice luster to it. While the paint color was changed, the vinyl top option was mercifully left in place. Not only does the vinyl ramp up the elegance factor – it also looks great against the bright color below.
To keep with Mercury's positioning of the car, the body received a number of interesting details to give it a more refined look than its scrappy Ford sibling. Probably the most notable element is the split front grille which is widely noted for its resemblance to an electric shaver. It's a detailed piece and the one found on this Cougar looks great. Below, a chrome bumper tucks against the body while round turn signals sit beneath. The hood features a tapered center section that draws the eye towards a greenhouse fitted with clean glass and stainless trim. The side profile is surprisingly sleek, rounded out by corner markers, stainless rocker trim, chrome door handles, and crisp Cougar badges. The rear view features another chrome bumper that ties in with decklid trim to frame a taillight treatment that mirrors the front grille. Below, round backup lights round out the body while chrome exhaust tips stick out below.
When it comes to high-performance FoMoCo products, few numbers come to mind faster than 3-0-2 and that's exactly what you'll find between the fenders of this Cougar. The block is a proper shade of Ford Blue, topped by an Edelbrock intake manifold and a Holley 4-barrel carburetor. At either side, cast iron heads wear chrome valve covers that work with the chrome air cleaner to provide some visual sizzle. The front of the engine spins all the usual suspects plus a massive factory-style air conditioning compressor while an electric fan aids the radiator in keeping the small block cool. A Mallory ignition system gets things moving while spent exhaust gases exit through cast iron manifolds that connect to a true dual exhaust system. Despite the aftermarket pieces, the bay maintains a solid factory look thanks to details like correct decals and the Autolite Sta-Ful battery at the front corner.
Shine a light underneath this Cougar to find a road-ready chassis filled with all the appropriate Mercury pieces. A layer of undercoating keeps the floors protected while contrasting well with brighter pieces like the exhaust system. In the center, a Merc-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission takes care of shifting while a Ford 8-inch differential puts power to the pavement. While the Cougar shares plenty of pieces with its Mustang cousin, the wheelbase was stretched 3-inches and the suspension was softened for a better ride. Hardware included A-arms, coil springs, and articulated drag struts up front while the rear was held in place by a tried and true leaf spring setup. The driving experience is equally high-end thanks to factory power steering which works in harmony with power brakes that utilize discs up front and drums in the rear. The wheel wells are filled with 15-inch versions of Mercury's own styled steel wheels, wrapped in 235/60R15 radials.
Open the door on this Mercury and a stylish black vinyl interior awaits. Stainless door sill plates conceal the edges of clean black carpet, protected by Cougar-branded floor mats. The front row consists of bucket seats, divided by a tapered console occupied by the gear selector. As shown in the pictures, there is also a removable armrest with cup holders included in the sale. The stock console flows directly into a center section which makes room for a Pioneer AM/FM/CD head unit and a handy storage compartment. In front of the driver, the instrument bezel hosts a pair of stock gauges that monitor speed, temperature, fuel, and amps. The stock pieces are supplement by a small column-mounted tachometer. Mercury placed climate controls solely in the hands of the driver through a set of chrome sliders to the left the gauge cluster. A wood grain Grant wheel offers control over the front wheels. At either side of the cabin, nicely-finished door panels add a luxurious look topped by the Cougar logo. The cabin shows well overall and, with air conditioning and a modern stereo, seems like a great place to log some miles. Open the trunk to find an equally clean trunk with a factory mat and a full-size spare tire.
Playing back the highlight reel, you'll find a stout 302, an automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, a modern stereo, and a comfortable interior to enjoy it all from. With that list, we could be talking about a new car! If you're ready to meet the Mustang's upper-crust kin, don't miss the chance to get acquainted with this 1968 Mercury Cougar!
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RK Motors, in my opinion, is the best place to find and buy your high quality dream car or next toy. Their inventory is full of high quality automobiles painstakingly preserved or restored the correct way at very fair prices. I throughly enjoy my automobiles purchased for RK Motors and my friendship with them. I would highly recommend them to anyone as i have to all of my friend, acquaintances and folks who have asked me for recommendations and advice.Mitchell W.