1969 Mercury Cougar
Painting by Dayle
Bob's 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 painted by

     This is my 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7. I found her in West Jordan, Utah in August of 2000. I had been looking for another Cougar for a project when I saw this ad in Collector Car Trader Online. It sounded good, because I wanted an XR7 for the plush interior and gauge package, P/S and PDB and did not want A/C or a big block car. I was looking for a southern car with a good, solid body.

     I called John and he described the car in great detail. I was interested, but a bit leery of buying a vehicle sight unseen. Since I live on the East Coast and did not know anyone in the SLC area John offered to shoot some VHS footage and mail it too me. I told him that I was interested in the car and he agreed to hold any sales until I had a chance to see the tape.

     When the tape arrived it was almost as good as being there. John did running commentary as he walked around the car showing all of the "defects". Dings, scratches, rust patches, it was all there. He shot some footage of the interior, describing the ripped seat on the drivers side and showing the worn carpeting. Then he set the camera down and started her. The audio was very clear, you can hear the engine turn over and start. I was impressed that a 30 year old all original motor with 120,000 miles would start and idle so nicely.

     After a few more conversations with John, I found out that John was the second owner (John worked for the original owner) and that she had been John's daily driver. He told me that the car had always been well maintained and he guaranteed the car would make the 1800+ mile trip back to NH. We agreed on a non-binding price and he agreed to hold the car until my wife Cheryl and I could fly out to Salt Lake City in a couple of weeks to confirm the condition and finalize the deal.

     We decided to use the long Labor Day weekend to start our trip and flew to Salt Lake City on Sunday. John picked us up at the airport and drove us to his house to meet our new car. She was just as described and the deal was finalized. For better or worse, we were owners of a Classic Cougar.

     We had left our house at 6am that morning to catch a flight to Kansas City so we could wait for 4 hours until our connecting flight to SLC left. We gained 2 hours flying west and by the time we got the tank filled and I had checked the fluids, belts, hoses, etc for the trip home it was past 8pm. Thankfully John had the car serviced the day before we got there so I did not have to deal with any of that. So where is all this leading to? Well it so happens that the day we spent flying (Cheryl does not like flying), waiting (nobody likes hanging around a deserted airport on a Sunday), looking at/buying/checking an "old car" was Cheryl's birthday! I felt bad for spending the day doing "my" stuff, but she didn't mind at all. She was just so happy that I had finally got my Cougar. Yep, my wife is pretty great.

     We left Salt Lake City early Monday morning and headed east. The Cougar ran great and we cruised through the hills and down the interstate with no problems. The XR7 has a full gauge package and everything worked great. We arrived home about 11am on Thursday. The Cougar had averaged 18mpg. Not bad for an old V8. I drove the car around town a few times, then started the restoration. She officially hit the road again in July 2003. Click the links below to see the transformation.

Select a link for more pictures: