Hurst Hatch Survivor: 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7

December 14, 2022 Update – The high bid did not meet the seller’s reserve price, so we’ve moved this vehicle to our “Rides Still Available Page.”  Click the blue button above or below to navigate to this ride’s bid page, where you can either select the green “Buy Now” button or place a realistic counteroffer in the “Bid” box.

Guys With Rides is pleased to offer Lot 169, a T-Top equipped 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7 in an online, reserve-style auction format on behalf of the current owner.

Bidding is now open and will continue for fourteen (14) consecutive days ending at 5:00 PM Eastern on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.

In addition to its stunning color combination, this 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7 features the rare Hurst T-Top option and its original factory AM/FM/8-Track stereo.

This 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7 currently resides in Trenton, New Jersey, minutes from Trenton Regional airport or less than one hour’s drive from Philadelphia International airport.

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The Deets

Year: 1979
Make: Mercury
Model: Cougar XR-7
Location: Trenton, New Jersey
Mileage: 90,811
VIN: 9H93F736232
Exterior Color: Lipstick Red
Interior Color: White Leather
Engine: 302 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: Rear Wheel Drive
Fuel: Gas

Current High Bid: $800

For the 1977 model year, the fourth-generation Cougar was part of a totally revised Ford intermediate model line. The Cougar XR-7 underwent a redesign, with the standard Cougar returning in place of the Montego. For the first time, the Cougar XR-7 was the Mercury counterpart of the Ford Thunderbird (a pairing that lasted through 1997), with Mercury marketing the standard Cougar as a badge-engineered Ford LTD II.

The fourth-generation Cougar continued using the Ford Torino “split-wheelbase” chassis: Cougar coupes and XR-7s had a 114-inch wheelbase, while Cougar four-doors and station wagons relied on a 118-inch version.

The redesign also included revised powertrain offerings.  In the interest of fuel economy, the 460 V8 was withdrawn from Ford’s intermediate offerings, with the 173 hp 400 V8 as the highest-displacement engine. The base V8 in coupes and sedans was a 134 horsepower 302 Windsor V8, with a 161 horsepower 351M V8 optional in coupes and sedans. All engines were only available with a three-speed automatic transmission.

A central part of the 1977 redesign of the Ford intermediate range was a transition from “fuselage styling” to sharper-edged lines.  On coupes, sedans, and XR-7s, all sheet metal above the bumpers was revised.  To bring the exterior closer in line with the larger Marquis, the Cougar adopted a nearly square radiator-style grille; in place of hidden headlamps, the Cougar adopted four square headlamps.

As with the previous generation, the Cougar personal luxury coupe continued as the Cougar XR-7. No longer a “junior Thunderbird,” the XR-7 was the direct Mercury counterpart of the Thunderbird (a commonality remaining for the next 20 years). To differentiate the model from its Ford counterpart (and from standard Cougars), the XR-7 was given distinct rear fascia. Evoking the flagship Continental Mark V, the rear fascia featured a vestigial continental tire trunk lid (with angular lines) and taillights similar to the Continental Mark IV. The XR-7 roofline was distinguished from standard Cougar coupes by narrower hardtop windows and the use of louvers on the forward section of the opera windows.

The XR-7 included power disc brakes and steering, 15-inch wheels, a rear stabilizer bar, a walnut wood-tone instrument panel, a Flight Bench seat, “XR-7” trunk key-hole door, “COUGAR” decklid script, a large cat emblem hood ornament, and sport-styled roofline with back-half vinyl and rear opera side windows and louvers.  The fourth generation is the best-selling version of the Cougar, with 1978 as the top-selling year for the entire model line. For 1979, though in its last year, the Cougar adopted several body revisions, with revised taillamps and body-color grille inserts, along with an electronic voltage regulator and a plastic battery tray.  However, its continued use of frameless doors and pillarless hardtop styling facilitated an antidote for the lack of traditional convertibles during this period. Specifically, it came in the form of Hurst T-Tops that buyers could opt to have installed.

The seller of this 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7 notes that it features the rare T-Top option.  The current caretaker bought the car over a decade ago as a cruiser to enjoy with his wife.  Since her passing, he doesn’t use the Cougar as much anymore and, thus, would like to find a nice home for it.  The seller notes there are only three non-original items on this 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7:

  1. The car features chrome aftermarket wheels with over ten years old tires.  The original wheels and hub caps are not with the car.  While the tread depth is fine, we recommend the buyer plan to have a fresh set of tires installed before considering any long-distance driving.
  2. The installation of a custom dual exhaust system.  In the past year, the seller installed new brakes all around, as well as a new carburetor.  The car also features a fresh oil change.
  3. The seller replaced the original power antenna with a fixed mast unit when its motor burned out.  If desired, the wiring and switch remain in place should someone choose to retrofit the correct power unit back in.

While this 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7 came factory-equipped with air conditioning, the seller notes he removed the seized compressor several years ago.  All of the other system components remain in place should the next caretaker choose to restore the system.

Having seen and filmed this 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7 in person, our impression is it’s a nice survivor-grade car that is rust-free and, as far as we can tell, still wears its original paint.  This Cougar is an excellent entry-level and nicely-optioned example.

On the morning of Friday, December 2, 2022, Rudy personally photographed, videotaped, and inspected this 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7. The image below contains his Pre-Purchase Inspection (“PPI”) report. To view his full report, click on the image below. When finished, please click your browser’ back button to return to this listing page:

To help you make informed bids, we’re providing access to, the analytics and search engine for the Classic Car market, that provides an interactive graph of recent comparable sales year-to-date. By clicking on the green dots, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you make an educated bid on the car we are featuring for auction here:

Exterior Gallery

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Interior Gallery

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Underhood And Undercarriage Gallery

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Tires And Wheels Gallery

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T-Tops, Windows & Mirror Gallery

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Documentation Gallery

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If you have any questions about this 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7, please comment below or contact Rudy directly at 877-468-6497.  Thank you for looking, and happy bidding!


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