Here’s another of Joseph Dennis’ fine urban jungle wildlife catches, this time a 1973 Cougar on the prowl.
Here’s his own commentary:
“At the same intersection I got my morning picture, this afternoon, this beautiful 1973 Mercury Cougar convertible passed by.
This Cougar didn’t appear to have any of the XR-7 badges or nomenclature on it, so I’m assuming it was the “base” model convertible, of which 1,284 were produced for the model year, according the editors of Consumer Guide.
Today felt like summer. Twenty years ago, I had about two more weeks of high school left.”
Downtown, the Loop, Chicago, Illinois.
Jackson & Dearborn.
Monday, May 14, 2012.
More: CC 1971 – 1973 Mercury Cougar – The Brougham Pony Car by Laurence Jones
1973…Last of the Mustang-based Cougars.
A good friend just sold his 1970 Cougar. He was really upset over it but a recent divorce had him in bad shape financially.
A classmate in high school got one of these a few years after she graduated….maybe a college graduation present? Her’s wasn’t as nice as this one, it was a medium darkish color, maroon, maybe.
I like the nearly identical 71 and 72 Cougars just a bit more than the 73s…but wouldn’t turn down a nice one if it came my way.
Wouldn’t have looked twice at this car in it’s day…. now, if possible, I would purchase it. Nice ride.
Fat cat! But I would still have one.
Splendid specimen of calicosity!
Shoot that is a nice car! Going to assume it has had some suspension work done in the last 40 years since there is no sagging. I have not spent any significant time in Chicago since the Olympic Torch rolled through on that flat car, but I think I need to get back there some day.
Gina, one of the female detectives in ” Miami Vice” (played by Saundra Santiago) drove one of these. It is seen in a couple of episodes.
I never used to think much of the post-1970 Cougars, but this car just looks so good! What a contrast to the dull modern traffic around it. I would have one in a heartbeat.
I love the classy powder blue and white exterior/interior color combo. It reminds me of the 1970 Mustang that Charlton Heston drove in the film Omega Man.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think the first picture was staged. The Cougar is the only thing with any colour. Everything else around it just blends into the background.
[to echo twalton:]
For the kind of “plaything” car I wanted in 1973, this wouldn’t have filled the bill.
I would happily give this one a pampered home today.
The car hasn’t changed–but I guess I have. 🙂
p.s. suzulight, the pic is for you:
I like most anything labeled Mercury Cougar. Except maybe the early 1980’s Fox body coupes. But even those were better looking than the contemporary Thunderbirds.
I could go for one of these. A buddy of mine in HS had one of these (a coupe, not a ‘vert), a rather bland 302 2bbl version in brown with a brown interior. Victor was hard on cars, he grenaded the tranny in less than six months. He was a big boy and when we went to swap in the new trans, we just unbolted it, he let it drop on his chest and rolled out from underneath the car with the trans on his ribcage. Quickest trans swap ever…
That tranny swap makes me hurt to hear about it.
I’ve done the same thing with my 94 Cougar. I had trouble pulling the old trans away from the engine on the trans jack so I slid under it on my creeper with my chest about an inch away from the pan(automatic obviously) and pried the case away from the block with a screwdriver in each hand, dropped right on me. I just gradually slid away and let the trans drop to the floor (I was a little more gentle with the one that replaced it lol)
I think with these Cougars look much better now now that the other Fords and Mercuries of the era wearing a similar front end treatment(Ford face) have largely gone extinct. It really was an attractive design that was diluted by it’s contemporaries IMO, plus I always felt the convertible was more attractive than the somewhat awkward buttressed hardtop.
Personally I actually prefer the 71-73 front end to the 70, which looks a too much like a heavy handed 67/68 reboot, the 69 was less distinctive I suppose but it was at least tidy.
I definitely looked at and lusted after the coupe model back when it was new, just like most other personal luxury coupes. I was not into convertibles so much back then. That all changed with a brief ownership of a Chrysler Sebring convertible. I absolutely loved it. To bad it turned out to be junk, plus it had no style. But this one is different. Beautiful style, and no computers, so it would be so easy to work on. This one would be easy to keep going forever if it were not totaled. Parts for Fords/Mercurys of this era are plentiful.
That is a really nice Cougar, I’ve always considered 1973 to be the last great year of the classic Cougar’s, seems like the rest of the Cougar’s were a hit and miss for me starting with the 1974-up models and don’t get me started on the final generation of the FWD Cougar’s, I’ve always liked the 1971-73 Cougar’s more than its contemporary Ford Mustang of the same vintage.
I love those year Cougars, but my personal favorite would have to be the ’67. I don’t care for the notchback Mustangs from ’71-’73, but the Mach 1 literally blows me out of the water. One of my favorite cars of all time. I still remember the one from the early ’70s James Bond movie “Diamonds are Forever” driven by the lovely Jill St. John. Not my favorite James Bond movie, but definitely my favorite Bond car and leading lady.
my dad still has his ’73 XR7 convertible, but it’s in extraordinarily rough shape and is probably not worth saving. when I was in middle/high school I dreamed of restoring it and driving it around but so much of the structure has gone away it’d probably cost $20k to make it roadworthy.
Love it, though needs Lincoln Turbine alloys stat. Color period correct and all, with white walls. Dayton spokes also would be nice, no bigger than 16″. I’m beginning to hate restomods- they infest SW FLA.
This is off toic, but what happened to Carmine? He was controversial to some, but I love him. Where are you buddy?
Those ’71-’73 Cougar convertible represent a lost opportunity too. Imagine if the product planners had taken that platform, added 4″ to the wheelbase, applied Continental Mark-styled skin, loaded it with appropriate power and options then presented a slightly downsized, luxurious top-of-the-line Continental convertible years before the Cadillac Seville sedan appeared.
Agreed. A Thunderbird version might have made more sense than the Mark IV clone that Ford actually built, as well.
This car speaks to me about Chicago culture, class and social mobility.
It says “North Shore”. It was driven down to the loop this beautiful spring day for its occasional exercise. Inherited by the current owners from the wife’s mother. She had used it as her Friday and weekend country club golf/tennis car. It was always maintained well and has never left the original family. The driver is confident and looks like he knows the car well. Not often one would drive an open top convertible in the not too car friendly loop unless one knew the area and had a routine (and a safe garage at the office).
Beautiful car too and what a nice color. The Cougar convertibles were often (and looked good in) white.
I never warmed to the front end on these. Even now, there is something “wrong” about that center grille that wraps in too many directions. The rest of the car is, however, quite pleasant. Another reminder of how baby blue has disappeared from the roads, a color that was once quite popular.
Nice car, but 67-68 were really the years I consider the best looking. Too bad they never made a convertible during those years, I once saw one that had the top removed and it was really good looking. Although it was a jacked up 4×4 probably on a Bronco frame. Too bad it’s owner thrashed it to junk in a couple of years, it was really nice for about the first 2 weeks.
I saw a really nice ’67 convertible conversion at the Back to the Bricks car festival in Flint, MI back in 2011. Agree that a first-gen Cougar convertible should have been a no-brainer.
That looks great!
Keep these coming… I’m loving the Chicago backdrop. How the heck do you manage to catch so many classics in action??
Thanks, Sean. I just always have my Canon on me. Some really great cars come out of the woodwork once the roads clear in spring.
I wasn’t a big fan of the ’71-’73 Cougar or Mustang at the time, but they have grown on me over the years. The ’69 Cougar convertible is still one of my favorites. They really got that one right. The ’70 is ok byt I don’t really like the vertical center grille.
Some ’69 Cougars factory fresh.
Wow, cars being built by real people instead of robots.
This car’s interior could be swapped with a Mustangs of the same year(s). I had a ’72 Mustang convertible with a Cougar interior back when I was in Grad school in the 80s. We never could figure out how or WHY my Mustang had a Cougar interior!
I’ve never been a huge fan of this generation, but it’s better than the one that followed, and miles better than the shrunken 1980-82 cars. And the lead photo is outstanding! It does look like the one colorful object in a world of gray…