The 1971-1973 Mercury Cougar was the last of the Cougar ponycars. They shared an enlarged new body/chassis design with the third-generation Ford Mustangs, but rode a five-inch longer wheelbase. Unlike the Mustang, which still offered overt performance models, Cougar now tilted decisively toward luxury, though to no good sales effect until 1973, when a six-year sales slide finally ended.

An unstressed 429 big-block was offered for '71 only; other engines were two- and four-barrel 351 small-blocks, de-rated after '71 with the industry switch to SAE net horsepower quotes. The Cougar was really less a ponycar in these years than a cousin to the lush mid-size Montego -- which it became by shifting to that platform for '74.

Still, the 1971-73s aren't as boring as you might think and are worth collector consideration, especially XR-7 hardtops -- as nice inside as ever -- and the super-rare ragtops, both XR-7 and base.

Pluses of the 1971-1973 Mercury Cougar:

  • Last of their kind
  • Smooth and plush, especially XR-7s
  • Mechanical and most body parts still available
  • Good club support
  • Convertible values drifting up

Minuses of the 1971-1973 Mercury Cougar:

  • Probably won't ever be a high-status Cougar
  • So-so workmanship
  • Rust-prone unless looked after
  • Clean convertibles tough to find

Production of the 1971 Mercury Cougar:

  • 2-door hardtop: 34,008
  • Convertible: 1,723
  • XR-7 2-door hardtop: 25,416
  • XR-7 convertible: 1,717

Production of the 1972 Mercury Cougar:

  • 2-door hardtop: 23,731
  • Convertible: 1,240
  • XR-7 2-door hardtop: 26,802
  • XR-7 convertible: 1,929

Production of the 1973 Mercury Cougar:

  • 2-door hardtop: 21,069
  • Convertible: 1,284
  • XR-7 2-door hardtop: 35,110
  • XR-7 convertible: 3,165

Specifications of the 1971-1973 Mercury Cougar:
Wheelbase, inches: 113.0
Length, inches: 196.7-199.5
Weight, pounds: 3,330-3,530
Price, new: $3,289-$3,903 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1971-1973 Mercury Cougar:

TypeSize Horsepower Years
ohv V-8 351 240/285* 1971
ohv V-8351168/262/266**1972
ohv V-8351168/264**1973
ohv V-8429370*1971
*SAE gross
** SAE net

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