The 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 was the last convertible from the Cougar line. The Cougar name has graced more different cars over the years than "Save the Whales" bumper stickers: dragstrip demons, Ford Thunderbird clones, even station wagons. In 1973, however, Cougar was in the seventh and final year of its original concept as "Mercury's Mustang," a more luxurious and "mature" version of Ford's popular ponycar.

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1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7
The 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 was the upscale option for the model. See more classic car pictures.

But times were a-changing, and Mustang had ballooned to heroic new proportions for 1971. Accordingly, Cougar did too, adopting an even grander 113-inch wheelbase and decidedly big-Merc styling. Though a mighty 429 V-8 was available that year with 370 gross horsepower, rising insurance rates and a withering performance-car market reduced '73 Cougars to a trio of detuned 351s with a maximum of 264 net bhp.

1973 Mercury XR-7
Only a few 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7s were built.

Cougar's first convertibles were '69s. The last were '73s: a $3726 base model and an upscale $3903 XR-7 (as shown here). Few were built -- 1284 and 3165, respectively. Sadly, there's not been another one since.

For more classic convertibles of the 1970s, see:

 

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