Classic Cougar FAQs

One of the fun parts about being involved in classic cars is exploring their histories. While it certainly isn't necessary for someone to know the production figures for every model to enjoy their car, such bits of trivia can be useful when establishing a value or when hunting down a rare part. Knowing a few facts and figures can also be helpful when they pass out the trivia quiz at a club event.

When it comes to historical idiosyncrasies among classic cars, Cougars are right up there in the front pew. This is partly because Lincoln-Mercury was never really sure how to market their Cat and partly because Cougar came along during a transition in American automobile history. On the one hand, we had Ralph Nader convincing everyone that American cars were death traps and on the other, we had OPEC staging a phony oil crunch that lead to high gas pump prices and left the automobile industry in a panic to build fuel efficient cars. When you think about it in these terms, it's not hard to understand why L-M's marketing and design choices were occasionally erratic.


Classic Cougar FAQs

Why are only the 1967-1973 model years considered "classic" Cougars?
Mostly because these are the model years during which the Cougar shared a platform with the Mustang and was marketed as a personal sports/luxury car.  In 1974, when the Mustang was replaced by the smaller Mustang II, Cougars were built on the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform and they were marketed as "luxury coupes."
During which model years were the most and least classic Cougars produced?
Cougar production figures declined steadily between 1967 and 1972, so the greatest number of Cats were produced in 1967 (150,893) and the smallest production number occurred in 1972 (53,702).  Things picked up a little in 1973 (60,628), the final year of production on the Mustang platform.  In all, 615,721 classic Cougars were produced.
What's the difference between a GT and a GT-E?

In spite of the fact that the GT-E was loosely based on the GT, they are quite different cars.  The GT was actually the first Cougar performance/trim option package.  It was available through the 1969 model year and again during the 1971-1972 model years.  During 1967 and 1968 the GT package included performance suspension, a 320 horsepower (325 in '68) 390 4V, a chrome engine dress-up kit, and fender badges.

In contrast, the GT-E option package was only available during the 1968 model year and included significant styling features (grille, rear end treatment and argent side trim).  The "E" option was available on either the standard or XR-7 body style and came with performance suspension and a "7 litre" 390 h.p. 427 4V.  The 427 was replaced late in the model year with a 335 h.p. Cobra Jet 428.  While the GT package was a relatively inexpensive option (around $300), adding the GT-E package raised the price of a Cougar to more than $4,000, which helps explain why only 394 of them were built.

What's the difference between a Dan Gurney Special and an XR7-G?

While both of these packages were "inspired" by L-M's association with Dan Gurney, the DGS option was strictly a light weight trim package (chrome engine dress-up kit, turbine wheel covers and a window decal) available in 1967 and 1968.  The XR7-G was available only during the 1968 model year and came with considerably more goodies, including fog lamps, hood-locking pins, simulated air scoop, racing-type rear view mirror, GT exhaust extensions, badges, interior dress-up items, and a third horn (Dan didn't think the standard Cougar horns were loud enough).  It should also be noted that the specific items included with the "G" package varied during production, depending on what was available from suppliers.

Unlike the GT-E option, the XR7-G package did not include a specific engine or performance items, which had to be ordered separately.  Thus, G cars differ considerably in these areas.

What was included with the Eliminator option?
Actually, the Eliminator (available on standard Cats in 1969/1970) was the product of two option packages, the Eliminator Equipment option and the Eliminator Decor option.  Together these packages included exterior trim items (spoiler, air dam, hood scoop, and graphics) and performance items (suspension, axle and a 4V version of the 351W or 351C, depending on the year).  On the interior, Elims got Comfort Weave hi-back buckets and a unique instrument panel.  In addition, L-M offered special colors that were only available on Eliminators.
How can I tell if an Eliminator is the real thing and not a clone?
Since Eliminators were the result of option packages and not a body style with a unique VIN body code, it can be difficult to tell whether or not a previous owner "built" an Elim by bolting on Eliminator components.  The only guaranteed way to identify an authentic Eliminator is to purchase a production report on the car's VIN from Marti Auto Works.  The report will tell you what options were included on the car with that specific VIN.  You can contact Kevin Marti by e-mail at or visit his web site at for more information about ordering a production report on any classic Cougar.
What's the difference between the 351W and 351C engines?

To begin with, these engines are built on two entirely different blocks.  The Windsor is the largest incarnation of the Ford "small block" engine that began life as a 260 and was available in Cougars as a 289 and 302.  Officially, the 351W was only available during the 1969 model year, when the 2V version replaced the 302 2V as the Cougar's standard engine.  It was also available in a 290 h.p. 4V version as an option in '69.

The Cleveland 351 was introduced to Cougars in the 1970 model year, with a 2V 250 h.p. version as the standard engine and an optional 4V version rated at 300 h.p.  However, shortages of the Cleveland block resulted in many 1970-1972 standard Cougars coming equipped with 351W 2V engines.

The 302 2V was the base engine in 1968, but my '68 came with a 289 . . . what's the deal?
While several explanations have been circulated for L-M's decision to substitue the 289 2V for the 302 2V as the base Cougar engine in December of 1968, the most plausible reason has to do with marketing.  In order to keep prices competitive with the other high end pony cars on the market, primarily Firebird, Cougar production costs had to be cut.  One of the ways in which L-M chose to accomplish that goal was to replace the newer, more expensive 302 block with the cheaper 289 in standard body Cougars ordered with the base engine.  So the 302 2V was moved to the option list and the 195 horsepower 289 2V once again became the base Cougar engine, as it had been in 1967.