The Mercury Cougar was in production for a total of 34 years, the second longest production model in the history of Mercury. As time went on, the Cougar became more ugly, less sporty and just … a very average car that wouldn’t look out of place anywhere (except maybe in a list of ‘Great Vehicles of the 70’s and 80’s).
However, the 1971 Cougar (in our opinion), was probably one of the best.
1971 Mercury Cougar Design
The ’71 Mercury Cougar was available as a 2-door hardtop or convertible. It had lost the ‘Electric Shaver’ style grille and covered headlamps, to be replaced with something more prominent and new exposed quad headlamps. It was a semi-fastback with a ‘flying buttress’ sail-panel.
The ’71 Cougar had full chrome trimming, right down to the lower door moldings and was fitted with Magnum 500 wheels for that extra sporty look.
1971 Mercury Cougar Interior
The idea of the Cougar was to offer good old traditional muscle with a level of sophistication not generally associated with the muscle cars of the time. It had a full instrument cluster, center console, air conditioning and powered options for the usual; seats, hood etc.
It was also one of the muscle cars to offer full (and proper) carpeting of the interior.
1971 Mercury Cougar Specs
Curb Weight: 3,285 lbs (15 lb lighter than the 1970 model) Length: 196.9” Wheelbase: 112.1”
Depending on which register you look at, numbers produced (for the ’71 model) vary between 34,008 and 62,864.
The early Cougar – from 1967 to 1973 was built at the Dearborn facility in Michigan.
1971 Mercury Cougar Performance
Three motors were available in 1971; two 351 ci (5.7 liter) V8’s, rated at 240 BHP and 285 BHP and a fairly hot 429 ci (7.0 liter) V8 with 370 BHP. As with all these old muscle cars, 370 BHP sounds plenty, but in reality, it doesn’t equate to ‘fast’, more … entertaining.
With that in mind, the tires of the day (and slightly wayward handling) meant that stuffing your foot on the loud pedal was always an experience that wouldn’t be forgotten in a hurry.
1971 Mercury Cougar Collectability and Price
Despite being the plush and more sophisticated cousin of the legendary Ford Mustang, it really never became the ‘poster’ car of the era; as such, prices are low. A concours example could be had for as little as $20,000 (add 10% for factory fitted air conditioning), a fair example could set you back less than $10,000.