Introduction of the Mercury Cougar
August 2, 1966
In the beginning . . .
The Mercury Cougar was introduced on Tuesday, August 2, 1966 at a “Gala Beach Party and Special Reveal” at Megan’s Bay on the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands to much media fanfare. It was dusk. The beach was lined with torches. At the appointed time, a World War II landing craft approached the shore, the bow opened up, and a white 1967 Cougar was driven onto the beach, and the “Cat was on the Run”!
Introduction of the Cougar
1967-68 Dan Gurney Special
1968 R-Code Option
1969-70 428 Cobra Jet
1969 Sports Special
1971 429 Cobra Jet
1971-73 351 Cobra Jet
6.5 Litre / GT
7.0 Litre GT-E
- Luxury (1974-76)
- Luxury (1977-79)
The introductory Cougar as seen on board the USS Independence, en route back to the US from the island of St Thomas. It was most likely a Pilot plant built car.
The first production Cougar is also the earliest Cougar registered in the Cougar Club of America database: Jim and Elaine Pinkerton’s Cougar1 (7F91S500001). The earliest reported XR7 VIN is a very nice Inverness Green with Black interior car, date coded Jan 21, 1967. The earliest documented Dan Gurney Special is date coded 14D (April 14, 1967). The highest known 1967 VIN is date coded 11V, which translates to August 11, 1967.
How many different 1967-1973 Cougars were made?
During the years 1967-1973 there were only 5 distinct Cougar models defined by Lincoln-Mercury via a unique body style code in either the VIN or left door tag:
VIN Body Serial Codes
- VIN Body Serial 91: Standard 2-door Hardtop
- VIN Body Serial 92: Standard 2-door Convertible
- VIN Body Serial 93: XR-7 2-door Hardtop
- VIN Body Serial 94: XR-7 2-door Convertible
Body Style Codes (first “code” on data plate)
- 65A & 65D: standard 2-door Hardtop with bucket seats
- 65B & 65F: XR7 2-door Hardtop with bucket seats
- 65C: Standard 2-door Hardtop with bench seat
- 76A & 76D: standard 2-door Convertible with bucket seats
- 76B & 76F: XR7 2-door Convertible with bucket seats
Therefore, there are five distinct “models” of Cougars:
- 91 is a standard Hardtop with either bench or bucket seats (2 models)
- 92 is always a standard Convertible; all had bucket seats
- 93 is always an XR-7 Hardtop; all had bucket seats
- 94 is always an XR-7 Convertible; all had bucket seats
Cougar Option Packages:
In addition to these five distinct Models defined by their VINs and door tags, between the years 1967 – 1973, there were other unique Cougars defined by option packages.
See Registy for more details.
Did You Know . . .
. . . that when Lincoln-Mercury introduces the Cougar to the public this fall, it will be the 23rd time an animal, bird, or fish name has been featured on an American or foreign car?
The auto industry’s zoological garden includes the Plymouth BARRACUDA; the Volkswagen 1300, known as the BEETLE; the Datsun BLUEBIRD; the Ford BRONCO; the Shelby COBRA; the Ford FALCON; the Griffith GRIFFIN; the Humber HAWK; the Hillman HUSKY; the Chevrolet IMPALA; the JAGUAR; the Alfa-Romeo KANGAROO; the American Motors MARLIN; Citroen’s UGLY DUCK; the Ford MUTT; the Ford MUSTANG; the Buick SKYLARK; the Fiat SPIDER; the Ford THUNDERBIRD; the Sunbeam TIGER and the Buick WILDCAT.
The COUGAR, L-M’s latest addition to the list, will be introduced around the same time as Chevrolet’s CAMARO, which some language experts say means shrimp . . .
From an L-M dealer publication from the summer of 1966