Mercury Cougar is a nameplate sold by the Mercury division of Ford from 1967 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2002. While the nameplate is most commonly associated with two-door coupes, at various times during its production, the Cougar was also marketed as a convertible, four-door sedan, station wagon, and hatchback.
Cougar is predominantly known for its unique styling, strong performance, aggressive competition program, and upscale content. Right from the factory, every Cougar was equipped with a V-8. We dig the concealed headlights and sequential taillights of the early cars, along with the XR-7 package that had everything from leather seats to full instrumentation. Let briefly look at the different generation powertrain of the Cougar.
Under the hood of the first-generation Cougar was a 289 cu in (4.7 L) V8 accompanied with either a two-barrel (200 hp) or a four-barrel carburetor (225 hp). A 390 cu in (6.4 L) “Marauder” V8 was offered as an option, producing 320 hp (GT).
The Boss 302 V8 was introduced to Cougar by Mercury, exclusive to the Eliminator as a mid-year change. A four-barrel “street” version capable of producing 290 hp, while a 2×4-barrel “racing” version was officially rated at the same 290 hp output. Notably.
Second generation (1971–1973)
The second-generation Cougar featured a standard 240 hp 351 Cleveland two-barrel V8 engine with a 351C four-barrel V8 as an option. The Boss engines and the 428 Cobra Jet were axed out for a more performing 370 hp 429 Cobra Jet V8. Subsequently, in 1972, SAE net horsepower rating was adopted by Ford which brought about some drastic changes in the engine choices.
The Cougar was left with a 166 hp two-barrel version was the standard engine, with a 246 hp four-barrel offered as an option. The Cobra Jet version of the 351 made its debut, now producing 266 hp. The four-barrel version of the 351 was dropped, leaving the two-barrel 351C (retuned to 168 hp) and the 264 hp 351CJ V8 in 1973.
Third generation (1974–1976)
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The cougar came with four engine options in 1974. Two 351 cubic-inch V8s were carried over from the previous Cougar, including the standard 351 Cleveland and optional 351CJ “Cobra Jet” V8s. From the full-size Mercury line, the Cougar also offered a 400 cubic-inch V8 and 460 cubic-inch V8 as options. For the first time, the model line was offered solely with automatic transmissions. In 1975, the 351 Cleveland was replaced by the updated 351M and the 351 Cobra Jet was retired (from all Ford vehicles) the 400 and 460 remained options.
Fourth generation (1977–1979)
This generation of Cougar had a revision of its powertrain offerings. Considering the fuel efficiency, the 460 cubic-inch V8 was dropped. The 173 hp 400 cubic-inch V8 became the highest-displacement engine. The non-XR-7 Cougars featured a 302 cubic-inch V8 as a standard engine producing 134 hp.
The first version of the engine since 1970 station wagons received a standard 351W V8 (149 hp), with a 161 hp 351M V8 offered as an option in coupes and sedans. All engines were paired with a 3-speed automatic transmission. For 1978, the engine lineup was carryover; for 1979 while the 400 was discontinued.
The Mercury Cougar XR7 was offered with two V8 engines. Shared with the Mercury Marquis/Colony Park, a 4.2 L V8 was standard, with a 4.9 L V8 offered as an option; both engines were paired with a 4-speed Ford AOD overdrive automatic.
The mid-size Cougar was offered with its powertrain lineup. Shared with the Fairmont/Zephyr and Mustang/Capri, a 2.3 L inline-4 was the standard engine, with a 3.3 L inline-6 and a 4.2 L V8 offered as options; the four and six-cylinder engines were paired with a 3-speed automatic transmission.
For 1982, an all-new 3.8 L V6 replaced the inline-6; in various forms, the engine would be used by the Cougar and Thunderbird through their 1997 discontinuation. The 4.9 L V8 option was withdrawn from the Fox platform, leaving the 4.2 L engine as the sole V8 offering for both the Cougar and Cougar XR-7.
Sixth generation (1983–1988)
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The sixth-generation Cougar boasts a 120 hp 3.8 L V6 from its predecessor as a standard engine as the 130 hp 4.9 L V8 returned as an optional engine. To boost the output to 150 hp, the V8 was changed to sequential fuel injection in 1983. The 3.8 L V6 of 1988 was given multiport fuel injection, increasing output to 140 hp as the 4.9 L V8 was retuned to 155 hp.
The XR7 was equipped with a 2.3 L turbocharged inline-4; shared with the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, the engine produced 145 hp with an automatic transmission (155 hp with manual transmission) between 1984 and 1986. We continued to witness yet another engine drop this time, the XR7 dropping its turbocharged engine (and 5-speed manual transmission) in favor of the 4.9 L V8 in 1987.
The 2.3L inline-four was paired with a 5-speed manual transmission and a 3-speed automatic transmission was optional. The 3.8 L V6 was paired with a 3-speed automatic and a 4-speed overdrive automatic was optional (the only transmission with the 4.9 L V8). For 1987 and 1988, the 4-speed AOD transmission was fitted to both the 3.8 L and 4.9 L engines.
Seventh generation (1989–1997)
Mercury Cougar – This generation was the first not to feature a V8 engine. As part of the 1989 redesign, the MN12 chassis was powered solely by a 3.8 L V6, as the lowered hoodline of the MN12 was too low to fit the 4.9 L (302 cu in) V8. LS-trim Cougars were offered with a naturally aspirated 140 hp version of the V6, while the XR7 was powered by a 210 hp supercharged version (serving as the replacement for the turbocharged 2.3 L inline-4). The naturally aspirated V6 was paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission, while the supercharged V6 was offered with a 5-speed manual (with the automatic as an option).
In 1991, a 200 hp (149 kW) version of the 4.9 L (302 cu in) Windsor 5.0came was called upon featuring a redesigned intake manifold to allow sufficient underhood clearance. Offered as an option on the Cougar LS, the V8 replaced the supercharged V6 in the XR7. Originally slated for 1993, the 1994 Cougar shifted from the overhead-valve 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 to a 205 hp 4.6 L SOHC V8. Another important change that took place in 1994 was the introduction of a 4R70W electronically controlled version of the AOD 4-speed automatic for both the V6 and V8 engines
Eighth generation (1999–2002)
This generation of Cougar was available with two engine options, the 2.0 L Zetec straight-4 engine with 125 hp (93 kW; 127 PS) and the 2.5 L Duratec V6 with 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS). However, two transaxle options were available in this generation the manual Ford MTX-75 transmission and the automatic Ford CD4E transmission (available in the US with either engine, although the I4/automatic combination was extremely rare with only 500 units of Cougar built with the I4/auto).
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