Real Wheels: 1972 Mercury Cougar is a Cool Cat


WAPAKONETA – Charles Drexler, from Wapakoneta, owns this 1972 Mercury Cougar XR7. He took it to the Westgate Charity Car Show, which was held at the Apollo Career Center in June.

“It was the first car I bought when I was a kid,” Drexler said. “I put a lot of work into it.

The Mercury Cougar was first introduced in 1967 as a more luxurious version of the Ford Mustang. The Cougar placed more emphasis on luxury than performance. Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury division was trying to bridge the gap between the Mustang and the Thunderbird when it created the Mercury Cougar. The Mercury Cougar was available in two body styles, the base version and the XR-7 version. The XR-7 package included a wood-rimmed steering wheel, overhead console, and leather / vinyl seats. Car enthusiasts were in awe as the 1967 Mercury Cougar won Motor Trend’s prestigious Car of the Year award.

Even though the Mercury Cougar was a premium version of the Mustang, it still managed to mark the American cityscape. Its main competitors were the AMC Javelin, the Chevy Camaro, the Dodge Challenger, the Plymouth Barracuda and the Pontiac Firebird, all muscle car machines.

The Cougar has been a big part of Mercury’s image for many years, and advertising has often identified its dealers as “cat sign”. Beautiful women were seen driving big cats on a leash in television commercials in the 1970s. The marketing team took it a step further in 1972 when they produced the Mercury Cougar sales brochure. It read: “Cougar – rare, elusive, the most gorgeous cat in North America.”

For the first time in the history of the Cougar, there were more XR-7 models produced than base models. The Mercury Cougar placed in the middle of the pony car pack when it went on sale in 1972. The Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro were number one and two.

Drexler’s “cat” features a Cleveland 351 V8 engine with a four-speed transmission.

“I drive it, but mostly at auto shows,” Drexler said.

Drexler’s “cat” features a Cleveland 351 V8 engine with a four-speed transmission.

Charles Drexler of Wapakoneta owns this 1972 Mercury Cougar XR7.

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