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  1. #1

    Default 1986 Cougar XR7 5-speed black

    $3250; located in Lake Linden, MI 49945; will deliver..
    call me david at 9 zero 6 3 7 zero zero 4 1 8

    Craigslist ad at

    Barnfinds article at

    1986 Cougar XR7 – 99,99x miles
    Black exterior; maroon interior.
    2.3 liter turbocharged SOHC 4-cylinder engine;
    5-speed T5 manual transmission;
    3.45 FDR Traction-Lok, Quad-Shock 7.5” rear axle;
    15x7” ’10-hole’ cast aluminum wheels w/ 225/60-15 tires;
    PW/DL/power mirrors, 6-way power drivers’ seat;
    A/C (R134 converted) blows cold, and heat blows hot;
    Razzi aftermarket styling kit with front air dam, side skirts, and rear spoiler;

    Overall this car is a fine example of a rare offering from Mercury.

    Featuring low miles and near-zero rust, this car is a >95% stock original survivor, and is freshly maintained, tuned, and fully sorted out.

    It is fast, quiet, and comfortable. Happy at 85 mph for hours or putt around town. Does not mind being hustled or pushed, absorbs road irregularities well, can definitely hustle down a twisty road. Runs and functions as it should - no "tricks". Starts consistently, idles smooth, and pulls cleanly and hard all the way to redline in every gear. No "Engine Light" / fault light / codes. Fresh brakes, shocks/struts/alignment, Clutch action is smooth and progressive; transmission gear shifting is good, typical of T5 with some 'notchy-ness' and syncro wear.

    This car maintains its originality including original aluminum space-saver spare, jack, spare cover, wheel locks and special lock key attached to original lug wrench; (4) color matched floor-mats; both functional foglights with rare Marchal covers; etc. (known exceptions to "Stock" are listed below).

    All functions and options operate as intended: cruise control, A/C, vehicle message display, indicator lights, rear defroster , turn/park/brake/head/fog lights, power mirrors/windows/door locks, 6-way function driver’s seat, ‘Power Lumbar’ in seats, 6 speakers, twilight headlight , headlamp courtesy delay, power trunk release and fuel door release, etc. (EXCEPT headlight high-beam 'auto-dimming' does not function).

    I would not hesitate to drive this car cross-country USA; and to back that up:
    I WILL PERSONALLY DELIVER this car anywhere in the Lower 48... not for free of course, but it will be cheap since this car can easily attain 30 MPG !

    This car is an un-restored 'survivor' and also a 'daily driver'. Overall it is in nice shape, however it shows wear and damage appropriate for a 30 year old car with >95k miles, including exterior and interior flaws, scuffs, scratches,and other minor damage related to normal use. I will attempt to list the significant items:

    Interior flaws include sun-fading, couple small 'burn holes' in seat fabric, scuffing on plastic trim bits, cracked plastic at base of safety belt latches, slight tears in door seals, missing paint on drivers door switch panel, etc. Glass is all in nice shape; front windshield appears to be original and shows its age but is uncracked except one 3/16" rock crack below sightline.

    Exterior flaws include scuffs/scratches/dings on body notably passenger door and front bumper cover; scuff/ damage on driver-side skirt; scratches w/rust on hood; small dents/cracked paint/surface rust in trunk decklid; re-paint flaws include solvent blisters & cracking.

    'Under the hood' flaws: broken plastic 'starter relay/wiring shield', wiring insulation damage from mouse nibbling (included is a nice spare harness), slight P/S pump seal leak, slight front main seal &/or oil pan gasket seep, 'snaps' riveted to radiator core support & elsewhere from previous 'bra' installation, heat damage to plastic 'Tune-Up Info' tag on hood underside.

    This car exhibits idiosyncrasies "typical of the breed", including rear axle gear noise at 45 mph, a bit of T5 input bearing, occasional dash gauge reading fluctuation, whiny power steering pump at low speed, occasional idle fluctuation (burble).

    I am an automotive enthusiast and (former) Ford automotive engineer. I consider myself the caretaker of this special car for the last 10 years, but I am ready to pass it on, hopefully to another enthusiast.

    During my ownership I have executed neglected maintenance, brought the car closer to original condition, while also making select functional (and reversible if desired) upgrades, as detailed below.
    (All parts installed are New unless noted as Used)

    7/24/08 - Purchased with miles. Purchased from a local (U.P. North Michigan) owner, who brought car from Colorado years before, and was driven Summers only, stored inside Winters, while he owned it.
    Similarly, I have stored it indoors every Winter and only driven it during the (quite brief) Summers here. I have put only ~18k miles on it over the last 9 Summers.

    The XR7 was in overall very nice shape and rust-free as would be expected of a Western car, but displayed interior sun fading and wear, a cheap-o paintjob with extensive 'solvent pop' blisters, louvered hood, aftermarket body kit (however well installed), incorrect size 205/70-15 tires, evidence of having a “Bra” installed, lots of "deferred" maintenance, etc etc… geez.

    Summer ’08:
    > Converted air-conditioning to R134; $161
    > timing belt; $25
    > full Ignition tune up with TFI, Motorcraft distributor trigger, Motorcraft plugs & wires; $150
    > upgraded to K&N 'cone' air filter (saved original air box); $25
    > exhaust manifold (EM) gasket, machined EM flanges, port-matched EM to turbo 'turbine housing'; $75
    > battery (replaced again in '16) and both cables
    > rear differential drain & flush (cover off) $60

    10/21/08: G-Tech 0-60 mph testing: 9.3 sec (2500 rpm launch) & 9.2 sec (3000 rpm launch, tire chirp)
    In respect to age and originality, testing was done in a very conservative fashion. No wheelspin or slipping the clutch. No speedshifting.

    > (4) 225/60-15 Fuzion HR-I tires, correct Original size $262
    > 2.5" exhaust from 'downpipe' back to bumper (no cat, muffler, or resonator) $177
    (complete original system from catalytic converter to chrome angle tip is included)

    10/28/08: G-Tech testing 8.1-8.2 sec 0-60 & 16.3-16.4 @ 88-89 1/4 mile; some Posi wheelspin with 3500 rpm launch.
    The free-flowing exhaust *significantly* improved the performance and overall driving competence. For example, 2-Lane Passing is much less stressful with the additional power. PS I added a muffler to quiet-down and improve the sound quality - see Fall '14

    Fall '08: Into storage, 2000 miles of Summer driving, including a 1200 mile weekend achieving 26-28 mpg.

    Summer ’09- 8/22/09: 800 mile road trip including tankfuls at 30.2 & 30.4 mpg (conservative driving style).

    9/13/09: Replaced "lowered" rear springs with correct Used springs (TurboCoupe) $30, ENS-4-6101G isolators, KYB KG5556 Gas-A-Just rear shocks (kept original) $70

    Summer '10 : Powdercoated 4 wheels black $120

    7/20/11: Upgraded “1-wire” Oxygen sensor to “4-wire”; proper operation verified by monitoring A/F signal during all phases of engine operation including cold-start, cruise, WOT boost.

    Summer ’12:
    > Upgraded to late-model PMGR Used starter (smaller, lighter, uses less power) - $40 ;
    > Upgraded to “5.0” metal dual-seal valve seals $10;
    > Replaced intake manifold gasket ;
    > Upgraded to late-model blue neoprene valve cover gasket (reusable, superior to cork) $10;
    > Swapped louvered hood for Used stock black $30

    9/11/12: Drivers power window motor - $154

    Fall ’13: NOS Motorcraft brazed brass heater core - $70

    August - October ’14: Another trouble-free ~2000 miles as my Daily Driver including a 1200 mile trip.

    Fall ’14:
    > overhauled rear brakes: HD/Premium shoes, self-adjusters, springs, wheel cylinders $50;
    > all (4) headlights (Premium/Xenon) - $30;
    > throttle position sensor - $22;
    > “Cherry Bomb”-style muffler - $ 45

    October '15:
    > (2) rear axle bearings/seals, drained & flushed differential, fill with Synthetic lube $150
    > (2) KYB 235002 GR-2 front struts and wheel alignment $265

    August - November ’15: Another ~2000 miles of Daily Driver usage, consistent 23-26 mpg "around town" - not being conservative, enjoying driving the Turbo. New front struts was the last in the "to-do" list of brake and suspension maintenance. The XR7 now drives and stops like new, with a firm and controlled ride.

    Summer '16:
    > replaced both door's 'Beltline Moulding/Dew Wipe' trim pieces $30
    > replaced center switch panel overlay with NOS $30
    > TUFF MP3/SD/USB/Bluetooth stereo - MAJOR improvement - $28;
    > replaced all 11 dash cluster indicator lights with new Sylvania
    > new Motorcraft Max battery $120

    Summer '17 Front sway bar links Energy Suspension 9.8121G, (3) Gates Engine Accessory Drive V-belts

    Fall '18 Rear axle pinion seal

    Summer '19 Gates water pump

    Included with XR7 are the following:

    Ford Rotunda / Motorcraft Super STAR Tester: Dealership service tool to diagnose and troubleshoot sensors, relays, etc.

    NEW spares:
    > HD voltage regulator, $16
    > distributor cap; $12
    > Premium front brake pads; $30

    USED spares:
    > 'engine control module' ECM computer; tested/known good, correct part #;
    > complete engine wiring harness;
    > ’87-8 TurboCoupe intercooler, hoses, clamps;
    > (2) rear ~1.5” drop/lowering springs ;
    > L & R original maroon sun visors;
    > (4) 'Cougar" head outline wheel centers;
    > original hood - louvered, no underhood insulation.
    > (4) OE 'Premium Sound' speakers & 'Premium Sound' cassette player;
    > (2) distributor pickup ('86 original and 1 aftermarket), both tested/known good;
    > aftermarket 'thin-film ignition' TFI module, tested/known good;
    > window regulator assembly - driver's side
    > "E6" exhaust manifold (an upgrade over the stock E3),
    > vane air meter (VAM), air box, hoses;

    Besides mentioned above, 'Non-Stock' items are MP3 radio (have original), headlights (upgraded to Premium/Xenon), K&N cone air filter replacing factory air box (have original), KYB rear shocks (have originals) and front struts, starter (later-model OE 2.3 upgrade), 2.5" free flow exhaust (have original), Razzi body kit, front grille.

    *************General Information about the 1986 Mercury Cougar XR7*********************

    The 1983-6 Mercury Cougar XR7 sold at much lower numbers than it’s cousin, the Ford Thunderbird TurboCoupe. Mercury customers also chose the manual transmission option in smaller proportions, This makes the T5 manual transmission equipped XR7 the rarest of the Thunderbird/Cougar lineup.

    The '83-8 Thunderbird/Cougar share Ford's "Fox" platform with the '78+ Fairmont/Zephyr, '79+ Mustang/Capri, LTD II/Marquis, Mark VII, Continental, etc. = MILLIONS of cars made = maintenance items are EXTREMELY CHEAP and readily available. This is not a car which is expensive to maintain and drive. In fact it is the opposite. Very easy to work on since it is rust-free, and LOTS of space in the engine compartment.

    Certainly not a pony-car (Mercury offered the Capri RS for that), the XR7 fills the role as Mercury’s ‘Gran Touring’ car: capable of traveling long distances at speed in comfort and control, while delivering exceptional fuel economy due to its small-displacement engine.

    Differentiating them from the '85's, the '86 Cougars had flat taillights, new interior, new-style grille, and a third brake light in rear window.
    The 1986 XR7 continued to offer only the turbocharged 2.3L I4, but got a power increase to 155 hp (116 kW).

    The 1986 Cougar XR7 was THE LAST rear-wheel drive, four-cylinder Mercury ever produced.

    General Specifications:
    Wheelbase: 104.0"
    Overall Length: 197.6"
    Overall Width: 71.1"
    Overall Height: 53.4"
    Cargo Capacity: 14.6 cubic feet
    Fuel Capacity: 18.0 gallons (XR7)
    Brakes: Front: 10.0" vented disc ; Rear: 9.0" drum
    Transmission: 5-speed manual (T-5) XR7 only.
    Engine: MPI OHC turbocharged 2.3L (140 cid) I-4; 145 hp (automatic) / 155 hp (manual); XR7 only.
    Weight XR7: 3,169 lbs.

    From April 1986 Hot Rod magazine:
    155 Hp @4600 rpm (manual trans)
    190 ft-lbs torque @ 2800 rpm
    Weight: 3084 pounds
    0-60mph: 8.23 sec.
    1/4 mile: 16.50sec @ 82.7mph
    Base Price: $14,372

    Total "4-Eye" (4 separate headlights) Cougar Production :`
    1983: 75,743 ; no XR7 model offered.
    1984: 131,190 ; XR7 6,171 [4.7 % of total]
    1985: 117,274; XR7 7,850 [7.0 % of total]
    1986: 135,904; XR7 6,504 [4.8 % of total]

    For the 1987 Thunderbird/Cougar restyle, the Cougar XR7 Turbo I-4 option was dropped and replaced with the 5.0. Ford kept the 2.3 Turbgo as the sole Turbocoupe engine, adding an intercooler for more horsepower, and numerous drivetrain and suspension upgrades. Sadly, the '87 XR7 no longer shared the Turbocoupe's upgraded suspension and brakes either, becoming essentially an 'Appearance Package' in the Cougar lineup.
    No manual transmission was offered for any '87-8 Cougar. Cougar fans had to wait until the "all-new" 1989 MN12 Thunderbird/Cougar to see a 5-speed manual transmission option again. Again exclusive to the XR7, the manual was now paired with a new Supercharged/Intercooled 3.8 V6. This engine was shared with the XR7's cousin, the Thunderbird Supercoupe. Of course, an automatic transmission was optional for both the XR7 and Supercoupe.
    Most data from from
    There is more technical info and active support forums at :
    Cool Cats
    North American Thunderbird Organization
    Four Eyed Pride
    Last edited by detobias; 09-23-2019 at 05:10 AM.

  2. #2


    Awesome car! Swap in an EcoBoost and go hunting Grand Nationals!

    '79 Mercury Zephyr ES 5.0L GT40 EFI, T-5
    '17 Ford Focus ST
    '14 Ford Fusion SE Manual

  3. #3


    I can deliver via trailer to Michigan / Wisconsin / Minnesota / Ohio / Illinois for little to nothing $ ...

    (but not if you plan to do an EcoBoost swap to it .. )

  4. #4


    Interesting that it has the front a sides of the body kit, but not the rear bumper. That's a pretty rare body kit.

    Beautiful car, hope you find a good home for it.

    P.s. craigslist ad didn't pull up for me.
    2 1986 cougars (both 4 eyed and 5.0)
    1 1987 cougar

  5. #5
    FEP Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Grand Rapids, MI
    '89 XR-7 5 Speed
    '95 SC 5 Speed
    '91 Crown Vic P72 351W
    '97 Thunderbird
    '85 Ford LTD Squire

  6. #6


    thanks ... updated OP with correct link ..

    (I'll deliver (trailer) it to Grand Rapids for free )

  7. #7
    FEP Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Grand Rapids, MI


    Quote Originally Posted by detobias View Post
    thanks ... updated OP with correct link ..

    (I'll deliver (trailer) it to Grand Rapids for free )
    You can trailer it over here, but I might have to come back home with you.
    '89 XR-7 5 Speed
    '95 SC 5 Speed
    '91 Crown Vic P72 351W
    '97 Thunderbird
    '85 Ford LTD Squire

  8. #8
    FEP Power Member mcb82gt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Olathe, KS


    That is the best Craigslist add ive ever seen. Good on you sir.

    Now stang-less.

    88 Cougar 5.0

  9. #9


    Just went over 100k miles on my favorite twisty road yesterday ... running awesome !

    Reduced Price $3250

    I can deliver via trailer to Michigan / Wisconsin / Minnesota / Ohio / Illinois for little to nothing $ ...

  10. #10
    FEP Power Member Bryan Knebworth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Lexington, MA


    ...only if that lawn mower is included.
    Last edited by Bryan Knebworth; 10-22-2019 at 08:55 PM. Reason: text added

  11. #11


    updated CL ad:

    I've been daily-driving this for the last couple weeks and have put 750 trouble-free & fun miles exploring the twisty 2-lane roads that run along Lake Superior's shoreline ...

    getting ready to put it away for the Long Winter ...
    BUT I would rather sell it to someone

    call me and let's make a deal !

    { PS - I have a bunch more on-hoist underbody pics taken last week which I can email or text to you if you wish}

  12. #12


    ok well after a quick 1000+ miles of joy-riding in 5 weeks,
    and a fresh oil oil change and set of Autolite 764's,
    the Cougar has been tucked away in it's indoor Winter storage ..

    thus, I can no longer promise to drive it to you !
    since we already have 5" of snow and it looks like it's here to stay, along with icy & salty roads

    I'll still be able to show you the car if you come here
    and could trailer it to you if that helps make the deal..

    otherwise see you Next Spring !
    {and I've already bought some stuff to 'correct' some flaws the Cougar has when that time comes.. um in 6 months }

    ps Craigslist ads are expired ; msg me yur email for pix ..
    Last edited by detobias; 11-05-2019 at 04:25 PM.
    '86 XR7 Cougar 5-speed Black 98% stock *FOR SALE* see my posting
    '13 Ram 1500 HFE 30+mpg
    '86 Omni built 2.5L, built A413, Ford .60/.63 T3, SRT4 IC, 3" no cat or muff, gutted..
    '96 Jaguar XK8 coupe rustbucket, doesn't run, prolly get parts'd out, or Coyote swapped

  13. #13


    Cougar has been sold
    '86 XR7 Cougar 5-speed Black 98% stock *FOR SALE* see my posting
    '13 Ram 1500 HFE 30+mpg
    '86 Omni built 2.5L, built A413, Ford .60/.63 T3, SRT4 IC, 3" no cat or muff, gutted..
    '96 Jaguar XK8 coupe rustbucket, doesn't run, prolly get parts'd out, or Coyote swapped

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