Junkyard Find: 1997 Mercury Cougar XR7 With Florida-Style Faux-vertible Option

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1997 mercury cougar xr7 with florida style faux vertible option

When I saw this car at a Denver self-service yard, I had to wonder if Ford really sank so low in the late 1990s as to make this godawful crypto-laundau roof a factory-installed option on the MN12 XR7. I haven’t been able to find any references to such an abomination in any of my reference books, so it’s probably a safe assumption that we’re looking at an aftermarket conversion.

Not that we’re dealing with one of the better-looking iterations of the Cougar nameplate here.

The MN12 was a big leap into the future from the Fox Platform Cougar, and you can tell by the spoiler that Ford had embraced 1990s style for real.

OK. Florida. That explains the roof.

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on May 12, 2012

    I own a 95 T-Bird LX 4.6 V8. A few years back when I bought it to replace my 87 T-Bird I did consider a 89-97 Cougar. I am a big fan of these. Basically a stretched personal luxury Mustang GT with Cobra IRS. Insurance is a heck of a lot less too. Plenty of decent ones out there but for some odd reason a heck of a lot of them have sim-con or landau roofs. Something I loath. They are ugly and useless. I am used to seeing them on my visits to So. Fla where they populate the parking lots for the early bird special. The T-Birds for sale; hardly any had them. And this is in the NY metro area where as DaveinChina aptly points out "My thinking is that this vehicle came from New Jersey, during that time period they were putting all kinds of faux-landau tops on anything remotely considered american luxury. And the jersey-italian segment of the population bought them in droves." I once asked a auto body shop about sim-con removal. It's do able but at a cost.

  • Patrick McCall Patrick McCall on May 13, 2012

    I believe I've seen these labeled as "Caliente" packages as well. A while back I picked a perfect set of opera windows from a 1990 Lincoln Town Car to replace mine (deteriorated rubber) because they were "preserved" behind a fake carriage roof conversion. I was somewhat shocked to see just how bad the cars are butchered that receive these conversions. On 1990-1997 Town Car, they take the seam filler where the roof meets either rear quarter, and cut it in half for some reason. Then, they squirt 9-15 dollops of windshield adhesive on the roof. Anything goes on the sides. Then to top it all off (no pun intended), they run screws directly into the sheetmetal at the base. Those decorative "snaps" aren't just there for show. This is usually where the rust starts first, at least here in the south. I can't believe people actually paid money for this. I understand in some cases, if a car sat on the lot for six months or so it received the "presidential" treatment.

    • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on May 14, 2012

      I had a 95 Cougar XR-7 V8 for awhile. Every option, including fake luggage rack instead of spoiler. It did NOT, however, have a fake roof,which looks ridiculous on these cars. Pearl white with a leather interior. Loved that car, one car I really miss because there aren't a whole bunch around my neck of the woods and not configured the way mine was. I prefer the front fascia of the 96-97 cars, though. I loved two door cars, my first was an 81 Regal given to me, second was an 84 Eldorado and then this(all in the late 90's when I was a dumb kid). Then I bought an Acura Legend and, well, haven't bought too much domestic stuff except for my Focus ZX-3 5 speed, which I enjoyed. Fake convertible/vinyl roofs are just terrible. My understanding was that Detroit started making vinyl roofs to cover up manufacturing flaws on new cars. I've seen Toyota Avalons, Hyundai Sonatas, Dodge Intrepids with them. Truly horrifying. I believe the 225hp 5.0 was available in 1989-1993 in the T-bird/Cougar in addition to the awful 140hp 3.8 V6 and 210hp Supercharged V6, which I think only T-bird got. The 205 hp (?) 4.6 came in 94, along with the 3.8 and those were the only two options until the cars were cancelled in 1997. The Mark VIII had a 32 valve version of the 4.6, good for up to 300 hp in the LSC, which in it's final year in 1998, is one of my favorite cars. HID headlamps, LED tailights in the slightly revamped, swoopy body. Black is the best color for it.

  • Jdt65724922 How can a Chrysler E-Class ride better than a Chrysler Fifth Avenue?
  • Lorenzo This series is epic, but I now fear you'll never get to the gigantic Falcon/Dart/Nova comparison.
  • Chris P Bacon Ford and GM have decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Odds are Chrysler/Cerberus/FCA/Stellantis is next to join in. If any of the companies like Electrify America had been even close to Tesla in reliability, we wouldn't be here.
  • Inside Looking Out China will decide which EV charging protocol will become world wide standard.
  • Chris P Bacon I see no reference to Sweden or South Carolina. I hate to assume, but is this thing built in China? I can't help but wonder if EVs would be more affordable to the masses if they weren't all stuffed full of horsepower most drivers will never use. How much could the price be reduced if it had, say, 200hp. Combined with the instant torque of an EV, that really is plenty of power for the daily commuter, which is what this vehicle really is.