1968 Mercury Cougar 390 With Factory S-Code 6.5-Liter Is a Classy Muscle Car

Motor Trend’s 1967 Car of the Year was the Mercury Cougar, a premium alternative to the popular Mustang. Ford wanted to offer a car between its mass-market pony car and the personal luxury vehicle, the Thunderbird. The Cougar rode on the Mustang platform and shared many of its components, but looked more upmarket and came with a 3-inch longer wheelbase.

It wasn’t an outstanding success like the Mustang, partly because it cost about $500 more, which was a lot of money back in the day. However, there is a lot to love about the first-generation Cougar. It had a true 3-person back seat and there’s more rear headroom.

Only two body panels were the same as the Mustang, the roof, and the trunk. They made about 150,000 Cougars that first model year, which means they are more difficult to find in great condition, compared to the million-strong Mustang fleet. Only the first-gen models made until 1970 are super-desirable. After that, the styling went downhill and smog killed off the engines.

The engine range was the same as the Mustang, 289, 302, 351, 390 and 428. The 1968 model year is special because you could get the famous race-bred 427 in the Cougar, but not in the Mustang. This collectible that we found is a 1968 Cougar, but not a 427, unfortunately.

However, Vanguard Motors is selling a pretty interesting car with the factory S-Cody. What? Well, in 1968, the Cougar brochures showed two 390 options. The so-called X-code was the 2V “Marauder 390 P V8” and this S-code 4V “Marauder 390 GT V8”. The S-Code came standard on the GT but was optional on the XR7 trim level, which I think this is, because it has 6.5L badges instead of GT ones.

Even though this looks like the period-correct Ford intake, it may not be a numbers-matching car. The 390 FE appears to be cast on November 1st, 1971.

Of course, this is a very important factor if you decide to buy such a car, since only a small percentage of Mercury Cougars were S-code. Other important features of this particular car include the chrome covers for the FE block, the disc brakes up front, 780 CFM 4-barrel carburetor and Toploader 4-speed manual hooked up to a Ford 9-inch rear end with 3.50:1 gears.

The seller wants $109,900, and this reflects not necessarily the rarity of this car, but the condition it’s in. Its previous owner spent 3 years on a full restoration, and everything looks perfect.

There isn’t a spot of rust underneath, and the exhaust or suspension looks better than when this car rolled off the assembly line. This is the type of Couger S-Code for people who actually want to drive it immediately.



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