The 1997 30th Anniversary Cougar

Page Revised: 1 July 2019


Article by
Eric Dess

Since 1997 was once again a Cougar anniversary year, and since Ford had great success with the previous two anniversary models, the 30th Anniversary model became available midway through the model year. This time, Ford put a great deal of thought into the car well before production, so as to not get swamped with orders as they did before. In fact, the 30th Anniversary Cougar was ready so far in advance that its photo and specs were printed in the dealership sales literature for the fall of 1996. Still, demand greatly outpaced supply and an additional run of cars was eventually needed. Total output of 30th Anniversary Cougars is confirmed via Marti report to be 7,813 cars.

30th Anniversary Cougar (1997)

Mercury designers went back to a rich burgundy color for this anniversary edition, breaking from the 25th Anniversary Cougar's dark green and mimicking the 20th Anniversary's color very closely. Officially known as Dark Toreador Red Clearcoat Metallic (JL), it was unique to this Cougar model and was presented only on the first-run 30th Anniversary Cougar cars.

30th Anniversary Cougar Emblem (Gold)

The unique 30th C-pillar emblems were simply the standard Cougar emblem placed on top of a special 30th cloisonné surround. The gold colored surround was only found on the initial run of Dark Toreador Red cars.

30th Anniversary Cougar Interior

30th Anniversary Cougar Interior

The special interior treatment again surfaced. Standard 30th seats were leather and cloth (E7); all leather seats (W7) were optional.

30th Anniversary Cougar Seat Logo

The 30th logo embroidered on the front seats.

30th Anniversary Cougar Floormat Logo

The 30th logo embroidered on the floor mats.

30th Anniversary Cougar Wheel

The 30th Anniversary Cougar 16" wheel. This was simply a Lincoln Mark VIII wheel with black painted insets. Note the lack of a Cougar emblem on the center cap.

30th Anniversary Cougar Sport

Because the 30th Anniversary was a package like the Sport and Luxury Appearance editions, some interesting possibilities could be had when ordering. For example, it was possible to have a Cougar Sport option with the 30th Anniversary Cougar Package, although all one got was the spoiler and rear package tray brake light delete, since the Sport suspension was already standard on all 30th models. The 7-spoke Sport wheels were also not available.

30th Anniversary Cougar V8 Engine

A view of the 4.6 V8 engine bay. The radiator core build tag has the letters ANNIV stamped at the top to denote this anniversary edition.

Premium Items

The 30th Anniversary Cougar also came with a special commemorative package sent to original owners after purchase and included the following items, all featuring the 30th Anniversary logo:

30th Anniversary Cougar Keys

Two ignition keys (note: these are blank).

30th Anniversary Cougar Flashlight

Mini Maglite car flashlight in its own case.

30th Anniversary Cougar Dash Plate

30th dash plate.

30th Anniversary Cougar Cross Pen

30th Cross pen in case.

30th Anniversary Cougar Keychain

30th keychain.

30th Anniversary Cougar Umbrella

30th Anniversary Cougar Umbrella

30th umbrella.

30th Anniversary Cougar Portfolio

30th Anniversary Cougar Letter

A special portfolio (top), which also included a letter from the Cougar brand manager (bottom).

Color Options

The first run of 30th Cougars was painted a unique color called Dark Toreador Red Clearcoat Metallic. Due to high demand and pressure from Mercury dealers, especially as it was feared that this would be the last model year for the rear-drive Cougar model, a second run of 30th Anniversary Cougars was produced. These cars were not Dark Toreador Red but one of three different colors: Light Prairie Tan, Crystal White Tri-Coat, and Performance White. The second run cars are considered extremely rare. Despite what you information you may find elsewhere on the Internet about the 30th colors, no other colors were offered on the 30th Anniversary Cougar.

30th Anniversary Cougar - Performance White

30th Anniversary Cougar in Performance White (WT).

30th Anniversary Cougar - Light Prairie Tan

30th Anniversary Cougar in Light Prairie Tan (BA).

30th Anniversary Cougar - Crystal White Tri-Coat Metallic

30th Anniversary Cougar in Crystal White Tri-Coat Metallic (WZ).

30th Anniversary Cougar Emblem (Red)

A new modified 30th Anniversary C-pillar emblem, now in burgundy, adorned only the second-run tan and white 30th models and were never found on the earlier red 30th models.


3.8L (232 cid) V6; 145 hp @ 4000 rpm; 215 lb-ft torque @ 2750 rpm
4.6L (281 cid) SOHC V8; 205 hp @ 4250 rpm; 280 lb-ft torque @ 3000 rpm
4R70W full electronic 4-speed automatic with overdrive
Front 10.8" disc, rear 10.1" disc
Wheelbase - 113"
Overall Length - 199.9"
Overall Width - 72.7"
Overall Height - 52.7"
Cargo Capacity - 15.1 cubic feet
Fuel Capacity - 18.0 gallons
V6 - 3528 lb.
V8 - 3666 lb.


  • 7,813


Toreador Red

Performance White/Crystal White Tri-Coat/Light Prairie Tan

*Note: We hope to have further color breakdowns in the future.