During the 9-year model run of the MN-12 chassis Mercury Cougar, there were several notable limited edition models made. The only factory limited edition cars were the 25th and 30th Anniversary Cougars; the 1996-97 Sport models; and the 1997 Luxury Appearance model. All other limited edition Cougars were created in the aftermarket, whether by dealer-installed packages, or conversion companies, or both.
With the sheer number of aftermarket companies producing packages for the big Cat, it’s impossible to list them all here, much less give an estimate of the value that those packages add to the vehicle. To say that any company can create a package and call it “limited” would be a little misleading. After all, EVERY car is technically a limited edition—only so many can be made during a model year! However, only a certain number of packages are ever created. Perhaps a better choice of words to describe these cars is “uncommon”. However you say it, these individual styling creations definitely add an air of creativity to the popular Cougar body style.
Many thanks to Keith and Alan for hunting up some of the photos shown here.
Special Edition / Blue Max Edition
By far the most popular limited edition, the Special Edition (and similar Blue Max Edition) was the brainchild of several Cleveland, OH-area Lincoln-Mercury dealers and became so popular that it was offered via a regular dealer order sheet.
Style-wise, the lower portion is usually argent (or charcoal, sometimes gold) with laser stripes, a special emblem on the C-pillar, and usually a luggage rack, although that could be omitted. Earlier (1989-92) SE’s have a red stripe on the side molding, while 1993-97 cars had specific color-keyed moldings, depending upon the color of the car’s interior. Some later cars have featured 1992 Anniversary-style 15″ spoked BBS rims.
Production between 1988 and 1993 is confirmed at over 15,000 units. The SE/Blue Max package was priced around $750 US.
Predator SS Edition
The Cougar Predator SS package was offered to dealers from 1994-97. It consisted of a full ground effects kit, a rear spoiler similar to that used on the 1996-97 Sport models, and a full vinyl Cougar Predator SS lettering kit for the lower half of the doors, the trunk lid, and sometimes on the windshield. The kit appears to have been made by Xenon, and it seems to have been supplied by Razzi, although it’s not known whether they were the OE supplier or not. Total number of Cougar Predator SS Cougars produced is unknown.
The Caliente (Spanish for ‘hot’) was a package created by E&G Classics in Florida. Included in the package was a vinyl half roof with special C-pillar ornamentation, a dash plaque, and matching keychains, all with the CALIENTE logo. Total number produced is unknown.
Night Cat Edition
The Night Cat Edition looks to be very similar to a Bostonian Edition, with simulated convertible top, gold trim, and special Night Cat exterior emblems. Some versions had “Night Cat” embroidered in the headrests and a unique dash plaque. Total number produced is unknown.
MX Brougham Edition
This is an actual 1990 XR7 with a factory-style MX Brougham vinyl top applied. Mikael from Sweden was kind enough to share photos of his car. It is similar to other MX Brougham Cougars that we’ve seen, but it is rather unusual to see an XR7 model with the treatment.
Other Misc. Editions
Most of these other limited-edition Cats featured a vinyl half-roof, special ornamentation, and a special striping package that were offered to Ford dealers by aftermarket suppliers. They were marketed all over the U.S and Canada and were produced right up until the 1997 model year. Some of these Cougar packages were regional or specific to a particular city, such as the following:
There were likely many more cities or regions that took part in this series of cars. Total production is unknown.
An interesting development in the history of aftermarket Cougars has taken place in Florida. It seems that every other dealership there had a gimmick to make their Cougar offering unique (obviously catering more toward the retirement crowd than the youth of the day). This typically featured a modified roof (half top, fake convertible top, etc.) and some type of special badging, whether it was physically applied on the car’s exterior or embroidered in the seats. Most of these images are from eBay auctions; a few examples of these unique Cougar packages are below.
Brougham / MX Brougham Edition
Grand Floridian Edition
Palm Beach Edition
All American Edition
Misc. Ford Vehicles
Along with the aforementioned limited edition Cougars, there were a few more notable entries produced directly from Ford Motor Company. These vehicles were not sold to the public but they did serve their own purposes for Ford at the time.
1990 Cougar XR7 Convertible
Unlike the Fox chassis Cougars, there doesn’t appear to have been any aftermarket manufacturers of Cougar convertibles from 1989-97. It’s rumored that the reason was the roofline, as the MN12 cars have a shorter deck area under which to easily stow a folded top. We’ve looked diligently for years and have never run across one, although it’s possible that a few one-offs exist.
There was, however, one Lincoln-Mercury approved 1990 Cougar XR7 convertible show car. The renowned Michigan conversion company, ASC, was asked to produce the one-off car specifically for the auto show car circuit. Then-Mercury chief Ross Roberts was gauging the public’s reaction as to whether a production version was feasible. Being that the Cougar was all new in 1989, and reliability for the all-new MN12 chassis was still unknown at that time, Mercury decided not to pursue this car any further. Too bad—not only would it have given Mercury a bigger convertible than the Capri, but it would also have totally out-powered the competition (namely, the Chrysler LeBaron and Olds Cutlass Supreme convertibles). And it would have been the first factory Cougar convertible offered since 1973. As far as is known, this is the only copy of this car and ASC likely has it socked away in storage.
A very clean profile was created with the roof gone, particularly in the former C-pillar area. The fiberglass top boot is handsomely done. Since the coupe’s motorized seat belts couldn’t be adapted, Mercury opted for GM convertible-style door mounted seat belts. Extensive chassis strengthening required custom rocker panels.
1989 Cougar XR7 Dearborn Police Cars
Before the MN12 platform went into production, Ford Motor Company created a few prototype vehicles to test out the upcoming drivetrains. For example, there were some 1988 Fox-chassis Thunderbirds with full Super Coupe/XR7 running gear (supercharged 3.8L V6, AOD and/or M5R2). The purpose of these vehicles was to give Ford engineers real-world experience with the engines, work out any bugs, and test for durability in all climates.
Along this line of thinking, several early prototype 1989 Cougar XR7 police cars were produced for the local Dearborn, MI Police Department to use as general and pursuit vehicles. They likely were either hand built or early production cars. It is unknown if they carried an actual VIN number, and it is assumed that they were all automatic (AOD) versions.
As of this writing the fate of the cars is unknown. We will update this section if we get more information.