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Thread: Mercury Cougar (6th gen) 1983-1988

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    Mercury Cougar is a nameplate applied to a diverse series of automobiles sold by the Mercury division of Ford from 1967 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2002. While the nameplate is most commonly associated with two-door coupes, at various times during its production, the Cougar was also marketed as a convertible, four-door sedan, station wagon, and hatchback. With 2,972,784 examples produced, the Cougar is the highest-selling vehicle ever produced by the Mercury brand; its 34-year production is second only to the Grand Marquis in the Mercury model line (produced for 36 years). During the 1970s and 1980s, the Cougar was closely tied to the marketing of the Mercury division; Mercury advertised its dealers as "The Sign of the Cat" with big cats atop Lincoln-Mercury dealer signs. In line with the Cougar, several animal-related nameplates were adopted by the division, including the Bobcat, Lynx, and Sable. During its production, the Cougar was assembled at the Dearborn Assembly Plant (part of the Ford River Rouge Complex) in Dearborn, Michigan from 1967 to 1973, San Jose Assembly (Milpitas, California) from 1968 into early 1969, Lorain Assembly (Lorain, Ohio) from 1974 to 1997, and at Flat Rock Assembly (Flat Rock, Michigan) from 1999 to 2002.

    Overview
    During much of its production life, the Cougar followed tradition within the Mercury division, marketed as a Mercury counterpart of a Ford vehicle. Distinguished by a distinct exterior (ranging in degree from grilles and lighting components to nearly the entire exterior), to streamline its production, the Cougar shared its chassis underpinnings with Ford vehicles throughout its production life. For its first two generations, the Cougar was derived from the Ford Mustang; initially developed as a pony car, it replaced the Cyclone muscle car in the Mercury model line. For its third and fourth generations, the Cougar adopted the chassis of the Ford Torino intermediate. Initially the counterpart of the Ford (Gran Torino) Elite, the fourth generation was split into two model lines, replacing the Montego as the Mercury intermediate (alongside the Ford LTD II), with the Cougar XR7 becoming the counterpart of the Ford Thunderbird. For its fifth and sixth generations, the Cougar adopted the compact Fox platform. For the fifth generation, the Cougar was again two model lines, with the Cougar XR7 derived from the Thunderbird and the standard Cougar replacing the Monarch as the counterpart of the Ford Granada. The sixth generation Cougar, derived from the Thunderbird, reverted to the two-door coupe body style. For its seventh generation, the Cougar introduced the MN12 platform, developed for the Cougar, Thunderbird and Lincoln Mark VIII. After 1997, the Cougar and Thunderbird were discontinued (the Mark VIII was discontinued after 1998). For its eighth generation, the Cougar returned for 1999 as a sports compact hatchback. Sharing a chassis with the Ford Contour, the model line began development as a third generation of the Ford Probe, shifting to Mercury as its development neared completion. Sold only under the Mercury brand, this generation is the only version of the Cougar with no direct Ford counterpart (though export examples were badged as Ford Cougars).

    Sixth generation (1983-1988)
    For the 1983 model year, Mercury introduced the sixth generation of the Cougar. As part of an extensive revision of the Ford and Mercury model ranges, the mid-size Mercury model range shifted from the Cougar to the Marquis (split from the full-size Grand Marquis). Reverting to its traditional role of a two-door coupe (for the first time since 1976), the Cougar remained a counterpart of the Ford Thunderbird with the two vehicles repackaged as "luxury sport coupes" Within Mercury, the Cougar was slotted above the Capri and below the two-door Grand Marquis (both would be discontinued during its production). Along with marking the first major use of aerodynamic-intensive design in an American automobile, the Cougar and Thunderbird were also the first Ford vehicles developed using computer-aided design (CAD). While given a less aerodynamic roofline than the Thunderbird, the 1983 Cougar was far sleeker than the 1982 Cougar XR7, reducing its coefficient of drag from 0.50 to 0.40. In 1987, the sixth-generation Cougar underwent a mid-cycle revision with aerodynamic improvements, reducing its drag coefficient to 0.36.

    Chassis
    The sixth-generation Cougar retained the rear-wheel drive Ford Fox platform from the fifth generation. In a departure from its predecessor, a shorter 104-inch wheelbase was used (4 inches shorter than the previous XR7). As before, traditional Fox-platform underpinnings were retained, including a MacPherson strut/A-arm front suspension with a four-link coil-sprung solid rear axle with front and rear anti-roll bars. As with the previous generation, 14-inch wheels and tires were standard, with Michelin TRX tires and metric-size wheels as an option (shared with the Thunderbird and Capri/Mustang. For 1985, 15-inch wheels became an option for the XR7.

    Powertrain details
    For its 1983 launch, the sixth-generation Cougar offered a 120 hp 3.8L V6 from its predecessor as a standard engine; a 130 hp 4.9L V8 made its return as an optional engine. For 1986, the V8 was changed to sequential fuel injection, increasing output to 150 hp. For 1988, the 3.8L V6 was given multiport fuel injection, increasing output to 140 hp; the 4.9L V8 was retuned to 155 hp.

    From 1984 to 1986, the XR7 was equipped with a 2.3L turbocharged inline-4; shared with the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, the engine produced 145 hp with an automatic transmission (155 hp with a manual transmission). For 1987, the XR7 dropped the turbocharged engine (and 5-speed manual transmission) in favor of the 4.9L V8. The 2.3L inline-four was paired with a 5-speed manual transmission; a 3-speed automatic transmission was optional. The 3.8L V6 was paired with a 3-speed automatic; a 4-speed overdrive automatic was optional (the only transmission with the 4.9L V8). For 1987 and 1988, the 4-speed AOD transmission was fitted to both the 3.8L and 4.9L engines.

    Exterior
    The exterior design of the sixth-generation Cougar was designed largely in response to the negative market response to the introduction of the fifth-generation Cougar. While retaining a common chassis, a primary objective for designers was to maximize the visual differentiation between the Thunderbird and Cougar. To reduce production costs, the two model lines shared exterior body parts, including front and rear bumpers, both doors, the windshield, the hood and front fenders. While the Thunderbird adopted a fastback roofline, the Cougar adopted a notchback roofline with a near-vertical backlight, distinguished by upswept rear side windows.
    During its production, the sixth-generation Cougar underwent several exterior revisions. For 1984, the hood ornament was replaced by a flat hood emblem. For 1985, the waterfall-style grille was replaced with an egg-crate design (similar to Mercedes-Benz); the red taillamp lenses were replaced by a dark gray design. 1986 saw few changes, highlighted by the addition of a government-mandated center rear brake light (CHMSL) and a power-operated moonroof; for the last time, the Cougar was available with vent windows.

    To mark its 20th year of production, the Cougar underwent an extensive mid-cycle revision for 1987. Originally slated for the 1986 model year, nearly every exterior panel was changed. To visually stretch the roofline, a compound-curved rear window replaced the nearly flat rear glass and the rear quarter windows were redesigned (with a curve inversely matching the windshield angle). To further distinguish the model line from the Thunderbird, the 1987 Cougar received its own grille (with a large "cat" emblem), front bumper cover and aerodynamic composite headlamps. Shared with the Mustang GT, the Cougar received new 15-inch wheels, becoming the standard alloy wheel design for 1988. For 1988, the exterior of the Cougar underwent no changes, introducing several monochromatic paint options.

    For the 1987 model year, the Cougar saw few changes to its interior, with the XR7 adopting a fully digital dashboard as standard equipment. For 1988, the analog XR7 dashboard made its return; along with the deletion of the boost gauge, the tachometer was revised for a lower-revving V8 engine.

    Trim
    The sixth-generation Cougar continued the trim nomenclature of its predecessor in modified form, with the Cougar GS serving as the base trim, the Cougar LS as the luxury trim, and the Cougar XR7 as the high-performance version. The GS trim was largely used for internal purposes, with advertising dropping the designation entirely. For 1987, to move the Cougar upmarket, the Cougar LS became the standard trim level, with both V6 and V8 engines available.

    For 1984, the XR7 made its return after a year-long hiatus. Serving as the counterpart of the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, the XR7 was fitted with a performance-oriented suspension, a turbocharged 2.3L engine (shared with the Turbo Coupe and Mustang SVO), blacked-out window trim, and full analog instrumentation. In 1987, to better distinguish the Cougar XR7 from the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, the turbocharged inline-4 was replaced by a 4.9L V8, along with a standard 4-speed automatic.

    Source: Wikipedia
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    Last edited by Man of Steel; 11-16-2019 at 12:53 AM.

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    Mercury Cougar (6th gen) #2
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    Last edited by Man of Steel; 11-15-2019 at 03:07 PM.
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