The 1971 Mercury Cougar Convertible is the story of a changing landscape for American muscle car. The transition from big power and arguably beautiful styling to emission restricted motors and subdued architecture. This 1971 Cougar bridges the gap between the times and does so wonderfully. Enjoy.
Some info about the Cougar:
For 1971, the Cougar was restyled, weighed less, and had only a one-inch-longer wheelbase than its predecessors (112 vs. 111 – which was similar to GM’s intermediate-sized two-door models, such as the Olds Cutlass). The front end now featured four exposed headlights; the disappearing headlights were eliminated. The center grille piece was now larger, sharing its appearance with the 1971 Mercury Cyclone. The rear featured a semifastback with a “flying buttress” sail-panel. The convertible returned, as did the XR-7 and the GT package. The Eliminator package was dropped, but the Ram Air option remained. The engine lineup was revised for 1971, as well. Now only three engines were offered—the standard 240 hp (179 kW) 351 Windsor two-barrel V8, the 285 hp (213 kW) 351 Cleveland four-barrel V8, and the 370 hp (276 kW) 429 Cobra Jet four-barrel V8.
By 1972, the climate had begun to change as the muscle car era ended. No longer able to use gross power numbers, the manufacturers had to use net power figures, which dropped the once-mighty figures down substantially. Engines were shuffled around a bit with the 429 engine option no longer available. They were now the standard 163 hp (122 kW) 351 Cleveland two-barrel V8, or the 266 hp (198 kW) 351C four-barrel Cobra Jet V8. Other than that, the Cougar remained a carryover from 1971. Only minor trim details were changed in 1972. The big-block engines were gone for 1972 and 1973. The days of performance-oriented muscle cars were coming to an end.