The Mercury Cougar is a nameplate applied to a diverse series of automobiles sold by Mercury from 1967 to 1997
For many years the Cougar was important to the image of the Mercury division; advertising often identified its dealers as being "at the sign of the cat". In the early 1970s as part of advertising for the Cougar and Mercury, female models held big cats on leashes. In production for 34 years, the Cougar nameplate is second only to the Grand Marquis in its longevity in the Mercury model line.
1973 would be largely a carryover year for the Cougar, but it would mark the last year of the Mustang-based Cougar and the final run of Cougar convertibles; a light blue/white Cougar XR-7 convertible was actually the "last" convertible built by Ford Motor Company in the 1970s. An automatic transmission and power front disc brakes became standard, though a 4-speed manual transmission was still available as a rarely ordered option. Many changes were scheduled for the 1973 models. Power figures continued to change, as new federal/EPA regulations began their stranglehold on the V8 engines. The new figures continued to fluctuate, but engine options remained unchanged from 1972. The standard engine continued to be the 168 hp Optional was the 264 hp 4 Barrel 351 Cobra Jet V8.