Tom Rounds
February 15, 2007

Kevin Cornwell of Williamsport, Maryland, owns this beautiful '70 Mercury Cougar XR-7. The Cougar bug originally bit him in 1981 when he was a high-school student. Back then, he bought a '70 Cougar and used it as his only transportation for many years.

The super-clean policy evident everywhere on this car includes the engine bay, which is spotless. The warmed-up Cleveland engine has a Lunati cam and a genuine Ford Boss 351 intake manifold. Aside from the well-chosen aftermarket parts, the look under the hood is factory correct and in perfect order.

Kevin says that things like marriage, children, and mortgages became his priority, and his first Cougar was eventually sold. Ever since then, he had wanted another one. About four years ago, when he could wait no longer, he began the search for a classic Cougar, using the Internet and keeping an eye on places like eBay. It was good fortune that after a thorough search, the perfect car turned up right in his hometown.

A friend of Kevin's knew someone who was a Cougar enthusiast, who just so happened to have a '70 XR-7 for sale. The two went to look at the car in February. In the snow and cold they were led to a garage where the Cougar awaited, carefully stored under heavy blankets. As soon as the blankets were lifted, Kevin knew the car would be his. The 351 Cleveland engine fired right up on that cold day, and with its 11.5:1 compression ratio, there was plenty of rumble to cinch the deal even further. The money changed hands, but many weeks went by as Kevin waited for the weather to improve. At last, the day came when he was able to drive the car home.

Sitting on top of the Boss 351 intake manifold is a fresh Holley Street Avenger 650-cfm four-barrel carb. It's the perfect-size choice for an engine of this displacement and temperament.

Kevin is happy to have another cat in his collection, and although this Cougar is in excellent condition, it's not a trailer queen. He likes the Eliminator extras because they look great, but he's the first to tell you the car is an Eliminator clone, looking just the way he likes it. He drives the Cougar in good weather and goes to lots of summer car shows near Maryland. Most of the Cougar aficionados we know will tell you that once you've had a Mercury Cougar, you'll always want to have one in your garage. Certainly Kevin is a good example of this Ford, er, Mercury phenomenon.