Now in its fourth and final year of the first-generation aero Cougar, the 1986 model year was a virtual carryover from the previous year. There were color changes inside and out, and the addition of a U.S. federally-mandated center high-mount stop lamp (CHMSL) in the rear window helped differentiate the 1986 models from the 1985s. The V6 and V8 models gained a larger 22.1 gallon fuel tank. Otherwise the car received very few other changes.
Relatively few but significant changes were made to the XR7 model in 1986. In a switch, the 5-speed manual transmission was now standard; the 3-speed automatic was optional. Exterior mirrors were now black instead of body color. Some new exterior colors added a little spice to the XR7's lineup, and no longer was grey the only interior color choice.
|Left: The previously-offered Oxford and Charcoal interior was no longer available for 1986. Instead, the base grey interior was a combination of a new medium warm grey called Smoke trimmed in a deep cool grey named Raven. The optional two-toned leather seats now blended in much better with the rest of the interior colors. And that wasn't the only big news: the XR7 could also be outfitted with Canyon Red or Desert Tan interiors.|
|Left: An newly documented visual change to 1986 XR7 models is the addition of the large "TURBO" badge on the trunklid, with the "XR-7" now moved up from the taillight reflector next to the new "TURBO" badge. This seems to be a mid-to-late-model year running change.|
|Left: A closer look at the lower stripes on the XR7 model.|
The Cougar LS received no major updates in 1986.
|Left: The Cougar LS interior in Desert Tan cloth.|
|Left: The Cougar LS interior in Smoke Grey leather.|
|Left: Perhaps the biggest change in the drivetrain for 1986 was the upgrade of the 5.0L V8 to sequential electronic fuel injection (SEFI) adopted from the Mustang. The roller lifters were a running addition, making this the debut year for the Cougar roller block. The new parts and fuel injection resulted in an additional 20 hp, now up to 150, and greatly improved torque output. The Cougar/Thunderbird cam was ground for torque output at lower rpms—perfect for towing. Unfortunately, the Cougar/Thunderbird did not receive the same High Output (200 hp) treatment as the 1986 Mustang, nor did it get the performance dual exhaust. But at least the 5.0 became more modern. This was the only year for the SEFI 5.0 in this body style.|
Like the LS model, the GS had no major alterations for 1986.
|Left: The GS interior, shown here in Regatta Blue cloth, remained the same as the previous year.|
|Left: As if the Cougar didn't have enough wheel choices before, a new basic wheel was offered in 1986 (standard on LS, optional on GS). It is officially known as the 14" styled steel wheel, but in reality it was little more than a glitzed-up full spare wheel, complete with beauty rings and a minimal center cap. Interestingly, the Mustang offered similar rims on its SSP police package.|
|Left: The 3.8L V6 rated at 120 hp was still unchanged from its debut in 1984. A new option for the V6 was the AOD 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission.|
|Left: An exceedingly rare, late-year running addition was the factory power moonroof. Scheduled production was for March 3, 1986. While all indications were that moonroof-equipped cars were produced, it's been extremely difficult to find a real specimen out in the world, since the cutoff date for ordering cars was usually around May of that model year. That left mere weeks to order the moonroof option. It's only been recently that we've corroborated the existence of such cars.|
|Left: This Thunderbird has all the correct gear for a power moonroof, so we will accept it as fact. This car in particular was produced in January 1986 as a test mule, then donated to a vocational school for mechanics to learn their trade. Unfortunately the car is not in good shape anymore but it does have the unique distinction of being the first 1986 moonroof car we've ever run across.|
Sales jumped up again for 1986, thanks to the additional V8 power, and things were definitely in full swing for the aero Cougar and Ford in general. Because of cars like the first generation aero-look Cougar, Ford now had a solid foundation for its new rounded styling and the American buying public flocked to the new shapes in droves. As pleasing as the results were, Ford wasn't exactly sitting still. For the next two model years the Fox-based Cougar would receive a mild freshening, further pushing the envelope of its aerodynamically-formed shape, and modernizing the car even more. But for 1986, the raw lines of the Cougar remained the style leader.
|ENGINES||GS: 120 hp CFI 3.8L (232 cid) V6; optional 150 hp SEFI 5.0L (302 cid) V8
LS: 120 hp CFI 3.8L (232 cid) V6; optional 150 hp SEFI 5.0L (302 cid) V8
XR7: MPI OHC turbocharged 2.3L (140 cid) I-4; 145 hp (automatic) / 155 hp (manual)
|TRANSMISSIONS||3-speed automatic (C3) - XR7 only, optional
5-speed manual (T-5) - XR7 only, standard
3-speed automatic (C5) - V6 models, standard
4-speed overdrive automatic (AOD) - all V8 models, optional on V6 models
|BRAKES||Front: 10.0" vented disc
Rear: 9.0" drum
Overall Length: 197.6"
Overall Width: 71.1"
Overall Height: 53.4"
Cargo Capacity: 14.6 cubic feet w/mini spare; 13.2 cubic feet with full spare
Fuel Capacity: 22.1 gallons (GS & LS); 18.0 gallons (XR7)
Passenger Rating: 5 (4 with full console option)
|CURB WEIGHT||GS: 3,083 lbs.
XR7: 3,169 lbs.
|HOW TO SPOT ONE||1986 Cougars had flat taillights, new interior, new-style grille, and a third brake light in rear window.|
|RECALLS||Cougar XR7 4-140 2.3L SOHC Turbo Safety Recalls
1. 87S36 SEP 87 Recall 87S36 Fuel Line Retainer Clips
Cougar XR7 4-140 2.3L SOHC Turbo Emissions Recalls
V6-232 3.8L Emissions Recalls
V6-232 3.8L General Recalls
V8-302 5.0L Safety Recalls
V8-302 5.0L Emissions Recalls