This section deals with the rumors, and actual facts, behind the 1983-88 Cougars. No matter what you’ve heard, this page will dispel the rumors and cut to the facts, plain and simple.

RUMOR: There were a few 1986-88 5.0 Cougars that snuck out of the factory with the HO package.

A: FICTION. All 1986-88 5.0 engines were of the non-HO variety. If your Cougar has an HO motor, it was either upgraded or transplanted somewhere along the line.

(We wish we had $1 for every time we’ve heard this one.)

RUMOR: There were some 1983-88 Cougars that came equipped with headlight covers from the factory.

A: FACT, SORT OF. The only official Cougars to have headlight covers from Ford were found on the 1986 Silver Aero promotional cars, and since the covers did not comply with some regulations, the cars got recalled (see this page for more information).

Now the old Ford Motorsport (now Ford Racing Performace Parts) offered snap-on headlight covers for the 1983-86 models back in the mid-to-late 1980’s. As far as “factory” headlight covers go, these are it. All headlight covers now are aftermarket. If your Cougar came with them, they were probably installed at the dealer or by a previous owner.

Fact vs. Fiction - Headlight Covers
RUMOR: There were some 1983-88 Cougars that had factory spoilers.

A: FICTION. There was no official factory spoiler offered on the Cougar until 1996. However, there was a universal pedestal-type spoiler that was offered by Ford as an accessory (right), and listed the Cougar and the Topaz for fitment (p/n 6644210). That would be the closest to a “factory” spoiler from the Fox Cougar era. All other spoilers were added on, either at the dealership, or by a previous owner.

Fact vs. Fiction - Rear Spoiler
RUMOR: There were some 1983-86 Cougars that had painted headlight buckets (in a color other than argent).

A: FICTION. There has never been any Ford literature or material that has depicted factory painted headlight buckets. While we have seen some painted headlight buckets that do look factory, it may just be that painted headlight buckets were part of dealer optioned packages or simply customization to sell a vehicle.

RUMOR: There were some 1983-86 Cougars that did not have a passenger side rearview mirror.

A: FACT. Power mirrors were still considered an option back then, and not every car was ordered with them (same is true for power windows). In general, if you see a Cougar without a passenger side rearview mirror, you can pretty much bet that it didn’t have many options at all. We guess that less than 10% of all Cougars between 1983 and 1986 did not have the passenger mirror. Virtually all LS and XR7 models had dual power mirrors, so any Cat without a passenger side mirror is likely a GS model.

Fact vs. Fiction - Mirror Delete
RUMOR: There was a factory speedometer offered on 1985-88 Cougars that displayed higher than 85mph.

A. FACT, SORT OF. It wasn’t factory-equipped but it was offered by Ford Motorsport and dropped right into the analog gauge cluster. Factory speedos read to 85 (but the ticks went to 95). Needless to say, the 140mph speedo is one of the rarest parts for our cars, and pricing usually reflects that rarity.

The digital speedometers were limited to 85mph readings. The U.S. government at the time did not allow speeds greater than 55mph on public roads and so most car companies agreed to limit the speedometer readings to no higher than 85mph. In the late 1980’s some states passed laws to allow 65-70mph speeds. At that point the government relented and allowed states to set their top speeds, and in the very early 1990’s one could finally see speedometers read past 85mph from auto manufacturers.

Fact vs. Fiction - 140MPH Motorsport Speedometer
RUMOR: There were some convertibles made between 1983-88.

A: FACT. Although they were never factory built, they were produced by several aftermarket companies. Click here for more information on the convertibles.

1986 Mercury Cougar Convertible

Aftermarket or Dealer Installed Items:

  • Headlight covers
  • Gold trim (except 1987 20th Anniversary Cougar)
  • Fake convertible top
  • 1/2 top or 3/4 top in canvas
  • Different wheels (other than those offered by Ford)
  • Spoilers
  • Ground effects
  • Hood scoops
  • Front end covers (“bra”)
  • Mirror covers (“mirror bras”)
  • Vent visors (on the door windows)
  • Fog lights (other than the Marchal 750 series on the 1985-86 XR7)
  • Stereo systems (other than those offered by Ford)
  • Some power moonroofs *
  • Some sunroofs **
  • Fake spare tire (aka “Continental” kit)
  • Mark VII-style trunklid hump ***
  • Chrome wheelwell trim
  • Chrome lower trim (aside from factory LS models, 1983-86)
  • Special Edition/Blue Max package
  • Bostonian, Houstonian, Coloradan Edition and any other City Edition package
  • Olympic Edition, Night Cat package
  • Predator SS package
  • Convertible conversion†

* Power moonroof option was not offered until very late 1986 (March); early 1987 production was around November 1986 build date. Factory power moonroofs slide into the roof, and are made of smoked glass with a bright (chrome) ring around the outside. Also, a plastic vented cover could be found inside to slide over the moonroof when necessary. Last, a factory overhead console was placed between the sun visors with two map lights and the power moonroof switch. It was popular back in the day to have ASC or other aftermarket companies to install a moonroof in a Cougar.

** Factory sunroofs had a storage bag in the trunk that affixed to either the trunklid or the spare tire well via tethers, upon removal of sunroof. Cars with full spare tires would tether bag to trunklid. Storage bag also had instructions on how to store the glass panel.

*** There were a few companies offering modified trunklids for the 1983-88 Cougars that had the identical half-round hump found on the Lincoln Mark VII. We’ve also seen them on newer Continentals, Town Cars, and the Grand Marquis.

† See here for more information on Fox Cougar convertibles.

1988 Designer Series Cougar
E&G Simulated Convertible Cougar
1988 Blue Max Cougar
1986 Bostonian Edition Cougar
1987 Philadelphia Flyers Edition Cougar

Factory or Sanctioned Items:

  • 1/2 top (vinyl)
  • Two-tone colors