Model Year Info

Fact vs. Fiction

Page Revised: 10 May 2019


Article by
Eric Dess

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.
RUMOR: There were some 1983-88 Cougars that came equipped with headlight covers from the factory.
Cougar Headlight CoversA: FACT, sort of. The only Cougars to have headlight covers from Ford were found on the 1986-87 Silver Aero promotional cars, and since the covers were smoked, the cars got recalled. 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 (right). 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.
RUMOR: There were some 1983-88 Cougars that had factory spoilers.
Cougar Dealer-Installed SpoilerA: 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.
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.
Mirror DeleteA: 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 (right), you can pretty much bet that it didn't have many options at all. We guess that way 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 a GS.
RUMOR: There was a factory 140mph speedometer offered on 1985-88 Cougars with the analog gauge cluster.
FMS 140mph SpeedometerA. FACT, sort of. It wasn't factory-equipped but it was offered by Ford Motorsport and dropped right into that cluster. Factory speedos read to 85 (but the ticks went to 95). Needless to say, the 140mph speedo (right) is one of the rarest parts for our cars, and pricing usually reflects that rarity.
RUMOR: There were some convertibles made between 1983-88.
1986 Cougar ConvertibleA: FACT. Although they were never factory built, they were produced by several aftermarket companies. Click here for more information on the convertibles.


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; 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.

Humped Trunklid*** There were a few companies offering modified trunklids for the 1983-88 Cougars (right) 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. Someone is still producing them, and in fact may have done the ones for our cars.

† See here for more information on Fox Cougar convertibles.


Factory or Sanctioned Items:

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