AMT's 1/25 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7, Kit #5328-200
Back in 1966 Ford announced that they intended to build the Mercury Cougar and the first models appeared on the market the following year. The car's unique features -- its grille and concealed headlights, sequential turn signals, prominent side body indentations, curved roof line and V8 only power plant -- made it an instant hit and gave the vehicle a very distinct predator look and feel despite its sharing the Thunderbird chassis. The original Cougar was built from 1967 to 1973 with a few changes occurring in 1971, and XR7 versions appeared in all years except 1983 until it was eliminated from the line in 1988.
The model was one of AMT's annual series for 1968 and was typical for the era. Fortunately it was a true "three in one" kit that could be built as a factory stock, custom, or racing version unlike some of their other 1968 cars that for some strange reason featured only a custom version.
This is the only 1/25 scale AMT car kit I've seen with an end-opening box and no inner box, and it hasn't survived the years very well. Their 1/43 scale cars used this type of box but had a plastic display case included and that helped the box retain its shape.
The kit consists of 60 parts molded in the then standard AMT white plastic, 39 plated parts, two red clear taillights (mine has seven!), clear windshield and backlight joined by the usual runners, two clear custom headlight lenses (missing from mine), and a pair of metal axles even though only one has to be used. There's also a so-so decal sheet - mine is unusable but it's no great loss. My kit also has an area on the right rear fender suffering from the common "tire burn" problem. As you can see from the parts scans I bagged up the tires as soon as I got the kit to prevent further damage and this is *highly* recommended for any kit just to be on the safe side.
AMT had started to put more detail into their annuals by this time so this kit is closer to the current state of the art than some of their older models. While it still has a tub interior the front seats at least are separate parts. Oddly, seat belts are molded on to the rear seat and stock front seats - I don't recall ever seeing this feature in any other AMT kit. The chassis is fairly well detailed with a simplified separate front suspension and kingpins, separate exhaust system, and separate axle/drive shaft with rear shocks. Lowering blocks are included for the rear axle and the front end can be lowered by simply inverting the kingpins. Engine choices in 1968 included a 302 or 390 - I'm not sure which the kit engine is intended to represent but it's also fairly well detailed, not suffering from an axle hole through the block or oil pan! Engine options include a set of Weber carbs, extra valve covers, stock or tuned exhaust headers, and a standard or dual oil filter.
Overall this is a really nice kit with good building options. Crisply molded and basically accurate, as were most AMT cars, it's a really nice addition to my collection and should build up easily into a great-looking model.
See you all next month. Till then, model on and "Build what YOU like, the way YOU want to."
Be sure to visit Al's Place while you're surfing the 'Net!