Car Clock of the Week: 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7 analog with date function

It shows the day of the week and the date, which was just about unheard-of in car clocks of the era.

Since we just saw the lip-glossiest, driving-on-a-cloudiest, white-powder-in-the-glove boxiest television ad of the 1970s, featuring Melody Anderson and the 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7, I have no choice but to present the dash-mounted timepiece from that car as our Car Clock of the Week. I found a ’79 Cougar XR-7 in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard a couple of months ago, and I was stunned to discover that its chronometer worked perfectly when hooked up to my junkyard car-clock tester.

Depressingly, Mercury shoppers could buy a Cougar station wagon or sedan in 1979. The XR-7 stayed true to the original idea of the Cougar as personal luxury coupe, though.

American car shoppers had many choices for personal luxury coupes in 1979, including the Chrysler Cordoba and Olds Cutlass Supreme, but the Cougar XR-7 offered levels of heavily-padded vinyl (inside and out) well beyond the competition’s stuff. Naturally, the XR-7’s (optional) clock had to be superior as well.

You really needed the Flight Bench Seat, AM/FM radio, and Day/Date Electric Clock in your XR-7.

If I’d found a clock with a day/date feature in, say, a 1979 Mercedes-Benz, I’d have given it a 75 percent chance of still being in working order. In a Detroit car of this era, with the low-bidder philosophy that went into purchases of electronic components, however, you’ve got more like a 5 percent chance of finding a non-dead clock in a junkyard.

Some previous junkyard shopper had removed much of the dash before I got there, making clock access very easy for me.

This clock is so good that I may have to mount it in my office, with a source of 12-volt power. Yes, you have to fast-forward the date display at the ends of months with fewer than 31 days, but that’s no problem.

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