1968 1/2 'R' Code Cougar!

8F91R578295… the VIN # off of my 17 year old son’s first car! It even has the original 68 1/2 ram air hood featuring 8 mounting locations, as opposed to the 10 found on the 69-70 models. We are very excited about this car and are learning a lot about it thanks to great sites and forums, such as this one. Just wanted to share the find with the community!

Very exciting car! Thanks for sharing the VIN, I know lots of people are interested to hear more about this Cougar.

You are very welcome… I don’t know who’s more excited… me or, my son! Here’s a few more pictures…

I’m sure both of you are excited. What are your plans for this rare Cougar?


Hello, was the car already known to the registry or is it a new find, it was apparently very well kept, nice!

I’m pretty sure it was already registered… we just changed the registry info to document my 17 year old son as the new owner as well as the car’s new location here in Montana. We’re going to take the car this Saturday to, ‘Howie’s Auto Repair’ in, Whitefish Montana, to have all the brakes, fuel system, and front suspension rebuilt/replaced. We actually found a 66 ‘Q’ Code T-bird out here for a reasonable price that we’re going to rob the motor/trans out of for the Cougar this winter… Yeah, the car, over-all is in really good shape!

Be sure not to throw away any of the original parts. The reproduction parts in most cases will do the job but in every case are markedly different in appearance. The fuel sending unit and fuel pump for example have a tremendous value even as a core needing repair. If for example you have the original fuel pump the core can fetch $500. An original XR-7 fuel sending unit might be worth $200.

Oh wow! That is really good to know… I had no idea. I thank you for that! My son is blown away at the CCC… that something like this even exists for people who own these cars is really something to him. Groups like this are making him realize the significance of what he has with this car. I showed him, last night, that someone had commented on his car from, NC… he couldn’t believe it! As a father and old gear-head, the look on his face is PRICELESS! Thanks again!

This may be old news, but if the motor and trans in the car are original to the car and retain their partial VIN stamps, you definitely don’t want to swap them out. They are EXTREMELY valuable.

The VIN stamp on the engine will be on the drivers side, at the rear (closest to firewall) of the cylinder head or just below the head on the block. The transmission will be stamped in different places, depending on whether it is automatic or 4 speed. 4 speed is on the top of the case, frequently on the driver side, right behind the bell housing. Someone else can chime in on the location for a C6 automatic.

The VIN (8F91R578295) is for a standard Cougar but the roof and back window say XR7. Maybe a good idea to verify the VIN numbers on the inner fenders, dash tag and door tag. What engine is in it now?

Yep! XR-7 it is not… My son and I have been plugging away at the historicity of this car since it arrived here 4 weeks ago. Here’s what we have discovered… The car was sold new in, Cleveland, Ohio… sometime between 1968 and 1980, the original 428 CJ met it’s unfortunate demise. There is a very old sticker from, Dragway 42 (Ashland, Ohio) in the rear sail panel window that says, ‘Class Winner’. One can only assume that, that victory was a direct result of 428 when it was whole. I have included some more pictures…

The car was owned for many years by the late, Tim Slagle. My older brother, Jeff, actually knew this guy and apparently, he was ‘The ‘R’ Code Cougar Guru’ for Northern Ohio back in the day, having a number of rare Cougar cars and parts. I know for fact that our long time family friend, Jim Roepke, a Ford nut from WAY back who has, over the years, owned a many CJ vehicles including more than one of the highly sought after Shelby cars… he actually bought the original, blown up, 428 from this car in 1980 from, Tim Slagle.

After that, the Cougar sat for a time until, Slagle, decided to do some mod’s to the car and get it back on the road. Those ‘mod’s’ included an orange paint job and a conversion over to this, still immaculate, XR-7 interior. The rear spoiler and front ‘chin spoilers’ are from a 69 Eliminator that Slagle had at the time. A 68’ 302 was also installed and the car was drivable again.

Slagle later passed and the Cougar, along with the collection of other rare cars & parts, was passed to a family friend where it sat for a number of years… Enter my brother… who purchased the Cougar from this gentleman a couple years ago. He, (my brother) having an extensive collection of old cars himself, graciously passed the ‘deal’ on to my son (his nephew) and here we are, in 2020! We took some pictures tonight to share with the community. I’ll try not to double post! So, it’s NOT an XR-7 rather, a standard coupe, The ‘R’ Code Registry (Quay) says this car is 1 of only 15 know to exist! A mind bending concept to be sure!

We have found a 66’ 428 and have the wherewithal to ‘make that happen’ over the winter… that’s the plan!

Interesting. It appears to have a good standard Cougar interior other than the dash and console. I would ditch those (sell for money to buy the right stuff). Save up for a decent Augusta Green paint job and lose the XR-7 badges.

Just curious… what does the ‘standard coupe’ console look like? And the dash… what would that have looked like? Would those item be hard to find?

The standard console has a storage compartment with a roll up door ilo the XR7 rally clock. Both the console face and pad are different standard to XR7 along with the console wiring. Standard dash has idiot lights and small clock with no tach. The big issue in dash swap from XR7 to standard is that the wiring harness’s are different both for model and year. Pretty much have to swap the wiring from under dash to front of car so lots of labor. Would be a project to be researched before you jump into it and part of an overall plan for the car.

I like it and the story that goes with it. So you will know, that Thunderbird 428 will have some things that will fight you. The heads are not drilled for GT or CJ exhaust manifolds. The manifolds that are on it in the T-bird are usually called Log manifolds and don’t fit in the engine compartment. You can use headers. The C6 automatic behind it will most likely be set up for a column shifter, you will need to swap in a floor shift selector in to it. There may be a few other little things. But if your getting it with the car and all the accessory’s are with it things will be a little easier.
Good luck with this and you and your son have fun.

Thank you so very much for passing on your knowledge to my son and I… Joining this group and engaging these forums has been as exciting as getting the car itself!!! We’ll definitely keep you all posted!

I love the story & appreciate you bringing us along. My old R Code was my 1st love (at 14) so I get it.

If you can track down the original engine for the car, do that. Even if it sits under the workbench for the next x # of years, just having it will be worth it.

Great story and history! Your lucky to know so much about your cars history. What are your overall plans with her? Being an R code you have something special and desirable so are you going to work on putting it back together how it was originally built? Good man for raising another gearhead!

It is interesting how it has the XR7 dash, standard seats and decor door panels, also headrests are a big thing too.

Like the guys already said do not throw about or trash any parts on it. At least those specific to the R code. If you replace something keep what comes off as it may be worth something to you or someone else being what your car is. Also if you have not already maybe grab an Marti Report so you can see the option list it would have had when new.

Here’s a 1968 standard center console https://secure.cougarpartscatalog.com/68console.html?attribs=76

and here’s a 1968 standard dash https://secure.cougarpartscatalog.com/store/p/15240-Dash-Face-Pad-Standard-without-A/C-Used-1968-Mercury-Cougar.html?attribs=76

The West Coast Classic Cougar site is great as a reference for just about any part you need to see.

Awesome!!! Can you tell me the mounting location of this wiring harness in the trunk… looks like it has something to do with the tail lights… Thanks again!