Two points. Just two points… At the end of the 1967 Trans Am season the difference between the winning Mustangs and the mighty Cougars was two measly points. The Mercury marketing folks were thrilled. They had put the new Camaro in the rear view mirror at the track and now it was time for the payoff. It was time to turn those Sunday wins into Monday sales. There was no better way to do that then to turn that desire into a new Cougar model to celebrate the near victory. The sticker and chrome Dan Gurney Special package of 1967 had demonstrated that a there was plenty of interest from buyers. Interest from Hertz to add a new Cougar based car to the Rent-a-Racer program sealed the deal. Ford had acquired the manufacturing responsibilities for the Shelby Mustangs and the engineers saw an opportunity to build the new Cougar on the same line as the Shelby. It seemed like a marriage made in heaven. Almost.
Although the Mercury Marketing guys loved the idea and the manufacturing engineers loved the idea, the accounting department at Ford was not quite so thrilled, and Ford marketing was even less happy to see this new competitive threat. Mustang sales had been dropping steadily and the strike in '67 had put an even deeper dent in the Ford pocketbook. Faced with rising costs that could not be passed on to customers, Ford was looking for every opportunity to shore up profitability. Creating internal competition was an easy target for elimination. Effective immediately the Mercury Trans- Am budget was wiped out. While Mercury might have been happy with the idea of winning Trans Am, the idea of the Mustang losing was completely unacceptable to Ford senior management. The Shelby Mustang was anything but a resounding success, and creating a new competitor under their own roof seemed poisonous. The new Cougar XR7-G was killed almost before it was even launched.
The cut off was so abrupt that the XR7-G appeared in only one advertisement. Life magazine was so popular that they produced regional issues, that might only be distributed in a few states. When a magazine adds one new page, it has to ad an entire sheet of paper, requiring that a total of four new pages of content are filled. As the publishing deadline approaches the empty pages are sold out at a huge discount, these pages are called remainders. The usual lead time, from when an ad is purchased, and when it is printed and published, was typically 90 days or even longer back in the '60’s, but for a remainder the ad may appear only a few weeks after the order is placed. So when the XR7-G was cancelled, all of the advertising was canceled immediately, the only ad to ever appear being the remainder ad in the Ohio valley regional edition of Life Magazine.
If not for the order from Hertz, it is questionable that the production would have ever begun. Hertz placed an order for 188 XR7-G’s and they were all alike except for interior and exterior color. G lovers owe a lot to Hertz for ordering those cars. Hertz may have thought that one flavor was enough, but the XR7-G would be offered with virtually every option available on a Cougar in 1968. The XR7-G actually one upped the Shelby Mustang in several different ways: you could get any engine and transmission offered in the Cougar in your XR7-G. And of course there was one other thing: the new electric sunroof. The XR7-G was the first American car to offer this exciting new option, and no Mustang had it. Because there were so many options available, with the exception of the Hertz cars, almost no two G cars are alike. This makes every G special in its own way and that brings us to this months winner, Scott F’s beautiful example.
I don’t know much about Scott’s car except to say that I think it captures the G car Premium Luxury Sport identity perfectly. Scott, tell us about this car!
Look!, …I can’t take it any longer…Im week I tell ya…WEEK!!! The car porn has to stop, but I neeeeeeeeed it soooooo bad. OK…Ok if you must,please show mmmme mmmmore, Im droooling, double drooling,…do you not understand, Im Weeeek. I know, you thought I had it all together, but I don’t, so please sh…ow meeee morrrre…please.
I first saw this car in the summer of 1999 at a Cascade Cougar Club event
called “Crème De Cougar” in Maple Valley, Washington. Mike Willett had just
finished restoring the G for Ed Hill and was presenting it to him at this
event. I don’t know about Ed, but I fell in love with it on the spot.
I had kept pretty close track of this rare car over the next ten years and
in October 2009 Ed put it up for sale to help fund his 70 Mustang project
(his fathers car), which is dear to his heart. Ed and I made a deal and I
picked up the car with my open trailer a day or two later.
Although this XR7-G is equipped with every option except Speed Control, big
block engine and transmission options, there were a few things that were not
up to snuff (in my opinion). Some parts I had, others I bought from Don at
WCCC in Oregon, to improve the quality and/or authenticity of my new
acquisition. Other things just needed to be serviced (Ed had only put 1,400
miles on the car in the ten years he had owned it). In the spring of 2010 I
had the car hand pin-striped and my buddy, Jeff, buffed the paint and made
it look “real purdy”. Since then I have attended many shows with the car,
both local and some very long distance, and it seems the automotive public
loves the car as much as I do.
I have now been able to acquire the holy grail of XR7-G parts… A set of
the recalled Rader wheels. At some point I will have some Firestone Wide
Oval bias ply tires mounted on the Raders to put on the car for show
purposes (no long distance driving on those). Thanks for your interest.
This G is one beautiful car. The Madras blue and white interior make a striking color combo. I know G’s came with steering wheel wraps but the wood grain on this wheel looks awesome. Is it a factory wood grain or something that was done during a steering wheel / car restoration?
Thanks everyone on your kind thoughts about my car. There are more pictures on a Photobucket album (http://s1256.photobucket.com/albums/ii488/68xr7g/Madras%20Blue%20XR7-G/).
The steering wheel was done at the time the car was restored, but my preference would be to have a factory correct wheel on the car.
I thought about taking the like new wheel off of the Lime Frost G I picked up in San Jose, but I wanted to leave that car unmolested for a new owner.