The March 2018 ROTM is Dwight Griffis '68 XR7-G
Dwight Griffis was born and raised in Sand Springs Oklahoma. Following college he returned there and works as a Petroleum engineer. At the ripe old age of 27, he probably gets to spend a lot more time explaining his passion for Cougars than some of us more “senior” Cougar enthusiasts.
Three’s a Charm
The first Cougar in Dwight Griffis life was a '68 Standard. It was supposed to be Lime Frost Metallic Green, but actually it was more nearly rust colored. Dwight didn’t actually get to drive that one, but he did get to ride around with his older brother. That Cougar might have someday been his, but it was hit by another car and did not survive. The replacement was an Onyx Black '68 XR-7 that eventually became his high school car. And unlike so many of us with regrets, he still owns it. It is a modified car, and under the hood is a supercharged 302!
In late 2014 Dwight, and another half dozen or so Cougar owners met for a BBQ. It marked the founding of a new club, The Mid American Cougar Club, serving Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, And Missouri. They would go on to host the first of the 50th Anniversary shows in 2017 in conjunction with the Cougar Club of America. He now serves as the Vice President of the MACC and e-Store manager for the CCOA.
From the very beginning, Dwight wanted a Cougar with a sunroof. He had seen one in high school, an XR7-G to be exact. But it would be after he became more plugged-into the Cougar community that he became aware of just how incredibly rare a sunroof equipped Cougar would be.
Then in October of 2017 he found the car he had been dreaming about, our March 2018 Ride of the Month. It was located in NW Washington state and had been previously owned by Royce Peterson the XR7-G registrar and also Phillip Payne the designer of the worlds coolest Cougar Tee Shirts. It was a running driving car that needed little if anything to start enjoying right away.
Dwight’s G car made its first show appearance at the Darryl Starbird Rod and Custom Show in Tulsa OK. Dwight tells us “There were over 1000 cars on display in the building. The MACC and the Lone Star Cougar Club (Texas) assembled 15 Cougars including two G’s and a GT-E. We got a large crowd of visitors who remarked about having not seen a cougar in years, and never so many in one place. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Not everyone wants to see 50 mustangs at every car show!”
The G car really didn’t need much when he got it, and that is good thing as he hasn’t had much time to do more than detailing it and making a few minor adjustments. Maybe as time goes on he will have more time to get his hands dirty.
In closing Dwight shared his thoughts on Cougar ownership. “In my short time in the “Cougar world”, I have been floored by the helpful nature of the community. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I have shared with Cougar owners about the history or how to work on these cars. The community is a treasure trove of info and support in addition to a great bunch of people. If you own a cougar, want to own a cougar, or just enjoy the car in general and live in the OK,KS,AR, or MO area, I would love to meet you and hear your cougar stories. MACC is very young, but we are growing exponentially and are excited for the future of our cars and people!”
The XR7-G the ultimate Sports / Luxury Cougar
The XR7-G was referred to as the mystery Cougar for many years. It never appeared in brochures and was only featured in one ad in a regional edition of Life Magazine. The focus of the ad was the sunroof. However, the sunroof was not a part of the G package at all. It was actually available on any Cougar.
The G in XR7-G stands for Dan Gurney. It was one of two Cougars that would feature a connection to what was probably the worlds most famous race car driver at the time.
Even among Cougar enthusiasts it was often confused with the Dan Gurney Special, a far more numerous dress-up package that was both factory and dealer installed.
When the XR7-G was introduced lucky members of the motoring press were provided with this press kit.
The XR7-G package required that every engine was equipped with dual exhausts, even the 302 2V.