The October 2017 Ride of the Month is Gary May's '68 Gold XR-7

Family Style

Sometimes a car can become a member of the family and go on to shape our lives. Gary May bought his first Cougar off the show room floor 49 years ago.

In June of 1968 Gary May graduated from the United States Air Force Academy. To celebrate, he ordered a new car. Bob Foss Lincoln Mercury of Colorado Springs Colorado, would deliver the new car; a 1968 Mercury Cougar in Grecian Gold with a matching Nugget Gold interior and Black vinyl top. It was a beautiful car. It would carry him and his new bride from Colorado Springs to Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc California.

If a new job and an new car were not enough, his life was also blessed with the arrival of his son Rob. Rob May, most likely made his first ride in an automobile in the gold Cougar. For an Air Force officer, the only constant is change. The family would soon move to Houston where Gary would work with NASA during the peak of the Apollo program. The Cougar was a trusted member of the family. Gary’s young son Rob would develop many great memories of riding in the gold Cougar. Houston is a very rainy place but the Cougar never let them down, sometimes fording water nearly a foot deep. Rob would press his face against the window watching as the Cougar left a wake in the deep water.

The life of a military family is a seemingly endless procession of new towns, new homes, and new friends. Just about the only thing that stayed constant was the beautiful gold Cougar. Eventually the Family would move to Florida, and then back to Colorado. The Cougar and the May family had come full circle, returning to Colorado Springs where the story began.

In 1977 the Air Force would once again call on the May family to relocate back to California. Only this time the '68 Cougar was showing its age and, uncertain that the car could make the extended drive back to Lompoc, the Cougar was sold.

Gary regretted parting with the Cougar. He wasn’t the only one. Rob always kept an eye out for a gold Cougar hoping that just maybe he might catch a glimpse of his old friend.

Thoughts of the gold Cougar never left Gary’s mind. But life intervenes and it would be several years before Gary found another Cougar, this one was Lime Frost Metallic with black interior and a black vinyl top. In short order, it was repainted in Grecian Gold in honor of his first Cougar. It wasn’t the original car, but at least it was a Cougar.

When it was time to find a car for Rob, of course Gary started him off right with his own Cougar, a '69 Standard that Rob still owns!. (You can read more about Rob’s Cougar in Legendary Cougar Magazine Volume 2 Issue 5.)

Most recently, Gary and his son Rob rebuilt the engine and his cat is purring again. Tuning of the engine (J Code 302 4V) is currently in process. The original C4 transmission has been tested in the garage. Only finalizing the brake work stand between in the way of the return to the road. Unfortunately, the Colorado winter season is approaching, and the cat will hibernate again until 2018.

Both of Gary’s 1968 Mercury Cougars have been seen in Legendary Cougar Magazine, CCOA’s ATSOTC, IMOA’s Quicksilver, and Motorhead magazines!

Gary is an honorary member of Mercury Stray Cats Central CA. This weekend, he will fly in to enjoy Muscle, Mutts and Meows at the Santa Maria Elk’s Lodge. Over two dozen classic Mercury Cougars will be out in the California sun.

Included is the Marti Report of his first Cougar ordered in 1968 from former Bob Foss Colo Spgs, CO dealership. Anyone one with information on this car is highly encouraged to contact Gary or Rob May.

Great story Gary and a wonderful tribute to your first Cougar. Congratulations on being chosen as October’s ROTM.

Vintage Cougar pics are the best!

That is a terrific (and classy) color combination.

  • Phillip

As usual, the first thing I would like to say is Thank You for serving our country! This is a great story. Congrats on ROTM!