Pick of the Day: 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

With the recent celebration of the Ford Mustang’s 60th birthday, it only seems fitting to choose a Pick of the Day with the Mustang’s cousin, the Mercury Cougar. In this case, it’s one of the most special of the early Cougars: this 1968 Cougar XR7-G listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Venice, Florida. (Click the link to view the listing)

As you likely know, the Mercury Cougar was introduced as the Mustang’s fancier relative. With a wheelbase three inches longer and premium features like standard V8, concealed headlights, deep loop carpeting, and sequential rear turn signals. Then, a few months into production, Mercury introduced the Cougar XR-7, a luxurious Cougar with appointments in the best of the European tradition. Included with this trim level were leather and vinyl seats, overhead console with visual check panel and map lights, door panels with door assist straps and map pockets, simulated walnut instrument panel, gauges, and toggle switches. Outside, C-pillar badges, Deluxe Wheel Covers, and several hash marks on the rear of the rocker panels distinguished the XR-7. All engines were available with the XR-7, from the standard 289 two-barrel up to the 320-horsepower Marauder 390 GT, which was standard with the GT package.

Minor changes came for 1968. While the Mustang was subtly distinguishable from the previous year’s model, the Cougar was much less so. Aside of federalized side-marker lights, you’d be hard-pressed to figure out a ’68 Cougar. A 302, 390 two-barrel, 427 and, come spring, the 428 Cobra Jet were added underneath the hood, while the 289 four-barrel was discontinued. A custom-looking GT-E package featuring the 427 was new, but otherwise things were pretty much the same as before.

Courtesy of https://cougarclub2.org/registry/xr7g

A special sub-model to the XR-7 introduced in March 1968 was the XR7-G, a car promoting Mercury’s ties to Dan Gurney, who drove for Mercury in NASCAR and Trans-Am circuits. The XR7-G’s build was farmed out to A.O. Smith, which prepared Shelby Mustangs starting in 1968 after having previously been modified in Venice, California. Special equipment included the following:

  • Lucas fog lamps
  • GT hood with simulated fiberglass scoop and hood pins
  • Talbot-type bullet left-hand mirror
  • GT exhaust extensions
  • Special XR7-G front and rear valences
  • XR7-G badges on the C-pillars, trunk, grille, wheel center caps, and interior
  • Rader wheels (changed to Mercury’s styled steel wheel due to a recall)
  • Special console with Shelby-type shifter handle
  • ASC sunroof with toggle switches in console

As production got under way, the Rader wheels were recalled, so Mercury substituted its styled steel wheel. Additionally, it ended up that not all the cars were converted into sunroofs. All told, 622 XR7-Gs were built, with 440 featuring sunroofs. Additionally, 188 sunroof cars were sent to Hertz for its rental fleet. Every engine save the 289 and 427 was available. The XR7-G package added $823.35 to the $3,231.91 base price of an XR-7, and power steering and AM radio with antenna were required options.

This Black Cherry 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G is one of the Hertz cars, plus it’s powered by the 325-horsepower 390 four-barrel. Like all Hertz cars, it features an automatic transmission, air conditioning, and sunroof. Other features include Tilt-Away steering column, Dark Red leather and vinyl, and power brakes with front discs.

This vehicle is documented with an Elite Marti Report, which shows when, how, and where it was built. No Mustang ever reached the echelons of this Cougar – that is, except maybe the Shelby GT. Seller doesn’t give a price, so click on the below link to arrive at the ad and reach out to the seller.

Click here for this ClassicCars.com Pick of the Day.