1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7 GT-E: 1 Of 3

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 GTE

This might look like any other Mercury Cougar, but it is in fact a rather rare and special cat, with an incredible story to boot. I will let our friend Jenna from the Owls Head Museum tell you more about it – This vehicle is a 1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7 GT-E produced with factory equipped 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air engine and four-speed manual transmission, it is one of just three made with such options and has been in the possession of one family since it was ordered new. While one of the other three Cougars like it is known and has been well-documented, the third remains unaccounted for and rumors are that it was scrapped long ago, rendering the vehicle offered in our auction even more significant. It is an unmolested survivor in original paint with about 54K on the odometer. Perhaps even more enticing is that the car has been meticulously documented — from the 1968 edition of Playboy that inspired the original owner to order it, to the build sheet, to the original dealer sticker that still adorns the rear of the vehicle and so much more (literally albums of receipts, photos and documents). Additionally it was featured in Hot Rod Magazine in 2013. It is the first time one of these rare cats has been offered for public sale and we are honored to present it.

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 GTE Engine

In only a few short weeks, Owls Head will be holding it’s annual New England Auto Auction. The event is in it’s 38th year and will be held on August 22nd, at which time this beautiful Cougar will be hitting the block. Owls Head’s curator put together this document for us laying out the history of the car, which includes a long stint in a climate controlled garage. It isn’t exactly a barn find, but it’s a survivor that’s been in long term storage! I just wish every barn find I come across was in this kind of condition and this high level spec! I can only imagine how much fun the 428CJ and 4 speed combo are! I want to thank Jenna for letting us know about this rare cat and for the reminder about the auction. If we were closer, we would definitely be attending! If you are near Owls Head, Maine, I highly recommend stopping by the auction and the museum! And if you can’t make it to the auction, you can always bid over the phone!

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 GTE Interior

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Comments

  1. z1rider

    Very cool.

    Jack Roush and his family have several big block Cougars in their collection. You just might be bidding against their curator when this one comes up.

    • Rocco

      You are correct. I think his daughter has a 427 version with a C-6 trans. It’s been a while since I read the article, so I can’t remember if it’s a ’67 or ’68.

  2. JW454

    What makes this a barn find?

    • Don Andreina

      Editor’s discretion does.

      Nice feature, Josh.

      Like 1
  3. kenzo

    Very nice car…
    Not every car featured here has to be towed out of an old building covered in dust, dirt bird crap etc etc.

    • Rocco

      Agreed!
      I would love to see this in person, but just a little far north for this Florida boy.

  4. A.J.

    As someone that owned the 427 version for a while I always lamented that Ford strangled what could have been one of the really great musclecars of the 1960s. They swapped out the cam and put a 390 intake, carb and exhaust manifolds on the killer 427 side oiler effectively neutering it. Also, you could only get an automatic with the 427. I’m not a fan of automatics in musclecars.

    • Rocco

      Not a fan of automatic muscle cars either. This 428 version was probably faster, since the 427 was choked down.

  5. John

    The driver’s side floor mat looks to be a bit worn. I’d probably have to drop my bid a few hundred — just kidding. What a beautiful and well maintained car. I’d love to own it. Unfortunately, Jack Rousch has more money than I do, so I’ll probably not be in the running (unless it goes for about $2K or so — hah). Thanks for bring back some fond memories.

  6. Charles

    I love it…but can’t afford it.

  7. RoughDiamond

    Being a ’68 Mercury Cougar XR-7 GT 390 4-speed owner, this GT-E is the crem della crem of desirable collectable Cougars. Jack Rousch’s daughter does in fact own a ’68 GT-E. I am sure if you go to mercurycougar.net or classiccougarcommunity.com you can probably catch all the buzz taking place about this car. Jack just better hope Ron Pratt or Rick Hendrick does not want it in their collection.

  8. jim s

    they have a lot of interesting vehicles up for auction, including the white 1961 falcon that was posted on this site on 7/31/15. i too think this gt-e is going to bring a lot of money but maybe some of the other items will be a lot less costly. great finds.

  9. Dolphin Member

    I’ve already said this somewhere, maybe BF, but since this auction has come acound again it’s worth repeating…..after a visit to the Owl’s Head museum years ago I thought it was one of the best small transportation museums I had seen. Not just cars, but also motorcycles and planes. If someone were going to the auction it would be worthwhile, even if they weren’t successful in the bidding, just to visit the museum. It’s on a peninsula in Maine close to the ocean, a very nice spot.

  10. Geoff A

    I live about 2 hrs east of the museum and have been to the auction. Great time just to watch. I went to bid on a F250 one time but went just a little over my budget. Check out the results from past years on their website. There are no shills in the bidding pool an honest auction. Some great deals can be had. Some great cars and trucks to had this year. The museum is worth the trip alone. Its about 10 minutes west of Rockland. If you go , go early if you want parking that’s an easy walk. Well attended event.

  11. Chris A.

    Owl’s Head is a great museum for a vist with neat stuff you can get close to and check out. It’s not too far from Auburn, Maine where Lufthansa is restoring one of the last of the Lockheed Constellation Starliner aircraft and also worth a visit. Maine this time of year is just wonderful. My guess on this car is it will go for way over $150K and if not it will be because the reserve is near that. This will be one auction worth watching.

  12. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    yep….a four speed Cat is rare across all engine series…..nice car….

  13. TundraBMW Guy

    Ron Pratte sold his collection of vehicles, all of them, at January’s 2015 Barrett Jackson. I was there and saw them. I think 140+ vehicles? I doubt he will be a contender for this one.

    Like 1
  14. Cattoo CattooButt Member

    Any update on the price paid when the gavel fell?

  15. Rocco

    Yes. It was around $220K with fee’s. Back then I went to the Owl’s Head web site and searched.

  16. Cattoo CattooButt Member

    Wow. Almost a 1/4 million. Thanks. I’m gonna check the site out soon. I really could use a computer of some sort. The tablets that come my way get gravity checked too often and the gravity around here is always working just fine.

  17. Al Smith

    This is all BS on the choked down 427 + automatic I remember clearly just got back from Vietnam and went down to Osoff Motors Fresh Pond Rd talked with owner about the cougar they estimated the actual HP to be 410 given Jack Merkel dino’d one & a little converting with Ford Performance add-on’s were easy & YES it still remained Stock by NHRA & AHRA standards Hell I remember Jack suggesting a few Legal modifications to the transmission that would make this outclass anybody in C stock All in all might be one of the greatest Street cars of All Time let’s face it the 427 is than & probably now the greatest race engine ever produced I remember Le Man’s 1966 1967 & 1968 don’t U if not ask Enzo Ferrari

    • A.J.

      “dino’d one & a little converting with Ford Performance add-on’s were easy”

      Well yeah. The point was, that out of the box, Ford had neutered the engine. If you swap out the cam, intake, carb and exhaust – all easy to do – then bang: No longer neutered!

      Also, 75% fo them came without the posi. What sort of musclecar doesn’t have a posi rear end?

      • Al Smith

        Remember it’s 1968 on the street & let’s face it really not on the drag strip till weekend & that’s Islip on Saturday & West Hampton on Sunday & Islip was a 1/8drag strip UGK!!!
        On the street these cougars who were really incognito nobody knew them were darn hard to beat they had the same torque & had a top end that I never saw stop
        There was a guy that had one STOCK out of the box & he was almost impossible to beat on Crossbar Blvd & there was some outrageous muscle cars on that road coming out of The Big Bow Wow for those who remember

  18. Karguy James

    I sold one of my 1967 427 engines to a guy in Colorado that needed a number’s matching engine. In 67 there were no VIN’s on the engines to as long as they were all properly date coded for his car it’s a match. My engine was. Glad I could help contribute to putting the muscle back into that cat. What an incredible car.

  19. A.J.

    All GTE 427 cars had blocks which were cast in one batch which I believe was August 67.

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