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Live on BAT: The Ultimate Cougar - 1968 GTE 428CJ Four Speed


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We can debate about what is the greatest Cougar of all time.  I think they made two with the Boss 429 so maybe those,  but this is top 2 or 3.

 

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1968-mercury-cougar-gte-4-speed/

 

This 1968 Mercury Cougar is one of 394 examples produced with the GT-E option package for a single model year, and is the sole XR-7 version optioned from the factory with its particular combination of a 428ci Cobra Jet V8, a four-speed manual transmission, and a 3.90:1 Traction-Lok differential according to the Mercury Cougar Registry. The car was ordered new through Park Motor Mart, Inc. of Auburn, Maine. It was placed in storage by its original owner from 1978 until his passing in 2002, after which it remained with his brother until being acquired by the seller in 2015. Finished in Augusta Green with Argent lower panels over Saddle leather upholstery, the car features power-assisted steering and front disc brakes, the Super Competition handling package, a center console, and a Philco AM radio. This Cougar is offered with original sales and ownership paperwork, manufacturer’s literature, a magazine featuring the car, an Elite Marti Report, spare parts, and a clean Texas title in the seller’s name.

 

1968_mercury_cougar_gte_4-speed_16315633

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AJ:

Better jump on this one, another might not surface for a decade.  The 1967-'68 Cougar styling was so much more sophisticated than the Mustang it was in a different league.  Of course, it didn't take long for the annual restyles to diminish and eventually obliterate the purity of the original...same a practically every other personal luxury car of the era.

Steve

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8 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

AJ:

Better jump on this one, another might not surface for a decade.  The 1967-'68 Cougar styling was so much more sophisticated than the Mustang it was in a different league.  Of course, it didn't take long for the annual restyles to diminish and eventually obliterate the purity of the original...same a practically every other personal luxury car of the era.

Steve

 

Steve,  how many 428CJ Stick equipped GTE's got built?  A dozen?  Not many.

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24 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

Steve,  how many 428CJ Stick equipped GTE's got built?  A dozen?  Not many.

AJ:

The Standard Catalogue doesn't get into details quite that deeply but does note that only 2.7% of all 1968 Cougars were equipped with four speed manual transmissions.  The Cars of Lincoln-Mercury notes the GT-E was a $1,311 premium option package on either a base or XR-7 optioned Cougar.  No breakdown for the number built. 

Interesting enough: "The 428 cid V8 was standard in the 7.0 Litre GT-E package"  plus in the photo caption ""The 427E (4V) 'street' engine differed form its competition-bread brethren by using hydraulic valve lifters and a milder camshaft.  Having a 10.9/1 compression ratio it developed 390 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 460 pound-feet of torque at 3200 rpm."

But, also mentioned in the text describing the various Cougar powertrain options: "A further expansion in the spring of 1968 added the 428CJ while the short-lived 7.0 Litre GT-T package featuring a mild variation of the 427 NASCAR engine". 

 

Clearly, we need a performance Cougar expert to weigh in here...

Steve

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Steve,  I was actually being rhetorical.  I am the forum's GTE expert.  😀

 

They made 16 or so GTE 428 CJ cars at the end of production.  Most GTE cars were 427 Side Oiler Automatics.  Total production was 400 something.   The Side Oiler was detuned from the full blown race engine,  but was still rated by the factory at 390HP.   The CJ car was rated at 335,  but both numbers were understated.

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1 hour ago, 58L-Y8 said:

The 1967-'68 Cougar styling was so much more sophisticated than the Mustang it was in a different league.

I could not agree more.  The Cougars of 1969-70 were not bad, but the 67-68s were in a league of their own.

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35 minutes ago, alsancle said:

Steve,  I was actually being rhetorical.  I am the forum's GTE expert.  😀

 

They made 16 or so GTE 428 CJ cars at the end of production.  Most GTE cars were 427 Side Oiler Automatics.  Total production was 400 something.   The Side Oiler was detuned from the full blown race engine,  but was still rated by the factory at 390HP.   The CJ car was rated at 335,  but both numbers were understated.

AJ:

I shoulda guess!  What then was the Cougar GT-T?   Did L-M understate the horsepower rating to keep peace with Ford Division performance managers, not to steal any of their thunder?

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I love the early performance Cougars, but I've never liked the rear spoiler/wings that I see on so many of them. To me that option looks odd on the more refined and angular body style of the Cougar, so it's nice to see a performance model without the wing. Maybe they didn't even have the wing as an option in '68, I don't know. Nice car!

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I agree James.  I think the rear spoiler looks just fine on the '70 Eliminator package with the stripes and black outs but the '67 & '68's were perfect looking  as built.

 

eliminator.jpg.baebe34cfba131f215641daec1ef63c8.jpg

 

I've always had a thing for the first gen Cougars.  Especially '67/'68.  Used to own a great 1970 XR-7 in Red/White and later a very nice '67 XR-7 until it was T-boned at an intersection by a drunk driver.  I still never pass up a chance to check them out when one comes up for sale.  I would buy one again in a heartbeat.

The GTE above is terrific but one odd thing is the black carpet.  Not sure if that's orig. or not.  Seems the interior would benefit from the matching Saddle carpet a little better but that's just a matter of personal taste I suppose.

 

855312542_saddlecarpet.jpg.1973910bb555e1f58f23935e3f6f47b0.jpg

 

"At the Sign of the Cat"

 

signofthecat.jpg.f560a5776d181d015ff2bae65b52e240.jpg

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3 hours ago, 58L-Y8 said:

AJ:

I shoulda guess!  What then was the Cougar GT-T?   Did L-M understate the horsepower rating to keep peace with Ford Division performance managers, not to steal any of their thunder?

 

That Advertisement was the first I've heard of a GT-T.   Most people don't know what a GTE is.  The Cougar guys are an odd lot.  They name their cars. 

 

I'm not sure this car will reach the 200k plus the guy paid for it,  but I'll bet it goes close to 175k.

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Watch the wheels on these early Cougars. Almost every one I have seen has cracks from the corners of the punched holes that eventually spread to the face of the spokes. I would consider them " display only " . FOMOCO only used them for about a year or two before the design was changed to the ones seen on the Eliminator. With a CJ I expect the cracking would only be that much worse.

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