Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 Hardtop 1968

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Cougar GT-E 427 Hardtop 1968





Not much changed for the Cougar in its second year. The addition of federally mandated side marker lights and front outboard shoulder belts were among the minor changes, but the biggest changes were under the hood and in performance for the XR-7 model. A 210hp (157 kW) 302-in3, two-barrel V8 was the base engine on all XR-7s and early standard Cougars. Three new engines were added to the option list this year: the 230hp (172 kW) 302-in3, four-barrel V8; the 335hp (250 kW) 428-in3, four-barrel V8; and the 390hp (291 kW) 427-in3, four-barrel V8. In addition, the 289-in3 engine was made standard on base cars without the interior decor group midway through the model year.

There were many comfort and performance options available for the Cougar. For 1967-69, a unique a "Tilt-Away" steering wheel that swung up and out of the way when the driver's door was opened (and the ignition was off)was offered, and from 1971, a power driver's seat. The most unique option of all appeared in 1968: Ford's first factory installed electric sunroof. It was available on any hardtop Cougar, but rarely ordered on early cars.    

Mercury was serious about the Cougar being the performance icon for the company. The XR7-G, named for Mercury road racer Dan Gurney, came with all sorts of performance add-ons, including a hood scoop, Lucas fog lamps, and hood pins. Engine selection was limited only to the 302, 390, and 428 V8. A total of 619 XR7-Gs were produced, and only 14 Gs were produced with the 428 CJ. The 7.0-L GT-E package was available on both the standard and XR-7 Cougars and came with the 427 V8. The 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air was available in limited numbers on the GT-E beginning 1 April 1968. Conservatively rated at 335hp (250 kW), the 428 Cobra Jet could produce much more (306 kW (410hp)) from the factory. Coming off winning Motor Trend's Car-Of-The-Year award in 1967, Mercury designers wanted to create something in '68 that would set the automotive world on its ear. Already a step above the Mustang with its styling and comfort, they decided to stuff the potent 427 FE into a Cougar package blending ultimate power and styling. The result was the Cougar GT-E. Equipped with the legendary 427 side oiler engine Ford used to homologate its NASCAR racing program, the GT-E represents the end of an era, as it was the last Ford product sold with the 427, and the only ford product sold with it in '68. At a cost of over $1,300, the GT-E package was perhaps the most radical performance package ever offered in a pony car. Factory options include C-6 Merc-O-Matic transmission, FR70x14 wide oval radial tires, power disc brakes, power steering, AM radio, and decor interior group and styled steel wheels. Factory GT-E package included blacked out front headlamp cover and special front Trim, blacked out taillight bezels, special extruded aluminium body side mouldings, 3.50 standard axle radio with nodular 9" rear end, super competition handling package, engine dress-up package, 7.0 Litre/GT-E body emblems and two-tone paint scheme. A total of 394 GT-Es were produced, 357 with the 427 and 37 with the 428. The GT-E came with power front disc brakes as standard.

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