The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

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The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#1

Post by xr7g428 » 12 Oct 2018, 13:13

The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G



"As a matter of fact, it may well be that we are in the golden age of the automobile; that we will look back in years to come with nostalgia upon these years and wonder why we never realized what we had in the days of the late Sixties and early Seventies."

"The time is near upon us when the strictures of insurance company and federal government combines will see to it that our cars are all alike, but those times are not with us yet. There are moments left for us to enjoy."

Leon Mandel, CAR and DRIVER magazine July 1970


Top Cat

Leon was right. The period from about 1965 to 1973 was indeed the golden age of the automobile. We know what happened. The love affair between the automakers and their customers was interrupted by an uninvited and intrusive group of third parties. Two was company, three a crowd. By 1968 the threads were beginning to pop. First a devastating labor strike, The new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, and required emission controls. All adding too much cost and no additional perceived value to the customer. Going forward, removing cost to build a cushion to cover the burden of the new mandates would bend the curve of new car development.

Given the long term nature of automotive development that would be one last hurrah. There is always a point of inflection, the exact point where the old vector stops and the new tangent begins. That point is the pinnacle, the peak of the curve. Exactly where the peak occurred is arguable but a few Cougars stand out as possible examples. This is not say that good things did not follow, certainly they did, but the trend was unmistakable until the all new for 1974 Cougar revealed an entirely different sort of car.



When the Cougar was developed the basic premise was to build a more luxurious car than the Mustang. This was not an obvious choice. They could have leaned in the direction of higher performance, lower price, or even a more sports car oriented two seat. So if we look at the Cougar that most exemplifies the idea of luxury and sport there is one clear choice: the XR7-G.



While the GT-E had amazing things going on the under the hood, and some dramatic looking exterior touches, from the inside where the work is done, it is completely indistinguishable from its less capable siblings. The Eliminator certainly earns an honorable mention, but it leaned more towards performance, not the sport luxury theme around which the Cougar was predicated.

So.. if the Cougar XR7-G was the ultimate Cougar, what would the ultimate XR7-G look like, and how would it be equipped? You can make a very good case that it would be very much like our October 2018 Ride of the Month, Wayne Branders, 1968 Cougar XR7-G.

Wayne's story has a familiar ring to it. Like so many Cougar owners, it begins with his first car.



"I got my love of cars from my father who used to work on dirt track racers in the fifties. My interest in Muscle cars started like most boys who grew up in the early seventies and it didn’t hurt that I lived two blocks from an A&W drive in where all the teenagers staged their hot rods before heading out to race each other and try and evade the local police at the same time.



Like many Cougar owners my friends all had Mustangs, Chargers or Camaros. I wanted something a little different when a co-worker decided to sell his '68 Cougar hardtop. It became my first car when I was 17. I still have it and have always said I would some day return it to road worthiness. Life happens and it became clear that my life had settled me four hours away from my hometown where that car was waiting, and the demands of my family left me little time to move that project along.


Twenty some years later I happened upon this Cougar and fell in love with it. I started looking for a restored Cougar that I could enjoy without a lot of work when I saw an ad for a '68 XR7 that turned out to be this G. It was the first G I had ever seen in person and the man selling it had just spent half a decade restoring it. I did some research on the internet and discovered a G registry run by Royce Peterson who was nice enough to give me some more information on the car and confirm it was on the registry. So I bought it and picked it up the day before the East coast power failure of 2003. Unfortunately in my excitement to buy the car it seems I forgot to mention it to my wife, but I think she’s forgiven me...



It has a 390 4 bbl with a C6 and 9” Traction Lok, AC, PS, PB and the ASC Power Sun Roof and Black interior. It also has a working 8 track player which never fails to get a second look from the Gen X’rs. ( I still have an Iron Butterfly Tape) The previous owner knew a machinist and he made the wheel center caps out of aluminum and made his own hood pins which are very close to the originals which where unavailable anywhere back in 2003. I often wonder what he could do with all the G drawings and specifications that are now available on the site. It has the original Third horn mounting bracket but not the original horn (if any one knows of one for sale PM me) It was originally white but the PO decided to go with blue when he did the restoration which was what sold me on it as well as my first one was Metallic Blue.



I don’t get it out as often as I would like but nothing makes me smile more then hearing the rear tires squeal when it kicks hard into second under full throttle."

Some of the most highly regarded G cars were the Hertz Gs. A very large percentage (188 out of a total of 619) of XR7-Gs were sold to Hertz for the Rent-A-Racer program. They are very desirable, in part because they did arrive well equipped, including the 390 V8 and sunroof. However, Hertz did not tick off all the best boxes in order to save a few dollars and to avoid pilferage of a few very desirable parts. In particular under the hood, chromed steel rocker arm covers replaced the cast machined aluminums running cat valve covers that non Hertz cars received. In the dash you will find the basic AM radio. Underneath the hood of the first 11 examples you would find the 2V version of the 390 (later production all got the 4V). The 2.75 to 1 ratio open rear axle was selected in the hope of reducing tire frying and saving at least one rear tire from abuse. The speedometers had rental car calibration that overstated mileage and speed. We would be remiss to mention the good along with the bad: every Hertz G did have AC, tilt-away steering column and sunroof.



If the Hertz Gs were so good what would it take to make a G even better? Lets start out back. Wayne's G has a the 3.00 : 1 Traction Lok axle. The massive 427 Lbs Ft of torque provided by the Marauder 390 4V can fry BOTH the rear tires if needed but it is also capable of cruising at 70 MPH (or better) all day long if needed. Of course under the hood you do find the cast aluminum running cat valve covers. Hiding the carb is the dealer accessory matching ribbed aluminum air filter. Inside you will find optional color matched head rests, and an AM Stereo 8Track in the dash. If you think that maybe they checked all the boxes, ordering every possible option, you would almost be correct. There were only a few options that didn't make the list. Most notably, speed control, deluxe belts, and rear window defroster didn't make the cut. ( The previous owner added both the rear window defroster and the deluxe belts!)



Even missing a few options, the window sticker would add up to an incredible $5682.42 Consider this; a new Thunderbird started at almost $1000 less at $4,716. The Shelby GT500 started at $4317 including the 428. Even if you added every option available the Shelby would still sticker for less than the fully loaded G. No one ever said that the ultimate wouldn't come at a price. This also answers the question not spoken; Why weren't there more of these ultimate Cougars sold, it was the price.



So what could be better than owning the ultimate version of the ultimate G? How about owning two of them? Wayne has a second G on the trailer waiting its turn to be returned to its former glory.

"I was on EBAY back in 2009 and saw an XR7G for sale in Michigan.....Here was my chance to rebuild a Cougar like I had always said I would and the rest is history, or at least history in the making as I finally start to take on that project. Hopefully in a few years I can put it up for Ride of the month as well...."



We look forward to seeing it! To see Wayne's Cougars in person you will need to do some traveling. Wayne lives east of Toronto in Cobourg Ontario Canada, with his wife and two children. So Canadian Cougar owners keep your eyes peeled if you are ever in the area. This is a Cougar you will really want to check out.
Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
Currently in the Cat House
'67 XR7 GT 390 4 speed, AC, AM FM, Lime Frost Green
'68 XR7-G 428CJ C6, Tilt-Away, AM, Black Cherry
'68 XR7-G 390 4 speed, Sunroof, Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 GT-E 427 C6 AM Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 resto mod 351W, soon to be AOD, Black Cherry

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Re: The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#2

Post by Don Rush » 12 Oct 2018, 13:18

Congrats! Very prophetic quote...

"As a matter of fact, it may well be that we are in the golden age of the automobile; that we will look back in years to come with nostalgia upon these years and wonder why we never realized what we had in the days of the late Sixties and early Seventies."

"The time is near upon us when the strictures of insurance company and federal government combines will see to it that our cars are all alike, but those times are not with us yet. There are moments left for us to enjoy."

Leon Mandel, CAR and DRIVER magazine July 1970

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Re: The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#3

Post by scottfzeller » 12 Oct 2018, 13:29

Congrats to our newest CATS Classic Cougar Club Member! We can't wait to see this G in person!
Scott Zeller
1969 Cougar XR7
CCOA Member# 9559
ROTM December 2016:https://classiccougarcommunity.com/foru ... =33&t=7055
C.A.T.S. Classic Cougar Club - Club Services Director
http://www.catsccc.com

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ssava
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Re: The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#4

Post by ssava » 12 Oct 2018, 13:45

Congrats!
What a beauty!
"Esmerelda"
'67 Cougar XR7 purchased September, 2017 to work on with my twin (14) year old boys
Franklin, TN

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Re: The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#5

Post by propayne » 12 Oct 2018, 16:18

Great car - love it!

My G also has the 3:00 Traction-Lok which is called out as an Equa-Lock on my Marti.

I just recently learned from Royce that if you ordered the 390 4v with a locking rear-end you got the Traction-Lok.

- Phillip

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Re: The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#6

Post by xr7g428 » 12 Oct 2018, 16:41

propayne wrote:
12 Oct 2018, 16:18
Great car - love it!

My G also has the 3:00 Traction-Lok which is called out as an Equa-Lock on my Marti.

I just recently learned from Royce that if you ordered the 390 4v with a locking rear-end you got the Traction-Lok.

- Phillip
My understanding is that there were two versions of the 3L00, 3L25 and 3L50 All nine inch were traction Lok, and 8" were equa lok. I can't document this right now.
Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
Currently in the Cat House
'67 XR7 GT 390 4 speed, AC, AM FM, Lime Frost Green
'68 XR7-G 428CJ C6, Tilt-Away, AM, Black Cherry
'68 XR7-G 390 4 speed, Sunroof, Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 GT-E 427 C6 AM Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 resto mod 351W, soon to be AOD, Black Cherry

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Re: The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#7

Post by propayne » 12 Oct 2018, 16:48

^^^ That is what Royce said.

But I think they are both "E" on the door tag? - which is what causes the confusion.

Maybe Royce will chime in.

- Phillip

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Re: The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#8

Post by Don Rush » 12 Oct 2018, 16:57

I thought the 9" version went from an equa in 67 to a traction in 68

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Re: The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#9

Post by propayne » 12 Oct 2018, 18:24

^^^ I believe that's right - however Wayne's Marit says "Equa-Lock" and so does mine, but since both our G's are S code 390s that is not strictly correct?

- Phillip

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Re: The October 2018 Ride of the Month is Wayne Brander's '68 XR7-G

#10

Post by GavinS » 13 Oct 2018, 08:05

Congratulations Wayne, love the classic photos and great write up.

I can’t say enough how the Marti Reports add so much to the detective work in understanding more about our cars.

I’m looking forward to seeing more photos when this cat makes its debut at a www,CatsCCC.com event.

Bill,
Thank you for all that you do each month to bring these stories to life.

Gavin
www.CougarClub.org

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1968 XR7 428 CJ - Lime Frost
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