The original design drawings for the special components that were used to turn a regular Cougar into an XR7-G are now available in the documents section of this site. The documents are downloadable PDF files and were produced from scans of the original 40-year-old blue prints.
It amazes me that these documents survived for all of these years. From what I have been able to piece together, this story begins in about 1970. The engineering group responsible for Shelby Automotive, was being disbanded. Shelby Mustangs had hit the end of the road, with no new cars being produced after 1969 (the ’70’s were actually left over ’69 models!). In the process of shutting things down, one of the engineers decided that the trunk of his car was better place to put a box of the XR7-G design drawings, than the dumpster for which they were intended. This box also included several of the California Special design drawings and even a few others. The box migrated from his trunk to his basement, and there the papers sat for the next 38 years. Fast forward to early 2008. In an effort to clean out the basement, the papers one again saw the light of day, and again bypassed becoming just a little more landfill. The papers were passed to an eBay merchant, who began listing the drawings in his auctions.
The presence of the documents was the source of a good deal of discussion on the MercuryCougar.Net discussion board. A collection like this is certainly not something that comes around very often. It seemed to make sense that the right thing to do would be to a attempt to keep the entire collection intact if at all possible. Ray Bischoff went to visit the seller and attempted to preempt the auction if the seller was willing to sell the entire collection. The seller was not interested in the historical value of the documents and decided to continue with his plans to sell them piece meal. So, after consultation with Don Rush, Jim Pinkerton, and Royce Peterson, and many others to numerous to list, a plan was devised to try to purchase the set as the auctions came on tap. As an avid G fanatic it became my responsibility, and honor, to try to win the auctions. Based on the discussion with the pooh-bahs, I had set a number of “sure to win” bids up on EZSniper. And in the first round, I got blown away, only getting a few of the drawings. the prices were well above what any of us thought they would bring. In particular, a single bidder had won most of the items. Since the goal was to keep the drawings together as a set, I contacted the bidder and offered to sell the drawings I had won to him and to stand down from any future bidding to allow him to purchase the set. It is important to note that the eBay seller had made copies of the drawings and was now offering the copies for sale as well. I knew that the information on the drawings would not be lost.
The second round of drawings came around and to my dismay, none of them were bid on by the winner of so many of the first round auction. To add insult to injury, the prices of the drawings in the second round were a small fraction of what the first round had brought. I contacted my missing buyer and learned that family illness had prevented him from participating in the auctions. At this point it was decided that the thing to do was to see if the eBay seller, following what must have been a very disappointing second round of auctions, would be willing to sell the balance as a lot. Ray again rose to the occasion and was able to strike a deal for the balance of the drawings. Ray also discovered that there were even more drawings available. What had originally been a 16 drawing collection now amounted to more than 100 documents, not all drawings. Once we had secured the balance of the drawings, I began to contact the other buyers to see if they would be willing to add their drawings to the collection. I would like to thank all of those who were gracious enough to join the effort, but before naming names, I need to contact them and make sure they don’t mind being called out. In particular, one of the contributors was able to supply even more than the eBay drawing. More on that soon…
Once I had the drawings, I began the search for a scanner large enough to handle the documents, and also an operator that was willing to give them the time and care they would require. Time has not been gentle with these documents. Folds became cuts, and edges were tattered. I finally found a small local firm that was experienced in handling archived copies of rare residential blue prints (mostly Frank Lloyd Wright). They were willing to take the time, make small repairs and generally see to it that the drawings were no worse for the process. So far, all but one of the drawings in my possession have been scanned. The final drawing is of the hood. It is almost 4 feet wide, and over 11 feet long, and in terrible shape. I have a lead on an even larger scanner so keep your fingers crossed that we can add that one to the list.
Please post your questions and comments in the [forums]!