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The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 09 Jan 2018, 17:05
by xr7g428
Editors note: If anyone can contact Bill Leads it would be great to add his story to this write up.


Better Late Than Never

At the end of the model year, dealers are reluctant to order new vehicles for stock. This is particularly true when the model in question is due for a major styling change. Typically the assembly plants would run through the month of July and a few stragglers would roll out in early August. The plants would then shut down for the new model change over and restart production of the new model. Such was the case in July of 1968.



Ford still had to keep the lines busy so many of the vehicles were being built under a Basic order type. Orders placed for individual buyers are called Retail orders, but by late in the model run dealers were even some what skeptical about placing those. It was impossible to tell if some critical component might run out before the car was built. It was a safer bet to place an order for the upcoming model. Stock orders were for cars that the dealer wanted to have for display on the lot. This late in the year dealers were mostly interested in reducing stock as much as possible.



Those Basic order vehicles would sit in storage lots in anticipation that the factory sales team could strong arm a dealer into taking delivery. Many tactics were used to move the metal, and eventually every car would find a home. Bill Lead's '68 XR-7 was one of those Basic order late build vehicles. It was originally scheduled for build on July 25th, but it was actually built earlier, on the 18th. It would then wait until August 8th before finding its way to Roy Butler Lincoln Mercury in Austin Texas.



Roy Butler was a hard charging Texan that made things happen. After serving in the United States Navy during WWII he attended the University of Texas at Austin earning a bachelors degree in economics. He went on to study law for three years before leaving to enter the automotive business. He built Butler Lincoln-Mercury into the largest Lincoln dealership in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1971 he would become the first mayor of Austin to be directly elected by the citizens of Austin. If that was not enough, when Coors became available ion Texas he beat out 2,200 other candidates to get the franchise. He also was the first cell phone provider in Austin when he co-founded the local branch of Cellular One.



But in August of 1968 he was mostly interested in selling new Mercurys from his location at 6th and Lamar near downtown Austin. On the 23rd he sold a Diamond Blue Cougar XR-7. It had a black vinyl top, and a dark blue leather interior. The car was very nicely optioned with plenty of creature comforts: Sports Console, Whisper-Aire air conditioning, AM radio, Tinted glass and Power Steering and Power Front Disc Brakes.



How the car came traveled through time to arrive at West Coast Classic Cougar is a mystery to us. What we do know is that WCCC spent some serious time bringing the beautiful light blue Cougar back to its original glory under the direction of the current owner, Bill Leads. Fortunately for us Andrew Chenovick put his photographic skills to work to give some great images of the this nearly last of the line '68 Cougar.




Re: The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 09 Jan 2018, 17:56
by 1967 S Code
Even without the personal story of this Cougar you’ve done another excellent write up Bill. Reading it was like taking a short trip in time back to 1968.
Steven

Re: The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 09 Jan 2018, 23:20
by Mike_B_SVT
Wow, love the color combination! There's just something about an interior that is not the same old Black that just gets my attention.

Congrats on RotM!

Re: The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 10 Jan 2018, 11:38
by Blitz
Nice job putting a story together from very little information, Bill!

Re: The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 10 Jan 2018, 11:59
by Leroy R
That's a beautiful car, a beautiful setting for the photos and an interesting story to go with it.

Re: The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 10 Jan 2018, 13:08
by Don Rush
I will add a little info... This car was previously owned by a long time Cougar Club member in Dallas TX who performed a minor make over on it in the 1990's. Ray purchased it from the original owner who had been given the car as an anniversary present from her husband. For sentimental reasons she kept it long after the replacement car came and always kept it in the garage. I found out about the car and bought it site unseen to be used as a demo car here at WCCC about one year ago. Bill contacted me from my post on this site and said "I want that car and am happy to let you keep it for a year and do all the upgrades you want". Bill attempted to have a 68 restored by a shop in CA several years ago but the end result was less than desirable and he opted to cut his losses and start over. Our hope is that when he takes possession of this car in a couple of months is that it meets all his expectations and gives him many years of enjoyment.

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7553

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTZIqjb-jrI&t=1s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjtOmEISfO8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9uBLsG8p00&t=1201s

Re: The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 10 Jan 2018, 14:22
by SuperCJcat
Congratulations, very nice cat and first time I've seen a dark blue XR7 interior.

Re: The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 10 Jan 2018, 15:44
by xr7g428
Thanks guys for adding some pieces to the puzzle. It is such a good looking Cougar.

Re: The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 11 Jan 2018, 09:36
by 93RGTE
Sweet, worthy car and another nice piece of writing, Bill. Thanks!

Re: The January 2018 Ride of the Month is Bill Lead's '68 XR-7

Posted: 11 Jan 2018, 22:09
by GavinS
Beautiful 68.

Bill,
Love the color combination and the write up was a good read, you have a craft to pull these together.

Another amazing car.

Don
Thanks for adding the color to the mystery surrounding this one.