XR7-G Prototypes

There were only 619 XR7-Gs built. They were built along side the Shelby Mustang, and were available with every engine and transmission offered in 1968, (except the 427). This was the first Cougar to be a part of the Hertz Rent a Racer program. If you have any information about these rare cats, this is the place to share. The XR7-G registry is maintained by Royce Peterson.
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Re: XR7-G Prototypes


Post by fordnutz » 29 Jun 2017, 10:46

Phillip, I just e-mailed you my copies of this original ad. Maybe you can get better info from what I have.
Thanks, Scott Ferguson
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Re: XR7-G Prototypes


Post by xr7g428 » 29 Jun 2017, 13:16

From what I have learned from interviews, when the senior accounting people at Ford learned what the marketing guys at Mercury were doing with the XR7-G they killed it. They felt like it was going to hurt the sales of the Shelby Mustang which was not doing all that well to begin with. Other than Hertz there had not been a big rush of dealer orders for the car. They canceled all of the advertising for the G immediately.

The Sunroof ad that was in Life magazine was purchased as what is called a remainder. Life magazine would produce regional issues of the magazine that would include additional advertising pages targeted at specific regions. When you insert a new page in a magazine you actually have to fill four full pages. If you had orders for three, and the print dead line was eminent, they would offer a big discount on the "remaining"left over page. The agency that handled LM scooped up the cheap ad space that would actually go to print just a few days later. Any regular advertising pages could be canceled or changed out, but the remainder ad was already in print.

There was another factor that played into the decision. A.O. Smith had been building Corvette bodies until the '86 Stingray introduction. They sought the Shelby and XR7-G as a replacement for the Vette business. They were proposing all kinds of fiberglass hoods and even entire front ends like the '69 Shelby to keep their business going. Ford really didn't care about A.O. Smith, but they were deeply concerned with problems that started with the fiberglass hoods headlamp buckets and valances on the Shelbys. The new for '69 XR7-G would have been a regular production vehicle not a Shelby. In some ways it was easier for Ford to take a Mustang from the Metuchen plant to Ionia Michigan than it was to take a Cougar from the Dearborn plant. There was no direct rail service from Dearborn to Ionia meaning that everything had to go by truck.

Finally, as late as May of 1968 the Marketing people at Mercury were still planning on the '69 XR7-G for 1969. I suspect that the high speed development of the Eliminator came in part as a response to the necessity of replacing the XR7-G that had just been cancelled.
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: XR7-G Prototypes


Post by propayne » 09 Jul 2017, 04:38

That's fascinating Bill - yet another case where Ford pruned back on the Cougar when it was feared it would somehow take anything away from the Mustang.

Attached is a much nicer copy of the XR7-G newspaper add, courtesy Jim Pinkerton and Scott Ferguson.

Oh, and there is no mention of the G, just the sunroof option.

- Phillip
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Re: XR7-G Prototypes


Post by Cgrhj50 » 09 Jul 2017, 14:35

Sadly, there probably hasn't been another marque like Mercury's unique Cougar which has had such an incredibly Schizophrenic career! From the original, nothing short of brilliant, inspired design and marketing of the first generation 67-68 Cougars to gasp Cougar 'badged' Country Squire Stationwagons, I can't think of another vehicle which suffered such design miasma.
What a shame too. Imagine if the original designers had been successful in convincing the tight purse string money managers to let them make a 67 Cougar Convertible. Designs were on the drawing board. Kevin Marti's prototype clearly shows what a distinctive ride this can be. Even with incredible, historic run away success of the Mustang, management was in my view too conservative in their handling of the Cougar. How many thousands more Cougars would have been sold if there had been Convertibles alongside Hardtops?
Now I read that the most inspired, unique XR7-G was 'hamstrung' by Ford management which feared internecine competition with their own Shelbys. Such a shame.

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