Unicorn Found: The Cougar That Couldn’t Exist, Does

They never installed a 427 in anything but a GT-E in 1968. Except when they did…

Okay, so what if I told you that there was this guy who says there was a ’68 XR7–that’s not a GT-E–built with a factory W-code 427 (impossible), has factory Whisper AireĀ® Air Conditioning (not available with a 427), painted white (of course, all unicorns are white…), and that it was ordered by a dealer in Texas for a retail customer, built on the assembly line, and it may still be in the hands of the original owner?


I’ll bet you a beer that I’m not making this up. Make it two beers if you are really confident I am full of horse pucky.

The story begins many years ago. Rumors of a W-code XR7 begin to circulate. Story has it that it is a GT-E that is minus trim. Even the slightest chance of finding another lost GT-E is always worth checking out. It turns out that several guys claim to have seen the car, but no one can pin it down. A trip to where the car is said to be located finds no car, and only the remains of what may have been a house. Over time, the story fades to black, and the forgotten, missing, maybe-a-GT-E, fades from memory.

Fast forward to January 2011. Royce Peterson needs room to store his expanding Cougar collection and it becomes clear that at least one car has to go. That car would be the Tool, Royce’s ’67 GT equipped with a 427 and 4-speed. The Tool is listed on eBay and generates a good deal of interest, including a call from a potential buyer in Texas. As it turns out, this buyer had once owned a blue GT-E that he purchased while working for a Mercury Dealership when the car was new. Now this was interesting to Royce, as he had recently purchased a blue GT-E that was a Texas car. Could it be the same car? The buyer said he still had a copy of the original factory invoice that would list the VIN number, so they check and see if there was a match. Unfortunately, there was no match. However, the dealership had sold another 427-equipped Cougar, but it was not a GT-E.


Oh, one other thing; he thought he still had the original factory invoice for that car as well.

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 Invoice: A W-Code Non-GT-E????Okay, this is something we have to see. This means that there would be proof positive that such a car existed, that it was built and sold and delivered and that Unicorns do, in fact, roam the face of the earth. Stories of issues with scanners and delay made this sound like just another wild goose chase, until, there it was: the invoice.

Can’t argue with that. And the Marti Report is forthcoming.

So this brings up more questions than it answers:

  • Who had the pull to get such a beast built and who could authorize it?
  • Is it a GT-E minus trim, or an XR-7 with a W-code motor?
  • It looks like the price of the 427 was $557. Is this the $1311 GT-E option minus trim or… what?
  • How was it built? Did the car come with GT-E exhaust, or 390 parts?
  • What suspension went on the car?
  • Are there any more of these cars?
  • Is this car more valuable than a GT-E?

And that just scratches the surface. Where is the car today? Can we get pictures? Will the owner be willing to tell the story of the car? Discuss all of this and more in the Forum.

Oh, and I’ll be having that beer now! If you are coming to the Barrett Jackson party, I will have a printed copy of the invoice for you to see.