Wayne Cook
September 5, 2007
Photos By: Jim Smart
This is one of our favorite engines of all time. Often referred to as the Thunderbird V-8, the 390 was a torque monster of an engine that was purposely underrated at 335 hp. The red cylinder block and chromed Power by Ford valve covers give this FE a factory custom look that is bad to the bone.

What's an XR-7?
For the '68 Cougar, there were two optional trim packages available: the XR-7 and the GT. These packages could be ordered together or as individual options. The XR-7 package included a wood-rim steering wheel and black-face gauges in a simulated-walnut dash. There was also an overhead console and special vinyl and leather upholstery on the seats. A leather-covered T-shift handle was included with automatic transmission. The GT option was more than a trim package as it included both the 390 engine and front disc brakes. While the 390 was the top-dog engine for 1967, the 428 became available in 1968.

A few 427-powered cars were also produced and were known as GT-Es. Also part of the GT package were a firmer suspension with heavier shocks and a thicker antisway bar. The GT cars had Wide Oval tires and a low-restriction exhaust system.

One other limited-production package available for 1968 only was the XR-7G. The G stood for Gurney, as in Dan Gurney, who was driving for the Mercury camp in 1968. The XR-7G included racing mirrors, hood pins, driving lights, and a fiberglass hoodscoop. A sunroof was part of the package, as was quad-tipped exhaust and special wheels and tires.

The Details
1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7 GT
Owner: Gina and Jack Manchester, East Carlson, Utah

390ci FE
Cast crankshaft and rods
Bored 0.030-in oversize
Sealed Power pistons
Sealed Power chrome-moly rings
Compression ratio of 10.5:1
Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor
Chrome-plated Power by Ford valve covers
Comp Cams 292H camshaft
Mallory Unilite ignition

C6 three-speed automatic
B&M 2,500 stall 11-inch Street Fighter torque converter

3.00 gears

2-1/2-inch exhaust system
23-inch Cherry Bomb mufflers

Front: Stock
Rear: Stock

Front: Stock
Rear: Stock

Front: American Racing 200S Daisy, 15x7
Rear: American Racing 200S Daisy, 15x7

Front: Mastercraft, P225/60R14
Rear: Mastercraft, P225/60R14

Auto Custom carpet, Grant steering wheel, Mustang bucket seats, custom Console

Ray's Paint and Body of Price, Utah, completed all bodywork and installed an Eliminator hoodscoop and both front and rear spoilers

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