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AJ's Car of the Day '68 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Hardtop Coupe
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Car: Mercury Cougar XR-7 Hardtop Coupe

Year: 1968

What makes it special: The original Mercury Cougar was a Ford Mustang spin-off. The sleek notchback coupe's full-width front grille and sequential taillights made it a standout and it was named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1967. An upscale XR-7 model, with richly detailed Euro-style interior, arrived mid-year.

What made it famous: The 1968 Mercury Cougar attempted to capitalize on the success of its 1967 counterpart. As an attempt to improve on an already good thing, this year's Cougar was little changed. Side marker lights were added per federal decree, as was a dished, three-spoke steering wheel with prominent safety hub, replacing the flat single-bar 1967 Mercury Cougar design. Still available were power brakes with discs in front instead of drums, "Whisper-Aire" Conditioner, speed control with automatic only, styled steel wheels, Tilt-Away steering wheel "Oxford" vinyl roof cover, a variety of radios including one with 8-track tape player, Sports Console with extra storage locker, and a basic handling package. For 1968, a 302 V8 was standard, but that year's singular GTE package initially included a 390-hp 427, replaced late in the season by a 335-hp Cobra Jet 428. A XR-7 G (Gurney) special appeared mid-year.

Why I would want one: I've had two. They are luxury and muscle combined. Love 'em.

Fun fact: Rated at 210 horsepower, Cougar's standard 302 V8 was the only one in 1968 that was already tuned for regular gas (9.0:1 compression). 

  • On Air Chaz & AJ 5:30-10am
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