1968 Cougar XR7-G Option

The XR7-G project was assigned to Shelby Automotive. By 1968, Carroll Shelby was losing control of this operation, partly because he had lost his lease on the Shelby production facilities on LAX airport property in Los Angeles, California. Because of this, 1968 Shelby Mustang production was moved to the A.O. Smith factory in the suburban Detroit, Michigan area. A.O. Smith was the fabricator of Corvette fiberglass bodies from 1953 until 1966 under contract to GM, and the firm was happy to get the work since GM had taken the Corvette body contract in-house.

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Somehow it was decided to build a Cougar with a performance orientation similar to the Shelby Mustangs. Dan Gurney has maintained in interviews over the years that he had nothing to do with the XR7-G other than posing for advertisements. Carroll Shelby was on the board of directors of Shelby Automotive and was involved in the day to day decisions to some degree.

1968 XR7-G Emblem

The XR7-G was Mercury’s equivalent to a Shelby Mustang. Like the Shelby Mustang, vehicles were delivered to the A.O. Smith facility in groups for conversion. A.O. Smith fabricated the fiberglass hood scoops in-house. Many other parts were out-sourced. The original concept of the G included aluminum “Rader” wheels made by Trans American Products, an after market wheel manufacturer. The emblems on the steering wheel, trunk latch, headlight cover, and roof pillars were sourced from ASCO (not to be confused with ASC). Fog lamps were made by Lucas or Marchal. The outside rear view mirror was made by Talbot.

#6434 Phillip Payne 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Because all XR7-G consoles have a sunroof switch it could be assumed that all cars were originally intended to have a sunroof, however internal Shelby documents show us that there were cars ordered both with and without sunroofs. In any case, most XR7-Gs were shipped to another Detroit area contractor for sunroof installation. The American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) was started by a pair of German immigrants who had previously worked in Germany installing sunroofs. Heinz Prechter and Werner Miess were the first two employees of the company.

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Interior

According to Mr. Miess, finished XR7-Gs arrived at the company on rail cars along with standard Cougars. The headliners were carefully removed and sunroof assemblies made by Bosch were welded in place. The original headliner was unstitched at the rear bow and then new material sewn in to make a single panel for the sunroof area. Some XR7-Gs also received a separate fiberglass access panel to cover the mechanism at the front. After the sunroofs were installed a vinyl top was applied. Finished cars went back to FoMoCo for distribution through regular channels.

1968 Cardinal Red Mercury Cougar XR7-G
XR7-G Badge

In 1968, famous race car driver, Dan Gurney, signed with Lincoln-Mercury to promote cars that year and this special Cougar became Lincoln-Mercury’s way of celebrating the contract. Although not a Dan Gurney Special – which is a completely different car – the G did stand for “Gurney”.

The XR7-G hit the showrooms in March of 1968. The only promotions were a full-page ad in the April 26, 1968, issue of Life magazine and a commercial ad for the power operated sunroof.

The 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Option package was based on the XR-7 with certain equipment added to or in place of the XR-7 equipment. The price of the XR7-G Option package was $823.35, which included the price of required items: Power Steering and AM Radio with Antenna. This was added to the $3,231.91 price of the basic XR-7 for a total of $4,055.26.

There were 622 XR7-Gs produced, of which 188 were Hertz cars and 434 were non-Hertz. All 188 Hertz cars had sunroofs and 252 non-Hertz cars also had sunroofs for a total of 440 with sunroofs. The remaining 182 XR7-G cars did not have sunroofs.

The XR7-G could be ordered with any 1968 engine available, except the 289 and 427. Fourteen XR7-Gs came with the R-Code 428 Cobra Jet engine, which also included the black functional hood scoop and black hood stripe.

Text from The Big Book Mercury Cougar: The Classic Years 1967-1973

#09575 Mark Kulwik 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

XR7-G Features

The special features included:

  • Lucas fog lamps
  • Unique hood-locking pins and lanyards
  • A fiberglass, simulated air scoop
  • A bullet-shaped, racing-type rear view mirror from Talbot shipped in from England
  • GT exhaust extensions – a pipe-in-a-pipe chrome tips
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Trunk Emblem
  • Special XR7-G lower front and rear valances
  • Unique XR7-G emblems on the pillars, trunk latch, head light door, dash, and wheel center caps
  • The spider-webbed wheels which were also known as “Rader Wheels”. Lincoln-Mercury later recalled the Rader Wheels, replacing all XR7-Gs with the five-spoke style steel wheels.
  • Lastly, all XR7-G’s had unique consoles with Shelby-type shifter handles, different than all other Cougars.
1968 Cougar XR7-G

Engine Codes

F 302 2V
J 302 4V
X 390 2V
S 390 4V
R 428CJ 4V
6 302 2V (Low Compresssion export)

The G’s with engine code 6 are within a few units of each other in the 8F936572XXX range and have six digit DSO’s and locking differentials.

Code Transmission Availability

1 3-Spd Manual Std with all except 390 4V
1 3-Spd Manual (Heavy-Duty) Std with 390 4V
5 4-Spd Manual (Wide-Ratio) Opt with all except 427 4V & 390 2V
6 4-Spd Manual (Close-Ratio) Opt with 390 4V
U C6 3-Spd Automatic (Normal-Duty) Opt with 390 2V
U C6 3-Spd Automatic (Heavy-Duty) Std w/ 427 4V & 428 4V, Opt w/ 390 4V
W C4 3-Spd Automatic Opt. w/ 289 2V & 302 2v & 4V
1968 Cougar XR7-G

Differential Codes

Non-Locking Locking
0 2.50:1 A 2.75:1
1 2.75:1 B 2.79:1
2 2.79:1 C 2.80:1
3 2.80:1 D 2.83:1
4 2.83:1 E 3.00:1
5 3.00:1 F 3.20:1
6 3.20:1 G 3.25:1
7 3.25:1 H 3.50:1
8 3.50:1 X 3.91:1
9 3.10:1

Month Codes

First Year Second Year
A January N January
B February P February
C March Q March
D April R April
E May S May
F June T June
G July U July
H August V August
J September W September
K October X October
L November Y November
M December Z December
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Interior Colors & Material

 6A XR-7 Charcoal Black Levant Grain Vinyl & Charcoal Black Leather
 6B XR-7 Dark Blue Levant Grain Vinyl & Dark Blue Leather
 6D XR-7 Dark Red Levant Grain Vinyl & Dark Red Leather
 6F XR-7 Medium Saddle Levant Grain Vinyl & Medium Saddle Leather
 6G XR-7 Dark Ivy Gold Levant Grain Vinyl & Dark Ivy Gold Leather
 6K XR-7 Light Aqua Levant Grain Vinyl & Light Aqua Leather
 6U XR-7 Pastel Parchment Levant Grain Vinyl & Pastel Parchment Leather with Black
 6Y XR-7 Light Nugget Gold Levant Grain Vinyl & Light Nugget Gold Leather
 8A XR-7 XR-7 Charcoal Black Crinkle Vinyl & Charcoal Black Clarion Knitted Vinyl
 8B XR-7 Dark Blue Crinkle Vinyl & Dark Blue Clarion Knitted Vinyl
 8D XR-7 Dark Red Crinkle Vinyl & Dark Red Clarion Knitted Vinyl
 8F XR-7 Medium Saddle Crinkle Vinyl & Medium Saddle Clarion Knitted Vinyl
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Interior

Choice of 16 Exterior Paint Colors

Paint Code Ditzler # Paint Colors
A 9000/9300 Black Onyx
B 50746 Black Cherry
D 13357 Nordic Blue Poly.
F 13329 Madras Blue Poly.
I 43576 Lime Frost Poly.
M 8378/8734 Polar White
N 11683 Diamond Blue
O 43529 Sea Form Green
Q 13619 Glacier Blue Poly.
R 43644 Augusta Green Poly.
T 71528 Cardinal Red
U 12745 Caribbean Blue Poly.
W 81584 Saxony
X 13356 Wellington Blue Poly.
Y 22833 Grecian Gold Poly.
6 22249 Fawn

Several XR7-G’s were ordered with special colors resulting in a 6 digit DSO code and blank color code on the door tag.Known special order colors so far are Dusk Rose (AKA Playboy Pink) and Calypso Coral Poly (Orange). 

Destination Codes

11 Boston 54 Seattle
15 New York 84 Home Office Reserve
16 Philadelphia 90-99 Export
17 Washington DC A1 Central Canada
21 Atlanta A2 Eastern Canada
22 Dallas A3 Atlantic Canada
23 Jacksonville A4 Midwestern Canada
26 Memphis A6 Western Canada
31 Buffalo A7 Pacific Canada
32 Cincinnati B1 Central Canada
33 Cleveland B2 Eastern Canada
34 Detroit B3 Atlantic Canada
41 Chicago B4 Midwestern Canada
42 St. Louis B6 Western Canada
46 Twin Cities B7 Pacific Canada
51 Denver 12 Export Canada
52 Los Angeles 13 Export Canada


#6764 Scott Ferguson 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Press Releases, Promotions & Advertising

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Promo Card
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Promo Image
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Press Release
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Press Release
1968 Dan Gurney Lincoln-Mercury Racing Promo
Hertz 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Advertisement
Hertz Car Rate for the 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7-G
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Promo Image
Hurst Armed Forces Club Performance Report 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G
LM Sports Al Kaline Promo
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Radar Wheels Ad
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Promo
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Ad Cornell Motors
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Newspaper Ads
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Ad Win A Car-nival
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Promo
1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G Promo Image

The Colors of the 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: A | Ditzler #: 9000/9300 | Paint Color: Onyx

1968 Onyx Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: B | Ditzler #: 50746 | Paint Color: Black Cherry

1968 Black Cherry Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: F | Ditzler #: 13329 | Paint Color: Madras Blue Poly.

1968 Madras Blue Poly. Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: I | Ditzler #: 43576 | Paint Color: Lime Frost Poly.

#9407 Jim Wojcik 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: N | Ditzler #: 11683 | Paint Color: Diamond Blue

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: R | Ditzler #: 43644 | Paint Color: Augusta Green Poly.

1968 Augusta Green Poly Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: T | Ditzler #: 71528 | Paint Color: Cardinal Red

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: U | Ditzler #: 12745 | Paint Color: Caribbean Blue Poly.

1968 Caribbean Blue Poly. Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: W | Ditzler #: 81584 | Paint Color: Saxony

1968 Saxony Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: Y | Ditzler #: 22833 | Paint Color: Grecian Gold Poly.

1968 Grecian Gold Poly. Mercury Cougar XR7-G

Paint Code: 3 | Ditzler #: 60449 | Paint Color: Calypso Coral

1968 Calypso Coral Mercury Cougar XR7-G