1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427: Luxury and Power Combined

1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427: Luxury and Power Combined

The Mercury Cougar GT-E is a muscle car that captivates the hearts of classic car enthusiasts and collectors. Produced in limited numbers, this vehicle represents the pinnacle of luxury and performance combined. In this article, we will take a closer look at the 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E, exploring its distinctive features, powerful engine, and the captivating story behind its creation.

The 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E: A Rare Find

The year 1968 marked the debut of the Mercury Cougar GT-E, a vehicle that quickly gained attention for its unique blend of luxury and muscle. While the standard Cougar models, such as the XR7, had their fair share of popularity, the GT-E stood out from the crowd. It boasted a 7-liter engine and was available in two versions: the 428 or the highly coveted 427 side oiler. The latter, with its impressive power and performance, is the centerpiece of our story.

Compared to the flashy XR7, the GTE package offered a more understated appearance. Considered the sleeper version of the high-performance Cougar lineup, the GTE package emphasized power and performance over extravagant styling. It catered to those seeking a refined, executive muscle car experience. The GTE package included various enhancements, such as the SelectShift Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission, a super competition handling package, and radial tires—a feature ahead of its time.

The Powerhouse: Ford 427 Side Oiler Engine

At the core of the Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 lies its formidable power plant, the Ford 427 side oiler engine. Derived from the iconic 427 Cobras, this engine exudes raw power and performance. With a rating of 390 horsepower, the W code motor delivers exhilarating acceleration and a thrilling driving experience. While some enthusiasts argue that it could generate even greater power, there’s no denying the awe-inspiring roar and impressive performance that this engine brings to the Mercury Cougar GT-E 427.

When the engine of the Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 comes to life, it unleashes a symphony of power. The deep rumble and throaty growl emanating from the exhaust resonate with the primal energy that lies beneath the hood. Stepping on the accelerator, the car surges forward, effortlessly translating the engine’s power into exhilarating speed. The driving experience is a perfect blend of adrenaline-inducing performance and classic American muscle, making every journey in the Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 an unforgettable adventure.

While officially rated at 390 horsepower, many enthusiasts believe that the Ford 427 side oiler engine in the Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 packs even more punch. The way the car accelerates and the commanding presence it exudes on the road seem to suggest that there’s an untapped reserve of power waiting to be unleashed. It’s this element of mystery and speculation that adds to the allure of the Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 and fuels the imaginations of those who are captivated by its raw power and performance.

Distinctive Exterior Features

At first glance, the exterior of the Cougar GT-E might not appear overtly aggressive or sporty. However, the discerning eye will notice the subtle yet distinctive elements that set it apart. The most prominent feature is the hood scoop, which hints at the power lurking beneath.

Opening the hood reveals the true nature of the GT-E, showcasing the potent 427 side oiler engine and its cross-bolted design. This impressive powertrain is the secret behind the car’s wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing persona.

Performance Upgrades and Handling Package

The GTE package not only enhanced the engine but also improved the car’s overall performance. It introduced a super competition handling package, ensuring that the GT-E delivered an exhilarating driving experience. Power disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear, coupled with power steering, provided the necessary control and stopping power. Moreover, the GT-E was one of the first production cars to come equipped with radial tires, offering superior grip and handling.

To complement its impressive performance, the Mercury Cougar GT-E featured a striking two-tone paint scheme. A molding below the beltline separated the two colors, allowing for customization and personalization. The example we’re exploring boasts a captivating red and silver combination that highlights its unique character. The attention to detail extends to the engine bay, where various components, such as the chrome rocker covers and air cleaner housing, add an extra touch of sophistication.

The Story Behind the Base-Model GTE

While the XR7 often steals the spotlight, the base-model GTE deserves recognition for its exclusivity. Only 101 of these vehicles were produced, making them exceedingly rare. The car we’re discussing today has an intriguing backstory. It was special-ordered by a Florida-based Mercury dealer, George Alto, who had a penchant for high-performance vehicles. This particular GTE arrived at the dealership in March 1968, but it didn’t find its way into the hands of a customer until 16 months later.

The limited production numbers of the Mercury Cougar GT-E contribute to its allure among collectors. With just 101 base-model GTEs produced, the chances of encountering one on the road or at car shows are incredibly slim. This rarity adds to the car’s desirability and drives up its value in the collector car market. Owning a GT-E allows enthusiasts to own a piece of automotive history, while also relishing in the exclusivity of such a unique vehicle.

The Interior

The interior of the 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 is a testament to luxury and comfort, combining elegance with performance-oriented features. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a beautifully designed cabin that exudes sophistication. The red interior, paired with the striking red exterior, creates a visually stunning contrast that adds to the car’s overall appeal.

The seating in the Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 is plush and comfortable, providing a smooth and enjoyable ride. The seats are upholstered in high-quality materials, ensuring both support and relaxation during long drives. The attention to detail is evident, with fine craftsmanship exhibited throughout the interior. From the meticulously stitched upholstery to the polished accents, every element contributes to the car’s overall ambiance of luxury.

The dashboard of the Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 is thoughtfully designed, featuring a clean and organized layout. The driver-oriented instrument cluster provides all the necessary information at a glance, while the center console houses essential controls and features. The overall design is intuitive and user-friendly, allowing for easy access and operation.

Furthermore, the interior of the Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 offers ample storage space, allowing you to conveniently stow away personal belongings. Whether it’s the glove compartment, door pockets, or the trunk, there is plenty of room to accommodate your essentials during your journeys.

Overall, the interior of the 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 perfectly blends comfort, style, and functionality. It creates an inviting atmosphere that enhances the driving experience, making every moment behind the wheel a true pleasure.

The Cougar GT-E in the Collector Car Market

The Mercury Cougar GT-E holds a significant place in the collector car market. Its limited production, distinctive features, and historical significance make it a sought-after vehicle among enthusiasts and collectors alike.

As the years go by, the value of these vehicles continues to appreciate, making them highly desirable investments. Owning a well-preserved GT-E provides not only the enjoyment of driving a unique classic car but also the potential for a sound financial investment.


The 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 represents the epitome of luxury and performance in the muscle car realm. Its limited production, distinctive design, and powerful engine make it a highly sought-after vehicle among collectors. With its unique blend of comfort and exhilaration, the GT-E offers a driving experience that leaves a lasting impression. As a rare gem from a bygone era, the Cougar GT-E stands as a testament to the innovation and artistry of the automotive industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *