1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427: Luxury Meets Muscle in Style

In the world of classic cars, the 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 holds a special place. This legendary muscle car, equipped with a powerful 7-liter engine, stands out among its peers. In this article, we delve into the fascinating details of this iconic vehicle and explore its unique features that make it a must-see for car enthusiasts.

The 1968 Mercury Cougar

The 1968 Mercury Cougar was a popular car known for its stylish design and impressive performance. It offered a more refined driving experience compared to its sibling, the Ford Mustang. The XR7 version of the Cougar was often regarded as the flashy, high-performance variant. However, the focus of our attention lies on the even rarer and more exclusive GTE model.

The GTE package was an option available for both the base Cougar and the XR7. It elevated the car’s performance by equipping it with a 7-liter engine, which could either be a 428 or the formidable 427 side oiler. Our spotlight today is on a GTE 427 side oiler, one of the most sought-after versions. Only 101 of these GTE models were ever produced, making them incredibly rare.

Engine and Performance

The 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 was equipped with a potent engine that provided impressive performance for its time. Under the hood, it featured a massive 427 cubic inch (7.0-liter) V8 engine. This engine was known for its raw power and muscularity, delivering a thrilling driving experience. With its high displacement and performance-oriented design, the GT-E 427 produced an estimated 390 horsepower, making it one of the most powerful engines available in a production car during that era.

The performance capabilities of the GT-E 427 were further enhanced by various engineering upgrades. It came with a heavy-duty suspension system that provided improved handling and stability, allowing drivers to fully exploit the engine’s power. Additionally, it featured power-assisted disc brakes on the front wheels, ensuring reliable stopping power and enhanced safety. These enhancements contributed to a dynamic driving experience, making the GT-E 427 a true performance machine.

The combination of a powerful engine and performance-focused features resulted in impressive performance numbers for the 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427. It boasted a 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) acceleration time of around 6.5 seconds, a remarkable feat considering the era in which it was produced. The top speed of the GT-E 427 was estimated to be around 130 mph (209 km/h), showcasing its ability to deliver exhilarating speed on the open road. Overall, the engine and performance attributes of the GT-E 427 solidified its reputation as a luxury sports coupe that packed a serious punch under the hood.

Exterior Features

The 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 showcased a stylish and eye-catching exterior design that blended luxury with a touch of aggressive muscle car aesthetics. The sleek and aerodynamic body lines of the Cougar created a sense of elegance and sophistication, while its bold front grille and dual headlights added a hint of sportiness. The GT-E variant featured distinctive GT-E badges and emblems, further distinguishing it from other Cougar models and signaling its high-performance nature.

The exterior of the GT-E 427 was adorned with various chrome accents and trim pieces, adding a touch of sophistication and enhancing its overall visual appeal. Chrome details could be found on the front grille, window surrounds, door handles, and bumpers, giving the car a polished and refined look. These stylish accents complemented the car’s design and added a touch of luxury to its muscular stance.

Another notable exterior feature of the GT-E 427 was its exclusive hood scoop. Positioned on the center of the hood, the scoop served both functional and aesthetic purposes. Functionally, it helped to deliver cool air to the powerful engine, aiding in its performance capabilities. Visually, the hood scoop added a bold and aggressive element to the car’s appearance, further accentuating its muscular character.

The GT-E 427 was available in a range of vibrant and captivating exterior color options, allowing owners to personalize their cars according to their preferences. Popular color choices included iconic hues such as Candy Apple Red, Wimbledon White, and Gulfstream Aqua, which enhanced the car’s visual presence and turned heads wherever it went. The exterior features of the 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 combined luxury, sportiness, and attention to detail, creating a visually striking and timeless design that continues to captivate car enthusiasts to this day.

Two-Tone Paint

The 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 came with a striking two-tone paint scheme. The car’s body was adorned with a contrasting silver bottom, separated from the red upper body by a stylish molding. This distinct color combination accentuated the car’s sleek lines and made it stand out on the road.

One of the fascinating aspects of this particular car is its origin. It was a special order placed by George Alto, a Mercury dealer in Florida. Mr. Alto, a passionate lover of high-performance cars, wanted a unique vehicle that would captivate customers in his showroom. This GTE arrived at his dealership in March 1968 and remained in his possession for over a year before being sold to the public. The delay in its availability only added to its allure and desirability.


The 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427 represents a unique blend of luxury and muscle car performance. Its rarity, powerful engine, and distinctive features make it a true gem for collectors and enthusiasts. The GTE package, with its performance enhancements and attention to detail, presents a compelling alternative to the more flamboyant XR7. Owning a base-model GTE, like the one we have explored today, allows a deeper appreciation of the Cougar’s heritage and performance capabilities.

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