The GT-E prototype story
The story of Cougar GT-E serial number 8F93W500038 begins on August 21, 1967. This vehicle is one of the earliest known “true” GT-E's, that is not an XR-7S. It was built as an Introductory Show car, intended to be used for factory photo shoots, and to travel the circuit from Dealership to Dealership to let people see the new Cougar offering first hand.
It is a well-optioned car: PS, PDB, Tilt, rear defogger, Front & Rear shoulder belts, Headrests, AM / FM Stereo, space saver tire, console, clock.
If its history stopped here it would be unusual enough, with an 04G (July 4, 1967) scheduled production date, and appropriate six character DSO code.
But there's more - On the inner fender apron, it has two, yes . . . count ‘em . . . two serial numbers stamped. The other serial number is 7F91F500013, indicating that the car started life as a 1967 Standard Cougar with a 302 V-8 engine (which was not in regular production until the 1968 model year). It is now believed this 1967 VIN is a misstamp, since there is no evidence on or in the body of this car of ever being a 67 Cougar.
Still, it seems as if this was a proverbial “factory mule” of the first order, since as you'll see as you read on, it was used as the test platform for the 428 CJ Ram Air drivetrain, with which it is currently equipped. It certainly was not intended to have been sold to the general public.
But luckily it was!
The car was originally built in August of 1967 along with 10 other prototype Cougar GT-Es with a 427-4v engine, and was used for evaluation, press coverage, sales literature and advertising. Then in December 1967, Ford engineers used this car as a mule to test the fit and function of the soon to be announced 428-CJ in a Cougar / Mustang platform. This occurred slightly before the 50 Wimbleton White Mustang 428CJ Fastbacks "Lightweight Cars" were built on Dec 30, 1967.
Car Craft magazine was invited to road test the new power train offering. The road test was conducted in mid-February of 1968 by Detroit Hot Rod Club "The Mill Winders" and was published in the May 1968 issue. See below: 428 Super Cougar.
Changes to the car's configuration include: Add 428CJ, add functional Ram-Air: including cutting hole in hood and adding 68 1/2 functional hoodscoop, add PS oil cooler, paint satin black stripe on hood, and delete 7.0 litre fender badges.
Note: Rear bumper guards, no vinyl top, no 7.0 Litre GT-E badges.
Note: jagged hole in hood cut for the Ram-Air setup.
Later, another period publication, Hi-Performance Cars, did a road test of 038 during the summer of 1968 and published in their Sept 1968 issue. The car turned in 14.52 sec @ 101.52 mph on the Onondaga strip in central Michigan in showroom trim and street tires for this road test. This article contains very detailed pictures of the engine compartment, hoodscoop, and interior - all of which proved to be invaluable in the restoration process.
In late 1968, there was a UAW strike in progress that shut down the Ford Motor Company. New cars were on allocation and were hard for dealerships to get. So the dealers sent their salesmen to the auctions to buy late model used cars for the dealership. It was Ford's standard procedure at he time to destroy the introductory show cars after their tour of duty of the country's dealerships was complete. Perhaps due to the UAW strike, 038 escaped this fate, as did 3 other known introductory show cars 036, 045 and 050.
038 surfaced at a used car auction in Columbus, Ohio. Steve Kashman, a salesman for Slater Ford in Stoneboro, PA was at the auction buying cars for the dealership. When 038 went up for auction, he purchased the car for the brother of the owner of Slater Ford - Gene Amos. Gene was a mechanic at Slater and stock car driver and wanted the car for it's 427 Engine.
Upon receiving 038 back at the dealership, Gene discovered the engine was not a 427, but a 428, and no longer wanted the car. They renegotiated the price, and Gene kept the car for a daily driver. His wife primarily drove the car up until 1976. However, per Gene, during this time this car was the undisputed "king of the road" in Stoneboro in the red-light-road-race arena. In 1976 with only 18xxx miles on the clock, it was taken off the road and parked in a field in Stoneboro.
Early in the car's life, it burned a valve. This was repaired at Slater Ford under warranty, but not until after some negotiations. At first, FoMoCo wasn't going to honor the warranty due to the prototype heratige o this car, but after a few days, they returned to Slater and agreed to cover the entire cost. The Ford Rep told Gene "This is a unique car, and it should be taken care of. It will be worth something someday." The mechanic who did the repair had a big problem to find gaskets that would fit this engine properly. Gene still works at Slater, and says he can kick himself for letting the car deteriorate so badly.
Dave McCartney bought 038 from Gene in approximately 1990. He stored it in a barn on his property. Jim Pinkerton learned of 038's existance and in 1995 Phil Parcells visited Dave to further investigate this car.
As found in 1995 in PA:
On 11/12/00 Phil Parcells purchased GTE serial # 8F93W500038 from Dave Mcartney.
^ Engine in 2000 ^ v Engine back in 1968 v
Update 3/2003: bodywork and paint complete.