XR 7G Package
The XR-7G is sometimes referred to as the "mystery" Cougar. Promotion and advertising for the option package were virtually non-existent, in spite of the fact that the G designation was "inspired" by Dan Gurney.
Dan Gurney and an XR-7G prototype
Gurney had been on Mercury's payroll since the Cat's introduction and had captained the successful '67 Cougar TransAm team. The Dan Gurney Special trim package received a lot of attention from Mercury's Marketing Department in 1967 and was a popular option. It's surprising that relatively little use was made of Gurney's name the following year.
Part of the mystery (or confusion) surrounding the XR7-G package has to do with what it actually included. The only magazine ad promoting the G described it as equipped with: "fog lamps, hood-locking pins, simulated air scoop, racing-type rear view mirror, GT exhaust extensions, etc., etc." But the actual cars varied considerably. For example, some had only one "racing-type" rear view mirrior--others had two. Some Gs had quad-type exhaust extensions while many were equipped with the more common XR-7 type.
And the "etc., etc." part of the ad covered a lot of ground. The etceteras included a unique console and a few Gs were also built with leather wrapped steering wheels and/or Cobra-style shifter knobs. XR7-G identification included special badges (similar to the XR-7 badges, but with a large "G" in the middle) on the rear roof quarter panels, the dash and in the center of the stylish wheels. However, some Gs also had badges on their grilles.
XR-7G showing hood scoop, hood locking pins and styled steel wheels.
Further adding to the XR7-G mystique is the fact that it was a "special order" package, which meant each one was custom tailored to its buyer with items from the general Cougar option list. In other words, no two XR7-Gs were identical.
XR-7G with sunroof option.
The final mystery concerns how many XR7-Gs were actually produced. They became available as a mid-year addition to the Cougar line-up in March of 1968 and enthusiasts have debated production figures for years, the most commonly argued numbers being 304 and 421. As it turns out, both figures are incorrect. When Kevin Marti obtained permission from Ford to resurrect their production database for the period, he found that 619 XR-7Gs actually rolled off the assembly line.