Things you didn't know about Cougar Trans Am history

On what day in 1966 did the secret Cougar marketing program begin? April 1st, April Fools day. On what day in 1968 did the Cobra Jet 428 become available in the Cougar April 1st April Fools day. Is there a message in there somewhere? This is the place to find out.
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Things you didn't know about Cougar Trans Am history

#1

Post by xr7g428 » 01 Oct 2012, 13:03

I was dong a little research about the XR7-G and came across an interview with Jerry Titus who drove the winning Mustang to clench the title.

It looks like they underestimated Bud Moore and company...
Washington's Pacific Raceway was a 300-mile race. If a Mustang won, Ford would win the championship. If a Cougar won, Mercury would take home the marbles. It was that simple. Things got off to a dismal start for Titus when he wrecked his car in practice. It was so heavily damaged that the few useable parts on it were removed following the race and the carcass was given to a local racer. With the championship still hanging in the balance, Titus borrowed John McComb's Shelby car (#10). His team worked all night giving it the once-over but decided against replacing the still strong-sounding engine. Donohue won the race going away, but the real battle was for second - between Titus and Bucknum in Mustangs and Gurney and Parnelli Jones in Cougars. Jones' car failed to start after a pit stop on Lap 61 and Shelby's team began smiling. Titus' engine let go four laps later and the smiles turned upside down. With 70 laps remaining, Bucknum was Ford's only hope. Despite an engine on the edge of overheating, he maintained second place, with Gurney right on his tail and making up a few seconds every lap. When the checkered flag fell, Bucknum was only ahead of Gurney by 40 seconds.

Titus had left his job as editor of Sports Car Graphic to drive full-time. He was asked to write a column about the Trans-Am for Autoweek (such was the high degree of interest in the Trans-Am) and he summed up the 1967 season nicely in its October 28th issue.

"In retrospect, we started this season with a definite advantage of experience in chassis preparation but down on horsepower. This was corrected by Daytona. Chevy had the horsepower, but not the stopping or handling. By Mid-Ohio they were stopping, by Bryar they were handling and I can only assume that various foul-ups kept them from being real trouble until the last two races.

"The Cougars looked right from the start and got better. They had equal horsepower and brakes to the Mustangs immediately but it took them a few races to get the chassis working well.

"At this juncture I'd say they had kept up on their home­work better than we have, though the mess of moving the entire Shelby operation from the Los Angeles Airport to the new Hawthorne plant this summer was a long and serious handicap.

"Frankly, I underestimated Bud Moore. He had to learn the road racing game and chassis set-up; and to a degree so did Fran Hernandez. [Ford's racing manager in charge of the Mercury team. -Ed.] It seemed logical to assume it would take a whole season to get the clues. Would you believe it took about two races instead? And they gave lessons to everyone as far as pitwork was concerned.

"If someone had told our Terlingua crew at the beginning of the season that we'd have to get over 30 gallons on board in 18.5 seconds or change a full set of five-lug wheels in a minute and 15 seconds, we would have said it was impossible. Yet we are doing it now with consistency, otherwise we would lose time to the Cougars.

"The weight thing got pretty funny. None of us could make our minimums in the beginning. All of us were about 35 pounds over it by summer's end. The attempts at acid­dipping, sand-blasting and general carving were sights to behold. Then along came Floyd Stone with his micrometer and off came the light panels. The cars got faster, anyhow.

"Fifty or 100 pounds doesn't seem to make a damn bit of difference in performance. Certainly not worth the trouble and expense to obtain."
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Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
Currently in the Cat House
'67 XR7 GT 390 4 speed, AC, AM FM, Lime Frost Green
'68 XR7-G 428CJ C6, Tilt-Away, AM, Black Cherry
'68 XR7-G 390 4 speed, Sunroof, Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 GT-E 427 C6 AM Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 resto mod 351W, soon to be AOD, Black Cherry

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Re: Things you didn't know about Cougar Trans Am history

#2

Post by xr7g428 » 01 Oct 2012, 13:08

Since this is the trivia section, The closest finish in any Trans Am race was?
Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
Currently in the Cat House
'67 XR7 GT 390 4 speed, AC, AM FM, Lime Frost Green
'68 XR7-G 428CJ C6, Tilt-Away, AM, Black Cherry
'68 XR7-G 390 4 speed, Sunroof, Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 GT-E 427 C6 AM Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 resto mod 351W, soon to be AOD, Black Cherry

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Re: Things you didn't know about Cougar Trans Am history

#3

Post by propayne » 01 Oct 2012, 13:17

Green Valley, Texas.

Gurney over Jones. Still the closest race in TA history I believe.

Here is another trivia question: how many races did P.J. win in his Bud Moore Cougar?
Last edited by propayne on 01 Oct 2012, 13:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Things you didn't know about Cougar Trans Am history

#4

Post by propayne » 01 Oct 2012, 13:26

Something else I'd like to point out that I have never seen anyone else make mention of.

Shelby built twenty six Trans-Am Mustangs for competition in 1967. Twenty six!

And that does not count independents that built their own racing Mustangs.

Bud Moore built three Cougars (maybe four). THREE!

Look at the starting grids of the TA races in 1967 - always 6 or 10 Mustangs and the 2 Bud Moore Cougars (3 at Sebring).

And against those odds the Cougar came within 2 points of winning the Championship.

Of course Gurney was ahead of Buchman's Mustang when he got black flagged for a leaking gas cap.

No sour grapes here! :buck:

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