. While the VIN number and left door data code plate information are known only to the owner at this time, viewing the car tells us it has a 428 engine with dual 4 bbl carbs and a 4-speed manual transmission. It is interesting to consider the transition from 428-8V prototype to the 427-4V, and then the 428-4V Cobra Jet for later production GT-Es. Some have suggested that the very title “GT-E” derives from the fact that the 427E engine was used, thereby upgrading a GT car to a GT-E, while the XR-7S may have derived from the evolution of the basic 390 GT or “S” code engine through increasing the bore. 428 engines were made in Canada in 1967. The “E” in the engine code stands for Edsel, the car line for which it was originally designed. At any rate, the HF II XR-7S Cougar is an enigma wrapped inside a mystery. The lucky ex-Ford employee who currently owns it is known to the author, and we hope one day to record the numbers and other details of this rare Cougar. At this time, however, the owner prefers to retain that information exclusively.
An example of a known “true” GT-E, that is not an XR-7S, is Vehicle Identification Number 8F93W500038. If its history stopped here it would be unusual enough, with an 04G (July 4, 1966) scheduled production date, and appropriate six character DSO code. Merit enough? Not hardly! It has two, yes . . . count ‘em . . . two serial numbers stamped on the left inner fender apron. The car's other VIN, you ask? It is 7F91F500013, meaning 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). Evidence exists that this Standard Cougar, body style 91, was converted to an XR-7 (body style 93) and that it had a whole series of engines installed on the way to becoming a prototype XR-7, an XR-7 GT, an XR-7 GT-E with 427 4V engine, and finally a 428 CJ Ram Air car, with which it is currently equipped. Indeed, it seems as if this was a proverbial “factory mule” of the first order, and as such should certainly not have been sold to the general public. But it was! In late calendar 1968, the vehicle was sold by Lincoln-Mercury at auction in St. Louis, Missouri to a private party. It was driven awhile and then parked in a field in western Pennsylvania for many years, unfortunately rusting away. It is now undergoing a thorough and exacting restoration.
Another prototype, VIN 8F93W500045, is in the same hands as the HF II XR-7S car. It was also purchased from Ford Special Vehicle Operations and thus salvaged from a certain death by destruction. It has never been seen in public as far as anyone knows.
The next known GT-E prototype, VIN 8F93W500050, has a scheduled production date of 04G, just like #038 and #045. Yet, neither 045, nor 050 have two serial numbers. It was purchased (or given) to a retiring Ford executive who lived in Los Angeles. After the owner died the car was spotted on a used car lot by its current owner who snatched it up immediately. It is too bad we do not know more about how it came to be in the first owner's hands--perhaps he too had connections at Ford Special Vehicle Operations.
This GT-E prototype, VIN 8F93W500050, is alive and well in the hands of a southern California Cougar enthusiast.
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