Dick Bott, 73, a retired funding banker residing in Westchester County, N.Y., on his 1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7 convertible, as instructed to A.J. Baime.
My dad was a profession Goodyear government, so I grew up crawling round tire shops. I used to be a automotive nut virtually from start. He agreed to pay for half of my first automotive. Once I went to Princeton, there was a rule that dated again to the times of F. Scott Fitzgerald in opposition to college students having automobiles on campus. However my junior 12 months, that rule modified. I mentioned, “OK, dad, I’ve my half. Let’s go get a automotive.”
I took him to an Alfa Romeo seller and confirmed him a Duetto Spider, a two-seat Italian roadster precisely just like the automotive Dustin Hoffman drove in “The Graduate.” He shook his head. To him, it seemed like a stapler. He mentioned, “The deal doesn’t apply to little Italian sports activities automobiles!”
Pictures: A One-of-a-Type Muscle Automobile
Dick Bott exhibits off his 1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7.
We ended up shopping for a Mercury Cougar, which was a model new mannequin that 12 months, in 1967. Capitalizing on the massive success of the Mustang (which first got here out in 1964), Ford needed to place out a extra luxurious muscle automotive. [Mercury was a division of Ford.] Dan Gurney, the legendary American racing driver, was having success racing Cougars, and in 1967, I noticed him compete in a single at Lime Rock raceway in Connecticut. Particularly, I used to be serious about a particular improve referred to as the XR-7. It featured a faux-wood dashboard that was an excellent copy of a Jaguar’s, and had very British instrumentation.
I confirmed up at Princeton in a inexperienced Cougar XR-7 that had a handbook transmission. Once I graduated and joined the Military, I bought that automotive. A few years later, like many individuals of my technology, I longed to drive my first automotive once more. In 2005, I went on the lookout for a Cougar on eBay. It wasn’t going to be simple to discover a handbook transmission Cougar XR-7 from that period. However after years of looking, I struck gold.
A Cougar-lover in western Massachusetts had spent 4 years restoring a 1968 Cougar XR-7. It had a handbook, like my first Cougar. It had inexperienced paint and a tan inside, like my first Cougar. The restorer had added on fascinating options like fog lights and a hood-scoop. However most significantly, he had performed a extremely skilled conversion of the coupe right into a convertible, naming this automotive XR-7C (the C for convertible).
I purchased the automotive in 2010. I solely drive it on lovely days. However I can take pleasure in this automotive simply by it as a result of to me it’s a murals. And, it brings again so many recollections.