The Trans-Am racing series has inspired some legendary rivalries - most notably, Boss Mustang versus Chevrolet Camaro Z/28; however the series' most intense battle took place in-house between the Ford and Lincoln-Mercury divisions in 1967.
Carroll Shelby's Mustangs had won the first-ever Trans-Am manufacturer's trophy for Ford in 1966. Eager to promote its new-for-1967 Cougar, Mercury entered the series with a team led by NASCAR owner Bud Moore.
Trans-Am cars of this era were much different than their modern counterparts. Series rules required stock dashboard padding, stock inner door panels and working glass windows in the doors. The stock unibody was drilled and lightened but relied mostly on its roll cage for stiffening. In essence, they were actual production cars that went through a series of performance-minded modifications, rather than a purpose-build racer.
The Cougar's 289 V8 received a four-barrel carburetor, a hotter cam, headers and as much porting and polishing of the valves as the rules allowed. Brakes and suspension were left virtually stock.
Moore hired Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney and Ed Leslie as team drivers. The 1967 season opened with a Dodge Dart victory at Daytona, followed by a Mustang victory at Sebring. Then, at Green Valley, Texas, team Cougar finished first and second. This set the stage for a seasaw battle with Mustang and Cougar trading the points lead back and forth right through the final race at Kent, Washington. Team Cougar was poised to win the series with cars in second and third place when disaster struck: one car failed to restart after a fuel stop and the other lost time after being black-flagged due to a fuel leak. The series ended Ford with 64 points, Mercury with 62.
This car was restored to period correct condition by its current owners, Ross and Beth Myers of 3 Dog Garage. Originally driven by Dan Gurney, this is a significant car from one of America's most exciting racing eras.Also photographed at :