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Not A Concours Kind of Guy
DCC Membership Director Basil Moncrief, of Stafford, Va., doesn't hold back when he describes his ideal ride. "I like fast, loud cars," he says plainly.
That description fits his Cougar, a 1967 XR-7 GT that sports a high-horsepower, modified 428 and Global West suspension that "makes the car handle like a road racer," Basil says. "It's almost the perfect all-around performance car," he says proudly.
Several years ago, Basil lived two streets away from DCC President Jim Karamanis, whose '70 Cougar caught Basil's eye.
"I had a '71 Mustang convertible then, and I'd sometimes see Jim in his '70 Cougar," he says. "We talked a couple of times and he recruited me into the Cougar cult."
"I had been looking for a 67-68 GT for several months, and was enjoying the hunt. I finally found my current GT on the [Cougar Club of America] Web site and bought the car sight unseen from the owner in British Columbia."
The seller had been given the car in partial payment of a debt. After a lot of phone discussion and snail mailing of photos (the seller didn't actually have a computer), Basil bought the car and had it shipped to Virginia.
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"The color at the time was kind of Burgundy, but the paint was literally coming off in sheets," Basil says. "I planned to paint the car in two phases, ending in Cardinal Red with a black R-code hood stripe. The first phase ended with a coat of satin black paint over the primer. I liked the satin black so much I never made it to phase two. I will probably just keep it that way, especially since every time I talk about painting the Cougar with a shiny coat of paint, my wife and daughter yell "DON'T! Keep it like it is!"
The 1967 XR-7 GT came from the factory clad in Trafalgar Blue, with a black leather interior, GT equipment group, C-6 Cruise-O-Matic, 3.25 Equa-Lok differential, console, power steering, Tilt-Away steering wheel, and Whisperaire air conditioning. It also came with these factory options now long gone: AM radio, styled steel wheels and 185R14 whitewall radial ply tires.
Over the years the Cougar has seen extensive modifications for improved drivability and fun, including complete Global West suspension (upper and lower control arms), sub-frame connectors, front coils, front anti-sway bar, Koni shocks, Global West disk brakes. The car's 390 Marauder engine was replaced with a 428, which retains the 390 Marauder cylinder heads and exhaust manifolds.
And, since Basil acquired the Cougar about three years ago, he's added an Edelbrock RPM Performer intake manifold, Edelbrock 750 carb, Tuff Stuff hi-flow water pump, 150-amp alternator, Pertronix solid state ignition, electronic turn signals, Flowmaster 40 mufflers, XR7-G-style rear valance, R-code hood scoop and as much chrome and polished aluminum as possible under the hood.
To keep with the subdued exterior appearance, Basil installed a set of 15x7 steel wheels with Mercury dog dish hubcaps.
Still on his wish list for the car: a manual transmission, aluminum cylinder heads, aluminum radiator, electric fans, headers, leather racing seats and better gauges. If you haven't already figured it out, Basil is not a "concours restoration" kinda guy.
"Restomod is a good way to go if you plan to drive your car a lot, especially for improvements to performance, safety and reliability," says Basil. "If in doubt when planning your resto, go aggressive and brutal. After all, these are muscle cars. Shiny paint is expensive and overrated."
He also owns a 1956 Fairlane Victoria hardtop, and his wife Chris is in the process of reviving a 1968 Mustang fastback.
Basil says he already owns his other dream car, the '56 Vicky, but he'd love for it to have a 428 engine, 4-speed, better suspension, rack & pinion steering and disk brakes. Or he'd settle for a '68 Cougar R-code.
In his spare time, when he's not messing with old cars, Basil enjoys shooting, historical research, cooking, travel, music and weight lifting. Basil grew up a Navy brat: born in Parkersburg, W.Va., and, as a kid, living in Spain, Hawaii, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, California. He works for Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., as a Technology Transition Officer for Air-Ground C2 systems.