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George Cockrell
This Cat's No Dog
George Cockrell, of Kensington, Md., makes his living training dogs. But he also has a passion for a certain cat: his triple-black 1970 XR-7.
Equipped from the factory with the popular 351 Cleveland engine in its first year of production, George's cat started life with the rare Houndstooth option, which included a houndstooth brown patterned vinyl top and seats with houndstooth cloth inserts.
George bought his cat a little more than three years ago near Hagerstown, Md., from a former DCC member. He's the fourth owner of the car, which has led a pampered life and only has about 46,000 original miles on the odometer.
The car is equipped with a 9-inch open rear with 3:00 gears. Triple Black Cat also has working air conditioning, power steering and an AM/FM/CD player with four speakers to make cruising comfortable.
The original engine has received some changes, with a hotter camshaft, rollers and an aftermarket distributor, intake manifold, carb and exhaust upgrades. George says he installed the cam himself and added lots of polished aluminum under the hood. The Cougar also has a rebuilt FMX transmission with a shift kit and higher stall torque converter. Flowmaster four-chamber mufflers give the cat its purr. He's also done lots of cleaning and repairing of original parts on the car.
George Cockrell
George's Cougar looks sleek and fast on a set of American Racing Torque Thrust D wheels, which he had custom made with proper back spacing.
George says he puts about 400 miles a month on this weekend cruiser. He also owns a 1967 Mustang with 302 engine and C-4 transmission, which he describes as "pretty fast."
"I've been working on classic Fords since the 1970s and I've been a car nut since before I could drive. Dad owned an old Mercury Marquis with a 429. I loved that car."
In the past three decades, George hasn't strayed from the Ford lineup. The list of cars he's owned includes: a 1964 Fairlane V-8, 1964 Custom 6 cylinder, 1970 Torino 429, 1976 Pinto 428 drag car, 1963 1/2 Falcon Sprint drag car and cruiser, 1967 Galaxie 500 fastback and a 1972 Slingshot Dragster 302.
"We have great people in the Cougar Club," George added, and he said he likes Cougars more than the other classic Fords he's owned.
George says he would like to change the rear end to a posi and install lower gears, and he's getting ready to change the dash gauges over to totally digital. He's also considering adding air ride suspension.
George Cockrell
In the meantime, he always has a co-rider along: his giant stuffed monkey, "Curious."
"He rides in the passenger seat," George says. "I put his arm out the window and the wind makes it wave as we travel down the road. People seem to really get a kick out of it, and are constantly waving back."
What would be his ultimate Ford? "John Milner's 32 Deuce from 'American Graffiti' is always cruising through my mind," he says. "Gonna build one someday."