1968 MERCURY COUGAR
Like many young drivers, Eddie Wood
borrowed his first car from his mother.
Now a co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing,
the 16-year-old car junkie was left embarrassingly claiming a white 1968 Mercury
Cougar as his first ride. It wasn’t until later
in his high school experience that Wood
finally bought a car he could be proud of.
“They were still her cars, but they
became mine when I needed them,” Wood
said. “Then, when I was a senior in high
school, I got the first car that was actually
mine, which was a 1970 Mercury Elimina-
tor. It had a Boss 302 engine in it, and I
got in a lot of trouble with that car.”
At the time, his father, NASCAR Hall of
Famer Glen Wood, owned an auto dealer-
ship in Danville, Virginia. It was a special
order from Detroit and was sleek orange
with a black interior and four-speed shifter.
To buy it, Wood worked two jobs in
Virginia and saved every nickel. He has
since driven many dream cars along the
lines of the Mercury Eliminator.
“I got the money to buy it by working at
the hospital in Stuart after school,” Wood
said. “I washed dishes and served food in
the kitchen. I also worked at the race shop
at night. That was 1968, 1969 and 1970.
I ended up blowing the motor messing
around at the drag strip.”
210 HP 302-IN3,
T WO-BARREL V- 8
Three new engines
were added to the
option list in 1968:
four-barrel V- 8;
the 335 hp 428-in3,
four-barrel V- 8; and
the 390 hp 427-in3,
four-barrel V- 8.
In addition, the 289-
in3 engine was made
standard on base cars
without the interior
decor group midway
through the model year.
2.0L 73 HP I4
A “High Rider” S TX
4X4 debuted (for
standard cab only) in
1987 and featured
off-road tires and a ride
height that was 1. 5
inches greater than the
’86 STX four-wheeler.
consisting of three
stripes that kicked
up as they neared
the rear of the truck,
adorned the S TX.
Realizing that the
four-cylinder was not
enough to motivate
SuperCab, Ford made
the more powerful V- 6
engine standard on
A Wheelman For the First Time
NASCAR owners and drivers will never forget the first car they
drove – whether it was purchased or on loan from a family member.
These two NASCAR competitors reflect on their first rides.
1987 FORD RANGER
Even before Carl Edwards was old
enough to drive, he spent hours sitting in
a family friend’s 1987 Ford Ranger. That
friend eventually sold the truck to Edwards
before the NASCAR star’s 16th birthday.
For the current driver of the No. 19 Joe
Gibbs Racing Toyota, the appeal of the
1987 Ford Ranger pickup was the manual
transmission and V- 6 engine.
“Someone my mom knew was selling
it,” Edwards said. “Before I got my driver’s
license, I would just go and sit in it because
I wasn’t quite old enough to drive it.”
Columbia, Missouri, can be a bit
treacherous during the winter months, as
the 16-year old Edwards discovered when
ice and snow blanketed the area in 1994.
“I was at a buddy’s shop working on one
of his cars one night and it started snow-
ing,” Edwards said. “My Mom called the
shop and said, ‘You’ve got to come home.
It’s not safe out there!’ I said, ‘Mom, I’ve
won four feature races, so I’ll be fine!’ I
was driving four-cylinder race cars then at
a local track in Missouri. I was so insulted
that she made me come home.
“I drove the thing sideways the entire
way. I hit a tree with it and scraped it up,
but not real bad. I swear it was only one-third of a mile from home. Mom said, ‘I told
you so!’ There’s still a mark in that tree.”