Saturday, November 13, 2010

On The Prowl For A '68

Today I piled my daughter into my Honda Accord and set off in search of a Cougar. I had found this one on my local Craigslist site and set a time and date with the seller to see the Cat in person. The listing advertised the Cougar as a project needing an engine tune up, a front driver side floor pan and gas tank/line replacement and some other items. I found much more.

I arrived at the house and the seller came out to greet me. I judged him to be a few years older than me. He opened the gate to the back yard. I started to walk around the car to get a closer look.

This 1968 Mercury Cougar was in poor shape, but not beyond saving. The seller advised he had bought the car in impulse from a guy from Arkansas on eBay. However, the title was still a Missouri title. The seller claims the Cougar has been off the road for 18 years. This certainly seems plausible. The car still had an old Missouri personal property tax sticker in the window as well as some wasp nests under the hood. The were signs of cracking bondo where previous repairs had been done and signs of a repaint.

Overall, the Cougar was not beyond all hope, but did need some serious attention. The inner fender aprons needed replaced on the front. As stated the driver side front floorboard needed immediate attention as did another spot I found on the passenger side in the rear footwell. The top had signs on decay due to a vinyl top and the lip above the back window was starting to separate. The front subrail frame rail on the passenger side needed to be replaced as well. The trunk on either side of the gas tank needed to be patched. Other than that, if that's not enough for you the body was decent shape.

The interior was okay, but dirty. All of the original elements were intact including the seats, dash, steering wheel, gauges, and door panels. The driver seat was ripped but the rest of the seats were in good shape. The headliner was gone and the dash pad was cracked. The door panels were in very good shape, but had been cut for speakers. The carpet would need to be replaced due to floor damage and age.

This car would need at least $5,000 to $7,000 to be a driver and over $12,000 to be a show car.

Power steering
Disc brakes
Automatic transmission
Decor interior

VIN: 8F91F568346
Data plate: 65a T 2a 13e 42 5 W

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finding A Mercury Cougar On The Internet

One of my favorite sites in the past few months has been Bring-A-Trailer.  The site features cars for sale around the United States and even the world.  Readers will write in and suggest cars that are posted for sale on sites like ebay, craigslist, and other auction sites. Other cars are offered as exclusives to the Bring-A-Trailer site.  They are not for sale anywhere else at the moment.

This week the site put up a 1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 for sale. Check it out for yourself.  This is a car has plenty of originality, but also includes engine and suspension upgrades to make the driving experience much better. With a reasonable price of $13,500 this car seems like a pretty good buy.

You can check my links to the right of the page for places to find more Mercury Cougars for sale on the internet.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hot Rod And Automobile Films

Ingenuity in Action (1958) NHRA Hot Rod Film

The Cool Hot Rod (1953)

Give Yourself the Green Light (1954)

Safety Through Seat Belts Automobile Safety Film

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Going On A Hunt For Cougar VIN numbers!

Earlier this week I went to Country Classic Cars on a hunt for VIN numbers for
the Cougar database and submitted to the Classic Cougars group on 
I found seven cars from the 1960's and 1970's. All of these cars are currently for sale. 
Pictures can be found on their website. As a disclaimer, I have no affiliation with 
this place of business. Please ask on current condition of vehicles if interested.

Country Classic Cars
2149 E. Frontage Rd.
Staunton, IL 62088
Phone: 618-635-7056
Fax: 618-635-6287
Store Hours: Mon - Fri: 9:00 - 5:00, Sat: 9:00 - 3:00

1967 Mercury Cougar Standard - $9450
Blue paint (not original)
gray interior (not original)
VIN: 7F91C581345
Body: 65A Color: Z Trim: 2G Date: 30C DSO: 26 Axle: 0 Trans: W
PS, Automatic Trans, Console, Drum brakes

1968 Mercury Cougar Standard - $10,850
Maroon paint
Maroon interior
VIN: 8F91F573951
Body: 65A Color: B Trim: 2D Date: 06F DSO:23 Axle: 5 Trans: W
PS, PB, A/C, Automatic Trans,

1968 Mercury Cougar XR7 - $8950
White paint (repaint) - light blue top
White interior (not original)
VIN: 8R93F510742(?)
Body: 65B Color: O (Q?) Trim: xx? Date: 24A DSO:53 Axle: 5 Trans: ?
Numbers on door hard to read per painted over
Dash pad covering VIN number on dash
Automatic Trans, A/C, PS, PB, Console, XR7 dash

1972 Mercury Cougar Convertible - $10,950
Light Yellow paint
White Comfortweave interior w/ black
VIN: 2F92H541795
Date: 4/72 Body: 76D Color: 6E Trim: CW Trans: X Axle: 2 DSO:31
Automatic Trans, power top, power brakes,

1975 Mercury Cougar XR7 - $8450
Light Yellow paint w/ Green Landau top
Green Interior
VIN: 5A93H532968
No Data plate available
87,xxx miles
351, C-4 Automatic, 3.00 Axle
A/C, Remote mirrors, Cruise, Tilt, PS, PB

1978 Mercury XR7 - $4950
White Paint w/ Brown Landau top
Brown interior
VIN: 8H93F607195
No Data plate available
80,xxx miles
Remote mirrors, Automatic Trans, Power windows, power doorlocks, A/C

1979 Mercury Cougar XR7 - $7850
Light Blue paint w/ White Landau top
Blue interior
28,xxx miles
Power Windows, Power Doorlocks, Automatic Trans, PS, PB, A/C, Tach

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sixth Annual KSHE 95 Rock & Roll Car Show

This looks like a fun show to attend and since KSHE-95 began broadcasting in 1967, I love Rock & Roll music, and I have a 1967 Mercury Cougar it makes a nice fit.

WHAT: Sixth Annual KSHE 95 Rock & Roll Car Show

WHEN: Saturday, August 21, 2010

WHERE: Gateway International Raceway, Madison, IL

TIME: Car Show: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm (Car Display Cars: 9:00-10:30 am; Spectators: 11:00 am until 4:00 pm*).

DISPLAY CAR ADMISSION: $20 in advance (by 8/12/10)* | $25 at door (Prices includes driver and one passenger)

*Register by August 12th and receive a commemorative event shirt!

SPECTATOR ADMISSION: $10 at door for all non-display car entrants, Under 16 admitted FREE with paid adult.

KSHE 95 has taken the car show experience to a new level with the creation of the KSHE Rock N’ Roll Car Show! This event will be unlike any other in the St. Louis area. KSHE’s Rock ‘N Roll Car Show will feature classic cars, muscle cars, hot rods, modern muscle cars, plus much more! This is not your typical car show. This year’s event is a car-cruise – no judging just and opportunity to show-off your cars. There is an opportunity to win prizes, including best in show, best overall display, best paint and best engine – all voted on by they people.

This will be the hottest car show event of the year. Event attendees will have the opportunity to check out vendors in the automotive midway, have their cars Dyno tested, meet KSHE personalities, register to win prizes, and enjoy live music throughout the day from some of St. Louis ‘ favorite bands. Plus, attendees can become a Gateway “Outlaw All-star” as they test their skills down the drag strip. Drag strip will be open! Your Car Show ticket will also get you into the Gateway Outlaw All-star event which ends at 10p. One ticket price – two events!!

For more information or to Pre-register your vehicle, click HERE. All vehicles to pre-register by August 12th will receive a commemorative KSHE 95 6th Annual Car Show Shirt!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Collector Car Appreciation Day Slated for July 9

Lawmakers Acknowledge Importance of Collection and Restoration of Historic and Classic Cars

The United States Senate passed Senate Resolution 513 (S. Res. 513) at the request of the SEMA Action Network (SAN), designating July 9, 2010, as “Collector Car Appreciation Day” nationwide. The Resolution recognizes that the collection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States.

The resolution was sponsored by Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus members Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). Senator Tester and Senator Burr have been strong advocates for the automotive hobby in Washington, D.C., and their sponsorship of S. Res. 513 reaffirms their understanding of the cultural importance of collector cars. The caucus is an informal, non-partisan group of federal lawmakers that pays tribute to America’s ever-growing love affair with the car and motorsports. The caucus recognizes the integral role collector cars have played in fostering our nation’s appreciation for motorsports.

The resolution was the result of an effort undertaken as a means to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society. SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald said, “We greatly appreciate the United States Senate’s recognition of the important role classic car restoration serves in our country. As Americans gather at car cruises and other events in conjunction with ‘Collector Car Appreciation Day’ on July 9, these vital contributions will be honored and preserved.”

“At a time when governmental intrusion, intentional or otherwise, is often negatively affecting the hobby, this is a positive move,” added Tom Cox, president of Southwest Virginia Car Council. “The automotive hobby has many tentacles that support jobs, manufacturing, small business and families. It’s nice to see some official recognition of the beneficial impact automobiles and our hobby have made to America and the world.”

For more information see -

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ford Unveils The 2011 Mercury Cougar

Dearborn, MI -- April 1, 2010

Lincoln-Mercury has unveiled plans for a new vehicle for Fall 2011.  A new vehicle with name recognition among consumers and a performance and luxury heritage - The Mercury Cougar.

Ford Motor Company, not to be outdone by the popularity of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro plans to ramp up the Pony Car wars once again and assume full dominance on the segment by releasing the all-new Mercury Cougar. The Cougar chassis is based on the S197 Ford Mustang D2C platform that began with the 2005 model. The car will be manufactured at the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Michigan alongside the Ford Mustang.

2011 Mercury Cougar XR7

Originally, the Mercury Cougar was introduced ton consumers in 1967 as an upscale Ford Mustang. The Cougar shared the same platform as the Mustang from 1967 to 1973 when the Cougar was shifted over to the Ford Torino platform in 1974.  In 1977, the Cougar and Thunderbird were redesigned and shared the same platforms from 1977 to 1997.  Finally, in 1999, the Cougar was redesigned again and downsized to the CDW27 platform and which ran until 2002.

The all-new 2011 Mercury Cougar will come with three engine choices and two powertrain choices currently offered. The base engine for the Cougar is Ford's new Duratec 3.7-liter dual-overhead cam V6 engine that will deliver around 305 horsepower and supposed to get 19 and 30 mpg on city and the highway respectively.

Consumers looking for the more power from Mercury while still saving money at the pump will opt for the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged and direct-injected EcoBoost V-6 with 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. This is the same engine that Ford is putting into the new 2011 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor. Both engines send power to a six-speed automatic transmission, though from there the EcoBoost sends power to all four wheels while the base engine powers only the front wheels.
Finally, the Cougar will be fitted with the new 5.0 liter V-8 that is also going into the 2011 Ford Mustang. The 5.0 puts out 412hp of power, 390 ft.-lb. of torque and a projected highway fuel economy of 25 mpg. The new engine gets a 32-Valve, Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) system that works as a critical part and makes it possible for the engine to return those power and efficiency figures.
“This all-new 5.0-liter engine is the next chapter in the development of the world-class Mustang powertrain portfolio,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “It’s a thoroughly modern engine for the times, delivering the performance and fun-to-drive factor that enthusiasts want, while improving fuel economy.”
Behind the 5.0 liter V-8 the six-speed automatic transmission the 2011 Mercury Cougar XR7 will deliver up to an estimated 25 mpg highway and 17 in the city.  The Six-speed manual transmission Cougar XR7 models for 2011 are projected to deliver 24 mpg highway and 16 city. As a comparison the manual transmission will deliver significantly more horsepower and performance feel.

Just like in 1967, the 2011 Cougar steals technology from its cousin, the Ford Mustang.  The Cougar XR7 features an enhanced rear lower control arm to add stiffness, improve powertrain NVH control and sharpen handling. A stiffened rear stabilizer bar for better on-center steering is also included. Stabilizer bar diameters, spring rates and dampers all have been tuned for improved dynamics.

A Brembo brake package upgrade will be available for serious enthusiasts. This package includes 14-inch vented front discs from the GT500 Mustang, unique 19-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires.

As with the 2011 Mustang, Ford is continuing to use new technology on the Cougar.  The Cougar will share the new Electric Power Assist Steering system, modified underbody shields, taller air dam, larger four-wheel ABS disc brakes and its front fascia is also getting facelift for improved aerodynamics. The Cougar will come with a similar version of new Mustang instrument cluster graphics, including a speedometer that reads to 160 mph and a tachometer that goes up to 8,000 rpm.

The tradition of style, luxury, European elegance paired with American muscle will continue on the new Mercury Cougar by adding the traditional burled walnut accents to the interior of the XR7. Options will include 17-inch aluminum wheels; rear spoiler, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt and telescoping column, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and MP3 capability and 6 speakers, SYNC® voice-activated communications and entertainment system, Dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control (DEATC), driver's seat lumbar support, premium Verona-grain Imola leather seating surfaces in two-tone parchment. Other options will include both cooling and heating systems in the seats, heated mirrors, heated cupholders, remote start, navigation, blue tooth technology, Reverse Sensing System, chrome doorhandles, pinstripe kit, and much more. 

Standard equipment includes some of these features: 16-inch aluminum wheels, a tire pressure monitoring system, cloth front bucket seats, power windows, power doorlocks, keyless entry, power mirrors, air conditioning, AM/FM Stereo with single CD and MP3 player, body color doorhandles, carpeted floor mats, ambient temperature sensor and ambient lighting placed in the front and rear footwells and the cup holders. 

The Cougar will be made in three different price points and six models.

V6 Coupe (MSRP: $24,395)
V6 Premium (MSRP: $26,395)

V6 XR7 Coupe (MSRP: $29,395)
V6 XR7 Premium (MSRP: $31,395)

XR7 GT: (MSRP: $33,395)
XR7 GT Premium (MSRP: $36,395)

Ford has announced that no convertible will be offered at this time harkening back to the first two years of the Mercury Cougar in 1967 and 1968.  No word yet on if Ford will introduce a performance package like the GT500 or Shelby, but if they do expect the word Eliminator to be involved.


If you've read this far and are excited and ready to make a trip to your local Lincoln-Mercury dealer then I have some bad news...


Information for this post came from the Ford press release for the new 2011 Ford Mustang 5.0, the Ford Mustang Wikipedia  page, the Mercury Milan features page and a couple of other sources.

Photos were found at I must say that if that vehicle were released I would trade in my 2010 Honda Accord and buy a new Cougar.

Please advise if I need to take down this content and I will be happy to remove.

Happy April Fools Day!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The To-Do List Is Growing

Ten days ago when I had the Cougar up on the lift working on the transmission filter replacement I had some time to look around the undercarriage of the car.  I was checking out the suspension parts and noticed some significant cracking on the strut rod bushings.

I still had some money left from my second place finish in my Fantasy Baseball league from last year. I figured I would get some more parts for the Cougar to install. On Monday after work I bought a strut rod bushing kit from the Mustang Corral in Edwardsville.  The Mustang Corral sources the kits they sell from American Pony Parts. Here's the description listed on their website:

Includes the steel cup washers.

We use a softer grade of Midolyne for strut rod bushings. Too firm and it can snap the rod. Strut rods stop the body when the brakes stop the suspension. Worn and compressed bushings create eratic handling and result in a "CLUNK" sound and feel when braking Kit does One (1) Car.

I am not hearing the "clunk" noise they are describing, but replacing worn out bushings with new polyurethane replacements can't be a bad thing. I hope that when the new gas shocks and this kit get installed that the handling on the Cougar becomes even better. However, I'm sure that there will be a few other things to correct as well. I am also thinking about having the manual steering box rebuilt too.

Just more items for the list…

I promise to take pictures of this project when I get to it in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Cloud Of Dust

I spent two hours cleaning the garage tonight.

And I'm not done yet...

See, I knew when I started working on this project tonight that I would not finish in just one evening. Getting started had been my problem in the past.  Too cold, too hot, too windy, not enough time - too many excuses. So, at least I got started...right?

The weather is turning more beautiful by day and soon I will want to bring the Cougar home for the summer.

I decided to start with my wife's side of the garage since there was less to deal with on that side.  I pulled everything out of the corners and away from the walls so I could sweep all the dust, grass, leaves, rocks, and dead bugs.  I thought that dealing with the grime first would get me to continue to clean the garage later.  *COUGH* *COUGH*

I rearranged some things that we would not be using anytime soon and put them out of the way in the back corner on my wife's side of the garage.  Other than that I swept up the dirt and grime, put some items in the trash or recycling bin, and organized items so we could get the cars back into the garage.

The next step is to figure out how to arrange and organize the garage to get the most use out of the area.
I recently picked up a magazine to help with that process and gather ideas.  I have thought about higher shelves and a way to hang up some items like my bike, the lawn spreader, and other cumbersome items.  Maybe some paint too...

My side of the garage contains the workbench, a shelf with miscellaneous items and the tool chests.  The back wall has the shovels, rakes and implements of destruction as well as two cabinets and the lawnmower and a door on the right side. My wife's side of the garage has the trash can, the recycling can and a couple of windows.  The garage has a 10 1/2 foot ceiling.

Hmmm...what to do?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why Are There Not More Cougars On The Prowl?

I was doing a little reconnaissance (er...research) today on 1967 and 1968 Cougars on eBay. I do this from time to time just to check what's out there for sale and see if there's any interesting ideas on other rides that I could steal. The thing that caught my attention was that there were a lot of Classic Cougars for sale on the site today. Of the 50 total Cougars listed for sale (1967-2002), almost half of them (24 to be exact) were 1967-1970 models. Wow! There is a lot of classic Dearborn iron and steel out there for sale.

There could be a few reasons for that upsurge in old metal for sale. First, Spring is here and it starts the classic car selling season.  Second, tax time is less than a month away and people need to pay some taxes or pay off some debt.  Third, Spring cleaning season is here and the wife wants one of the "project cars" to go. Finally, the seller has gotten the itch for another car and the current one has to go to fund the new car.

So, that got me to thinking...with all of those Cougars for sale to make viable car show vehicles why are there not more Cougars on the prowl?

According to The Classic Cougar Network site Mercury produced over 150,000 cars in the first year 1967 and over one-hundred-thousand units the next two years in a row.

1967 Cougar – 150,893
1968 Cougar – 113,741
1969 Cougar – 100,085
Total – 364,719

If you throw in the 1970 Cougar, which shares much of the same characteristics as the 1969 model, there another 72,365 Cougars produced during a 4 year span bringing the total number to 437,084. Many consider the 1970 Cougars to be the end of the muscle car era for Mercury and the 1971-73 were just the beginning of the bloated, luxury models of the 1970's.

Most Cougars that I see for sale are still mostly in original condition with at most only the engine, paint or interior modified from stock. If modified, these Cougars usually have at least one of those areas still mostly original.

Further, the buyer can pick up a Cougar in very good condition for under $10,000 and almost anything over that threshold is either rare (i.e. GTE, XR7-G, or Eliminator) or in great or perfect condition. This is one of the reasons why I chose to buy a classic Cougar in the first place. The Cougar is a reasonably priced muscle car that usually came with more options than the Mustangs. So why would the Cougar popularity wane unlike the other 60's pony cars?

Another reason that I chose to buy a Cougar is that every car that rolled off the assembly line in the classic period (1967-1973) has a V-8!  That fact should be a huge incentive for car guys. There are no 6 cylinder engine swaps to figure out here like the Mustang or Camaro.  There is either a V-8 engine in the bay or the empty motor mounts are ready for one to be dropped into place.  The Cougar also came with motors that are both desirable and easy to find parts to rebuild or find more torque and horsepower. According to research done by the The Classic Cougar Network site, the 1967 came standard with the 289 and the buyer could also have opted to buy the big block 390.  In 1968, the engine options got even better - buyers could check the box for a 289, 302, 390, 427, and the 428 Cobra Jet. The zenith came in 1969 with the addition of the standard 351 Windsor engine, the Boss 302 and the 428 Cobra Jet/Ram Air to the line up, and in 1970 the 351 Cleveland was added too. The 289 was dropped in 1969 and the 390 was dropped in 1970, but you get the picture.

Cougars have the same issues as other muscle cars from the era. Rust can be prevalent in the floorboards, cowl, shock towers, rocker panels, lower doors, lower quarter panels, and behind the rear window. Other issues tend to happen with the vacuum operated flip up headlamp doors and the electronic sequential turn signals. Both of these issues can be remedied rather easily if most of the stock components still survive. The only issue that I see keeping Cougars from prowling the streets is the lack of new sheet metal to fix rust. There are companies that sell floors and patch panels, but no one sells full doors, hoods, trunk lids or fenders.

So what makes the other Pony cars more desirable? Let's start with the Mustang. For many classic car enthusiasts the Mustang is an affordable entry car to get into the hobby.  This can certainly be said for the Mustang Coupes. Due to their production numbers Mustangs are ubiquitous at car shows and in the print media. Over 2.25 million cars were produced from 1964-1969 and Ford was the clear leader with almost 2.6 million Pony cars (Mustang + Cougars) produced from 1964-1969. The popularity of the Mustang means that parts are available from a wide number of sources giving the owner easy access to restore one of these cars or even clone their favorite example. The Mustang prices start to go up when rarity enters the picture (i.e. Shelby, or GT cars) or when the words Fastback or Convertible come behind Mustang. Furthermore, Dynacorn makes shells for 1967-70 Mustang Fastbacks and you can build a completely new classic car from scratch. The 1967 or 1968 will set you back $15,500 and the 1969 or 1970 is $16,500.

Production Numbers
1964 Mustang – 126,538
1965 Mustang – 409,260
1966 Mustang – 607,568
1967 Mustang – 472,121
1968 Mustang – 317,148
1969 Mustang – 299,824
Total – 2,232,459

Similarly, the Chevrolet Camaro has been pre-eminent through the car show circuits and gracing the covers of car magazines for years as well. However, in recent years, prices for Camaros have skyrocketed along with other popular GM models. A buyer can hardly afford a rustbucket or a shell for under $7,500. The popularity has also led to negativity too. The First Generation Camaro has received scorn from some dyed-in-the-wool car guys because it seems as if a magazine like Hot Rod, Car Craft, or Popular Hot Rodding can’t go to print without having a First Generation Camaro on the cover or as a featured car inside the magazine. Furthering the popularity meter, Dynacorn is even making complete replica shells of this icon in both hardtop and convertible platforms for 1967 and 1969.

1967 Camaro – 220,906
1968 Camaro – 235,147
1969 Camaro – 243,085
Total – 698,138

The Pontiac Firebird seems to fall somewhere in-between the Camaro and the Cougar. A buyer can still buy a decent Firebird hardtop for under $10k and they aren’t as many at the car shows around town. According to Trans Am World site, Pontiac made only 276,683 of the First Generation Firebirds, which is 88,036 less than the Cougar production numbers from the same time period. That’s like another year of production numbers for one of those cars in that era. Nevertheless, Dynacorn still produces both a hardtop and convertible shell of the 1969 Pontiac Firebird. Where’s the love for other Ford models from Dynacorn?

1967 Firebird – 82,560
1968 Firebird – 107,112
1969 Firebird – 87,011
Total – 276,683

Finally, the Plymouth Barracuda is a different beast altogether. Plymouth never did sell too many Barracudas in the first place.  From 1964 to 1969 they sold less Barracuda's than Pontiac dealers sold from 1967-69. This could partly be from the fact that the Barracuda didn't receive a big block until 1969 and never received a Hemi between the front fenders. The Second Generation Barracudas are popular among the drag racing guys, but the money really goes up when the year on the title shifts to 1970's. Mopar parts are easier to come by generally, but due to low production numbers these cars are rare in general and the passing of 40 years has sent plenty of these cars to the crusher.

1964 Barracuda – 22,443
1965 Barracuda – 64,596
1966 Barracuda – 38,029
1967 Barracuda – 62,534
1968 Barracuda – 45,412
1969 Barracuda – 31,987
Total – 265,001

So, if you're looking for a muscle car to get into the hobby why not choose a Cougar?  There are many surviving vehicles with a combination of options including power steering, power brakes, automatic transmission and even air conditioning.  Further, 1967-1973 Cougars share the same platform as Ford Mustangs and so parts for floors and shock towers are easy to obtain. Finally, Ford crate engines and transmissions can be dropped in with ease. Get out there and start looking or get in touch I know where a few are right now!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Research Material For The Library

Recently, we received an e-mail for a 40% off any regularly priced item from Borders good for this weekend.  Since Borders has drastically decreased the size of their music and movie sections I find myself looking for books rather than CD's and DVD's.

If you have read most of the posts on this blog you'll know that when I bought the Cougar I received what is supposed to be the original engine along with the sale. The car came from the factory with a 289 cubic inch Ford Small Block with a two barrel carburetor, but currently the car has a 302 cubic inch engine with an Edelbrock intake and four barrel carburetor.  Eventually, I thought that I could rebuild the 289 and put it back in it's rightful place between the shock towers - with a few upgrades of course.

Today, my wife and I dropped our daughter off at my parents house so we could get some lunch and shop at a few stores.  After stopping at Applebee's for lunch and then Office Depot and Old Navy, we went to the Borders in Edwardsville.  My wife wanted to get a nice hardback edition of the Lewis Carroll classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass for Elsie's birthday this summer, but while at the store she changed her mind like any good woman.  I looked through the automotive section for this book, but they didn't have it in stock.  The coupon expired today so I didn't think too much more about it and figured I would buy it at a later date.

After we retrieved our daughter from my parents house, my wife decided she wanted to go to Jo-Ann's Fabrics and Crafts in Fairview Heights.  There is another Borders nearby so I figured we could stop again and look. Our daughter fell asleep shortly after leaving my parents house.  We went to Jo-Ann's first and my wife picked up what she needed and I stayed in the car with our sleeping daughter.  When my wife was done and we went to Borders, the little one was still asleep.  So my wife and I took turns going into the store. Sure enough this location had the book and they also had the edition my wife wanted to buy for our daughter.  The book I bought was regularly priced $24.95 and with the 40% off coupon I bought it for $14.97 plus tax.

I checked the Amazon later tonight and the book was selling for $16.47 plus shipping unless I bought over $25 then the shipping was free.

Now I can start doing some research on rebuilding the 289 when the time is right...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Red Puddles On The Floor

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had scheduled to work on the Cougar project list again this weekend. I met Steve at my parents house at 11:30 a.m. to get started on this project.

Steve wanted to take a ride in the car to see how the transmission was acting.  After a splash of gas at the local station, I was  driving the back roads to let Steve hear how the C-4 Cruise-A-Matic was shifting through the gears.  We put the Cougar through some paces and tried slow and fast starts from a dead stop and manually shifting through the gears forward and backward.  Steve determined that the shift from 1st gear to 2nd gear seemed smooth, but when shifting from 2nd gear to 3rd gear something was slipping, but not each time.

I drove the Cougar back to my parent's house and proceeded to get started.  I put the car up on the lift and gathered tools to get going.  Steve said that I would be turning the wrenches and that was fine with me because I learn better that way!

Parts List:
Wix Transmission Filter and Pan Gasket PN 58923 - $6.98
1 gallon Automatic Transmission Fluid
24 oz. bottle of Lucas Oil Transmission Fix - $11.99

Tools List:
3/8 inch socket wrench
1/2 inch socket
7/16 inch socket
1/4 inch socket wrench
5/16 inch socket
Common screwdriver
Torque wrench (Inch lbs.)
Fluid catch pan

I started by loosening the eleven 1/2 inch bolts on the bottom of the transmission pan.  Steve advised that I completely remove bolts on one end to start to empty the fluid from the pan.  If I loosened all of the bolts and dropped the pan then transmission fluid would be all over the floor.  After I removed the bolts from one end I inserted the screwdriver between the pan and the body of the transmission to pry open the pan and let some of the fluid out. The fluid splashed down in the catch tray and I continued loosening the bolts and repeated the process with the screwdriver until I had to remove all the bolts holding the pan to the transmission to get the rest of the fluid out.

The next step was to remove the filter from the bottom of the valve body. This was pretty easy as it was attached with mostly 5/16 inch bolts plus one 7/16 inch bolt. I took the old filter off and put the new one on with ease.

I cleaned the transmission pan and getting the pan gasket ready I put the pan back on and tightened the eleven bolts back down.  As I was putting the pan back on Steve used the torque wrench to adjust the bands from the outside of the transmission. I added the Lucas Oil transmission fix and most of a gallon of transmission fluid.  I got too much fluid in there and created a puddle on the floor so we needed to take some out. We removed roughly a quart of fluid to get back to the correct level on the dipstick.

After checking the level one last time, Steve and I went for another ride.  The car performed normally when we started moving and there were no leaks when backing out of the garage. Steve directed me through the same series of tests from before. The slip from 2nd to 3rd was still there so I'll just have to live with that for a while until it's time to rebuild the transmission.

As we were working Steve knew where to find the tags and part numbers for the transmission. Here's what we found out about the transmission in the Cougar. With a little more research we could probably find out what month and year the transmission was produced.

  • Transmission Part Number: C6DP-7006-A
  • Transmission Tag: PEE C 2896M27B4
  • Servo Cover Tag: C6AP-70027-C
  • Valve Body Tag: 2P 3
Update on the project list:
  • Paint the hood scoop red and take off the rear spoiler and fill in the holes
  • Check out the transmission - adjust bands, add new fluid, new filter, and pan gasket
  • Install new KYB gas-a-just shocks on all four corners
  • Start gathering parts for the missing heater system
  • Shine wheels [half done]
  • Wash and wax car
  • Aim headlights
  • Flush radiator

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Makin' Them Shine!

This morning Elsie and I went to my parents house so they could see Elsie and I could work on shining the wheels on the Cougar.  The current set of wheels are 14" Centerlines from American Racing and while I would rather have something else on the car the funds are not available at this time to change wheels and tires.  I would rather spend my money on upgrading other parts of the car first and trying to make the current set of wheels look better first. Another post will be dedicated to researching which wheels will fit and be going on the car in the future.

To get started on this project I got out the air wrench and a 13/16 socket and jacked up the car. I removed a wheel from the car and placed it on a portable workbench. I used a three step process to clean these all-aluminum wheels.  First, I wiped the metal cleaning polish on the wheels with a microfiber rag to start to loosen the dirt and grime.  Second, I used a polishing ball in a portable drill to clean the majority of dirt and corrosion off the wheels.  I moved around workbench and the wheel with the portable drill in a clockwise direction to keep the polishing ball from jumping off the wheel.  Finally, I used a clean microfiber rag to wipe off the excess product and dirt and buff the wheel clean.

I cleaned the two wheels on the driver's side today and now I just need to clean the passenger side. I spent about 45 minutes to an hour cleaning each wheel twice as they are quite dirty.  In the future I will likely use a Mother's wheel product on the wheels, but first I wanted to see the difference between the other two wheels with the cleaning product alone.

I forgot to take pictures of the results today, but I will be posting them here soon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time Is Running Out On Winter Projects

As Spring quickly approaches it's time to start thinking about getting the Mercury out of the garage again.  Last Saturday, I went to my parent's house where the Cougar has been sleeping for the winter to rouse it from its slumber.  I started the car and let it run for a while and then my dad and I took it for a ride around the country roads. Today would have been a perfect day to drive as it was in the low 70's and sunny all day.  However, you can't always count on that


  • Paint the hood scoop red and take off the rear spoiler and fill in the holes
  • Check out transmission - adjust bands, add new fluid, new filter, and pan gasket
  • Install new KYB gas-a-just shocks on all four corners
  • Start gathering parts for the missing heater system
  • Shine wheels
  • Wash and wax car

As a Christmas present my dad offered to pay to have the hood scoop and rear spoiler painted.  However, I would like to remove the spoiler as I don't think it looks right and takes away from the lines that I like about the car.  So, I need to call my dad's friend Tom and have him check the paint color so he can match the scoop and trunk lid for the right color. I would also like to see if he can paint a

Tonight, I called my dad's friend Steve and tentatively scheduled a day to drop the transmission pan and check out the guts of the C-4. Hopefully, the gears look good and will not need a rebuild.

I found out recently that another friend is moving back to the area in a few weeks and I plan on asking him to help with the installation of the new shocks as I have never tackled this sort of project myself.

Last weekend I stopped by the Mustang Corral and got some prices on what I needed to put the stock heater system back into the car.  This will help keep the rushing cold air from coming inside the cabin and help with rides later in the year when the weather gets cooler.  I asked about a possible trade for the spoiler and they said that was possible so I'm happy about that prospect.

Next I need to think about what car shows I might want to attend.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I just bought a 2010 Honda Accord Coupe...

At Meyer Honda, me and Joe Duco just after signing the paperwork.

At home in the driveway for a photo shoot

...but I really wanted to buy one of these. I know the clip from Top Gear is a couple 
of years old, but the coolness is still there. Too bad I don't have over $40K to throw 
at a car. However, I could be inclined just to get the 1968 Mustang Fastback with 
the 390 instead. Old technology - yes. Coolness factor - over the top!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Need To Clean The Garage!

Although I live in a house that is only a few years old I am constantly thinking about updates that could be done to the house. A couple of years ago my wife decided to buy some faux stone and replace the fireplace surround. The stone sat around for about a year, but eventually last winter (2008-09) we removed the original tile surround from around the fireplace and my brother-in-law, my wife and I installed the faux stone surround. The fireplace is set into a corner of our living room at a 45 degree angle so we had to cut each stone on the edges to fit. Because it was winter and very cold outside we cut the first day in our garage. This was a BIG mistake! The dust from the tile saw covered every surface in our garage and the next day we cut outside which cut down on additional dust, but the damage had already been done.

During this project we also removed the original fireplace mantle and my wife's brother built a new one out of oak from scratch for us. When he came over to install the mantle it needed a little bit of wood taken off each side where the 45 degree angle meets the wall. So, he sanded each side of the mantle a few times to get the right fit.  Since it was still cold outside this was also done in the garage and now even more dust collected on every surface.

During 2009 I never did get around to cleaning the garage.  I parked the 1967 Cougar that I bought in April in the garage all summer and early fall, but I constantly worried about stuff falling on the car or getting a ding from my wife's car in the garage. This winter the Cougar has spent its time in a large, heated garage at my parent's house. I like things to be organized and I can frustrated when things are out of place, but I will also admit that I am not a big fan of cleaning and tend to put this chore off indefinitely. However, this year procrastination is no longer an option.  The garage is a complete disaster!  I have added a generator that my dad gave me plus we added two large trash cans (one for garbage and one for recycling) from the village where we reside.  This spring I will need to pull everything out of the garage and start from scratch. 

I am looking for low budget ideas on organizing the garage and maximizing the space that we have and keeping an adequate amount of space around the cars. I want to get all of my tools and extra stuff organized so finding things is easy and putting them back is a breeze. I am researching, but I am open to ideas from anyone who is actually reading this post.  Now I will continue to procrastinate until the weather warms up a little.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thinking About Better Weather And Hitting The Road

As I write this we are getting snow outside so it's weird to be thinking about summer and car show season. However, the NASCAR drivers raced in the Daytona 500 today and ESPN2 is showing their coverage of the Winternationals from Pomona, CA.  The official start to car show season is fast approaching. Here are some big events for the year. 

My goal for 2010 is to attend at least one National Car show event so that means start planning now! Here's a few events that I have penciled in for reference -

Dates - June 5 - June 12, 2010
Route - 
  • Saturday June 5 - Iowa Speedway, Newton, IA
  • Sunday, June 6 - Downtown Springfield, Springfield, IL
  • Monday, June 7 - DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, DuQuoin, IL
  • Tuesday, June 8 - Warren County Airport, Bowling Green, KY
  • Wednesday, June 9 - Chattanooga State Community College, Chattanooga, TN
  • Thursday, June 10 - Regions Park Stadium, Birmingham, AL
  • Friday, June 11 - Downtown Mobile, Mobile, AL
  • Saturday, June 12 - U.S.S. Alabama, Mobile, AL

Other Stops - TBA
Registration Fee: $70.00

For those of you that don't know, the Hot Rod Power Tour is an organized event where car enthusiasts from the hobby drive a pre-planned route or "tour" through parts of the United States. The Power Tour began in 1994 when Hot Rod Magazine staff members decided to take some of their project cars on a cross-country drive from Los Angeles, CA to Norwalk, OH. Thousands of people participated along the route, but only seven participants (other than staff members) made the entire journey and were inducted into the original "Long Hauler Gang". Since its inception, the event has continued to gain in popularity and is now one of the most anticipated automotive events each year. The Power Tour is usually scheduled for six to eight consecutive days and is typically held during late May or early June. During the last few years, the Power Tour has evolved to become a Dylanesque "never ending tour" around the United States. Organizers have started the event in or near the location where the tour ended the previous year. Each stop along the Power Tour route is organized around other events or activities that vary as much as the participants themselves. See the Hot Rod Power Tour page for the magazine's 2009 coverage of the event or the main Power Tour page for coverage from previous years. 

I don't see myself attending this event this year unless it's for the couple of days that it's in Illinois. 

Carlisle All-Ford Nationals 16th Annual Event
June 4-6, 2010
Carlisle Faigrounds
Carlisle, PA
Adult Admission: Th.-Sa. $10 /Sun. $7  
Child Admission: 8 and under - FREE 
Gate Times: Th.-Sa. 7am-6pm / Sun. 7am-3pm

The Carlisle All-Ford Nationals is a three day event featuring the largest gathering of Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles in the United States. Everything from rare to common vehicles are featured as well as a marketplace full of parts and accessories. See this link for a recap of the 2007 event. Although it would be nice to get together with other Cougar owners from around the country, the problem with this event is the distance from home - over 750 miles and over 12 hours away. 

July 16-18, 2010
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
1880 Como Ave.
St. Paul, MN
Pre-Registration: $45
The Car Craft Summer Nationals is a three day event featuring over 4,000 cars of all makes and models and attracts over 45,000 people. Ten years ago this event was only drawing 1,200 cars so they're certainly doing something right to triple or quadruple the particpants. Those in attendance can stuff themselves with a basket cheese curds while gawking at the shiny cars and watching the activities along the way. The Summer Nationals features a Miss Car Craft Contest displaying the best bodies, an autocross challenge to determine the best handling car, a dyno contest (a meausrement to see which car makes the most horsepower) and a launch box challenge. Extras include a burnout contest featuring smoking tires and the smell of burning rubber. There is also a car corral, family fun zone, and performance marketplace to look at all things car related. See the Car Craft site for coverage of the 2009 event by clicking here.

This is the event that I could see myself attending this year.  First, I like Car Craft magazine the best of the car magazines that I read. Second, the entrance fee to the event is an affordable $45 and St. Paul, MN is roughly only 9 and a half hours and 545 miles from home.  I have also visited the area and driven most of the route in the past so it's familiar territory.  We could maybe stay in Stillwater, MN like we did last time - there are several bed & breakfasts and a historic hotel in town - the Water Street Inn.

Another option would be to attend one of the various Good Guys events that are held throughout the year. There are a few that are held in the Midwest that are only a few hours from home.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cougar Home Movies

Found this video on You Tube. The person who uploaded the video says that these are 8mm home movies of his father-in-law's first car, a 1967 Mercury Cougar. The photography of the car almost seems like a Mercury commercial of the time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Time To Renew My Registration

The other day I received my renewal from the Illinois Secretary of State office for the 1967 Mercury Cougar. Most of the time I cringe when this envelope arrives for the other cars we own. However, this time I had a smile on my face.  For the next five years the registration for the Cougar only costs $30.00! That's only $6.00 per year! This is a relative bargain when compared to the $79.00 per year Illinois residents pay on passenger cars.

I run antique plates on the vehicle even though restricts the amount of driving that you can do with the vehicle. You might be asking why. Most of the time I will be driving the car to a car show or to work on something in my dad's garage, but for those days that I do drive the car to work I can always advise the officer that I am driving to a show out of town or to a repair shop.  Besides, the cost is much cheaper on both registration and insurance.

A no brainer really...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A New Series Of Posts - Cars From Our Past

My recent post about a couple of cars my parents owned in the 1970's prompted a comment from my wife about doing a post on her parents series of Volkswagen Beetles they drove in the late 1960's and into the 1970's. This comment created a new idea about doing a series of stories on cars from our past. 

A couple of years ago my wife also had the great idea of doing a book for my dad for Christmas with a list of his top 15 favorite cars.  We dug through pictures in my parents and grandparents photo albums and found enough pictures for a coffee table book AND a calendar for my dad.  We uploaded everything to Shutterfly and ordered them for Christmas.  He loved it and still keeps them on the coffee table!

These series of posts will deal with cars that hold memories in our lives.  A car is like another family member at times, or a companion, a place that we feel like we live, or to some it is just a mode of transportation.  No one can deny, however, that the cars that we buy and we drive provide memories of places, people, events, and more.  Cars take us to work, back home, on road trips, on vacation, help us move, visit friends and family, run errands, and other exciting adventures.

Now, if you haven't paid attention to your car lately - get out there and wash it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chauncey & Me

In the mid 1970's my parents took me to Piasa Lincoln-Mercury dealership in downtown Alton, IL to see a real live Cougar!  Originally the spokescat for the Mercury Cougar in print and television advertising, Chauncey the Cougar became the spokescat for all Lincoln-Mercury dealers products not just the Mercury Cougar. The Cougar was so recognizable in advertisement that the Lincoln-Mercury slogan became "At The Sign Of The Cat." The Cougars from the advertising campaign would tour the country and visit dealers to promote Lincoln-Mercury. In 1975, Chauncey died and his replacement became Christopher. At Piasa Lincoln-Mercury my parents dealt with a salesman named Harold Sackalarus and he likely told them about this special event at his dealership.  How often would a real live Cougar visit a car dealership?!?  This visit by Christopher made such an impression on me that I started to refer to the dealership as "Harold's Cat House."

To learn more about the Lincoln-Mercury spokescats see the following articles from The Classic Cougar Network site

For an overall history see this article

These next three links are from a speech done by the Cougar's handler Pat Derby on July 14, 2001 at an event for the Stray Cats Cougar Club of Northern CA
Part One: Tanya
Part Three: Q & A

Here's a video I found of a similar event from a Lincoln Mercury dealer in the early 1980's

In 1976, my mom was driving a 1973 Buick Riviera and my dad was driving a 1972 GMC Sprint (read: GMC version of the El Camino).  That year my parents traded their 1973 Buick Riviera and bought a Lincoln Continental Mark IV as a third car.  At the time this was the most expensive American made vehicle.  As you can see from the picture above the vehicle was dove gray with a matching dove gray landau vinyl roof, and light gray leather interior. Lincoln-Mercury sold this as a Cartier edition, a part of their line designer editions which also included Bill Blass, Givenchy, and Pucci. My name for this car was the "Foo Foo Car." I remember riding around in this car as a toddler on summer evenings in the late 1970's making my parents drive around to find the source of spotlights flooding the night sky. The spotlights with their bright light would be advertising a car dealership, a movie, or some other promotion. My parents also remember my devastation after losing a balloon through the sunroof one evening while riding in that car.

In 1976, my mom's office had moved from downtown St. Louis to a renovated IGA grocery store located in a parking lot at a suburban mall.  At the time she was driving a 1975 MGB roadster. She felt nervous driving this little British sports car on the interstate with all of the 18 wheel tractor trailers.  However, they let me ride in the area where the top folded up when it was down or on my mom's lap when the top was up. Go figure.

Since they had just bought the Lincoln, my parents decided to stick with Lincoln-Mercury to replace this car. They put the MGB on consignment with Piasa Lincoln Mercury and they bought a 1977 Mercury Cougar. This was the newly redesigned fourth generation Cougar. The classic Cougar era ended with the 1973 model year and in 1974 the Cougar began an association with the Ford Torino.  This ended the Cougar's seven year association with the Ford Mustang platform. Then in 1977 the Cougar began a long run of being based on the Ford Thunderbird chassis. These changes made the car longer, less sporty, and even more luxurious than before. Here's a description from the wikipedia article on Mercury Cougars:
Customers to Lincoln-Mercury showrooms were surprised by the all-new Cougar this year [1977]. New sharper and straighter styling that mimicked the Ford Thunderbird and Lincoln Continental Mark V replaced the "fuselage look" of earlier Cougars. The Cougar now shared its body with the Thunderbird, which was downsized to the intermediate bodyshell this year from that of the Continental Mark IV and shared the Cougar's 114-inch (2,896 mm) wheelbase, putting the T-Bird squarely in the intermediate personal-luxury car market as opposed to its previous higher-priced segment of that market shared with the Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado.

My hunch is that my dad probably just remembered this advertisement with the late Farrah Fawcett (pre-Charlie's Angels) from a couple of years earlier and wanted to get one.

Since my mom was driving a lot farther to work she noticed that the V-8 engine in the Cougar was a lot less fuel efficient that the four cylinder in the MGB.  She figured that she would just drive the Lincoln to work and my parents got rid of the Cougar.  They had the car for such a short time that I have yet to find a picture of the car. The Cougar would be the last Blue Oval product they would ever buy.

My parents kept the Lincoln Continental car as a third car for a few more years and ended up selling it in December 1983 to a daughter of one of my dad's friends.  I have always wondered what happened to that car.

If you look closely you can see my dad's 1972 GMC Sprint in the background.

In this picture you can barely see the end of the Orange MGB parked in the garage.