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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Update on Junkyard Crawl II

Today, I posted my story from yesterday to the Classic Cougars group on for the VIN registrar to see.  Here is his reply:

Hi Scott,

Great write-up. Would you consider allowing us to print this in the CCOA newsletter "At The Sign Of The Cat" I bet people would enjoy re-living their own junkyard adventures by reading this.

This VIN was reported in 6/88 and was still on the road at the time in Marissa, IL. It was red, white interior and had a 4-speed at the time.

I wrote Phil back and advised that it was okay to reprint my story. That was a nice gesture on his part. Later I found someone on Craigslist selling another 1968 Cougar in Marissa, IL.  I wonder if the same person used to own the one that is now sitting in the yard. Hmmm...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Junkyard Crawl II

In the mid 1980's I went to a salvage yard in Mascoutah, IL with my friend Rob and his older brother Bill.  With a freshly issued Illinois driver's license, Bill had started driving a 1964 Chevrolet 4 door sedan with a 283 cubic inch V-8 that his parents had received as a wedding present about 15 years prior. The car, white with a blue interior, had seen better days, but had been parked in the garage for the last few years.  We used to play in the car for fun and actually used it as the Batmobile in a Batman movie we made around 1989.  Bill had started to "fix up" the car with no real prior knowledge about cars.  Somehow, he found out about this salvage yard and thought he could find some parts.  The salvage yard was overgrown with trees, but had many cars from the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's. I remember that the guys working there were all rough and tumble with attitudes to match. There were hubcaps hanging all over the office.  We asked about parts for a 1964 Chevrolet and they directed us to where they were. We bought a replacement rear door and maybe some other parts and headed home.

A while back, after some research, I finally tracked down this salvage yard again and decided to stop in for a look.  I came across the owner, Dan. He told me that he had been here since the early 1950's.  He said that they had a fire a few years ago and lost a building and some of the cars.  He had parts stored to restore some older cars and lost much of those parts in the fire. Finally, he asked if he could help me and I asked if he had any late 1960's Mercury Cougars around the yard. He said that he did have one left, but that most everyone had gone for the day and I would have to come back another time if I wanted to see the car.

Today, I went back to the salvage yard in search of that Cougar. I walked in and found one of Dan's sons behind the desk.  I told him that I had been here before and asked if I could see the Cougar.  He talked to his dad and they started asking what I wanted.  I told them nothing specific, but just wanted to see if there was anything on or around the car that I could use. Finally, they relented and had one of the old guys that worked there take me back to the car.  This guy was dressed in a dark blue automotive type work outfit with a scraggly beard and hair and horned rimmed glasses.  He unlocked the gate to the back part of the yard and he got in the car and we drove back down a slightly rocked road.  On either side of the road still buried in the trees were cars from the past.  I saw a 1967 Thunderbird, some old Chevy and Ford trucks, a 1964 Chevrolet wagon, a late 1950's Ford, a whole row of Corvairs, and many more classics. I always find these trips fun and sad at the same time. All of these cars have stories and reasons why they are there. These hulks just rotting out there could either be put back on the road or save other cars that need to be saved. They just need the right person to come along.

All the way in the back of the yard next to a mid 1950's Cadillac sat a 1968 Mercury Cougar (VIN# 8F91F507828). This car is red in color and is basically a shell. There is no engine or transmission, no interior, no dash, no driver side front fender, no front end in front of the radiator support, and no trunk lid.  I could not get the data off the door tag since that was long gone. The windshield was still intact, but the back glass had been broken out. There were many miscellaneous parts lying around inside the car. I found blue parts, yellow parts but the car I was looking at was red. There was a white passenger side front fender on the car as well as a blue hood sitting over the empty engine compartment. Later, Dan told me that at one time had several early Cougars, but most were sent to the crusher or bought. He said that they have always piled miscellaneous pieces of the cars inside the same make and model car.

I did find some salvageable parts to buy lying around inside the car and the trunk. I found a bumper guard, headlight trim ring, driver side quarter glass assembly, headlight panel (2), and passenger side dash panel. I asked the old guy if they would sell me these parts and he said yes.  We loaded up what I had found and headed back to the front of the yard.  I asked the old guy how long he had been working there and he replied, "Since 1971."  He's been working there longer than I've been alive! 

We got back to the front and I talked to Dan.  I showed him the parts that I found and asked him how much he would charge.  He told me that I could have everything for $50 + tax. I could have had a rear bumper for $35 too, but figured that I didn't really need it at this point.  I asked if they would sell the entire shell as well. He said that it depended on if I needed a title. He said that they had lost many titles in the fire and it was a hassle to apply for a burned title. They would sell it if I didn't need a title. He also mentioned that another guy would come by periodically to look at the car and scavenge some parts. He had asked them not to crush it just in case. I noted this and I paid, we said our goodbyes and I went on my way.

Maybe you can find some hard to find parts for your classic vehicle at:

Dan's Auto Body & Towing
10201 State Route 177
Mascoutah, IL 62258

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Work Has Started On The Safety Items Checklist

I had needed to take back the body seals for the back up lights to the Mustang Corral for a couple of weeks now, but just never found the time.  See this previous post for details. On Saturday we were out running some errands and we agreed this is something we could mark off the to do list.

After getting some doughnuts for breakfast and a couple of other stops we headed to the Mustang Corral in Edwardsville.  I knew that I could not exchange these body seals for cash back so I was either going to find something  or just get some store credit.  One of the owners, Tim, helped me.  He is always very nice, in a good mood, and at work on some project or another.  I started to look around and one of the first things I saw was the battery hold down clamp kit for 67-70 Mustang.  I bought the the battery hold down clamp (PN C5AZ10718A), two J bolts (PN D0AZ10756A), and mounting nuts for $15.85 minus my credit.

Later, I checked the West Coast Classic Cougars site and found they were selling for $11.00, but I would have had to ship it here so that would have made up the extra cost that I paid today.  I am going to try to keep buying what I need from the Mustang Corral until the parts become only specific for the Cougar. I can get the parts I need as I need them while supporting a local business. Then, I can order what I still need from my list from West Coast Classic Cougars.

Before I install this kit, however, I have to replace and relocate the makeshift radiator overflow that a previous owner  installed. He used plastic water bottle and zip tied it to the radiator support and wedged it between the battery and the radiator support.  Therefore, the battery does not completely sit flush with the tray.  *SIGH*  Just another car guy not taking the time to do something right...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cougar Safety Item To Do Checklist

After I installed the backup lights (see previous post) Mary came home from the Strange Folk Festival. Right about then Elsie got up from her nap and we all went to dinner. After dinner I made a pit stop at Auto Zone to get some amber bulbs for the front parking lights on the Cougar (PN 1157A).  The store was out of the normal packages of two bulbs, but the clerk ended up selling me a box of 10 for commercial accounts for $1 more than I would have spent if I bought two.  His reasoning was that it was better to make a sale rather than none at all. NICE! Now I have some in reserve for my emergency kit.

After we put Elsie to bed I installed the light bulbs for the parking lights. This was easier said than done. The parking light housings are a little worn and I needed to spray some WD-40 to get them moving again. I finally got both of the lights in after much pushing and twisting and a few choice obscenities. Unlike the backup light project this bulb replacement yielded great results!  Both of the bulbs worked as they should. When I pulled the switch on the dash out partially the parking lights came on. When I pulled the switch out all the way the parking lights went off. Good so far.  Then I tested the turn signals. Both bulbs also blinked when I turned the turn signal switch left and right. This is an exciting development because now the other drivers in front of me will know when I am turning left and right again!  Sometimes little victories are just as sweet as the big victories.

Along with my thoughts about the emergency kit is to focus on the safety features of the Cougar rather than aesthetics first. This would include getting all the lights to function as they should, making sure that I can change a tire if the need should arise, and make the windshield wiper system function as it should.  A secondary issue with the ride and steer ability.  The shocks that I bought a while back need to be installed and a front and rear sway bar should help in controlling the car through corners.

Parts Needed
Replace driver side exterior mirror - $124.95 (Mustangs Unlimited) - $122.85 (WCCC)
Replace tinted windshield - $199.95 (Mustangs Unlimited)
Replace turn signal switch in steering column - $79.95 (Mustangs Unlimited) $84.75 (WCCC)
Replace windshield wiper blades - $9.95 each (Mustangs Unlimited) $17.00 each (WCCC)
Replace front sway bar - $99.00 (Mustang Corral)

Replace scissors jack - $135.00 (WCCC)
Replace lug wrench - $ ?
Replace spare tire -
Install Door Jamb courtesy light switch passenger side door - $4.85 (WCCC)
Install windshield wiper motor - $104.96 (Mustangs Unlimited)
Install windshield wiper reservoir - $34.95 (Mustangs Unlimited) $23.85 (WCCC)
Install windshield wiper lines - $5.95 (Mustangs Unlimited) $6.85 (WCCC)
Install taillight wiring protectors - $29.95/pair (Mustangs Unlimited) $23.85 (WCCC)
Install fan shroud - $49.95 (Mustangs Unlimited) $48.85 (WCCC)
Install horn - $99.00 (Year One) - $27.85 (WCCC)
Install Battery Hold-down Clamp Kit - $11.00 (WCCC)
Install radiator overflow - $ ?
Install rear sway bar - $99.00 (Mustang Corral)

To Do:
Install KYB gas shocks - previously purchased
Aim headlights - no cost
Flush radiator

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Back Up Lights

This is the classic tale of going to buy something cheap and ending up spending more than you planned. Today, I stopped by the Mustang Corral in Edwardsville between events. I was going there to buy two 1142 bulbs for the Cougar's backup lights. While I was there I thought about the condition of the current back up light housings that were on the car (pitted) and wondered if there was something wrong with the connections rather than just the bulbs.  I asked if they had the backup light housings in stock and they did so I decided to buy those too for $39.99/each.

After I left the Mustang Corral, I went to my parent's house to pick up Elsie and then to O'Fallon to the Strange Folk Festival where Mary was selling some items with a couple of friends, Tasha and Elizabeth who had a booth. Here's a link to their craftylicious items: Tasha and Elizabeth.  Not long after I arrived the storm clouds were brewing and we hurried up and put up tarps around the tent and braced for the rain. We stayed dry (thanks Beth for the Girl Scout level of preparedness was appreciated) and after the rain let up I scooped up Elsie and headed for my waterlogged Cougar.  Not knowing exactly what to expect, the interior stayed surprisingly dry and I was pleasantly surprised with the way the car performed in the rain. I kept my distance from the other cars and I think I only spun the tires once after starting from a red light. The windshield wipers don't always wipe exactly parallel all the time, but they worked well enough to get me home.

After I got back home from the festival I put Elsie down for a much needed nap and I went outside to wipe the rain off the car.  While I was outside I thought I would jack up the car and look to see how they are attached. The back up lights are only attached by two screws built into the housing that push through the lower rear valance and are attached by a washer, lock washer and small nut. The lights are connected to the electrical system with a plug so there is no wiring involved in the disassembly or assembly.

Both of the of the backup light housings came out very easily.  A problem came up when I was checking the fit of the new parts where the old ones had been. When I went to reinstall the new back up light housings I had to reuse the existing rubber body seals instead of the new ones that I purchased.  These body seals sit between the chrome plated housing and the painted valance below the rear bumper to keep from scratching the paint and keep water out and prohibit rust around the hole in the valance. The original rubber seals are oval shaped, but the new seals are more circular and did not fit easily.  I would have had to cut the new ones to fit and I did not want to do that. If they still didn't fit then I could not return them. So with the housings reinstalled, I inserted the light bulbs, reattached the clear plastic lenses  and plugged the wires into the electrical system.

Now it was time to test out the new lights.  I got in the car and turned the key to the on position, but did not start the car. I pulled the gear shift into reverse and got out to check the lights.


Grrrr! I didn't have much time to diagnose because Mary had called after I got the first one reinstalled and said she was on her way home.  However, it could be a fuse or it could be a connection at the transmission or  something hidden in the wiring.

This was a frustrating ending to a seemingly simple project, but hopefully it is easy to remedy the problem.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What to do in an emergency?

A couple of days ago I was driving in my daily driver 2001 Honda Accord.  Per my previous post here you may remember I had just had some work done to it at the dealer last Friday. I was driving and I had Elsie in the car travelling to the babysitter's when I noticed a noise in the front end of the vehicle. Initially I thought this was a road noise due to the pavement, but then I noticed that the noise increased when I let off the accelerator and diminished when I accelerated.  Finally, I decided to pull over and check this out.  Instictively I opened the trunk and went for my lug wrench and I'm glad that I did.  I checked the lug nuts on both front tires and three lug nuts were very loose and I could move them easily with my fingers. However, all of the lugnuts on both tires were loose to some degree. I proceeded to tighten all of the lugnuts on the front wheels and checked the back wheels and continued on about my route. 

During the day I thought how lucky I was that I had not lost any of the lugnuts before I tightened them up! After work I filled up on gas and checked the lugnuts again on the front tires and snugged them up.  Now to drive the 35 miles home.

This experience got me to thinking about having an emergency kit for the Cougar. An emergency kit can be an essential tool for any vehicle including a classic car. Whether you're taking a relaxed trip to the country or a longer trip to a classic car show, it is always best to be prepared ahead of time. If you have the right stuff in your auto emergency kit it could often mean less time stranded and more time on the road and having fun.

Having driven old cars while I was in high school I understand that sometimes you're going to have an unexpected problem.  I have an extra tool box that I won a couple of years ago that I could use. So I began wondering what should the emergency kit include?

  • Your classic car insurance company details.
  • Tools for minor car repairs including flat head and Phillips screwdrivers, vice grips, adjustable wrench, pliers, pocketknife, or a multipurpose tool containing many tools in one. Other items that can come in handy during a roadside emergency include oil, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, rags or paper towels, duct tape, and an ice scraper.
  • A spare tire, vehicle jack, tire pressure gauge, and lug wrench. Another handy item to have available is a bottled tire inflator. If the tire is not completely flat, you may be able to inflate the tire enough to get to a service station.
  • Jumper cables
  • First aid kit containing basics gauze, bandages, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, scissors, instant ice pack, instant heat compress, and aspirin or other pain reliever.
  • A blanket.
  • A bottle of water.
  • Food such as Granola or energy bars.
  • A flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Emergency flares.
  • Pen and paper.
  • A help sign to place in the window for passing vehicles to see in case you are stranded inside your classic car.
  • Replacement light bulbs - 1157, 1142, 1157A, etc.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rain Out

On Saturday, my wife, daughter, and I made our monthly visit to the Belleville Flea Market. The weather was nice and we enjoyed walking around the booths outside and inside. Mary found a couple of old tablecloths and we bought some coffee for her dad.  I found the one seller that I like who has old paper related ephemera for sale: magazines,advertisements, books, road maps, etc.  Since I received a copy of the October 1966 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine when I bought the 1967 Cougar (see story here) I have wanted to see the other similar issues from the 1960's. As I posted before here, this issue was the yearly new car issue put out by the magazine that gave details about the new cars coming out that fall. So, I decided that each time we are at the flea market I would look for more of these issues from other years. I have also found that Popular Science also put out a similar issue each October to compete with Popular Mechanics.

This time I found the following issues for $1 each:

Popular Science - October 1966

Popular Mechanics - October 1967

Also, I couldn't pass up this issue with the rear engine dragster on the cover that posed the question: Are Drag Racers Really Crazy?

Popular Science - December 1963

About 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon I started to clean up the Cougar for the car show at Culver's in Collinsville.  I washed the car, vacuumed the interior, cleaned the windows and treated the tires. We loaded up about 5:30 p.m. and headed out.  I was going to park in the grass like I did the last time, but my dad had saved us a spot next to his car.  We hadn't eaten dinner yet so we went inside to have some dinner with my mom in tow and my dad stayed out by the cars.  We ate and had some ice cream and headed back outside.  When we walked outside we could feel that there was a slight mist falling.  We got back to where the cars were parked and I decided that if I was going to see anything that I better start walking around now because most guys would start leaving soon. My hunch was right.  The rain kept falling and the cars started leaving.  Some cars were ones that I see quite often because these are the guys that are in my dad's car club, including a 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator owned by the current President of the club. However, I find it interesting that each time I go to one of these shows I see some cars I've never seen before.  This time there were not one, but two DeTamaso Panteras at this show!  I also saw a couple of cool rat rod trucks and a 1954 or 1955 Oldsmobile with a very early 60's style gold and white paint job.  There was a very original looking 1930 Ford Model A sedan and there are always quite a few Mopars in attendance.  One couple made a brochure for 1968 Plymouth Barracuda which I thought was a good idea.  I think I might do one for the Cougar one of these days. When I have time...

When I got back to the cars my daughter was having a good time trying to hold the umbrella that my parents got out. We waited it out another few minutes and decided that it was time to go.  It was raining and it was getting dark. There will be another time as there are no make up dates for car shows.

Friday, September 18, 2009

With The Accord In The Shop, I'm Driving The Cougar To Work

I drove the Cougar to work again today.

My daily driver, a 2001 Honda Accord Coupe with over 180,500 miles, is at the dealer today for an air bag recall and an oil change.  That car also needs a run channel for the driver's side window and the timing belt, but those bigger ticket items (read: expensive) will have to wait.

When I left the house this morning about 6:30 a.m., the temperature was only about 55 degrees outside.  I dropped off Elsie at my in-laws house and headed out to work. I made a beeline for the gas station after that. Since the gas gauge is not working I had no idea how much I had left and knew I had driven enough that the tank had to be low.  As I was filling up a guy pulled up in a truck from utility company and just said, "Nice!" I replied with a "thank you" and he went on about his day.  That always makes you feel good...

After 11.9 gallons of gas and nearly $30 later I was on my way again. Once I got up to speed on the Interstate I realized what Mary was talking about the other night when we got some ice cream.  The fresh air blowing into the cabin through the hole under the passenger side dash was cold!  Brrrr!  This is where the heater assembly was removed by a previous owner for some unknown reason. I realized right then and there that this issue would need to be rectified before I took this car on any kind of long road trip.

The Cougar made it to work without incident. The Honda dealer called me about 10:15 a.m. to advise that my car was ready. The recall, oil change, and emblem were only going to cost me about $50. Nice!

Tomorrow, I am going to try to go to the show at Culver's in Collinsville hosted by the Lakers Car Club. I need to give the Cougar a bath and get it ready to go.  I don't think that I will be able to make the Ford show over in Crestwood, but maybe can drive by at some point.

SEPTEMBER 19th ~ SATURDAY ~ CULVER'S BUTTERBURGERS & FROZEN CUSTARD RESTAURANT CAR CRUISE ~ 6pm till 9pm, on the 3rd SATURDAY of each month, MAY thru OCTOBER ~ hosted by The LAKER'S CAR CLUB ~ Dash Plaques 1st 100 participants ~ Invite your Friends and Family ~ 50's 60's D.J Music ~ 50/50 Drawing ~ Attendance Prizes ~ info: (618) 344-8780 ~ Exit #11 from I-55/70 and then North on Hwy 157 (North Bluff Rd) to 100 United Drive, 3 blocks on left ~ Our next Cruise will be our Halloween Party Cruise! ~ COLLINSVILLE, IL

SEP 19 SAT ~ 22nd Show-Me Mustang Club: Mustang & All Ford Show ~ register 8am until 4pm ~ Dash Plaques 1st 150 participants ~ $20 entry fee ~ info: (636) 561-8976 or (636) 916-3696 ~ held at new location... Crestwood Court, 109 Crestwood Plaza ~ ST. LOUIS, MO

Good start to a great weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Junkyard Crawl

Back on September 4th, I went to lunch with my friend Tim.  I was driving my Cougar and along the way I thought I spotted a Cougar at an auto sales place between my work and the restaurant.  I didn't have enough time that day to stop and so I told myself that I should stop and check it out when I had time. I belong to a Classic Cougars group on

Today, over lunch, I went down to see if the car was still sitting there. As I pulled up to Wilson Towing 2605 South Old Highway 141, Fenton, MO - (636) 349-3228 corner of Route 21 (Tesson Ferry Rd) and Hwy 141 in St. Louis County I didn't see the car, but as I pulled into the lot I finally saw it. A 1969 Cougar convertible.

This is an auto sales/salvage yard place and I talked to the owner. I asked him how he was and he told me terrible. He said he had been robbed. I thought he was joking, but then he went into a story about how his lot had been broken into and thieves had stolen some parts from some cars.  Then, he mistook me for someone that had called earlier and was coming to look at a car. I advised that was not me and I proceeded to explain my intentions of looking at this 1969 Mercury Cougar and just getting the VIN, but he said that he got the car from a school and should have been scrapped years ago. He didn't want to get into any trouble.

The Cougar was in pretty sad shape, but still had some salvagable parts. This auto sales place was really "down by the river" and the owner told me the lot had been flooded in the spring. The convertible top was almost gone, but I did notice that it had a University of Kansas sticker on the back window. The guy told me he had sold the console & the rear axle. He said that thieves had stolen some XR7 emblems off the car. We raised the hood and the engine and transmission (automatic) was still in the car and looked like a 2 bbl. Door on passenger side was crumpled in. I think this was originally a St. Louis car because there was a sticker from Sunset Ford (Since 1912) on the rear decklid and that dealer is still in business and only a few miles away. Car was painted medium lime metallic and looked like it had a black interior. This one will likely end up as scrap one of these days.

After talking about the Cougar I thought that I would stall after I spotted some late 1960's and early 1970's Chevrolet trucks across the lot. I have a soft spot for these because my first vehicle was a 1971 Chevrolet Cheyenne pick up truck. I went to look at these trucks and he followed me over.  He said that one of the trucks was bought by his father new, but all three trucks were now in pretty bad shape. I was hoping he would leave me alone so I could get the VIN off the Cougar, but he kept talking to me. 

After looking at an old late 1960's Chrysler I told him I had to get back to work. We parted ways and he went back to work on something behind some large trucks he had parked there. I quickly went over to the Cougar and I was able to see the VIN number plate on the partially cracked driver door. I was able to get this VIN off the door, but I could not get the door open to get the data plate info. I also could not see a VIN on the passenger side dash. The VIN on the door was 9F91H585255. I came back to the office and after I looked up what I had on the Classic Cougar Network site, I posted the information that I had to the group.

I received a post in reply from Jim Pinkerton who said, "Something rotten in Denmark here. In May, 2003, from Kansas City, MO someone has reported 9F91H585255 / 65A-S-1A-25F-42-6-X Somehow or other I suspect you may have made a mistake somewhere in the vin number."

I replied that I did write down 9F91H585255 on my piece of paper without thinking about what the 91 meant (Standard Hardtop) until I looked it up back at the office. When I got back I questioned myself and thought I had made a mistake and it was 9F94H585255. The code was hard to see through the crack in the door, I checked it a couple of times, but didn't want the guy to see me and left. However,  the car was with out a doubt a convertible. Now it has me thinking that the door has been changed sometime over the years. The data plate should read 76A or 76B if the car was a convertible instead of 65A.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Really?!? A 2010 Mercury Cougar?

I stumbled upon an entry for a 2010 Mercury Cougar here and I got really excited. The only text was the options and features listed below.  I didn't know if this was real or not so I did some quick searching and found that the image above is likely a prototype from the Detroit International Auto Show or something similar and the pictures below are photoshopped. The nail in the coffin was that I didn't find anything at the Mercury website. I don't know why I got excited in the first place because my first gut instinct was skepticism. In this day and age of new car debuts I would have heard about this development already. Nothing is secret any more. Grrrrr - (no pun intended) - I really liked the car pictured above too...


2.0L displacement double overhead cam (DOHC)
inline 4 cylinder configuration gas engine
16 valves 125 hp @ 5500 rpm
130 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm regular unleaded fuel

5-speed manual transmission front wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension front and rear stabilizer bar

Exterior Features
alloy rims 15 in. rims, P205/60R15 tires all season tires, spacesaver spare tire steel spare wheel, variable intermittent wipers rear defogger, rear window wiper

Safety Features and Ratings
ventilated front disc / rear drum brakes child seat anchors
2 front headrests engine immobilizer

Comfort and Convenience Features
Front Seats
4 person total seating capacity bucket front seats
cloth upholstery height adjustable driver seat
Rear Seats
bucket rear seat split-folding, rear heating ducts

Power Features
power door locks power windows, 1 one-touch power windows power mirrors, heated mirrors

cruise control power steering, tilt-adjustable steering wheel remote trunk release, front door pockets front console with storage

air conditioning interior air filtration, dual vanity mirrors front floor mats, cargo area light

In Car Entertainment
AM/FM in-dash single CD player stereo 4 total speakers
mast antenna

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Scream! You Scream! We all scream for Ice Cream!

Tonight my wife, daughter and I took the Cougar to get some ice cream after dinner. I had not driven the car in over a week and even though the car was dusty from sitting in the garage we loaded up and went to Annie's Frozen Custard in Edwardsville. When we left the temperature was only 71 degrees so it was a nice night for a quick spin and some frozen goodness.

While driving through Glen Carbon we got a thumbs up from a guy in a Mercury Grand Marquis and another guy in a 1965 or 1966 Ford Mustang. It was nice to see someone else out cruising around in their classic car.

We parked and I went to the window and ordered my wife a concrete with Reese's Peanut Butter cups and banana and ordered myself a Cherry cordial concrete. My wife shared hers with our daughter and we ate in the car.

On the way home my wife wanted to see a house that one of her co-workers just bought in Edwardsville. We drove by and it looked like it was in nice shape. Maybe someday we'll buy an old house...

My wife was a little cold as I headed out of town past the old high school on part of Historic Route 66. The hole under the dash where the heater system used to be lets a lot of fresh air in the cabin. I rolled up my window a little, but I'm sure it was not too much help. Another item for the to do list.

Then I drove by the Robert Stille Township Park (or the Airplane Park to the locals) so my daughter could see the airplane that is on display from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pennsacola, Florida. She loves to point out the airplane when we drive by after we took her to the park to see it up close about three months ago. Even though it was dark at this point she still pointed out the plane.

Daughter and Dad at the "Airplane Park" in July 2009
After we got home I parked the Cougar back in its assigned parking spot in the garage and we put the little one to bed. A nice evening.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Friday

I drove the Cougar to work this morning. The weather is beautiful outside and it's the Friday before Labor Day weekend. I had the window down and the vent window open as I was driving down the interstate. As The Beach Boys put it, "I had the radio blastin' and I'm crusin' just as fast as I can now."

I'm having lunch with my friend Tim today and he has not seen the car yet. I'm sure that I'll get some good stories at lunch; maybe even one or two I can publish here. Speaking of posting I had some thoughts on some posts for this page while I was on the way to work this morning. So I need to start working on those so I don't forget.

The monthly car show hosted by the Lakers Car Club is in Lebanon, IL tomorrow night. I haven't taken the Cougar to that show yet so maybe I can give the car a quick wash and head out there for a couple of hours tomorrow evening.

Let's start the Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Everyone wants a Mercury Cougar!

Today, I called my insurance agent's office to get the insurance taken off the 1968 Mercury Cougar that I just sold. I didn't realize that I hadn't done this until my wife had already paid the bill and was giving me the new insurance card that came in the mail. DOH!

As I was speaking to the woman who was helping me she asked if it would be too personal to ask me how much I sold the car for. I told her and then she said that she had been looking for a classic Mercury Cougar or a 1960's Chevrolet Chevelle. She asked for my advice where she could find one. She said that she had searched on Craigslist, but would not give as much money for most of the cars that are listed there. I advised that she should look at some of the classic car dealers like Country Classic Cars, Gateway Classic Cars, and Fast Lane Classic Cars.

The only thing that was disconcerting was the fact that she felt that the Mercury Cougar was more of a ladies car and the Chevelle was more of a man's car. I should have reminded her of the marketing that Lincoln-Mercury did back in 1967!

Mercury...A Man's Car.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

We're going apple picking with the Cougar!

My wife and I took our daughter and the 1967 Cougar followed by our friends and their kids to Eckert's yesterday to pick apples and eat at the restaurant.

The weather was beautiful! We could not have randomly chosen a better day: Sunny and in the 70's with some slight winds. We packed our daughter's diaper bag, cooler bag, a small stroller (because that's all that fits in the trunk), sunglasses, and ourselves in the the Cougar and headed out!

We headed out about 4 p.m. to meet our friends at their house. We headed South to the farm with our friends following behind. When we arrived it was not too busy, but I still made sure to park away from all the other cars. We made a beeline for the pick up point for the wagons because they stopped taking people to the orchards at 6 p.m. The kids enjoyed the wagon ride pulled by the tractor.
After picking apples in the orchard we went to the country store and then the restaurant. We found some yummy treats at the store and filled up on food at the restaurant. My daughter acted out by throwing part of her grilled cheese sandwich on the floor, but overall she was good most of the trip. We were going home with a bag of honey crisp apples, some pictures, full bellies, and plenty of smiles!

As we headed home about sunset, I had to lift the eyelids on the headlights by hand so we could see on the way home. The Cougar performed perfectly and drove great the whole trip. The ride home was very nice with the windows down and the vent windows open. Without air conditioning, I think we will be enjoying the Fall weather, but the fact that there is no heater will be a problem at some point. We plan to go back in a few weeks to find some pumpkins!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On The Road Again!

I took the day off from work today to get my 1967 Mercury Cougar back on the road for the end of the summer and the last couple of months of the car show season.

Yesterday, I scheduled an appointment at Patterson Tire and Service Center for 9:00 a.m. where I had two new tires installed last month (see previous post). With the odometer reading 52,882, I arrived at Patterson Tire and Service Center just before 9 a.m. and they got the Cougar in about 9:30 a.m. As I waited, they worked on the alignment and eventually took the car for a test drive when completed. Brian advised after the test drive that the car still pulled slightly to the left - likely due to a brake caliper sticking, but also advised that the numbers on the alignment looked very good. That made me happy since last weekend I had a done the necessary work myself.

I decided to drive the Cougar the rest of the day and eventually put nearly 100 miles "testing" it out. I drove out near Lambert Airport to Grand America Jukebox and see the proprietor, Jeff Statler, to check on the progress of the work on our 1962 AMi Continental II jukebox that we bought back in February. As an aside, that project is going well except for a problem with some amplifier issues. Hopefully it's done soon because we're ready to start rocking!

Then, I drove into the city to have lunch with my wife at Pappy's Smokehouse. Mmmmm! We spoke to the owner a couple of times and he was very nice! The staff was very friendly and I am already ready for a return visit! I wish this place was closer to where I worked so I could eat there more often. Thanks for a fun lunch sweetie!

After we got back to my wife's work we showed off the Cougar to a couple of her co-workers, Paul and Nathan. Paul advised that it would be cool if I could get the lids on the headlights to wink at girls. Funny... but, somehow I don't think I'll be working on that project anytime soon. I drove back home and finally, I drove to pick up my daughter at the babysitters' house and returned home.

The Cougar drove admirably without issue and I was very happy. I am starting to think that the Cougar is almost ready for a road trip.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday Morning in the Garage

I was up early yesterday to work on the Cougar. I woke up about 6:45 a.m. excited to get to work and got myself and Elsie ready to go to my parents house for the morning. I took the Cougar to my dad's house since he has a lift in his garage and we can get the car completely in the air!

When I arrived my dad already had the garage open and ready to go and so I got Elsie in the house. My dad guided me into the garage so I was lined up to put the Cougar on the lift. The hydraulics started to lift the Cougar into the air and we were ready to start.

We started by assessing what tools we would need for this project. I got the new idler arm out of the package and held it up to the existing one on the car. The new idler arm by Scott Drake Enterprises is an enclosed system and contains two zerk fittings for grease whereas the old one is two separate pieces and has no zerk fittings. We installed the zerk fittings to the new idler arm and it was ready to install.

Above: The new idler arm installed

To start the idler arm replacement I took off the passenger side front tire to get better access to the bolts that attach the idler arm to the sub-frame. My dad used the impact wrench while I held pressure with a box end wrench on the nuts on the inside of the frame. The nuts came off rather easily even though it seems as if the old idler arm had been on the car for quite some time. My dad pried the cotter key from the castle nut and we took off the castle nut and removed the old idler arm. We reversed this process to install the new idler arm and I greased the zerk fittings on the idler arm and the fittings on the ball joints. After we were done with this replacement, I advised that I thought this was one of the easiest projects I had ever performed on a car!

My dad was less sure of replacing the export brace as he was about the idler arm. My dad is a longtime Chevrolet enthusiast and these Ford, Lincoln, Mercury cars are a bit different than what he is used to seeing. I advised that the export brace is the other crucial piece to get on the car before I get an alignment because it keeps the shock towers from moving and will keep the front end tight and the car will have a truer alignment.

Above: Middle of the export brace at the firewall

If I was just replacing the existing two piece braces this project would be a snap. Four bolts on each one - two bolts at the firewall and two bolts on the shock towers - on and off and you're done. However, the one piece export brace requires that the bolts for the shocks be removed and the shock caps be removed so you can get the export brace over the bolts and then replace the shock caps and tighten all the nuts back down. As these older Fords age the shock towers can sag inward toward the middle of the car.

I called and spoke to Shawn Harville at Mustang Corral again. He has been very nice about giving advice on working on this project when I was researching what I needed and prices. They also work on vehicles at Mustang Corral and he doesn't have to be as forthcoming about giving out free advice and information on projects, but I'm glad that he is this helpful. Shawn reminded me about getting the car up in the air and then putting jack stand under the control arms to help spread the shock towers apart to get the export brace on the nuts. He also said that loosening the fender bolts would help get the brace on if I was having trouble getting it over the bolts.

Above: The shock cap on top of the new export brace

I recounted this conversation with Shawn to my dad and he asked me what I wanted to do next. I advised that if we got into the replacement and something was not going right then we could put it back the way it was before. He agreed and we went to work. Again this installation was no problem. The jack stands did their job by spreading the shock towers. We had to use some screwdrivers and a pry bar to get the brace into place, but after some pushing and pulling it was no big issue. We put all the nuts and bolts back on and the export brace project was finished too!

Above: the engine compartment with the new export brace

After we were done, my dad and I put all of the tools away. We spent a little while bench racing about some of the things I want to do to the car and he tested a spot with wax on the rear fender. Finally, I was ready to head back home with Elsie so we could have a late lunch with Mary.

Now the Cougar is ready to get an alignment!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Letter to Georgia and reply

Here was the e-mail that I sent to the Georgia Department of Driver Services on 8/20/09:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am the current owner of a 1967 Mercury Cougar that was originally purchased and titled in the State of Georgia. I have copies of registration paperwork from 1968 to 1994, but some years are missing. I am wondering if it is possible to obtain copies of other years of this paperwork as I have noted that the forms from 1993 and 1994 have the mileage listed on the registration. I am also wondering if I could obtain any information from when the vehicle was retitled after being sold from one owner to the other.

Please let me know if any of this information would be available and what information you would need from me to do a search. On the registration copies I have the VIN number, GA title numbers, license plate numbers, etc.

Thank you in advance for your time,

S. C. A.

Here is the reply I received on 8/21/09:

Dear S:

Georgia has 5 year retention on vehicle records, so those documents are unavailable.

Vicki / Help Desk Admin Unit / Motor Vehicle Division

Oh was worth a try.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Are you kidding me?!? Look what I found!

Last night, I decided to look through the paperwork that I received from the previous owner of the Cougar. I had briefly looked at some of this in the past, but I decided to give it a little closer look. I found receipts from an engine rebuild in the Fall of 2003, but the motor listed is a 1979 Ford 302 cubic inch V8. The original motor that came with the Cougar was a 289 cubic inch V8. I believe that motor to be the one that came with the sale and is currently located in my dad's garage. I also found a receipt from John's Classic Cougars for upholstery for the front bucket seats from Spring 2004. The other paperwork is mostly instructions for things that have been added to the vehicle: Lakewood Traction Bars, carburetor, coil, intake manifold, aftermarket stereo, and instructions from The Classic Cougar Network on sequential taillights and the vacuum system for the headlights.

Then, I went back to the owners manual and Georgia registration paperwork that I received. The Cougar was originally bought by L. B. Humphries of Dunwoody, GA on April 7, 1967. According to the paperwork it was later titled on September 9, 1974 and registered to Mrs. Bessie M. Humphries, likely the widow of the original owner since the address was the same. There is a receipt from August 6, 1974 for an oil change and suspension work done to the Cougar with the mileage listed as 33,548.

On April 27, 1978, the vehicle was sold by Mrs. Bessie M. Humphries to Lawson E. Brown of Atlanta, GA. There is registration paperwork dating from each year from 1979-1986 and then 1992-1994. A couple of years in the early 1980's the birth date of the owner is listed on the registration paperwork and Mr. Brown was born April 26, 1914. He would have been 64 years old when he bought the Cougar in 1978. Then I found a really great piece of information. In 1993 and 1994 the mileage was listed on the registration! In 1993, the Cougar's mileage was listed as 50,563.8 and in 1994 the mileage was listed as 50,590.4. Mr. Brown only drove the vehicle 27 miles in one year! What a find!

On December 4, 1994, James R. Greene, Jr. bought the vehicle from Mr. Brown. I found this purchase date on a copy of the Illinois title when Mr. Greene sold the car to the Dustin Coleman, the gentleman I purchased the vehicle from this year. Mr. Greene must have pulled the original engine for the later model 302 in 2003 because I have the receipts for the engine rebuild from that year. Mr. Greene must have moved from Georgia to Illinois sometime between 2003 and 2008 because the invoice is from a machine shop in Georgia and lists a discount for employees of Delta Airlines, Hartsfield Airport, Atlanta, GA.

When I bought the vehicle from Mr. Coleman in April 2009, the mileage was 52,053! He told me that he only owned the vehicle for 15 months and admitted that it was in storage much of that time due to building a new house. So, now I am starting to believe that this is the original mileage on the vehicle and the odometer has not turned over and hit 100,000 miles. I really need to talk to Mr. James Green to have him fill in some of the missing history that I need.

List of owners of this 1967 Mercury Cougar:

  1. L. B. Humphries & Mrs. Bessie M. Humphries - April 7, 1967- April 27, 1978

  2. Lawson E. Brown - April 27, 1978- December 4, 1994

  3. James R. Greene, Jr. - December 4, 1994 - January, 14, 2008

  4. Dustin Coleman - January 14, 2008- April 18, 2009

  5. myself - April 18, 2009-present

I am sending an e-mail to the Georgia Department of Driver Services to see if they have any registration history that could be helpful. I think that I will also try to do some genealogy on the first two owners of the car.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

1960's Advertising Still Works

This advertisement from the Ford Motor Company makes me want to buy a Mercury Cougar XR7 to go with my 1967 Mercury Cougar standard hardtop. Very sophisticated!

Jump to You Tube here or watch video below

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting the Cat back on the road

Today, I had an unexpected day off.

Mary came home sick from work yesterday and stayed home from work today too. Elsie had a fever last night and sort of had a rough night, but seems better today besides a runny nose. However, I'm sure that not many people are reading this wondering about the health of my family so back to my point.

With the sale of the 1968 Cougar over the weekend I had some money burning a hole in my pocket and the 1967 Cougar was begging for some attention and repairs to get her on the road again. If I wanted to hit any car shows this Fall I had better start working. So, last night and this morning I was refining my to-do list and doing some parts price comparing on-line.

This afternoon, I headed to Mustang Corral and purchased the Idler Arm, Export Brace, a set of four KYB Gas-A-Just Shocks and two Ford key blanks. In an earlier post I mentioned that I had priced these two pieces at Mustang Corral in Edwardsville and they quoted me $69.99 for an idler arm replacement (PN C7ZZ-3350-BR) from Scott Drake Enterprises and the export brace (PN C5ZZ-16A052-E is $49.99 for a one piece replacement painted black. I had also noted that Mustang Corral was selling the set of four KYB shocks were $169.99. However, while price comparing I had found that Mustangs Unlimited was selling the same shocks for $129.99. While I was buying the other items I casually asked if they matched prices from other vendors. The co-owner, Tim, asked me the details of what I needed and the vendor. I told him and he checked the book and advised that they could match the Mustangs Unlimited price. This quick exchange saved me $40.00 and shipping and handling charges! I had him throw in the key blankss so I can get a second set cut just in case.

This weekend I plan to take the Cougar to my dad's house and put her on the lift to install the parts. Then I can get an alignment done so I can get her out of the garage again. I plan to take document the process with pictures and words here when I am done.

Four (4) items checked off the parts list - many more to go.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

National Car Show Events - 2010

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 -

Hot Rod Power Tour
Dates - TBA
Route - TBA
Stops - TBA

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. The estimated starting date for 2010 should be approximately June 5, 2010 at Bristo
l Motor Speedway.

Carlisle All-Ford Nationals 16th Annual Event
June 4-6, 2010
Carlisle Faigrounds
Carlisle, PA
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.

Car Craft Summer Nationals
July 2010
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
1880 Como Ave.
St. Paul, MN
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, a dyno contest (a meausrement to see which car makes the most horsepower) and a burnout contest featuring smoking tires and the smell of burning rubber. There is 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.

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.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Car Shows - Fall 2009

Here are some car shows that you might see me at this fall. I will not be able to attend all of these shows. If I make it to half of them that would be a lot, but just some that caught my eye. Click on the date to see a flyer for the show. Thanks to the Laker's Car Club for the listing of area shows.

AUG 22 SAT ~ Benefit Car & Motorcycle Show GENE'S AUTO BODY - register 10am until Noon ~ $15 Show, $5 Display ~ Dash Plaques 1st 50 Participants ~ CASH PRIZES! ~ Food ~ Music ~ 50/50 Drawing ~ Benefit for Richie Dooley ~ held at Gene’s Auto Body, 4055 Pontoon Rd ~ PONTOON BEACH, IL

AUG 23 SUN ~ 18th Anniversary Edwardsville Police Benefit D.A.R.E. Car, Truck & Motorcycle Show ~ register 8:30am until 1pm (gates close) ~ Fee $15 Show, $10 Display Dash Plaques ~ Free Professional Photo of your vehicle taken by Photographer, Lt. Scott Evers ~ Food & Refreshments ~ 50/50 Drawing ~ Vendor Booths ~ Silent Auction ~ T-Shirts to match your Dash Plaque & Award Plaques ~ Car Clubs win $100 for Club with most member paid entries ~ held at the Edwardsville High School Sports Complex, 6161 Center Grove Rd ~ EDWARDSVILLE, IL

SEPTEMBER 5th, SATURDAY~ DR. JAZZ SODA FOUNTAIN & GRILLE presents the LEBANON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CAR CRUISE hosted by The LAKER'S CAR CLUB ~ 6pm till 9pm ~Dash Plaques 1st 100 participants ~Invite your Friends and Family ~ 50's 60's D.J. Music ~50/50 Drawing ~Attendance Prizes ~ info: (618) 537-6101 ~ Downtown City "old-time brick roads" blocked off ~Lebanon Exit off I-64 onto Route 4 ~~No Alcohol/No Vehicle burnouts ~LEBANON, IL

SEP 6 SUN ~ Collinsville VFW Post 5691 Car Show ~ register 8:30am till Noon ~ Dash Plaques 1st 125 Entries ~ Judging begins Noon ~ Attendance Prizes all day long ~ 50/50 Drawing ~ Music by D.J. ~ info: (618) 344-7195 or EMAIL ~ located 1234 Vandalia St. ~ COLLINSVILLE, IL

SEP 12 SAT ~ Fat Daddy's Car Cruise ~ hosted by Party Tyme Kruzers ~ 3pm till 9pm ~ Dash Plaque 1st 50 Drivers ~ Washer Tournament ~ $20 entry, 2 man team, Cash Prizes ~ Music ~ Full Menu including Fish, Fried Chicken, Tacos, Burgers, Pizza, BBQ and more! ~ held inside Smithton American Legion, located at 104 N. Main Street ~ SMITHTON, IL

SEP 13 SUN ~ Belleville Gear Jammers Car Show & Cruise Main Street ~ Start 9am and Cruise at 4pm ~ Dash Plaques~ Strictly Fun, No Judging ~ Driver Prizes ~ 50/50 Drawing ~ Valve Cover Races ~ Raffles Cake Walk AND Pig Races! ~ info: (618) 779-4406 or (618) 779-4407 ~ held at Crehan's Irish Pub, 5500 N. Belt West ~ BELLEVILLE, IL

SEPTEMBER 19th ~ SATURDAY ~ CULVER'S BUTTERBURGERS & FROZEN CUSTARD RESTAURANT CAR CRUISE ~ 6pm till 9pm, on the 3rd SATURDAY of each month, MAY thru OCTOBER ~ hosted by The LAKER'S CAR CLUB ~ Dash Plaques 1st 100 participants ~ Invite your Friends and Family ~ 50's 60's D.J Music ~ 50/50 Drawing ~ Attendance Prizes ~ info: (618) 344-8780 ~ Exit #11 from I-55/70 and then North on Hwy 157 (North Bluff Rd) to 100 United Drive, 3 blocks on left ~ Our next Cruise will be our Halloween Party Cruise! ~ COLLINSVILLE, IL

SEP 19 SAT ~ 22nd Show-Me Mustang Club: Mustang & All Ford Show ~ register 8am until 4pm ~ Dash Plaques 1st 150 participants ~ $20 entry fee ~ info: (636) 561-8976 or (636) 916-3696 ~ held at new location... Crestwood Court, 109 Crestwood Plaza ~ ST. LOUIS, MO

SEP 25 FRI ~ 5th Annual Southern Illinois Rt. 66 Road Tour ~ Registration 8am till 9:30am ~ Leaving at 10:00am ~ Dash Plaques to the 1st 150 cars ~ Starting at the Chain of Rocks ~ GRANITE CITY, IL

SEP 25-27 FRI-SUN ~ International Route 66 Mother Road Festival ~ All years, makes, models accepted ~ 40 car classes w/ judging ~ Register at before September 21st for $35 + $3 fee ~ Fri 6pm-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11 am-2pm ~ Music, Cruise (Friday), Poker Run (Saturday), Family Fun Zone, Swap Meet (Saturday), Admission is Free for spectators ~ SPRINGFIELD, IL

SEP 26 SAT ~ ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CRUISE NITE hosted by the PISTON PUSHER'S CLASSIC CAR CLUB ~ 6pm till 9pm ~ Dash Plaques 1st 75 participants ~ Manager Choice Award Attendance Prizes Drawings from 50/50 Tickets ~ 50's and 60's Music provided ~ info: EMAIL or (618) 931-0035 ~ held at Bellemore Village Shopping Center, 3216 Nameoki Rd. ~ GRANITE CITY, IL

SEP 27 SUN ~ "Gateway Chapter of the Falcon Club of America's 16th Annual All Ford*Mercury*Lincoln Fall Car Show & Swap" ~ (rain date October 4, 2009) ~ register 9am until Noon, $17 registration ~ Voting 12:30 – 1:30 ~ Awards 4 p.m. ~ 3 Trophies per class, 25 Classes, Best of Show ~ Free Swap Space ~ Dash Plaques for the 1st 100 participants ~ Attendance Prizes ~ 50/50 Drawings ~ Music DJ ~ Food & Drink ~ info: (636) 677-4670 or ~ EMAIL~ or visit ~ Location: 1st Capital 4WD, 3725 Harry S. Truman Blvd (I-70 to the Cave Springs exit 225) at the corner of Harry S. Truman & Franks Dr.(30min NW of Downtown St. Louis) ~ ST. CHARLES, MO

OCT 3 SAT ~ 'CELEBRATING THE MOTHER ROAD! ~ Route 66 Car, Truck & Motorcycle Show on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge ~ register 9am until 11am ~ $15 includes a Dash Plaque & Goody bag ~ Pre-register and save $5 ~ visit for pre-registration form ~ All vehicles must enter on the Illinois side of the bridge (270 East, to Route 3 South, To Chain of Rocks Bridge ~ GRANITE CITY, IL

OCTOBER 10th, SATURDAY~HEMANN GUTHRIE CHEVROLET of NEW BADEN, IL (618) 588-3448 presents the LEBANON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CAR CRUISE ~6pm till 9pm, ~Dash Plaques 1st 100 participants~Invite your Friends and Family ~ Last Car Cruise of the Season at Lebanon, IL ~ 50's 60's D.J. Music~50/50 Drawing~Attendance Prizes ~ Cruises are hosted by The LAKER'S CAR CLUB~ Downtown City "old-time brick roads" blocked off. ~Lebanon Exit off I-64 onto Route 4 ~ No Alcohol or vehicle burn outs ~LEBANON, IL

OCTOBER 17th, SATURDAY~CULVER'S BUTTERBURGERS & FROZEN CUSTARD RESTAURANT~6pm till 9pm ~HALLOWEEN CAR CRUISE, hosted by The LAKER'S CAR CLUB~200+ VEHICLES! ~WIN! WIN! WIN! Costume Contest & Vehicle Decorating Contest ~Dash Plaques 1st 100 participants ~Invite your Friends and Family ~ 50's 60's D.J. Music ~50/50 Drawing~Attendance Prizes ~Last Car Cruise of the Season at Collinsville, IL ~ info: (618) 344-8780 ~Exit #11 from I-55/70 and then North on Hwy. 157 (North Bluff Rd) to 100 United Drive, 3 blocks on left ~COLLINSVILLE, IL

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I am back down to three cars again.

Yesterday, I sold the 1968 Mercury Cougar Dan Gurney Special project car that I bought 2 years ago to some nice people from Liberty, MO. I bought the car 2 days before Elsie was born in July 2007. I felt a connection to the car since I had bought it just before Elsie was born and I had been so excited about getting another old car. However, I had not had much time or resources to devote to the 1968 Cougar and with the addition of the 1967 Cougar I could use the money from the 1968 to fix and repair parts of the 1967. Besides, my dad wanted his garage space back if I wasn't going to work on the 1968. I just did not have the resources to put into two old cars at this time.

I wanted to find someone who would work on the car and bring it back to life rather than just cut it up for parts and discard. I received a call from Mark saying that his 16 year old son, Isaac, was saving up some money and wanted a project car to work on. I sent several pictures to them and Mark and I talked by phone a few times and finally agreed on a price and time to come look at the car. They came out yesterday evening and carefully looked over the car. Isaac decided that he wanted to take on this project and the money and title was exchanged.

I think that after meeting them that Mark and Isaac will give the 1968 Cougar a good home.