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1967 Mercury
Cougar XR7

SOLD 12/05/2015

Super 289/225 HP V8
Select-Shift Automatic

PS/PB/Dual Exhaust
AM Radio/Rally Wheels
Firestone Wide Oval Tires
76,000 Original Miles

Motor Trend's 'Car of the Year' for 1967

December 5, 2015 - Going Back Home - The Cougar's prior owner has regretted selling the car for a long time, and I recently heard he was looking for something similar.  While I really like the car and had no intention of selling it, the Cougar meant a lot more to him than it did me.  With bunches of wheeled toys to play with and my real focus being the TC anyway, I sold it back today for the hard cash I had in it  (well, most of it, anyway).  It was a fun car and I really enjoyed working on it, and I know it will have a good home back with Jack and Hillary.  Oh, and there's been another sex change - 'Fred' is Miss Kitty again. 
September 26, 2015 - Wet Win - Steady rain kept away a lot of competition for the TRAACA's Wings and Wheels annual car show, leaving Fred as the only one in his class and an easy First Place.  To be fair, I spent some time fixing little things and getting him cleaned up for the show, and he really deserved the award.  By the way, the plane in the background is a World War II Spitfire fighter, which would have been a better backdrop for Brits Eleanor or Rodney. 
August 29, 2015 - Em-Bezel-ment - Fred's optional rally clock keeps perfect time since I had it converted, but the center chrome knob and green rally set needle came off shortly after I installed it and I've been looking at an empty hole for months.  The clock rebuild included a new plastic bezel which was flat instead of concave, and the spring clip that holds the needle to the knob through the bezel broke when it was reinstalled.  Happily, my over-zealous parts acquisition habit had resulted in the purchase of a spare clock with a good concave bezel with the needle still in place.  It took a minute or two to figure out how to get the adjuster knob off so I could swap things out - you have to hold the gear with one set of needle-nose pliers while you turn the knob off with another.  Anyway, no more loose needles and empty holes to annoy me.  I took Fred out for a good drive today and we were both happy.
August 9, 2015 - On the Road Again -  It was a beautiful day today, so I gave the Cougar a good road test.  We rolled out to Richard's and then out to my parents'.  Fred is running great and the brakes feel good, but I think I need to adjust them a little.  There is a slight pull to the left when I use the brakes - nothing serious, but I might as well get it right!  We got lots of 'thumbs up' and waves from other motorists.  Fred looks pretty snazzy with his Wide Oval tires and flashy red paint.
August 8, 2015 - Brakes and a Surprise! -  All of the new brake parts showed up Wednesday, but I had things going on and had to wait until today to get Fred back together.  Having a photo of the brake setup helped a lot as I put things back together.  The new parts and cleaning and painting the backing plate gave the whole passenger side a fresh look (left).  However, I had a big surprise when I moved to the driver side. Instead of the one-piece hub/drum that is on the right, the driver's side has a two-piece setup - the drum came off by itself!  (lower left) The whole driver side had obviously been redone (below, right) with new hardware and wheel cylinder, but I replaced everything anyway just so it all matches.  Both sides now have new bearing and seals, brake shoes, hardware, and rubber hoses.  Richard stopped by for a visit and helped me bleed the brakes.  And boy, do I have brakes!  Fred smokes his tires on lockup and stays straight and steady.  So he can burn rubber going and stopping now!  Ummmm - not that I would actually burn rubber in the car - I am a mature responsible driver...  yup, yup. yup.
August 1, 2015 - Sneaky Leak -  The hub and backing plate were all cleaned up and I decided to wire brush all the hardware before putting the brakes back together.  However, when I pulled the forward brake pushrod out of the wheel cylinder cup, rusty brake fluid dribbled out.  It had not gotten to the point where is was coming out past the seal, so I had thought they were good.  Naturally, rear wheel cylinders are available over the counter, but I had to order front ones.  I also ordered a new hardware kit, so it will all be new!
July 29, 2015 - Disappearing/Reappearing Grease! -  I almost reused the old brake shoes - in the photo below you can see that they are almost perfectly clean looking after some cleaning and sanding.   I am VERY glad I decided to get new ones.  As you can see at left, grease came back up on the surface of the old shoe (top).  Plus, the new shoes are bonded, which gives both more stopping area and no rivets to score the drums.  Rock Auto came through again - I got the parts three days after they were ordered.
July 26, 2015 - Greasy Brakes -  Some odd noises and pulling to the left prompted me to pull the right brake drum off.  Turns out that the grease seal for the rear bearing had come off some time in the past and the entire inside of the drum and shoes had a thin coating of grease.  Not the ideal surface for stopping power.  I was able to get new seals and wheel bearings at O'Reilly's, and they even had wheel cylinders and hoses on the shelf.  However, while they could provide the two more common 2" brake shoes, Fred has 2-1/4 inch shoes that went with the High Output 289.  None of the local car parts places could even order the shoes, so I have them coming from Rock Auto.  Even though I was able to clean the shoes up pretty well (you can see the difference between them at right), I couldn't get all the grease off, and figured it was worth $30 and a few days delay to have the best brakes possible.
May 2, 2015 - National Second! -  The details must have worked, because Fred came away from the AACA Eastern Division national Spring Meet with a Second Junior!  Considering the level of vehicles at a National event like this, Fred did incredibly well.  He is a mostly original driver with 76K on the odometer, and I just didn't have time to even give him a decent cleaning.  He was a last-minute entry driven to the show by friends who were staying with me.  On the plus side, he was the only Cougar at the show, and only the second Cougar of any year I have seen at a National AACA meet in 7 or 8 years!  He got a lot of compliments and interest.
April 30, 2015 - Little Things Done -  The show is just two days away, but I've been busy with work and other things, so it took until today to get the little things done.  Putting on new radiator hoses and clamps was the hardest job - both were very tight, but finally went on.  You can see the correct Ford logos on the fan belts and hoses, and the new 'tower' hose clamps and radiator cap.  I really wish I had put the car in the 'Driver Participation' class, as closer examination revealed he really is not ready for class judging.  Oh, well. I'll get him as tidy as I can.  I also got the matching Firestone Wide Oval spare in place in the trunk.  I'll be doing what I can to clean and paint things underneath and detail as much as possible.  It is not wasted effort, and I'll enjoy the spiffed-up look long after the show is over.
April 19, 2015 - Little Things -  Fred is entered in class judging at the AACA Eastern Division Spring National Meet in two weeks - he's a fine car, but is not really in 'show' condition.  Still, I can do some small stuff.  The engine compartment is pretty good, but the hose clamps, hoses, drive belts, and radiator cap are not authentic.  I have all the correct stuff in from Mustangs Unlimited and will get them all swapped out this week.
April 12, 2015 - Spare Wheel -  I was able to find a spare factory wheel at the Charlotte Auto Fair, and will soon have a matching wide oval tire to mount on it.  The radio is a 1965 Mustang AM unit with knobs - I got it for $10, thinking it was correct for the Cougar, but the knobs are not correct.  No worries - I can sell it at the next swap meet.
April 6, 2015 - New Shoes! -  Fred's wide-whitewall radials were marginally correct, but the tread pattern is noisy on the highway and they did not look quite right for a car with the High Performance option engine.  So tonight I installed a set of Firestone Wide Oval tires, the kind that he most likely came with from the factory.  They certainly change the appearance - I haven't had a chance to test the road noise, but it seems to drive about the same.
February 7, 2015 - Scouts -  My antique car club set up a display of vehicles for 22 Boy Scouts going for their Automotive Maintenance merit badge at the Military Aviation Museum out in Pungo.  We had seven vehicles on hand, including former stable-mate Eleanor, who is loving her new human.  Each of the owners talked about a different aspect of vehicle operation and maintenance, and when we were done the Scouts got some quality seat time in Fred and Eleanor, getting lots of photos behind the wheel.  They asked me about driving the car fast - i know that as a responsible adult I am supposed to tell them I always drive the car responsibly.  But I am an irresponsible adult, so I just grinned and said the car was fun.
January 10, 2015 - 'High' Mileage -  My antique car club's annual Winter Blast event was a nice drive out to the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, VA.  Thirty degrees as a high made me glad for Fred's heater, and he did a fine job there and back, getting plenty of attention wherever he went.  On the way home, I noted that the odometer was marking off a major milestone - after 48 years, he turned over 76K original miles!  That's right - this is Fred's first time around, and he just past the three-quarter mark.  Given the condition of his mostly original interior, it is obvious that Fred had good care most of his life.  Still, I tend to forget just how 'new' this nearly 50 year-old muscle car is!
January 2, 2015 - Mustang! -  I drove Fred out to a photo shoot for my car club's dash plaque - the cars for the plaque were a pair of classic Packards and the P-51 Mustang had a Packard engine.  I did the photographs, and then got Fred in for a quick shot.  After all, he is based on the Ford Mustang, so there is some symmetry there.  Afterwards, I swung by Fred's old homestead for a visit with former owners Jack and Hillary Pavlidis.  He is doing very well, with no issues since the starter problem in July.
August 19, 2014 - Security Blanket -  Although the new starter seems to have corrected the hung solenoid issue, I have been concerned about the ignition switch.  Even though I replaced it just over a year ago, it was an aftermarket part.  More to the point, it did not seem to turn off the ignition once, which made me suspect something internal not quite right.  So I ordered in a Ford replacement switch and installed it tonight.  It may have been a waste of effort and money, but I feel a lot safer.
July 13, 2014 - Cougar Hairball -  The poor Cougar has been sitting in the garage for a while now with no attention, and I guess he was getting a bit jealous.  I thought I would make him happy getting him out for a nice run out to my parents, but he decided to follow the Jaguar's example from yesterday and coughed up a hairball in the form of a fried starter.  I was backing out of my parents' driveway and had the car stall as I shifted to Drive.  No problem - just hit the starter, and...  big problem.  The starter bendix did not engage and the starter spun wild, and would not cut off even when I removed the key!  I finally got it off and pushed the car to the side.  After that, the  bendix would not engage at all.  I went home and grabbed the spare starter (Sept. 1), tools, and a jack.  Only to have the floor jack turn out to have gone bad!  I ended up using the scissor jack from the Cougar and had to work mostly with one arm and hand, but managed to get the other starter in.  All fixed now, but it was a frustrating weekend car-wise!
May 17, 2014 - Senior Award -  Fred has been out for some drives since December, with no unusual activity.  We rolled out to Richmond today with friends Dan and Tyler for the 2014 Old Dominion Meet.  Fred got his First Junior last year, and was up for a Senior Award this year.  We had a great ride up and the weather was beautiful.  Lots of great cars around, and at the end of the day,  Fred got his Senior Award!
December 1, 2013 - Sex Change! -  After a year of ownership, I came to the conclusion that the Cougar was not a 'Miss Kitty' to me.  Instead, I have decided to name him after the Suffolk Punch draft horse 'Fred' that I met last year at the Dorset Heavy Horse Centre in the UK (photo on right).  The Cougar's keys are on a key fob with a photo of Fred that I got for sponsoring him with donations, so it's an easy switch.  I took the Cougar out for a run to Richard's and my parents' today - ran perfect and got lots of thumbs-up and smiles.
November 29, 2013 - Battery Blues! -  Another dead battery with the Cougar, and this time a charge did not bring it up.  I was sure I had bought a new one for the car, and pulled it to take it over for a warranty replacement.  However, as i placed it in the truck i noticed that is was a NAPA battery, and was dated November 2008!  It was the battery that was in the car when i got it, so today I picked up a nice premium battery.  The car is MUCH happier.
September 28, 2013 - First Place! -  The Cougar's first big car show was the Tidewater Region AACA Wings and Wheels Show held today at the Virginia Beach Airport, home to a fantastic collection of flyable WWI and WWII aircraft, such as this Navy FG-1D Corsair.  It was a huge show, with over 300 cars and an amazing turnout.  The Cougar took First Place in its class!
September 23, 2013 - Time Warp - Where were you in 1967?  OK, a lot of you reading this might not have even been born. However, when the Cougar was shiny and new, I was 13 years old and a Boy Scout reading comic books and watching Star Trek and Lost in Space (Danger, Wil Robinson!).  Oh, and playing with Matchbox cars.  And while I don't recall ever owning a Viewmaster, I remember looking through them.  Thanks to eBay, I now have gathered all of those 1967 items to put in the car for display.  The lunch box arrived today - never had one of those either, but it looks neat.  I remember the Boy's Life issue (big article on Rolls Royce) and both comic books.  The Viewmaster discs are for Disney's Jungle Book, another 1967 production.  As for the Matchbox cars?  The yellow horse trailer was found some years back at a yard sale, but the blue Iso Griffo sports car is original to me!  A bit battered, but it still looks pretty decent considering the hours outside making dirt 'racetracks' around the base of the oak tree out front of 5945 Lockamy Lane!
September 7, 2013 - Show Off - I took the Cougar back to Genro's today for the weekly informal car show.  There were some really nice cars there, including a good number of 1966-68 muscle cars that would have been competition for the Cougar.  It garnered a lot of attention, as there are very few Cougars around, and this one is the only early model that has been at the activity.  Well, that, and the fact that it is RED and SHINY!
September 2, 2013 - A Nice Reflection - All good news this morning - the battery charged up fine overnight and the car fired up with the first turn of the key. The passenger side mirror went in easily, thanks to being VERY careful, using a template, and then double-checking to find the template was off an eighth of an inch BEFORE I drilled the second hole.  I also got the door courtesy light on the driver's side working by running an alternate ground to the base.  And while I did spend $50 on a starter I did not need, it never hurts to have one in my 'spares' kit for long tours. 
September 1, 2013 - Behind Door #2 and a False Start - The Cougar would not start after I finished up the driver's side - I figured I had killed the battery keeping the door open all day.  So I charged it overnight.  This morning, it still buzzed.  So I bypassed the solenoid and got a healthy spark.  That indicated a bad starter.  I went ahead and installed the new exterior door handle and also discovered the courtesy light wasn't hooked up.  The local O'Reilly's had a rebuilt lifetime warranty starter on the shelf for $49, and were open until 9 pm.  The starter removal was incredibly easy and quick - 20 minutes after I went in the garage, I walked out with the starter in hand. And that included jacking the car up, putting it on jack stands, and finding tools. Installation was maybe five minutes.  And it didn't even buzz.  This time, the courtesy lights were dim - nearly dead battery!  So I have it on charge again.  Turns out there is a protective black coating on the positive battery clamp that probably 'protected' it from getting a charge.  Hopefully that's all it was.
August 31, 2013 - A-door-able - I have been gathering parts for months to take care of small issues with the Cougar's doors.  The driver's side window had a large patch of sandblasting damage from when accident when it was being prepped for paint, both door handles were pitted and damaged, the driver's window would lower itself as you hit bumps, and the remote driver's mirror had mild pitting.  I finally took the plunge and pulled the driver's side apart. I had to media blast the window base to get rust off and paint it, and reused the old mirror gasket since they don't make a reproduction.   While the various jobs were all straightforward, the door interior is cramped and has many sharp edges.  I finally got everything installed, but just getting the new winder mechanism rollers  in the window track took an hour of twisting, scraping, and slicing my hands and arms up.  When I was done, it looked like I had been wrestling with, well, a Cougar, but the new window and shiny stuff look great, and the window doesn't drop on its own anymore.  The passenger side should be easier, though I have to drill holes (shudder) for the new passenger side mirror.
August 11, 2013 - Reflections - Despite predictions of bad weather, I took the Cougar out for a car display at a local retirement home sponsored by our car club.  It turned out to be most clear with just a few very light sprinkles, and we had a decent turnout.  The car next to mine was a 1937 Imperial with shiny hubcaps on the side-mounted spares. The Cougar ran great, as always.
July 20, 2013 - Showtime - The Cougar's car cover left a film of oily haze all over it, and I had to rewash the car a couple of times with a strong dishwashing liquid solution to clean it off.  She looked so good afterwards, I drove ehr to a local cruise-in.  However, it was so hot very few showed up.  Guess the spectator at left figured the Cougar was a 'phone home' event!  Also drove the car several times the past few weeks in heavy traffic, including some bumper-to-bumper traffic that sorely tested the cooling system.  She ran perfect even sitting for 15-20 minutes at 90+ degrees!  Can't say I was as unflustered by the heat. Whew!
July 15, 2013 - Proper Plastic - Sometimes the pains I go through for the 'right stuff' can be a little ridiculous.  Take the used side view mirror mounting gasket at right.   Doesn't look like much, right?  I spent about 3 months trying to buy it from a guy on eBay who had a complete but corroded driver's mirror setup.  I just needed the plastic base gasket, which is not reproduced except in an ill-fitting rubber substitute.  I ended up spending $15 total for the OEM piece, which cleaned up like new.  The bad rubber part cost the same!
July 5, 2013 - Paint Practice - Miss Kitty has very nice paint most everywhere, but her center grille section was badly chipped and missing paint on the inside top.  I stripped it down, primed and painted it with red/clearcoat, polished the trim and got old overspray off, and reinstalled everything.  It came out great, but the Duplicolor paint is a shade lighter than what is on the car - I don't know if the car was painted a slightly different color or the Duplicolor was off.  No matter.  I can match up a correct red and redo it later.  Most people won't notice the difference anyway.  Oh, a major victory in the search for factory documentation on radials tires for the Cougar.  The June 1967 Ford Shops Tips magazine has an article about radial tires being available as factory options for Ford, Mustang, Mercury, Comet and Cougar!  I was able to get a nice copy off eBay.  185R14 - just what is on Miss Kitty!
June 17, 2013 - Getting Silly - Even I have to admit this is getting too silly.  Last week I spotted an eBay listing for 1967 Ford rear axle oil for the Cougar.  This is actual factory packaged 46 year-old hypoid grease for Cougars with conventional rear axles - what would have come from the factory or dealer service.  They were $20 including shipping, so I hit the Buy It Now button.  If I ever want to go truly concourse, I can have the correct oil in the differential!  However, they are more likely to remain intact and used for show displays.
May 19, 2013 - Another Car Display - The local Rotary Club asked for help creating an antique car display for one of their events, so I took the Pontiac over and rode a bicycle home.  However, I decided to go ahead and bring the Cougar over as well.  We had a good turnout from the antique car club - almost all of the display cars were brought by members.
May 4, 2013 - Old Dominion Meet - Dan and Tyler rejoined me for a trek to Fredericksburg and the 2013 Old Dominion Meet.  This is a show for AACA Regions in Virginia.  The car did perfectly driving up and back, and got a First Place award for her class.  We lucked out on the way back - I saw the end of a 20-mile backup on I-64 in time to avoid it, and we ended up going back using some of the back roads we used for the Spring Tour a few weeks ago!
May 1, 2013 - Kitty Glitter - I ordered some parts for the Cougar from Mustangs Unlimited and they came in today - good service from them.  The engine bay got a reproduction of the factory engine dress-up chrome air cleaner, complete with the correct round-holed element.  I need to do some repaint, and will probably go for the chrome valve covers as well.  The interior got a new turn signal lever - the old one (bottom) was bent pretty bad, though it doesn't show in the photo.  And I also got a new driver's side window winder assembly, though that will take some time to get installed, as I have to take the door apart.  When that happens, she'll also get new mirrors and a new window glass, all on hand and ready to install.
April 27, 2013 - Clean Cat- The uncooperative seat belt latch turned out to have been damaged by the jury-rigged section I had replaced with the correct retractable unit.  The makeshift buckle was too wide and forcing it in had bent an internal stop.  I took the buckle apart and was able to get it all fixed and working fine.  Then I gave her a good bath and interior cleanup so she'll be ready for next week's Old Dominion Meet.
April 20-21, 2013 - Cougar on the Prowl - I took Miss Kitty on her first long drive this weekend - the TRAACA Spring Tour to Charlottesville, VA.  It was a nice run with friends Dan Ciccone and Tyler Gimbert along.  The extra room in the Cougar's back seat got tested pretty well, and seemed to meet approval.  As expected, the car performed flawlessly and was both comfortable and fun.  The big surprise came when I filled the gas tank and discovered she was returning 17-18 MPG!  Not bad for a mid-1960s muscle car with a high performance engine and three adults aboard.  Overall distance was a little over 350 miles.  I have a shorter trek in a couple of weeks when I take the Cougar to the 2013 Old Dominion Meet in Fredericksburg.  One glitch - turns out the new passenger seat belt didn't match up to the existing buckle!  Have to fix that.
April 17, 2013 - One Good Turn Deserves - Another Wheel? - The new GT wheel came in right on schedule, and I had it installed in ten minutes.  Looks really good, especially compared to the original XR7 wheel that was cracked and coming apart around the rim.  I can make repairs to the original wheel, and will keep it boxed up as a spare. 
April 16, 2013 - Something Missing? - I ordered a reproduction of the optional deluxe GT wheel for the Cougar off eBay, and it is due in tomorrow.  I figured I'd get ahead of the game and pull the old wheel.  And for once, I not only had the correct tool, I knew where it was!!  The wheel came loose with just a couple of taps using the puller tool.  Everything looks good inside.  When the new wheel comes, it should just be a few turns of the bolt and putting the Cougar padded center back on (it is the same for all Cougar steering wheels that year).  Then I attacked the passenger side belt.  The outer retractable portion had been replaced by a jury-rigged, if longer, fixed belt.  My Cougar goodie box had the full set of belts I got back in January (also from eBay) so I swapped out for the correct retractable unit.  Looks much better!
March 14, 2013 - Timely Upgrades - The restored clock came back from Omicron and looks really good.  I installed it tonight and set it - seems to be working fine.  Then I went ahead and replaced the taillight assemblies.  They were quite easy to remove, but I was really surprised at how dirty the old ones were.  They looked OK on the car, but when I removed them - well, you can see the difference in the old (upper) and new (lower) assemblies below.  I actually disassembled all 4 units and picked the best components.  One of the 'new' lenses had a small crack that is invisible outside, and one of the new bases was missing a mounting stud.  Oh, one interesting side note - when I bought the car, Jack mentioned that the right side had never been as bright as the left, even though they had checked the ground and put in new bulbs.  Turns out the reflector plating had gone dull on that side!  I used the best two bases and lenses and the repainted chrome bezels.  All back together now and looking good (and equally bright).
March 13, 2013 - Taillight Touchup - Although the taillights I got in for the Cougar were nearly perfect, the black around the edges was chipped in a few places.  If you look close at the taped-off frame, you can see bright spots around the base.  So I cleaned the fin crevasses with Q-tips, taped off the chrome, and touched up the paint on both the base and bezel with semi-flat black.  Then I polished the lenses and reflectors and put the unit back together.  Looks perfect now.  The clock should arrive tomorrow for the center console.  That was an experience - turns out Omicron Clock moved a few blocks and the local postal carrier did not read the forwarding address.  Their former landlord decided to be a jerk and collected packages until he got a call from the Postal Inspector and threatened with criminal charges.  He returned all the clocks to sender instead of giving them to Omicron, so I had to ship it twice.  Glad it was a spare!
March 2, 2013 - Shiny Stuff! - The restored trunk trim molding came in today and I am very pleased.  The old one was pretty dull and dented up from years of people not quite having things all the way in the trunk when they shut the lid.  The rest of the aluminum trim is in good shape, except for needing a good polishing.  I had all new mounting hardware from West Coast Cougar and got it installed tonight.

I also went to my car club's annual flea market this morning and found a showroom sales folder of the Cougar that I didn't have for $4, plus a FOMOCO period AM-FM radio that should bolt right in for $5.  Of course, for that price it may not work, but it was worth the risk.

February 12, 2013 - Switched Switch - I got the new ignition switch and bezel in from West Coast Cougar yesterday, and decided to take advantage of a beautiful day today.  A check on the Internet turned up a 3-minute video on how to take the old ignition switch out.  Pushing a wire into the hole by the key lets you pull the lock assembly out.  The only problem is that my old switch came out in a lot more pieces than theirs did.  Someone had fixed a broken switch by wrapping it in electrical tape.  It's amazing that it held up as long as it did.  Anyway, the new switch was just $21 and went in easily.  However, when I turned the key...  'click'.  Back to the original issue - the starter solenoid.  I found a good solenoid at the local CarQuest store, and also picked up the correct single-lead positive battery cable.  With those installed, I tried again and got a nice quick start.  I was very lucky all of that went bad in the driveway!   Then it was on to shiny stuff - or not-so shiny in this case.  The trunk lid trim strip is the only factory trim that is beat up.  I found a shop on eBay that will exchange a restored strip, and got mine off to ship.  A trip to Ace Hardware got me a PVC pipe and end caps that will protect both my trade-in and the restored item.
February 3, 2013 - Electrical Goods and Bads -  First, the goods - as in more parts for the Cougar this week, including a battery topper that makes the modern sealed battery look like the original style that came in the car.  I also picked up a replacement driver's side window from a local Mustang junkyard.  As for the bads,  I took Miss Kitty out on a nice antique car run yesterday and she preformed flawlessly (that really should count in the 'goods') right up to the point I was going to put her back in the garage last night.  The starter would not turn over.  I got a click from the dash, but no action.  At least she waited until I got home to act up.  I jumped the solenoid and got her put away.  Checking today, my first thought was the neutral safety switch.  However, it turned out to be the ignition switch, which is the easiest and cheapest of all possibilities.  I have a new switch coming from West Coast Cougar for $21, along with a few other dash trim items.  I figured I might as well do it all at once.
January 26, 2013 - More eBay Goodies - Lots more things in store for the Cougar as I get her ready for Charlotte.  A near-perfect set of taillights and bezels were a super find, and a set of correct seatbelts with excellent retractors will provide a replacement for the missing passenger side belt.  I've started checking under the hood - she'll need correct hose clamps, hoses, plug wires, and a few decals and tags.  I've already gotten in new backup lights, some new emblems and stickers, and will be seeing what I can do about other chrome and aluminum trim.  It's sorta silly to go to all the trouble just for a car show - in truth, I'll enjoy having it all correct for myself.
January 22, 2013 - Catching up - Been a week or so since the show - the Cougar got a lot of attention, but the winner of the Ultimate Muscle Car contest....  was NOT a muscle car!  It was the very same customized and hot-rodded Camaro that almost backed into me!  In truth, it was a rather strange mix - most of the cars were pure stock 1966 to 1972 bonafide Muscle Cars.  The Camaro was the only custom job, but there was also a 2005 Mustang and a 2010 Challenger!  Go figure.   The winner should have been the 1972 Dodge Charger Daytona, a beautifully restored and rare REAL muscle car!  Anyway, I got my $100 for being a finalist and the Cougar got admired a lot.  The Cougar's new floor mats came in while she was at the show - the embroidered XR7 logos really perk up the mostly back interior.  Other Cougar purchases in the past week include a new driver's side mirror, a really nice used dash panel for the instrument cluster, and a clock with better chrome that has been sent out to be converted to a quartz movement.  I am planning to drive the car to Charlotte NC in April and enter her in the AACA National Meet. 
January 10, 2013 - At the Show - The car show folks were much more organized this year - the floor protection was already laid out and they opened the  access doors precisely at 10 AM.  My car is right next to the entrance, so that people buying tickets will see it the longest.  When we were about to start in, the driver of the Camaro in front of me put the car in reverse by mistake and started for the Cougar's grille.  I alerted him with the horn before we both had a very bad day.   Chevy owners.  Anyway, I made up a display sign and set things up before I left.  had to undo the battery cable as we did last year, but this time I made sure I had plenty of tools.  Several other display cars needed them as well.
January 9, 2013 - The Last Detail - Tomorrow is the big day - I drop the Cougar off at the Convention Center for her weekend of glory in the Ultimate Muscle Car display.  I took off from work this afternoon to take advantage of a sunny, 65-degree day.  That gave me time to polish, vacuum, and clean glass, as well as install the new pillar courtesy light lenses that arrived today from West Coast Cougar.  It's been a scramble to get the car ready, but I am really pleased with the way the interior turned out.  There's lots more to do later, but Miss Kitty is quite presentable.
January 6, 2013 - Puttin' on the Glitz - With barely a week's warning on the Auto Show display, I wanted to make sure Miss Kitty put her best face forward.  The interior has been her weakest point, but also was the easiest to remedy.  I have already gotten overhead console and horn pad restored.  The most noticeable flaw was the bright trim around the entire dash and Cougar XR7 emblem, which had flaked mostly off and discolored.  I spent an hour today with tape, paper, Q-tips, and an artist's brush, and got it all back to Argent silver.  The picture doesn't really show the dramatic difference, but I am very pleased with the results.  Some other quick fixes - the lug nuts for the otherwise like-new wheels were rusty and worn.  A full set of new chrome lug nuts (OK, not quite the same, but who is going to know?) was $14.98 including shipping from eBay.  And another eBay find was a much nicer horn ring - the original had some heavy pitting in the chrome and heat-warped vinyl pads.  $15 made a big difference.  I treated the seats with leather cleaner and got some spots off the driver's seat, and dyed the sun-faded original carpet back to black.  About $40 and a few hours have made a big difference!
January 2, 2013 - Ultimate Muscle Car? - I got a note from the local newspaper's automotive editor that the annual International Car Show was looking for Ford products to fill out a Muscle Car display.  After passing the information along to other antique car club members, I decided to enter just for the fun of it.  I submitted a short write-up and a photo via email in ten minutes this afternoon.  By the time I got home, I already had an acceptance email!  Miss Kitty will be following Wildlfower's tire tracks from last year to the 2013 Hampton Roads International Car Show!  Looks like I am going to be busy cleaning and detailing, as the car has to be delivered to the Convention Center next Thursday by 10 AM!
December 31, 2012 - More Shiny Stuff - With pretty much everything in perfect operating shape, I can focus on glitz.  Chrome trim and emblems for the Cougar are surprisingly available, though I have found that Aftermarket stuff is universally flawed.  The reproduction visor arms from Scott Drake look nice, but had to be bent to the right angle and are just a hair too thin, so that the visors will sag.  I can fix them with some copper wire slid down between the arm and the sleeve in the visors.   And the XR7 trunk emblem insert from John's Classic Cougar Parts looks really good, but is slightly too tall and did not quite fit in the bezel.  I'll get another one (only $10) and trim it using the old one as a guide.
December 25, 2012 - Handles - The door handles for the Cougar are unusual in that they are spring-loaded flat pads that you lift up when you open the door.  Nifty and less intrusion on the legs.  However, the Cougar's were getting pretty corroded, and new ones were only $21 each. 
December 23, 2012 - Little Jobs, Big Improvements - I tackled two jobs today between bouts of cleaning the garage (or at least making a Cougar-sized hole in it).  The first and easiest was the roof console (above).  The warning light bank and map light bezels were corroded pretty bad, but I was able to get reproductions far cheaper than rechroming even one piece would have cost.  I also replaced all the warning light bulbs while I had everything apart.  Then I took on a bigger job - replacing the trunk mat.  The 45 year-old original was not in that bad a shape considering, but it was stained and held together with duct tape.  I picked up a reproduction mat from West Coast Cougar that is pretty close - the pattern and color are almost exact - if you look at the lower left photo, you can see where the original mat is laying on top of the reproduction mat - the upper right corner is folded back, but you can't tell the difference in the mats.  However, the reproduction mat was missing the hole for the spare tire clamp, and also some factory slits to allow the mat to conform to the uneven floor.  The slits in the factory mat had a small hole at the inside to keep the slits from going further than desired.  I used a drill to make holes in the same spots and then cut outward to make the slits.  Then I traced the hole onto the new mat and cut it out with a razor blade.  Combined with a reproduction spare tie cover, the mat really makes a big difference in the trunk area.  I'll be going back with a heat gun to help shape the mat later, but for now I'll let it settle out on its own.
December 21, 2012 - And Round 2 - The West Coast Cougar parts order came in today - A reproduction trunk mat, map lights bezels and warning light cluster for the overhead console, a tested used ammeter, reproduction right side mirror, and reproduction steering wheel hub emblem.  I also got in the repro steering wheel hub trim ring, which I got off eBay.  West Coast Cougar has a great video on YouTube covering the cleanup and installation of new parts on the hub, though they did NOT use a step I added.  You snip the plastic trim ring with dikes to get it off, and then break out the (already cracked) clear lens over the emblem with a couple of screwdriver jabs.  I soaked the hub in hot, soapy water (the added step) for about ten minutes, scrubbed it clean with a sponge, then used my fingers to compress the foam around the outer edge where the ring goes.  Then, with the hub still wet and soapy, I pressed the ring into place, and repeated the action for the center hub.  It cleaned up like new and the bright chrome really makes a big difference.  You can see the before and after shots below.  By the way, there is no dressing or vinyl paint on the hub - it really cleaned up that much better with soap and water.
December 19, 2012 - And so it begins... - My first Cougar purchases have started arriving.  A showroom sales folder, accessory catalog, and owner's manual from eBay vendors; and a collection of reproduction parts from Mustangs Unlimited.  Most of what the Cougar needs is small trim stuff, especially inside.  Luckily, a lot of that trim was shared with the upper-end Mustangs, so replacements are not only available, they are relatively cheap!  The fancy 'flipper' inside door handles were just $21 each, and the show-quality outside handles were $52 for the entire set.  The missing spare tire cover was just $15.  I have lots more coming from West Coast Cougar - they carry some of the more specific Cougar trim.  I drove the car again today - the novelty will wear off, but probably not soon.
December 15, 2012 - Officially Adopted - I went to DMV yesterday morning and got the title and tags taken care of.  The previous owner gave me the 1972 Virginia tags and signed a release so I could use them.  Then a call to my insurance company got her covered.  I also found out she has a name - "Miss Kitty".  She is a welcome addition - I really love the car.  It has a wonderful throaty exhaust just loud enough at idle, but not intrusive when you are driving.  She handles, steers, ands tops amazingly well for a 45 year-old car, and the 289 high-performance engine is, um, fun.  I must admit to a few tire squeals just because.  The Cougar has been a source of constant delight.  The fit and finish is excellent, the performance is impressive, and after a seat adjustment to the back angle, very comfortable.  There's just enough small stuff needing fixing to keep me involved, but the car is beautiful as-is. And she is relatively rare - there were 150,893 1967 Cougars built versus 472,121 1967 Mustangs.  However, I have found some good sources for reproduction parts - West Coast Classic Cougars is sending me a box of goodies next week!
December 13, 2012 - In the Driveway - As promised, the Cougar was waiting in the driveway when I got home tonight.  I now have the title and a release for the plates, so I can try to get her registered at DMV tomorrow.   Already picked up a few small items, mostly literature, on eBay.
December 12, 2012 - Big Cat - Poor Eleanor's space in the garage has hardly had time to cool off, and her replacement arrives tomorrow!   I have always liked the first series Cougars - they had much nicer styling and finish than the mid-60s Mustangs, and also are as rare as the 64-67 Mustangs are common.  With Eleanor on the departure list, I have been recently poking about ads for low-end muscle cars, mostly looking at Firebirds and Cougars the past two weeks.  TC Buddy Richard mentioned that a mutual friend in the car club was selling his 1967 Cougar for a good price, and I went to look at it today.  Like Mildred, this car has been to many car club events, so I have seen the car but not really looked at it.    So I got a very pleasant surprise - it runs and drives like new and looks great.  (Click here to see and hear the engine)  I took her out for a run, including a stint on the interstate.  Plenty of power, smooth, excellent brakes, nice ride, tight steering.  There are some cleaning and detailing tasks needed that I can do myself that will really sharpen the car up, but the main items are all done.  The transmission is rebuilt, heads have been redone with hardened seats, it has new carb, exhaust, brakes, tires, paint, alternator, and front seat covers, plus a rebuilt front suspension.  The wide whitewall tires look a bit off, but they can be flipped around easily.  However, they are on rare factory steel mags, and the car is the upscale XR7 model with the high performance 289, dual exhaust, center  and roof consoles, full instrumentation, and wood grain dash.  Everything works (including the sequential taillights - click here to see) except for the ammeter gauge, which has an under dash replacement for now.  She'll be delivered to my driveway while I am at work tomorrow - gonna be a LOOONG day! (Click on the images below to bring up a larger image)


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