Category Archives: Articles

Demystifying the 1967 Cougar Sequential Turn Signals

1967 Cougar Sequential Turn Signal System Troubleshooting Guide CoverWhat would a classic Cougar be without functioning sequential taillights? Frustrating, that’s what.

Classic Cougar Community member coachJack has come to the rescue with his thorough guide “Everything You Wanted To Know About the ’67 Cougar Sequential Taillights.

According to coachJack, he started with Steve Citrone’s “Sequential Signals of the 67/68 Cougar,” which provides comprehensive information about the system. Next, he added the “Sequential Turn Signal And Emergency Flasher Systems” which contains essential information, working diagrams, wiring diagrams and a troubleshooting flowchart. He then used Vic Yarnberry’s “Sequential Turn Signal Troubleshooting Guide” for the turn signal switch circuitry and troubleshooting. Last but not least, he read through numerous posts on the Mercury Cougar forum and the Classic Cougar forum, gleaning what additional information he could and integrating it into the document. He found Greg Murphy’s (devildog) format in which associated relays, their function, location, and indications of failure are described particularly helpful, so he incorporated that as well as adding additional notes, wiring information, and testing procedures for both off and on the car.

As you can see, the PDF file contains bookmarks and a handy table of contents for ease of navigation.

This was a huge effort and a great contribution to the community. Thanks, coachJack!

Help Save the Ford Highland Park Plant

Ford Highland Park Project Fact SheetOn October 17, 1913, Henry Ford launched the first moving automotive assembly line at the Ford Highland Park Plant, the birthplace of modern industrial mass production.

Line workers earned $5 per day, twice the average industrial wage at the time, and sufficient to allow the workers to purchase the product they produced, the Ford Model T. The American middle class was born.

The beautiful buildings comprising the Ford Highland Park Plant were dubbed the “Crystal Palace” due to the openness and natural light afforded by the huge windows. Many of the buildings still stand near the corner of Woodward Avenue and Manchester in Highland Park, Michigan. The site has been named a National Historic Site, but up to now, there has been no public access. Until now.

Continue reading Help Save the Ford Highland Park Plant

Proposed CCOA Judging Standard

Modified Classes – Overview

All classes will require that the vehicle be currently registered, tagged, and insured.

Modified
(Stock)
Modified
(Street)
Modified
(Major)
Modified
(Super/Pro Street)
Any Cougar with more than 3 changes from original factory configuration while retaining a stock appearance. This class is intended for clones or tribute cars with factory-appeariing upgrades. Any Cougar with more than 3  visible changes from stock that represent functional upgrades to vehicle controls, suspension, driveline, instrumentation, or interior components without significant structural modifications. Any Cougar with any visible changes from stock that includes structural changes to the original body shell for street or show use only. Any Cougar with changes to the original body shell that are made for racing or performance purposes.
A Marti report will be required for entry into this class, which will be judged according to Street Stock standard pertaining to the model being cloned.
  • Engineering – 200 points
  • Bodywork – 200 points
  • Paint – 200 points
  • Engine & Compartment – 125
  • Undercarriage & Driveline – 150
  • Interior & Trunk – 190
  • Engineering – 250 points
  • Bodywork – 200 points
  • Paint – 200 points
  • Engine & Compartment – 100
  • Undercarriage & Driveline – 60
  • Interior & Trunk – 190
  • Engineering – 200 points
  • Bodywork – 100 points
  • Paint – 100 points
  • Engine & Compartment – 200
  • Undercarriage & Driveline – 200
  • Interior & Trunk – 200

Continue reading Proposed CCOA Judging Standard

What If: The G Car That Could Have Been

Team CougarIn 1967 the Trans Am championship came down to the final race in Kent Washington at the Seattle International Raceway.  Bud Moore Engineering prepared three Cougars for 1967 and two of them were in the race: #98 driven by Dan Gurney, and #15 driven by Parnelli Jones.  When the final flag fell, Team Cougar finished second behind The Mustangs and, by only two points, came in second in the Manufacturers Championship.

G-Force CougarWhat If Team Cougar had won that last race in 1967 and become the Trans Am series Champs?

It would have been difficult for Ford to pull the plug on Team Cougar.  Perhaps Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, and Ed Leslie would have gone on to win again in 1968.  We will never know of course, but for certain, Mercury would have tried to make the most of the victory, and the best way to do that would have been with a commemorative vehicle.

This brings us to the G-Force Cougar.  The G-Force Cougar is the creation of Rocket, as he is known on MC.Net.  Rocket describes himself like this:  Born Canadian car crazy, single, in love with Ford racing, owner of one of the coolest collections of rare Cougars anywhere.  Rocket keeps his cat collection in Surrey, BC, Canada.  I think his work speaks for itself.

This is one man’s vision of what just such a car would have been.  Even before the Cougar was introduced a collection of performance parts was assembled to “Sharpen the Cats Claws.”  These parts were used to assemble a Group Two street Cougar that was tested by both Road & Track and Motor Trend magazines.   Read on for more details and pictures of this amazing Cougar.

Continue reading What If: The G Car That Could Have Been

The Art of Buying a Budget Cougar

 So You Want to Find Yourself the Perfect Cougar?

Fear not friends, there is hope for you yet. Buying a classic collector Cougar isn’t hard, but getting the right car for what you want to do with it is a little trickier. Before embarking on this great adventure you want to arm yourself with some knowledge about the cars you are looking to purchase. You should have a solid grasp of the various models and option packages of each production year your are considering purchasing and have a general idea of the values that each option or optional package adds to the vehicle.

Let’s look at the most important factor in the purchase. What do -YOU- want? Is the car for show purposes? Is your goal to be a national concours champion? Are you looking for a museum piece? Are you looking for a restomod? Something that looks stock but has some possible engine/suspension modifications? These are all important questions to ask before you begin looking for your classic Cougar. If you are looking for a museum piece 1968 GT-E with a 427, you are probably going to need to do a little more than hang out on the Craigslist classified’s section. (Oh yeah, you might also want to free up a good $70k – $100k in disposable income for that as well.)  If you aren’t overly particular about the “Show Condition” of your future car and just want to find something with a solid base to work from your journey will be much less arduous. (And much less expensive.)

Sometimes a “Great deal” Is Not Really Such a Great Deal

When shopping for a classic Cougar it’s always important to keep in mind that the initial purchase cost is usually just a fraction of the money that you will need to spend on the vehicle to make it just the way you want it. Let’s face it, we are dealing with cars that are over 40 years old. Things are going to need replacing and fixing up, even under really good conditions. Finding an old beat up Cougar in a barn somewhere for $1500 may sound great initially, but before you dive in to the deal take a close look at the car. Does it need body work? Sure some we can do ourselves, but what about replacement panels? Quarter panel patches? Door repair? Body straightening? Replacement fenders? Inner firewall replacements? These little items add up to big dollars in a big fat hurry. You always want to wiegh the short term gains of a lower purchase price with the long term pain of literally thousands of dollars in major frame or body reconstruction. I know it may seem like insanity to turn down that $1000 rusted out shell of a 67 XR7, but ask yourself  how much money it’s going to cost to put in a motor/tranny.. replace the rusted out cancer spots. Then look around the classifieds and I’m quite certain you’ll find that in the long haul it’s way cheaper to just pay that little extra money up front for a far superior starting point in your restoration adventure.

Consider These Key Items

Here are some things to consider when trying to decide whether or not you’re looking at a “great deal.”

  • If a car has been sitting for more than 5 years it’s most likely going to need a new gas tank due to the gas turning bad and gunking up the tank. This will mean at the very least, $150-250 for a new tank (plus shipping and it ain’t cheap), New fuel lines and a new fuel pump. Those items alone will cost you over $500 and you still don’t know whether you can get the engine running when you are done.
  • For cars that have been sitting for years at a time you also have to take a hard look at the brakes. Brakes lines will get water in them through condensation or other means and rust from the inside out. Your master cylinder and boosters will also get water in them causing rust or corrosion around the seals. Even if the brakes happen to work through some miracle or other, they are going to need replacing asap. If it’s a 4 wheel drum system now you have to ask yourself if it’s worth investing the $1000 in new parts for fixing up the drums or should you invest $500-1000 more and get a nice set of Discs and double your stopping power?
  • Engine’s that have been sitting for years are very iffy as to whether or not they will be recoverable. There are many people who have had good success with different methods of preparing a motor for starting after it’s been sitting for years but you really can’t count on that. Piston rings are going to be dry and brittle, and what about possible corrosion on the cylinder walls. If the engine is a rare or expensive big block (427, 428) remember that rebuilding it is going to cost a fortune. The difference between a running 390 in a daily driver and a blown 390 in a rusted out carcass has at least $1500 in value.
  • One of the most important aspects of knowing a “deal” is a reality check. Put emotions aside when you are looking the car over and look at the facts. How bad is the rust? It takes work but body panels can be replaced, what about the frame? Damaged or rusted frame rails can easily add five to ten thousand dollars in frame off re-fabrication. Don’t be suckered in by a pretty paint job, if you’ve got rust issues in the floors or frame structures you will most likely be looking at many thousands of dollars worth of rebuilding.

Get a Feel For the Market In Your Area

Before you get real serious about buying your Cougar you want to make sure you know what’s going on in the classic car market. If you aren’t in a terrible rush to pickup a car it might be advisable to spend a couple of month’s monitoring some of the more popular classified listings and ebay auctions for the specific years of Cougar you are looking for. With the popularity of Internet classifieds in today’s marketplace the “local” marketplace pricing is going to bleed into the global market pricing somewhat but there are always highs and lows in the marketplace. Finding those lows can save you substantially.  Know how far you are willing to travel to pick up your car.  Some people are willing to extend the range of their search several thousand miles depending on the condition and quality of the vehicle.

Seeing what popular classified sites and Ebay listings are selling for (that means “selling” by the way, not just listing over and over for some exorbitant price) can give you a very good feel for where the market is and then when you see something that looks like a great deal price wize you can flag it as a potential purchase and start digging into the details on it. As a rule of thumb you can expect to see hundreds of cars that are about “as expected” when you are searching for your project. This means they will be priced a little higher than you want to go, in semi-reasonable or “daily driver” condition. Those two points will tend to counter balance themselves. The lower the price, the lower the condition of the car.  For every hundred or so cars you see listed that meet your criteria aside from price or condition, you will come across one or two that are the exception to the rule and will be noticeably lower in price and in still fairly respectable condition. Keep in mind that you are probably not the only other person looking for that particular type of deal so they aren’t going to jump up and bite you. You are going to have to diligently check all of the popular classified advertising sites daily if you hope to score that dream deal. Generally if you don’t get it within hours of the listing going up, someone else will.

Be Ready When It’s Time To Buy

Know what it’s going to take to get your new purchase home. Most likely it will need to be trailered or towed. If it’s any kind of real distance you really are going to want to consider trailering. If you have a blowout doing 55 towing your brand new classic car home you could end up with nothing more than a mangled hunk of metal for all your hard work. So many things could happen. Old brakes could seize up, rotten tires can blow, an axle could seize or let go. It’s just not worth the risk. Many companies rent car trailers now. They aren’t that expensive, get one.

One very important detail that is often overlooked when buying an old car is the potential paperwork hassle when trying to register it as the new owner. Be very certain you know exactly what the requirements for registering an old vehicle in your province or state are. Don’t be shy about phoning your motor vehicles office three or four times to talk to 2-3 different people and make sure they all tell you the same story. Often times if you find yourself caught in some legal loophole it can mean that you simple will not be able to legally register or drive the vehicle. Find out what your state or province requires or allows regarding “title only” sales. Sometimes a seller will be giving a great price on an old car because they’ve already tried to register it and for one reason or another it’s unable to be registered and he’s just trying to flog his problem off on you.

When you are ready to make your purchase you might also want to consider transportation insurance. Talk to your local insurance agent regarding coverage for your vehicle during transport and even if it’s just going to sit in storage at either the seller’s or your location. Often times storage insurance is a cheap as $20-$30 a year and can save you terrible anguish in the case of the unforeseeable happening. You know how the old saying goes.. “An ounce of prevention..”

In Conclusion

These ramblings have been some of my own thoughts based on my work with classic cars and my experiences buying and selling them. Always make sure you do your research when looking to buy (or sell) your classic cat and don’t rely on any one person to tell you what’s hot and what’s not. I hope you can put some of these suggestions to good use and in doing so you end up with a great car and many happy years of tinkering. Just remember, your Cougar is only happy when it’s purring down the highway.

How I Got the Cat Bug

I’m only 35.. err 36 hmm wow time sure flies, but I remember my high school days pretty vividly still. (If you ask my wife she will tell you it’s because I never really grew up) Everyone driving around in cool muscle cars laying burnouts all over the place, me in my parents 4cyl Chrysler New Yorker.. meh.. A friend of mine in high school, well more of a friend of a friend at the time had a thing for Cougars. He owned 3 or 4 of them over the 10 years or so that he was heavy into them. I watched him tinker on a couple of them but didn’t really “get it”. I certainly wasn’t mechanically inclined enough to appreciate the big block power plants I watched him dabble with for what they were.

I can’t really recall a specific moment of realization when the complete and utter “coolness” of it all hit me but suffice to say over a 3 year period I watched this friend of mine completely engross himself in one particular car of his. He breathed it, he talked about it, he worshipped it and he planned his projects on it for months in advance. The car was a 1967 XR7 GT. It was an original 390 big block car (like that wasn’t enough horsepower already..) but he had bigger plans for it.

Now you’ll have to forgive me because after 15-20 years my recollections of this aren’t going to be 100% but here goes. He started out by finding a 390 Police Interceptor block. Inside of that he tossed a special crank (Forged steel? cast iron? I cant remember but whichever it was I just know it took him over a year to find it and it was something special) for a 428. He stuffed in a bunch of racing gear for the rings and pistons and topped it off with a set of ported and polished 428 aluminum heads. On top of that he tossed an aluminum tri-power intake with an original set of 3 two barrel carbs. The trans was a C6, hopped up with a shift kit and a 2500 stall converter. I want to say the rear end was a 3:50 locker but I cant swear to it.

The car was immaculate. The body was straightened and re-welded for extra strength. He had them install a passenger side Torque box for more stability since it didn’t come stock on the 67s. Then he had a 1G racing suspension kit installed in the car complete with a set of low profile sub-frame connectors to keep the car from twisting itself in half every time it launched. A set of disc brakes from a 70 (or 71?) donor cougar went on the front end to help stop the wild beast.

Ok ok I know I’m rambling on building this car up into something legendary right? The very first time I heard this car I knew is was hooked. A set of Hollywood Deeptones tried to muffle the sounds of power coming out the back end of that cat but it didn’t do much. Just hearing that car idle would raise goosebumps on my arms never mind the scream of the 3 carburetors wailing for air when he put the hammer down. You want to talk about the proverbial legendary ride.. I remember just after he got the car out of the shop from the 1G suspension upgrade we went to “test it”.. Him laughing and chortling like a crazy person, me with my face planted up against the window as he takes a 90 degree turn at 75 miles an hour without even a whimper from the tires. Yeah I was definitely hooked.

I ended up with a couple cars myself. At the time I had a 65 Mustang which i used to kind of cut my teeth on. Then over the years I played with a bunch of fox body Mustangs and a Supercharged T-bird but man did I miss the muscle cars. I tried a ’73 mustang for fun but it just didn’t work.. I wanted a cougar.

So here I am FINALLY, after 20 years of watching everyone else enjoy their cats, with my own 1967 Cougar XR7. I don’t have any money to even pretend to dream that I would be able to pick up an XR7 GT but I don’t think I would ever part with this cat anyways. It’s just too dang nice. The first time I started it I knew I was home.

Well folks thats my story. How I got bit by da bug. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to reading about your great stories with your cats. Here’s wishing you straight roads and happy travels.

Mark

Lighting the Flame

So here I am writing my first journal entry for the Classic Cougar Community site. Just days ago none of this even existed. What a huge sense of satisfaction it is being a part of this push to rekindle public awareness for our cars and our great hobby. There are so many great Cougar hobbyists on the net with so much more knowledge than I have about these cars that I jumped at the chance to give a little something back to the community by assisting Bill Basore bring this site to life.

This website is about helping the classic Cougar community grow. Lending a hand at getting the information about our cars to the people who need it and bringing our hobby into the Internet era by giving all cougar enthusiasts a chance to use some very powerful tools ( cougar based photo galleries and web journals to start with) to share their passion for these old cars. To expand on these initial offerings I know Bill is hard at work trying to breathe life into our online E-magazine for Cougar enthusiasts everywhere to enjoy.
I’ll keep this short since I have been typing most of the day (and night and will probably lose coherence soon. (if I haven’t already heh) I’m looking forward to seeing the stories, “how to” articles and any advice my fellow hobbyists have to share with me. Smooth roads and safe travels all.

Mark