May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Standard

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May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Standard


Post by xr7g428 »

I had one just like that back when....

How many times do we hear that when we get to drive these great old cars? And then the story comes out. Sometimes in laughter, some times in tears, our Cougar brings out memories for so many people.

Part of what makes Bern's '68 Standard so special is that this is the Cougar that most people had in the day. While we all like to see those incredibly rare Cougars that are almost as rare as tightwad politicians, the ones we fell in love with first, were usually a lot like this car.

Lets get the details out of the way:
Serial Number 8R91F502318
Built at San Jose
Cougar Hardtop
302-2V Engine

2318th Mercury vehicle scheduled for production at San Jose
65A Standard Cougar Hardtop
Nordic Blue Paint, Ford #3077-A
Parchment Standard Bucket Seats w/Red
29L Scheduled For Build: November 29, 1967
Los Angeles Ordering District
3.00 Conventional Rear Axle
C-4 Merc-O-Matic Transmission
302 2V (now 4V)
Parchment Vinyl Roof
C-4 Merc-O-Matic Transmission
E70X14 Wide Oval Tires
White Sidewall Tires
Power Disc Brakes
Power Steering
Tilt-Away Steering Wheel
Air Conditioner - Whisperaire
AM/8-Track Stereo Radio
Tinted Glass
Door Edge Guards
Styled Steel Wheels

Here is Mike's Cougar story:

I bought my first Cougar in 1975 for $800.00 when I was 16 years old. A 1967 Polar white with a red deluxe interior, 289 2V, with 42,000 miles. I had it for 2-1/2 years before she met an untimely end. I had some great memories of me and Sandy………………never mind.

I owe my second turn at Cougar ownership to my wife who agreed when I asked if I could pursue a hobby other than my job or working around the house. So when I told her what I had in mind she said yes but she asked if it could be a convertible. I have remained partial to first body style, but I was intrigued by 69-70’s, and they provided the desirable vert. So my hunt began but nothing was panning out. Then one Sunday scanning the internet I saw a tiny ad for what would become my car in an adjoining town and I called and made arrangements to see it. Not realizing at the time though, I had actually seen the car many months earlier when I passed it sitting in a local auto lot. I did a U-turn and stopped just to admire and to reminisce about my 67. Well the 68 was showing her age and whoever bought her would have to show her a little love to get her in good reliable driving and show shape. The guy who placed the ad had bought the car from the widow of the PO and who was trying to make a quick flip. So I consulted the Mrs. telling her it was not a convertible but the price was right and I really liked it. To my surprise she said go for it which resulted in my second Cougar.

We brought her home on Good Friday 2011 and proceeded to give a thorough cleaning to this 1968 hardtop, 302 2V(currently sporting an Edelbrock 4V), C-4, 2 of 2 built with Nordic blue exterior, Parchment top and interior with red appointments (currently blue), #2318th Cougar built in San Jose on 11/27/67. However deep down I knew I’d have to redo the interior and replace and repair many other things as well. First on my list was replacing the entire front suspension and new front disc brakes just so I’d feel safe driving her during the coming summer. That done we hit the local cruise nights and started meeting some great people who shared our interest and who gave me tips and ideas that proved invaluable when I would eventually start restoring in earnest. It was a great summer and then in the fall my wife and I would just hop in the car and just drive to somewhere we’d never been before just to enjoy the last few opportunities before winter.

On January 2nd, 2012 I told my wife that I’ll be in the garage for a while. Four hours later I had removed most everything in the interior, except the steering column, HVAC, and head liner. I also removed the front bumper, grill, and A/C condenser, dryer, and hoses. I took digital pics the whole time so I would know how to put everything back together. Then for days on end I researched parts from WCCC, MU, and others and made a list with everyone’s pricing. I can remember calling Don and asking him about some part and told him I was about ready to order over the net when he says let’s just do it now. So it must have taken 20 minutes but he took my order and entered it while we spoke. Then every weekend for the next 3 months I repaired, assembled, installed all the goodies that kept coming which included re-plated dash, sound deadener, carpeting, seat covers, window seals, emblems, bumper, etc. By mid-March my efforts were really starting to show as the interior now sparkled like the day she rolled off the assembly line, new chrome up front was like jewelry, and the engine compartment looked a whole lot better than the previous year. Later that summer I had the A/C converted to R134 and damn if that ole compressor didn’t fire up and started blowing cold air. I can remember taking her to the first cruise that year and before anyone looked they would ask “So did you do anything over the winter to your car?” Then I’d say take a peek inside and when they did the looks were priceless.

The summer of 2012 was great and I learned a little more history about my car when at a cruise night a fellow walks up to me and proclaims “that’s my old car”! At first I thought he was mistaken but he started telling me things about the car that only someone who owned it would know. He tells me that in 1994 he lived in Texas and was moving to Chicago and bought the car in Mexico and drove the Cougar back to Chicago. The current paint was done shortly after that in Chicago. He later e-mailed me a pic showing the car sporting body side moldings and Magnum wheels. After that I believe it change hands a couple of more times.

In January 2013 I replaced the rear springs and shocks. This winter I concentrated on a small list of odds and ends that bothered me but to most people they’d probably overlook or not notice. I also replaced the chrome rocker panels. My last absolutely had to have items were acquiring my chrome styled steel wheels with red running cat center caps! I love how they look and when I got my Marti report it turns out that is how she left the factory before it headed to Glendale Arizona!

Our car show season is about to kick off in earnest and I can’t wait to get her out and see the gang after the brutal winter we had. Soon I should be hearing that one question that comes up most often “why is your steering wheel tilted?” and then the comment “Cougars, you just don’t see many of them anymore”!

I hope my wife and I have many more summers enjoying this great classic Cougar.

Thanks again to everyone and it is an honor to be May’s ROTM!

Editors note: I like this picture! It makes me wish I was there.


Here is a newer pic with new wheels!




Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
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Re: May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Stand


Post by CatsRock »

Congrats again Mike, really liked that photo you had posted awhile ago with your cat at the track :beerchug:
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Re: May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Stand


Post by G68 »

Beautiful '68 Mike! She's gonna look good in the top right corner all month!
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Re: May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Stand


Post by Local Hero »

As good as this car looks, a half to three-quarter coil cut on those front springs would make that stance all kinds of awesome for no cash outlay.
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Re: May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Stand


Post by badcatt »

1 of 2, now that is cool. But I too would have gotten rid of the red appointments. Congratulations Mike, You have 1 sweet Cougar and a great story to go with it.
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Re: May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Stand


Post by CatVert68 »

Your car looks fantastic. I'd be interested in seeing more interior pictures that highlight where the red (now blue) appointments were. I don't think I've ever seen that option before and would love to know what the appointments actually were.
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Re: May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Stand


Post by berns68 »

CatVert68 wrote:Your car looks fantastic. I'd be interested in seeing more interior pictures that highlight where the red (now blue) appointments were. I don't think I've ever seen that option before and would love to know what the appointments actually were.
I wondered what they were too. On the home page of this site is a 1968 interior options catalog and it states that the appointments would be the dash pad, carpeting, and other (I assume "other" meant package tray). Here is a pic right after I installed the front seats. The carpet color we chose was called "Ford Blue" and it replaced a much darker blue. Both the dash pad and package tray are currently blue.
1968 Cougar 153 (350x263).jpg
1968 Cougar 153 (350x263).jpg (83.91 KiB) Viewed 815 times

1968 Standard Hardtop, Nordic Blue
302 F code, updated to 4V
Originally 1 of 2
ROTM May 2014
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Re: May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Stand


Post by mo2872 »

Fantastic.....well done, Mike!
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Re: May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Stand


Post by DeadBird »

Beautiful Car! Congrats! This gives me something to look forward to, I'm setting what I feel is a very realistic goal of having my '68 done completely (are we ever completely done?) by the Summer Cruise season of 2018 for her 50th Birthday, the Cougar, not the wife. lol

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Re: May 2014 Ride of the Month is Mike's (Berns68) '68 Stand


Post by cougar2 »

Congrats Mike, very nice!!

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