“Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible

This is the place for your Cougar adventure stories. Do you drive your Classic Cougar? Tell us about it!
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“Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible


Post by Cougrrr » 02 Jul 2019, 21:20

At five years old, I knew when Dad was home, well before he boomed his hello up the stairs. When his 69 Cougar convertible turned the far corner, you could hear the cheesy one-note sambas on the aftermarket stereo vying to be heard over the burble of the 351 Windsor V8.
My father had just moved to suburban DC on his way to fame, starting with a stint as a speechwriter in the Nixon White House.

But he did not become famous for his speed in the quarter mile. As he drove, he would get lost in thought and gradually slow down until my mother goaded him to hurry up for heaven’s sake, we’re trying to get somewhere.
Eventually when we traveled as a family she drove us in her car, a Pontiac Bonneville.
https://www.oldride.com/carphotos//2139 ... 5681&sort=
This “Wide Track” four door boat needed its 428 engine simply to make it around town. With its maroon exterior, maroon velveteen “Morrokide” bench seating and “generous swaths of imitation Carpathian elm,” it resembled a rolling bordello. At the time we just thought of it as a comfy ride.

After a time, the Cougar was repainted to hide its battle scars. It emerged a more noticeable shade of yellow, somewhere between lemonade and banana. It’s strange how the striking color doesn’t look garish to me, since it’s the only color I’ve ever known it to be.

By 1980, when I came of driving age, my mother wisely insisted I drive something else. The Cougar lacked airbags, 3 points seat belts, and a passenger side mirror. It could go 100 mph, but when it turned a corner at any speed, you could feel your prehensile tail reaching out for a street sign.
One cousin got a ride to a protest march outside the White House before the car was parked at the Executive Office Building next door.
Another cousin got a call one day telling him to look out his window, because the classic 25 year old convertible he once complimented was being rolled off a flatbed onto his Los Angeles driveway.

I think my cousin Andy felt a little guilty that he ended up with the car instead of me, though heaven knows I wouldn’t have had a use for it in NYC. He always told me that if I wanted it, it was mine. He replaced the wiring harness, kept it garaged and drove it from time to time on sunny days.
25 years later, when the car was 50 years old, I made that call.
To be continued...
More pics to come.

Specs: 1969 351 Windsor 2v convertible, p/w, p/s, a/c, yellow exterior, black interior, numbers matching, 97K miles, engine never rebuilt.
1969 351W Convertible

Car tour: https://youtu.be/QOVDOv6GVhU

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Re: “Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible


Post by badcatt » 02 Jul 2019, 22:38

Cool start of your Cougar's story. I cant wait to hear "The Rest of the Story".
Neal Jacobson.
1970 XR-7 White "Ginger"
1970 XR-7 Convertible Blue For Sale.
1971 XR-7 Bright Blue with Blue "Up Beat" interior For Sale.
1970 Standard 428CJ Competition Yellow The New Money Pit.
See ya on the hiways,
The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter,
they are an entire banquet
- Mark Twain -

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Re: “Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible


Post by elmn8tr69 » 03 Jul 2019, 06:40

Cool story- gotta love family cars
Chris Jones
69 XR-7 428CJ R/A 4 speed coupe
69 Standard 428CJ R/A 4 speed convertible
70 Eliminator Boss 302 Competition Orange

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Re: “Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible


Post by Don Rush » 03 Jul 2019, 11:02

Great write up, expect an email from Bill B to share your story in the "Ride of the Month". I think you two had the same High School creative writing teacher. Years ago Ray Ramono called me and commissioned me to find the twin to the 69 yellow convertible his brother once owned and would never let him drive. Fast forward a few years and his wife calls me and asks if I could help get it out of her garage, it was attracting too many spiders...

http://www.cougarclub.org/documents/ats ... 02-p16.pdf

http://smclassiccars.com/mercury/214364 ... omano.html

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Re: “Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible


Post by xr7g428 » 03 Jul 2019, 14:01

Ride of the Month doesn't work like that. The cars are nominated and then the members vote. The winning car then gets a story... I don't ever draft vehicles for the honor. Given that this is a great story, thanks for sharing it with us. I look forward to the rest of the story, and pics please.
Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
Currently in the Cat House
'67 XR7 GT 390 4 speed, AC, AM FM, Lime Frost Green
'68 XR7-G 428CJ C6, Tilt-Away, AM, Black Cherry
'68 XR7-G 390 4 speed, Sunroof, Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 GT-E 427 C6 AM Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 resto mod 351W, soon to be AOD, Black Cherry

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Re: “Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible


Post by Cougrrr » 04 Jul 2019, 12:35

Don, thanks for the article about Ray Romano's car. Clearly a long lost twin!
I'm not sure I rate a Ride of the Month, but the sentiment is appreciated.
I'll figure out the image upload soon, but for now here's a YouTube video I made with a car tour: https://youtu.be/QOVDOv6GVhU. Sorry it's not a steadicam.
1969 351W Convertible

Car tour: https://youtu.be/QOVDOv6GVhU

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Re: “Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible


Post by Cougrrr » 05 Jul 2019, 21:58

I have been learning a lot of things about a lot of things over the past few months since I got this car. As much about human nature as about cars. In no time at all I’ve been ecstatic, befuddled, curious, amused, and a lot more besides. I’ve been treated in many different ways by people I never would have met and many I have learned from but never spoken to.

Take, for example, what you can learn from the awkward fit of a car door.
It turns out you can tell a lot. And not just about the car.
It can also tell you a lot about the people who are telling you a lot.

“It’s just a worn hinge. A simple fix.”
“The door skin is loose. I can reweld it but then you’ll have to repaint it.”
“The frame is shot. Wait until you have $25K to restore it and don’t touch the car until then.”

Why do people have such different takes on the same problem?

The first two opened the door and wiggled it, but did not look underneath.
The third one looked underneath but didn’t share my world view.
They are all probably right.

What to do? It’s like having three diseases at once. I guess fix first the one that could kill you soonest.

In fact, the car almost died already —on the examination table. A few moments after turning on the lift, a mechanic hit the stop button in a panic because he saw the door jamb yawning open.

After putting up the convertible roof to add a modicum of stiffness, we raised it again, stood to the side and peered underneath. He said “The passenger side doesn’t look too bad.” You can tell a lot by the tone of someone’s voice. The shop’s owner showed up and offered that one proper pot hole could be the end of me.

I drove gingerly for over an hour to get home knowing that the driver side inner rocker was all but missing, the driver side floor pan was a shambles, and the passenger side “didn’t look too bad” compared to something that must look just terrible.

A local classic car collector told me he takes all his cars, including a ‘70 Mustang, to a master mechanic just down the road who works miracles. At one point he crafted from scratch a drag racer that did “high 7s and low 8s.”

He gave generously of his time on a Saturday. After sliding around under the car, he confirmed what I had been told about the unibody, though with more specificity. (Perhaps I should call it a u-no-body? :D ) Each person finds one new frightening thing though: he noticed that the seat is no longer attached to the floor panel.

But here’s the thing: To replace the front shocks he jacked up the car by its front crossmember. Just the night before I had read that jacking from this location puts a lot of pressure on the middle of a car. Indeed, I noticed the doors were pinched tightly against the body like lobster claws. After a brief discussion we found somewhere else to jack the car up from.

I think you can tell a lot about someone by how they manage a car door.

You can also learn a lot from people like you, who take the time to share your knowledge and encouragement in these forums. Thank you!

At this point, for the particulars I am going to transition to the Project forum, where I can present the facts of the case instead of all this rambling.
1969 351W Convertible

Car tour: https://youtu.be/QOVDOv6GVhU

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Re: “Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible


Post by Al Bundy » 06 Jul 2019, 07:29

Sounds like you’re in for quite an adventure. Good luck on your journey.
1974 Dodge Dart - daily driver
1963 Thunderbird Z code - raven black/red
1968 XR7 F code - diamond blue/blue
1968 XR7 J code - black/red
1968 J code - madras blue/aqua
1968 XR7 X code - lime frost/dark ivy gold
1968 GT-E XR7 W code prototype no. 500033 - cardinal red/black

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Re: “Mellow Yellow” 69 Cougar Convertible


Post by CATHOUSE » 06 Jul 2019, 17:54

It's all fixable, all it takes is money, time, tools and talent. And then add more money. If you need any motivation and/or encouragement take a few hours, yes it will take that long, to read through ECI Bob's reconstruction thread of his 69 XR-7 convertible. The finished result is an incredibly beautiful car.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

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