1970 Mercury Cougar - reader resto

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img 0463 The car they started with. img 0463
RIMG1347 Modified 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1347 Modified
RIMG1462 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1462
RIMG1463 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1463
RIMG1477 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1477
RIMG1500 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1500
RIMG1501 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1501
RIMG1509 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1509
RIMG1528 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1528
RIMG1533 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1533
RIMG1603 1970 Mercury Cougar RIMG1603
Mercury Cougar 001 1970 Mercury Cougar Mercury Cougar 001
Mercury Cougar 003 1970 Mercury Cougar Mercury Cougar 003
Mercury Cougar 005 1970 Mercury Cougar - owner Brian Pierce Mercury Cougar 005
Mercury Cougar 009 1970 Mercury Cougar Mercury Cougar 009
Mercury Cougar 010 1970 Mercury Cougar Mercury Cougar 010
Mercury Cougar 014 1970 Mercury Cougar Mercury Cougar 014
Mercury Cougar 021 1970 Mercury Cougar Mercury Cougar 021

A hurried impulse purchase and some delays during its first respray led to this Mercury’s second resto

1970 Mercury Cougar - reader resto
The Mercury looks a stunner.

In my 70-something years I have had 100 cars: Australian, British, European, Asian and American.

I retired at the end of 2014 and decided, in my wisdom (read stupidity) to buy something to restore.

I have had a beautiful ’67 Chevelle hardtop for five years now, and decided what I needed to complement it was a convertible.

Mustangs were too common, and early pre-’71s were way too expensive, so my grandson, Bayley (then 10) and I started looking at anything else without a lid. We looked at Corvettes – too tight for generous sized guys, and only two seats. Camaros, Firebirds, still a little too small, Pontiacs, Impalas and Caddies too big. Then I came across, in Unique Cars, a ’69 Mercury Cougar convertible that seemed to be a reasonable price, little did I know.

The Cougar had been in Australia since 2006 and in ‘storage’ for quite a few years here, and was near impossible to really get a good look at.

Way under a stack of garage junk we could only get a bit of a look. All seemed to be there including some NOS parts, so Bayley kicked the tyres, said he liked it, and, it being within my initial budget we bought it.

Driving it back to Geoff’s place, where we were going to work on it was an experience, within minutes I regretted ever laying eyes on it! First impressions weren’t good.

Its saving graces were the original sales invoice, documentation that it was a one USA owner, purchased by a Ford marketing staff member in Dearborn, original Michigan plates, Californian 1970 proof right through to 2006 with a Californian vanity plate KTYMEOW, perfect for a Cougar. Not only all of that, but it had a Marti Report showing that it was one of only 33 ever built white with white trim.

That was the good news, the bad news, it was now green. Again, good news, it was a bare metal American repaint so the body was fine. Bad news, they took too long before painting it and there were tiny pieces of surface rust creating moisture blisters on pretty much every panel. Bare metal job again, so thank goodness one of my close friends, Bruce Christie, is a retired panel beater/spray painter, and an absolute perfectionist.

Without the help of two close friends this restoration would have been a disaster. They are: Geoff Bamford, of Geoff’s XS Motorcycle Restorers, motorcycle and car restorer extraordinaire, as well as my retired buddy Bruce, the best beater/painter in Sydney. They both stripped the car back to a shell, with my help or hindrance, depending on whether you ask me or them!

Bobby, from A-Class Automotive in Castle Hill did the electrics and Dan from Modern Mechanical did the suspension and under-car work. Bruce and Geoff then did the reassembly, again with my help/hindrance.

Every piece of rubber whether it was in the suspension, fuel lines, doors and weather seals, pretty much everything that could deteriorate did deteriorate, and had to be replaced. It took sixteen months to get back on the road, not long according to a lot of car club members. New tyres, soft top along with rams, lines and motor, some upholstery and a general detail brought it back to factory specs.

I resisted the urge to make it anything but stock as it came from the factory, so I kept an original exhaust system, wheels and only the accessories on the build sheet. I have a Pro Stock Chevelle, according to my grandkids, red, loud and fast, so the Cougar remains a ‘Boulevard Cruiser’.

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