1968 Convertible Conversion

I’m hoping someone could help answer a question for me. Top Cat arrived Wednesday and once I got it into the shop I started looking the car over. One of the first things I noticed is a set of numbers that appears above VIN # in the cut out VIN area like what would be seen on a 1967 fender. I asked Don Rush and he brought up a good point about the fender Vin cut out. He asked if it was a 1967 fender that was cut to accept the 1968 marker light. I will have to get out to the shop and check this later. This photo is on the drivers side fender apron and the lower number matches the door tag and windshield VIN plate. I’m not sure what the other numbers above the VIN mean? Does anyone have an idea?

Numbers above VIN # ?

I found this post on a Mustang Forum. Here is the quoted text and a link.
“I used to own a totally legit early KR convertible, with all of its original tags, known history, and no accident damage. The original Ford VIN stamping on both sides of the fender aprons (under the fenders & under the Shelby VIN tag) read “8T11C111111”. Made no sense at all.”

It sounds very similar to what I have except for the T my numbers appear to have a P.

Thanks for any help.

The number looks like 8R11C111111 to me. The font on that VIN is consistent with original cars. That number is from a Ford though. There is no body code of “11”, so it is either a miss-stamp, or maybe practice?
The lower VIN with larger numbers does not look like the font that Ford used (in size or style) for the aprons. It looks closer in style to what was used on the plates riveted to passenger side dash, visible through the windshield.

Scott, actually in my '68 shop manual, it shows “11” for a Falcon. John

Thanks Scott. I agree the font on the vin # looks extremely close to the font on the window vin tag. When the fenders come off I’ll check the passenger side to see if the same markings are there. Overall it’s kind of weird but like the post on the Mustang forum, it seems not to make any sense at all.

Here is a video that was taken the morning before Top Cat was loaded on the transport.

Maybe service replacement panels had that as a generic vin. Or maybe it was to identify experimental factory convertibles… On my 68, the vin is stamped too far outboard to even show up in the fender notch. I can see it in reverse from the bottom side.

Yeah that’s what I was thinking, experimental factory convertibles that have to be finished 46 years later. :laughing:

Here is an example of a mis-stamp that I found on a Mustang.

My guess is that the previous car to be stamped was a Cougar, and they forgot to change the “9” to a zero.

How do you remove the center padded section and the walking Cougar emblem from the steering wheel pad?

Thanks, Steven

Service replacement panels do not have any generic VIN #, they are only stamped with part # and date codes, so it is up to hte shop/person that makes the repair/change to stamp in the correct VIN # to the new panel

As I recall the center piece is just pressed into place. There is a long stud coming off the backside of the piece on each side that fits into a hole in the foam of the main pad. If you have the main pad removed from the steering wheel you can sometimes see the hole from the underside and can then use something like a punch to help push the studs out. If not gently pry from the topside. Either way try to work each side evenly. Once the center piece is removed from the pad I believe that you will need to do a little grinding to remove the Cougar emblem. If you have purchased the reproduction center piece you will see where the studs are on the backside.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

Thanks Randy. I disassembled everything last night. It was just as you said. I didn’t see the holes on the backside of the pad where the studs are located. I used a small plastic spatula and gently worked from side to side until it came loose. I ground off the little studs on the walking Cougar and it came right off.


Good to hear that you got it apart. I had tried several times over the weekend to post the reply but was unable to due to whatever the site problems were.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

While tinkering with Top Cat I noticed that there is “in and out” play in the ignition cylinder, about 1/8". When it is pulled out, power is lost to the fan and turn signals and maybe more (radio is missing and the interior lights at the floor have no bulbs). Is there a way to tighten the cylinder so it doesn’t have this “in/out motion”. The ignition switch barrel (not sure if that’s the right name) is secured tightly to the dash by the bezel.

I received the new aluminum radiator. The one that is in the car is really over sized. It is so long the previous owner cut a notch in the battery tray in order to get it in. So along with changing the radiator I have to replace the battery tray. Not a big deal. Here are some photos of the new radiator.

The price was great also $150 with free shipping.

Here are a couple of pictures of Top Cat in the shop.


Small things are getting done. I’ve been working on the steering wheel restoration. I’ve been pretty set on the direction of the build. I’m going to combine the best styling ques of the GT-E and XR7G. G hood scoop, fog lamps, GT-E black out grille, tail light treatment and grille bars.
Here is the steering wheel pad.

After a good cleaning I dyed it black and painted the walking Cougar emblem gold like the XR7G.
Here are some pictures of the Lucas fog lamps I picked up from Al. I know they are not XR7G correct but the will work for my application and I can stay in the Lucas light family.


Nice job on the steering wheel pad. I like the direction you are taking with this cat.

The square 8’s look good even without recessing them

They’d look even better if they were straight

Thanks :smiley:

Thanks Leon. I think I’m going to recess them after I make the buckets. The valance that is on the car needs some small body work, so while it’s off the car I’ll modify it with the buckets.

A GTE-G vert will be extremely cool. Or maybe it should be an XRE-7G. Or maybe XRGTE-7G. Kinda makes the head spin just thinking about it. I’m looking forward to seeing your modifications to the valance for the lights.

Yeah Jody all of those letter combinations can make the head spin. I’m thinking along the lines of G-TC. G for Gurney inspired, TC for Top Cat or top convertible. I did a computer drawing of the fender emblem. It’s crude but I was just playing with the Idea.

I’ll take plenty pictures of the buckets when I start the metal work. I began the a light weight cardstock mock up today. I fighured it was better than bending a lot of metal to start with.