1970 Cougar XR7 convertible repaint and much more . . .

It is finally time for a little Cougar work again. It’s been a while where I’ve only been into full size cars so this will be fun. A couple of years ago I got an offer to buy this 70 XR7 convertible and just could not resist it even if I did not have much time for it at the time. The car came to Norway from California back in 2000, but has been sitting outside and really not been cared for the way it should have. I knew it would need some work, but I was not really aware of how much when I bough it unseen. The first thing I did was to order some quality chrome bumpers and put them on the shelf to be mounted later. The top frame was restored and a new convertible top put on before the car went back into hibernation in my brothers garage. The only thing I’ve done since then is to collect a few more parts for the restoration, but nothing major.
Fast forward to August 2020 and I got the car home again. Actually I was seriously thinking about selling it, but an excited buyer were nowhere to be found so instead I decided to give it new paint and a few other upgrades to make it pretty again. Time will show how far I take this, but right now I have way too many projects going so I will try to keep it an a decent level. Plan is new paint in Black Jade, new carpet, some interior upgrades, not to mention a scoop and front spoiler. Engine may or may not be painted, same with engine bay. Then it also need front suspension and steering work so I guess I have a few things to keep me busy the next 6 months or so. Anyway, the first I need to do now is to get rid of the ugly old paint and see what’s under it. Also there is a little rust in the usual places that I will fix.

Nice, I know of a couple more 70 Convertibles being redone now. Black Jade will be a nice color and will look nice with that Ginger interior.

Looking forward to watching your progress. You always amaze me.

I’m really looking forward to this!

My first Cougar (first car actually) was a '70 XR-7 with a ginger interior and a tan vinyl top.

Paint was a dark, metallic root beer color.

Sold it while I was in college but found the VIN in my mother’s paper work when she passed away in 2012.

Ordered a Marti and I’ll be darned if it wasn’t yellow with a green vinyl top and ginger interior from the factory!

No wonder paint and top were already changed when I bought it in '76!

You do terrific work Gry - can’t wait to see how this '70 turns out!

  • Phillip

I had a pretty productive weekend and got a lot done on the Cougar. I started easy with the rear valance on Friday afternoon, had it cleaned up, hammered dents out and shrunk a few spots ta make it stiff and fit nice. Then on Saturday I removed the grill, front valances and fenders before I topped it off with drilling the holes to install the hood scoop. Today was not so fun. Started with the hood to remove old paint and body filler. Found a lot of rust spots under the filler, so it was well wort the time it took to get it down to bare steel. Then started doing the same on the right fender, but realized it would take forever to get through 5 coats of paint, primer and super thick old nasty smelling body filler. After working on the fender for a while I started to wonder if it was a waste of time as the more I dug into it the more it revealed several old damages. I just did not know what to do, but then I suddenly remembered that I had a NOS right 69 fender on my garage loft. By a coincidence I found it in a friends garage a couple of years ago and bought it just in case and I had almost forgotten about it. That fender saved my day. :laughing: If I remember right the only difference on the 69 and the 70 fenders is the marker light so all I have to do is to widen the hole to fit the 70 marker lamp.

It’s been three weeks since my last update. It is a rainy and windy morning here, so finally I have time for a another update. Nothing really exciting here, just some pictures and a lot of hard work.
Since last post I have discovered that this car will need pretty much a full restoration. Every time I dig into something I discover new problems. body panels I believed was OK were far from that, windshield had a crack I haven’t seen before, dash pad has been restored and it is not good enough for a nice restored car, I found the common rust in the doors, Hood had been moderately dented and needed hours of work and shrinking to be good, the hood scoop I bought for the car had 8 layers of paint in 5 different colors and needed lots of fiber glass cracks repaired, some fender extensions were totally out of shape and the left front fender had more than 40 holes drilled into it and a ton of body filler. door hinges needed to be rebuilt… the list could go on forever.
It is really disappointing as I was hoping for a relatively easy paint job.

So doors were totally disassembled and rust in lower corners welded. Then I spent hours on the panels to straighten them the best I could to avoid all the body filler they used on them last time the car had a repaint. To tell the truth I am really happy with how they turned out.

Left front fender also needed a lot of work. All holes were welded and dents removed and the original shape of the fender is back.

I have never seen a used 70 hood without moderate to lots of damage. Anyway, this one looked nice, but that was only until I got the old paint removed. The center section of the hood had been dented and the middle of the hood had lost tension so I had to shrink it back into shape before I went on with body filler, epoxy primer and filling primer.

The hood scoop needed work after a rough previous life. Luckily fiber glass is easy to work with and the result will be good as new if done right. What I found to be most challenging was to get rid of all the old paint that ended up as a grey goop in the sanding paper and made it useless after a few seconds of sanding.

Then a picture of one the better parts on the car. The trunk lid was very nice, same with the front upper and lower valances. In fact the lower had previously been replaced with a NOS panel, so it had just a minor ding so that was kind of nice.

I have also had the paint mixed and a test sample made just to make sure the color is what I want for the car. And it is. :slight_smile:

Looks like an interesting paint colour.
What is it?

Black Jade. Love it.

I believe Mercury used the name Dark Ivy Green metallic on the same green as Ford named Black Jade. It is not a fancy color but still one of my favorites for these years, at least together with the brown interior.

Anyway, I have some new pictures. I’ve been kind of slow because I have other projects going at the same time, but at least I’ve been able to make a little progress. IO got the doors done and fenders are on their way. I also removed the top from the car to avoid any over spray and damage to the new top. That will also give me access to all the areas that had been painted gold metallic from factory and the color change to green will be more complete.

That’s amazing! Looks like it’s coming along quite nicely…

Cool 66 Park Lane there.

Sfhess, thanks for the nice comment on my 66 Park Lane. It has been mine for almost 40 years and I will keep it for as long as I live.

The 70 Cougar is one step closer to paint as I got the front fenders and extensions in primer tonight. It was a lot harder to straighten these fenders than i thought it would be and even if one of them was NOS, it also had been exposed to rough handling through the years and needed lots of work to be perfect.
I have also removed the windshield and ordered a new one for the car. The car still had the windshield from 1970, and it was really in bad condition with a crack and the tint was totally faded from the sun. It will be nice with a new one. Another thing I noticed when I removed the top from the car was the rusty rods on the top cylinders and greasy cylinders telling me a major leak is about to develop. They will need to be replaced as well. In fact it becomes more and more clear to me that the car is 50 years old and it will need a lot more than I had in mind when I started the work.

Love seeing pics of your progress. Great work!

With the front fenders, hood, doors and trunk lid done in primer it is time to finish the quarter panels and rear extensions. The left extension had an old damage from when the car had been hit in the rear, and after I repaired the damage in the body the extension would not fit. My attempt to make it fit ended as bad as it goes and the extension broke in two pieces. Luckily another cougar owner here in Norway had a good one for spare that he let me buy :slight_smile:
What I’ve found to be a strange problem on these convertibles, at least the two I have restored is that the shape and curves on the top of the quarters does not even remotely look the same on the left and right side. That’s something I can’t live with so I do my best to make them as perfect as possible. At the same time I also try to make them line up with the panel between the quarters. That involves some extra work, but in they will look so much better in the end.

Love to see it!!! Keep up the great work!

I respect a man that can do his own body work, Its something I have never learned or really sure I would want to learn!

Keep up the good work! coming along nicely!

and women that can do body work :wink:

Hey ‘D’…In this case you better respect a gal, Gry is a lady member if you were unaware? I made that same mistake years back :laughing:
Doing great work Gry. I just know it’s going to be as nice as the Hertz car…how is that car anyway? Get it out much?

Near as I can figure, Gry is about 1000x more productive than I could ever be on the old cars. :beerchug:

I was unaware, my apologies! Envious of the talent, Certainly something that is not in my wheelhouse!