This topic was brought up in another thread but was unclear about what year was in question so I thought it might be easier start a new discussion on a particular year.
We are talking about the 67-68 rear panels, as with most mine are brittle and crumbing every time I handle them. I have seen all the attempts to patch and glue them back together but always mixed results. Like my door panels the vinyl was in decent shape and just needed a new backer but unlike the door panels no one seemed to make the rear panel backers.
I have had my eye on these replacement panels for a while but was not able to find any feedback on how well they fit or if they take any modification to make fit. https://www.mpproductsstore.com/cougarparts.html The website is a little dated and it appears to be mostly mustang parts which as most of us know is a gamble when it comes to mustang vendors having correct cougar parts. These guys are even local to Arizona but had not reached out to them to talk about their panels since it was not on the top of my to do list. I had bookmarked their website a couple years back but I forgot about them until I saw WCCC start carrying what looked like very same panels. Again not much feedback but I decided to take the chance since typically Don has a good reputation for only carrying good parts or at least letting you know its not so great before you make the purchase. https://secure.cougarpartscatalog.com/rear-interior-panel-bare-pair-repro-1967-1968-mercury-cougar.html?attribs=76 Ironically after placing my order the other thread popped up with these reporting to have good feedback so far.
I can confirm these fit very well. I did have to trim a couple small areas for better fitment but not much at all. I was able to take my original vinyl off the original crusty plastic and glue it to these new ABS plastic panels then change the color to black just like I did with my door panels. These seem to be a little more flexible or flimsy so its a little tricky to get the vinyl to lay right. It took some time to figure out the best method of aligning it up before gluing and what I did was match the window crank hole first and align every else up via witness markings in the vinyl. These panels are very close to as the vinyl lays on it and lines up just like the originals. Using binder clips all the way around helped hold it in place. Lifting one side only I used spray adhesive to glue to center section and rear sections down then drilled the holes for the arm rest. Bolting on the arm rest helped hold everything in place and allow me to stretch the vinyl tighter to take up the wrinkles. I used spray adhesive for everything at first but found it not to hold the edges as well as I would like so I used the contact adhesive on the edges. With the arm rest and decor trim installed the panels got much sturdier and helped tighten up the vinyl. I painted the decor trim to match my door panels as the chrome mylar cooked from the sun.
While not a perfect job(I am no upholster and 50yr old vinyl) It came out very well and Im happy with these. I say these are a great alternative to those 50yr old crusty originals.
I had an interesting time with the arm rest. I took it apart and reshaped the foam to better match the shrunken vinyl then glued it back together with construction adhesive. Cant say Im happy with it but I think it works ok and looks a little better then it did. This would be a great part to be reproduced but Im sure not much market for them. I know guys like to use the 69-70 rear arm rest but good used one are a little more then I would like to spend on them.
Decor trim is not fully installed here, needs touched up before going on for good.
I will update with some completed fitment once I get the window sweeps installed and a couple things done behind the panel. I do not have a rear seat ready to install so might not be able to get the full picture just yet but I am confident they will look great once everything is done.
Finally finished the first one up. Had to grab a before and after. I did run into a problem with the window sweep trim not quite fitting as well as I would like but not sure if it was the panel or the trim. My original panels brake apart while taking them apart but I would have liked to compare the window trim to those first to see where the issue was. I was able to massage them to get them to fit better and its not to noticeable. I also have a small wrinkle towards the top that I could seem to get out but again Im not upholster
I mentioned the new panels feeling thinner then the originals so here are the measurements. Once all the trim is installed they are installed in the car I don’t think you will notice after the fact but thought it would be worth mentioning.
Also had a small issue with the window sweep not quite fitting right. Not sure if it was the panel or the sweep itself since they are both repops. The sweeps do seem to match the originals so thinking it might be the panel. I was able to massage it to for pretty decent but did not fit quite as well as I would like.
Overall I’m happy with them. I have been looking g for good used ones for years and nothing really better then what I had came up. These are a good alternative for sure.
Your panels came out great. Nice Job! One question, was there any trick or hints you could offer on removing the vinyl covering from the old panels? Did you use a heat gun, set them out in the sun (you lucky Arizona people) or simply carefully pull the vinyl off. Did the material stretch much when removing it or want to tear? Thank you for posting your result sand tips, they are very helpful. Jim R.
Ill get a picture of the backside of the vinyl. It has a layer of fuzz/felt for lack of better term that needs to be separated from the panel. I used a dull putty knife scrapper to gently separate the felt from the backer. Go slow and you can get most of it off, you do want to leave this on as much as possible and make sure it doesn’t bunch up when you reinstall it as it can visible on the completed panel. They are constructed much like the door panels
are you referring to the basket weave and arm rests? those are originals I reworked. The arm rests I took apart to reshape the foam to the shrunken vinyl then reglued to try and reshape it better. No perfect but looks ok enough for the back seat I think. The window sweep and window cranks are from wccc. The basket weave trim I pealed all the yellowed mylar off and painted what would be chrome a argent silver which is the same as my gauges. The center is a dark charcoal grey. It wont win any concourse shows but I like the results and able to save the original parts.
after gluing, Ill trim all the excess off and smooth it up to sit on the panel flat.
Also to those wondering what the backside looks like, here is the vinyl removed from the panel, a simple putty knife removed the original panel from the vinyl.
A quality spray adhesive works good. This is the stuff I used for a majority of the panel. I used the 1829 headliner adhesive for the edges since it has a stronger bond. Everything seems to be holding great
So as luck would have it I counted my chickens before they hatched…I can not seem to get the driver side vinyl to lay on the new panel correctly enough to not look like crap. Not sure if the issue is in the replacement panel or the vinyl. The panel looks the same as the passenger side just reversed and the driver side fits in the car like the other side did so Im doubting its the panel itself.
What I have noticed is my vinyl was trimed very short on the original panel so there is not alot of excess material to work with to aid in lining it up. Obliviously it cant be 100% the same as the original panel so its making it almost impossible to line up enough to make it fit.
Of course the more I fight with the vinyl the more damage I introduce. Ive got a couple tears I was hoping to not make any bigger but they are starting to grow to where they will show once installed. I may need to source another vinyl section which kinda kills the mood with the install
Ouch! Good luck! The old vinyl, is it glued to padding, or can I peel the vinyl off the padding, and just put new vinyl on? I ask, because I think my panels are ok, I would like to see about peeling off the gold vinyl, and adhere new in its place, trying to form fit the padding to keep it the same overall design/shape, if that makes sense.