68 XR-7 Restomod Build

Hey guys! So, I figured I’d continue the discussion of my new project over here, lol. But, rather than type it all out, or link the post…I figured I’d just quote it.

So here’s my original post from my introduction thread!

So, to clarify my goal here…I’m looking to build a daily driver capable (for me…I’ve learned my tolerance level is higher than most others lol) restomod with a serious amount of kick. I’ll work on the drivetrain and general interior first, moving on to completing the exterior as things continue. That said I’ll probably do little, inexpensive things on the exterior myself throughout the process…like basic smoothing of the body and the like. I know that’s semi backwards…but I want the car drivable asap, so I don’t lose interest!! I’ve never completed a project that I worked on that wasn’t drivable lol. I doubt that’s changed much in the last few years =p.

So, to list the basic stages I’m looking at for the drivetrain:

The first build will be a stock roller 302 shortblock with 225cc TFS High Port heads and a custom cam to tell them how to work together properly. Compression should be near 10:1 (including the gasket, valve relief, and ring lands). I’ll be running a 750 Race Demon on either a Super Victor, or a Victor Jr intake. The transmission will be whatever T5 I can get ahold of for a reasonable price…but my goal will be to find a face plated (meaning non-synchro 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) T5 or Tremec. Rear gears will be 4.11’s or 4.30’s with either a spool, or mechanical locker of some type. The goal is N/A high 10’s. I will be fiddling with a fuel injection on this motor in prep for the bigger motor later.

The second motor is going to be much more fun. The heads will go back to TEA for a 240cc port job. The short block will be a dart unit with a 3.55" stroke, and 4.2" bore for 393ci (gotta love the 6.5 litre badges!). The fuel injection should be complete by this time as well.

I’m hoping to get the car at least drivable by summer lol. Wish me luck!..I’ll probably need it =p.

I probably said the same thing where you first posted but IMO you should keep the 351W and build it! (In my best Foghorn Leghorn voice) I say, I say, 50 cubes for free ain’t nothing to turn your nose up at son!

Ahh, 50 cubes is nice for sure :slight_smile:. But an additional 100ish slow revving pounds on the nose of an already slow reacting car is more than I’m willing to trade for them, lol. Besides, I like the idea of keeping the same kind of block the car was built with in it, and still meeting my performance goals :smiley:. The look on LSx guys faces when they get spanked by a naturally aspirated 302 based motor is always priceless!

Sounds fair Cris! You will probably be able to sell the 351W fairly easily if you want to. I have two as part of my “stuff” already…

Chris, I was watching this one on CL. I think you have a keeper there for sure. Not rusty in the way that only Arizona cars can be. It looked interesting with the 351 and a nine inch with rear discs… Even better the way you want to build it.

Thanks guys!

The 351 is on CL now, but a guy just called with a clean 86 shortblock, and I’ll probably trade straight across.

So I went through some of the parts included with the car today. Making sense of it all is going to be a chore for sure, lol. Lots of bolts (only some bagged and none labeled), and it looks like some of the parts are still missing, though I haven’t been through everything just yet. Overall the car is both more, and less than I expected. The frame is straight…probably the straightest I’ve ever seen on a car this old. The subframe ‘tubing’ is clean and square, without the dents you typically see in these cars from being improperly jacked up etc. As I mentioned though the body is pretty wavy…and there is a small amount of rust in the rear quarters/wheelwells. Its looking like I’m going to be needing new interior panels, dash pad, headliner, sun visors, and of course a complete reupholster job. I’ve got 72 pieces of metal and plastic that look like they go to the dash assembly, none that I’d rate even a 4 as far as condition goes. I’ve got heat/ac vents and pieces all over the place in the boxes and crates that came with the car, lol. It also looks like I have sometimes two or three pieces of the same trim, and none of another.

Overall, like I said…its going to be interesting. Even inventorying the parts on hand is going to be a chore.

Anyhow though…here’s some pictures for you guys, documenting the condition and some of the parts that came with it. When I get time this week, I’m going to try to separate everything, and get things broken up into segments of the car and hopefully labeled.

Anyone willing to come do this part for me? Lol =p.


Not so straight…and I can’t seem to find the nose section where the little Mercury guy goes…even though I do have the trim piece, lol.

Seriously, the car’s straight underneath. Like I said…the straightest I’ve ever seen myself.

Headlight bucket area. The vacuum operated headlight doors still seem to seal. I’ll be switching to the electric versions asap though.

Radiator/ac parts, and some of the badging I was able to find.

Engine compartment and the 351.

Dirty and dusty, but overall pretty well intact it seems. Excepting the obvious brake hardware of course.

Interior. Aside from taking everything out and sorting/inventorying it…does anyone have any advice on the best way to go about restoring the inside? I’ve honestly never started with a car that was in this poor of shape on the inside…so it appears just a bit overwhelming.

And…what’s in the trunk, lol. What a mess!!

So, there we have it! That’s what all came with the car. I think it was worth the $2500 I got for it in trade, but I’m thinking it’ll cost at least double that just to put the interior back together, lol.

Guess we’ll see :smiley:.

I can identify pretty much anything Cougar. Aren’t you in the west valley? I am in Cave Creek.

Yes, west valley…near the stadium actually.

Thanks by the way…good to know there’s a knowledgeable resource relatively close lol. The last Cougar I touched was pretty much 22yrs ago…and while a Mustang is very similar, its definitely not the same!

I do have a couple of quick questions for you guys though. First, with the difference in wheelbase, do Mustang subframe connectors still fit on a Cougar? Also, does anyone know offhand what the wheel mount face to wheel mount face of the Versailles/Granada rear end is (Edit~ just read it’s 58.5"), versus a typical 8" or 9" in a 68 Cougar (Edit ~ just read its 59.25")? I found some really cool slotted mags on eBay, but I’m thinking that unless the 9" in my car is substantially narrower than the factory rear end…they won’t work, lol.

Well, I got some time today to at least clean out the inside of the car some. Most of the parts were there like I was told, however I did find at least one nasty surprise.

Kind of a crappy shock…but once I got the pile of parts out of the car, and saw the 50 kinds of mold on the carpet, I really wasn’t surprised. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised that that’s the worst of it really. The other floor panels have surface rot, but they’re solid enough (so far…carpet’s coming out tomorrow).

Here’s the rear floor boards.

Anyhow, hopefully that’s my worst surprise during the build.

On to better news…I picked up a 5.0HO off Craigslist today for $500. The gentleman selling it said he inherited it from a nephew who bought a project and lost interest. He was going to put it in his Jeep…but then HE lost interest (runs in the family it seems, lol). It also came with a BBK H-pipe. I figure between the headers and the h-pipe…I should be able to make most of the money back on the motor.

In closing, I’ll leave you guys with a short walk around video. I like to take them to remind me how far I’ve come when my momentum slows on a project, lol. So far they’ve never failed to help me remotivate and finish things out :slight_smile:.


What wheels are on that car,looks like you have 5 or 6 of them!! Cant wait to watch this come together! I am in the same boat as you on the interior,dang az sun!!

I don’t know what they are, lol. There’s four on the car, and two in the trunk. They look sort of like stock Mustang II wheels, but they look like they could have been upgrades in 68 too. I need to do some research lol…maybe they’ll end up paying for the car :p.

Before you go too far you should check and make sure the cowl doesn’t leak.

Mustang II wheels were all 4 lug. Those look like conversion van wheels.

Definitely. Although I think. The problem here was a matter of being left out in the weather for years with the windows down :l.

Yeah, you’re right. Which probably makes them nearly worthless, lol. Its too bad, they’re in nice shape.

Are they for 15 inch tires?

I wouldn’t say worthless. They look kinda cool.

I believe you will find that they are factory Ford wheels used on mid 1970s Mercury Monarchs and Ford Granadas. Look to see if you can find any part numbers on them, if so post them here and that will help to ID them.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

Brian, I’m not sure to be honest…I’ll take a look though.

Randy, thank you for the offer…I’ll definitely take a look and see.

Soooo…I tore the top half of the 302 down today. Turns out its an 87 motor (wish it was an 86…but oh well, it was basically free). I did have a few small surprises when I tore it down though. As usual…here’s some pictures to illustrate, lol.

Yep…E7 block. That’s not a guarantee of what year the motor is though…just a good indication. Ford started doing weird things with their casting dates with the late model stuff. I’ve seen late model motors with C8 rods for example.

Spark plugs…slightly oily, but not enough to concern me to be honest. There was definitely some over rich combustion problems going on though.

So I pull a valve cover, and what do I find? ARP head bolts. Hmm…I was figuring that could be either good or bad. Turns out it really wasn’t either, lol.

Got the intake off…and was surprised at how clean it was on the inside. At this point I was actually worried it had been rebuilt (they always replace the factory forged pistons with cast units…/sigh).

Not half bad…and score!..still the factory forged pistons. I’m figuring that the kid that had the Mustang initially was having cylinder head problems, and pulled things apart to fix it (or maybe he did it when he gave it that god awful Chevy orange paint job?). That’s probably when the ARP head bolts went on. I still need to pull the water pump and timing cover off so I can check the cam. If its the stocker, I’ll likely just use it (the stock cam with 1.7 rockers is really pretty amazing when you bump compression and put oversized heads on the motor). I mean…I wanted a rumpity rump idle, but I’ll take a tough sounding sleeper (c’mon…I have 2" primary headers with 3.5" exhaust…) with a crazy powerband if it lands in my lap too, lol. Anyway, at that point I’ll clean up the deck and throw my deck bridge on it to see how far the pistons are out of the hole (they all appear either true with, or slightly proud of the deck…another score). After that I’ll check the bearings, and if all looks good, I’ll probably just leave the thing together. The cylinders are beautiful, and the purpose of this motor isn’t to run a million miles. It only needs to make good power for a year or two of weekly driving with a few track passes here and there, and I think its more than capable of that as it sits.

So there we have it…today’s progress. Now I need to go price floor pans in anticipation of what I might find tomorrow when I pull the carpet…/sigh. Wish me luck, lol.

get an e303 cam, youll be happy,
spend the money on the better ford gaskets too, none of that lame cork!

I’ve never been much of a fan of the letter cams, lol. If I don’t go with the stocker, I’ll pick up a custom :slight_smile:.