Six months ago I acquired my father’s 1969 Cougar Convertible from my cousin. I’ve written about the experience to date in the “Classic Cougar Experience” but now it’s time to get down to brass tacks about the details of the project. And ask for advice and encouragement!
I would like to drive the car casually on weekends, not race it. It’s got the base engine and the kind of body work that looks wonderful from 20 ft. but it’s not a show car.
The interior is in wonderful condition as is the convertible top.
The engine and transmission run well.
Trunk is fine. (Hallelujah!)
I made some modest upgrades from WCCC: export brace bolted in; shock tower reinforcement plates welded in.
But then there is the unibody. Not so good. I can’t even tell how bad the suspension is because the frame is in such bad shape.
Here are some pics, if you can stand to look at them. The first several show the driver side rockers, then a couple show the passenger side rocker and floor pan. Miraculously the outer rockers are intact.
And then for the passenger side, which is much better, by comparison:
The pic above is the back of the passenger side rocker.
The pic above is the floor pan behind the passenger’s seat.
I have spoken to several welders who work with classic cars and settled on someone nearby who is well recommended, competitively priced, and available. I’ve seen his car, which is an amalgam of various cars and impressive indeed. He is not familiar with Cougars, but has worked on Mustangs and many unibody cars.
The floorpan and rockers are the first project, with other components such as torque boxes as needed.
The first couple of days he will put it on a scaffolding take off the doors and possibly weld temporary metal along the sides. The frame is too floppy so he’ll be propping it up on some hefty axle stands instead of his rotisserie. After wirebrushing the floorpan, we’ll decide whether any of it can stay and then begin replacing the inner rockers. The engine and dashboard will stay in the car (yes I know it’s not ideal).
A few questions:
- He mentioned that he might not need to do spot welding to put it back together. Are there places where it’s essential?
- Are there good sources for Cougar parts such as the inner rockers, or do we make do with Mustang ones and improvise? CJ Pony seems to be the only place that stocks these Mustang parts such as the Dynacorn.
- Can someone help me track down an exploded diagram of these pieces? The Ford shop manual and the Chassis assembly manual don’t have them. Perhaps the Body manual does? What are the pieces I might not think of (“Torque box gussets” etc.)
- I have been referred to the Diary ECI saga, which I am plowing through. Any other good references would be appreciated.