My new project

So I have decided to document the restoration of my car. This is the first Cougar I have ever had, although when I was 15 I stripped out one and sold the parts. I stumbled upon this car on E-bay. That is what happens when you are bored and just decide to spend a few minutes seeing if there are any cool cars. What caught my interest was that it was an R code XR 7. I knew they were rare but I didn’t know how rare. I’m one of those few people who isn’t manufacture specific i.e. only GM or Mopar. I have had Chevelle’s, Mustangs, Camaro’s, a 73 Charger, a 72 Road Runner and more Cutlass’ than I can count. My first car was a '65 GT mustang convertible with a 4 speed. Being 20 years old with a limited budget meant I learned how do to a lot of stuff myself. That car needed paint, interior and a clutch. I did lacquer and wet sanded it. Did the seats and clutch. I enjoyed the car but it must have made an impact on me since every car I have had since needed less and less work. The car I had before this Cougar was was an 80 Z-28 4sp with T-tops. That car was totally done and needed nothing. This past Spring my wife said to me, “you no longer work on your cars, you used to love to work on them.” That planted the seed which ultimately led to buying this car. Stay tuned, I will have pictures soon!

Welcome, looking forward to hearing about your project. You picked a good starting point: my 1st Cougar, and my 1st Cougar restoration was a '69 R code convertible. Good times. :sunglasses: :laughing: :wink: :wall:

She sounds like a keeper! Documenting your progress here will help others but it will also get you a ton of insight as you post pictures and get feedback from others who have been there and done that.

Welcome! Sounds like you have a solid project there and look forward to seeing your progress. Everyone around here loves to see another cougar get put back together and on the road again!

Like these guys mentioned lots of knowledge here for if and when you run into an issue and need direction. Seems like more parts are getting reproduced recently making it even easier to find what you need for these cougars.

Cant beat having the wifes blessing to work on your cars!

So I got the car home the the other day from the gas station. When I got the car delivered the driver had to driver drop it off at the local mall. Nothing more embarrassing than your wife taking you to pickup your “new” car which you have spent thousands on and the driver can’t get it started 'cause the battery is totally dead. The gas station I use has done a number of my cars. The mechanic is around my age and has experience with older cars. Yes they are simple but todays mechanics rely on code diagnostics and can’t figure out the old stuff.
So the car was towed in at the beginning of August. The battery was totally drained since the low fuel light was on the whole time. I got a new battery and Robert figured out it was a ground wire for the low fuel light (again why a skilled mechanic is a must!) The engine had been rebuild and the PS pump was missing. Didn’t seem like a big deal, except that the specific 390/428 pulley was missing as well as the necessary mounting brackets. Next update is the fun of tracking down the needed parts. I would like to give a shout out to Don Rush of West Coast Classic Cougar who has provided great how-to videos and carries those small but necessary items like the 4 amp buss fuse for the dash lights

So now that I driven the car home time to prioritize what it needs. I have the Marti report which shows it is an original R code that was code 2 light Ivy yellow paint with 6G Dark Ivy Gold leather seats and a black vinyl roof. It was ordered January 13 and sold February 6 leading me to believe somebody specifically ordered it with that color combo. Not what I would have picked but I guess it was ok to 927 other people who ordered the same combo. The paint is original although totally faded. It was a CA/AZ car all of it’s life. I live in MD and as most NE people will attest few cars make it 51 years here. The car has 2 small rust spots at the bottom of each part of the wheel arch, so not much body work needed. The interior is mixed bag: dash, door panels, back seat and carpet are good. Headliner and sail panels gone (just found out that to do the headliner the rear window has to come out, ugh). The big issue not surprisingly is the bucket seats. I will give Ford credit I see a lot of Cougars with leather seats that have withstood the test of time. That unfortunately does not apply to my car. Drivers seat bottom is gone, back part by shoulder has hole. Passenger seat bottom great, back part by shoulder has 1 inch split. Having done a lot of cars I know the interior is the hardest especially if it is not black. Repro stuff is vinyl only and not likely to match well. I started searching and posted wanted in various Cougar sites. I was lucky to find a guy who was going to restomod his 69 with dark Ivy gold leather and was selling his seats. On top of it he was only an hour and a half from my house! Between the two sets I will only have to get a patch panel installed on one shoulder section which I can take from part of the old seat. Lesson to all-If you have other than black leather seats save them, you can sew in a patch from a donor seat or somebody might be able to use them. More next week!

Car is looking great. I’m so glad the seats are going to be useful.


You might want to take a closer look at the paint. Your photos above show a car without a vinyl top and even though my eyesight is not very good I do not see any of the holes to mount the vinyl top trim. That would suggest to me that at least some paint work was done to the car. Unless someone just smeared some sort of caulk into the holes.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

Time for glasses! You mean you can’t see the partially filled in holes from 20 feet away :laughing: It does appear as if somewhere somebody started to fill in the holes. That brings me to the next issue, install the top or not to install the top. I have decided that the pale yellow just doesn’t work for me since I am keeping the green interior. What is the only color you can match with a green interior, why green of course. I want to stay in the Ford pallet. Black Jade is out. I had a 72 Mach 1 that was Dark Green Poly with a green interior. I like a vinyl roof when it gives a contrast. So the top is out.
I have been following the thread about whether the color change matters and I am of the school of it’s my car and do what I want so that I enjoy it.

Since I am changing the paint I am also going to do a few minor changes as well. I am going to “Eliminate” it. My car was a Jan 69 build and as I it understand the Eliminator came out in April. The way way car was ordered it was as if the owner was trying to build their own Eliminator. I am going to put “Cougar” 15 x 7 rims with 245 60’s in the front and 275 60’s in the back to fill out the wheel wells. Silver Eliminator side stripe. I am going to cut out rear valance and put 69 Mach 1 quad tips out back, like the 68 GT-E. It already has the hood scoop. Not too sure on the hood stripe. No wing, it seems over last 20 years every muscle car has a sprouted a wing. Chin spoiler is out since I live in a area with a lot of speed bumps.

15 rim.png

Here is a better pic of what I want to do. If anybody else has attempted this and would like share what they learned I would really appreciate it!
I was going to take it off and either use a jigsaw or a Dremel.

Time for new glasses would be closer to the truth. I have worn glasses since about 1965. If it were not for all this virus stupidity I most likely would have been in to my eye doctor this year. So how did they try to fill the holes?

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

Maybe graft in the cut outs off a repro panel? Could even use a mustang panel. Cut out the exhaust area and section them into your valance?

I think of you just cut your panel it will look like you hacked it without the rolled edges

That would look good but I prefer the XR7-S treatment for the rear valance.

Good point. I have spent too many nights waking up and think how I am going to do it. I think it is interesting that for the 68 GT-E Ford didn’t notch the panel but did in 67, fewer built? I did look at the Mustang one figuring that my friend would try welding it for me for experience. If you look at the Mustang one it is taller since that panel mounts the backup lights. The Cougar one is much shorter, to the point that I will have to be careful how much I cut without affecting the rigidity of the panel. Yes if I had a stamp/press I could probably roll the edge which would give it a more finished look but like most of us who are not on a Discovery or Velocity show I will have to do with what I have. What the heck, I may do it and decide it really doesn’t work but I have another panel waiting if that is the case!

I’m with D on this.

I’m all for folks doing what they want w/their car, and you didn’t ask for opinions, but I’ll give you a few things to think about anyway:

  • The way you describe it, your finished product will look cool if properly executed, but will come off as (yet another) Eliminator clone. Nothing wrong with that, but the XR-7 specific parts will be particularly out of context, & detract from the Ecat clone look.
  • Generally, with Ecat clones, standard Cougars make a better starting point.
  • Unusual these days to see someone take a rare/desirable car and make it look like a different rare/desirable car.
  • No matter how nice the result, knowledgeable folks will be thinking: “WTF…he did this to an R Code XR-7”?
  • If I was dying for an Eliminator, I’d buy one.
  • I feel real Eliminators have a much wider audience in the collector car world vs. other Cougars, so you’ll be miles ahead, investment-wise.
  • I’m sure you’d find a ready buyer for the R Code, especially once Kevin confirms it’s a 1 of 1 car.
  • I haven’t seen more than a handful of light ivy Cougars restored to that color, and I’ve been messing w/Cougars & Mustangs for nearly 40 years.

Was this car ever in NH? It reminds me of a friend’s old R Code.

This is why I suggested cutting the shape you want from another panel and sectioning it into your panel. If that is something out of your wheelhouse I bet a body shop or fab shop could do it pretty cheap if you brought them just the panels. I think the extra effort would go along way on the final product.

Ahh the should I or shouldn’t I conundrum. I personally (and my other car buddies) find pale yellow with a green interior a color clash. Yea it may be original but it is not a 1 of 1 car. How many Mopars are sporting “hi-impact” colors that were originally copper, brown or white. Records show that the bright colors were less than 10% of sales that’s why they got dropped after 1971. I am building the car the way I would have ordered it. Ok, I will admit I would not have picked a green interior! Also who here has kept their car totally stock- No headers, carb, upgraded radio, different wheels, scoop and wing added. And no this car was never in NH, sadly that car that you remember probably rusted away years ago.
Randy, they did a superficial filling of some of the holes. When it gets painted those will get filled in.
Diesel D, you have a point I found repo Mach 1 valances are staggering $65 bucks :laughing: (yet we can’t find repops at any price). I am going to order one, take the two pieces to a good shop and see what they can do.

Light Ivy is pale green.

You’d be surprised. Lots of folks here like 'em totally stock. I owned my R code for over 30 years, so it was stock, modified, and stock again.

Again, you’d be surprised. Lots of well-preserved cars up here in NE. It’s not like we drive 'em in the wintah, kid.

So my paint code is 2 Light Ivy YELLOW. That is Ford’s name for it. Granted you may be right not all Cougar’s are modified but when I look on E-bay, Autotrader and such it websites, it seems like a substantial number are different from what they left the factory.
So what is the color combo of your car and when was your build date?