Resto-mod of a 1969 XR7 Cougar

Hi all!
I have a 1969 XR7 COugar with a 2 barrel 351 Windsor engine. I’d like to do a resto-mod on it. What does this entail and the ballpark figure it would cost? Thank you for your advice!

While we appreciate your question, there is no way to give you an answer not knowing what you have in mind for the project.

Sky’s the limit on money. Does it run and stop good? Start there. Next, does it need body repairs or us ok as is?
If it runs and stop good and the body/ paint is nice. Start with a set if wheels and tires, that really sets the look of a car.

It sounds like you would be much better off buying a car that’s done or nearly done. That’s the only way you can predict what the financial commitment will be. The other really bigger factor is time. Do you have five years to put into a project that maybe isn’t drive able for the vast majority of the time?

This is a very open ended question and hard to answer not knowing what your end goal is for your project. A true restro mod build is a lot more then just a change of paint color or wheels and tires and is really hard to predict cost and time. Some questions to ask are Can you do most of the work yourself? What’s the condition of the car your starting with? What kind of engine and drivetrain options are you looking at? Ultimate end goal you want to reach?

Whatever cost and time you think it will cost it’s a good idea to double it as it always takes longer and more money then you expect.

Thank you catlover , Diesel,blue68cat and xr7g428 for your advice. I really appreciate it. The car has 89000 original miles, 85% restored. Front disc brakes . Most importantly I would like to improve the safety of the car. esp the suspension The engine needs work:
carburetor rebuild(car hesitates when idlingl,)transmission leaks.

Sounds like you are starting with a nice car which really helps. I agree with all of the responses - especially the suggestion to get it in good safe driving condition with nice wheels and enjoy driving it awhile before you tear it all apart. You’ll then have a better idea what your goals will be for the car. Doubling the original time and money estimates are about right in my experience too. And my goal has always been just to keep it original. Restomod would be cool, but opens up a whole new dimension in cost.

This question is way to broad to answer without knowing what you want to accomplish, the condition of your car, and how much you can do on your own. Restomod covers a large range of modifications from swapping drum brakes to OEM front disc brakes to wide body, engine swaps, drivetrain changes, full suspension swaps, etc. impossible to give you costs with what you have told us thus far.
Diesel has a modified first generation that is very nice. I’m modifying my ‘69 convertible doing most of the work myself. Others here do modified cars, full restorations, or improve or repair their cars. I’d suggest you think about what you want the car to be and come back with more questions.

Budget around 5K for engine related… (battery,fuel system, brakes & tires, alternator & and a carb) More if tank is crud filler, brakes are junk, & don’t forget about the P.S system add another 200-500. Paint (even though you didn’t mention it) can be upwards of 10K.

You can always get Cats to run, it’s stopping them that is the hard part!!

I did my RestoMod in the 90’s and have now the 4th motor and rebuilt the poor little T5 a few times. Hard to say the amount since I did most everything.

Keeping the car w/ in budget is tough.


I’ve done several mods to my 69 XR7 351W 4-Brl, not sure what’s a resto-mod exactly. I’ll just list what I’ve done (so far) and the approximate costs.
I’m pulling these numbers from my memory, so I might be a little off on some, but you’ll get the idea (not Cheap).
No engine or transmission rebuild, but most other systems were worked on. Car had power steering and drum brakes when I got it in 2015.
Before I start, most of these changes were done by me with purchased parts and kits, some were done by a mechanic when I first bought the car during which time I had body worked for rust and a repaint, which is not part of these numbers (2015).

Power Front Disc brakes (and new rear drums) - $800 parts ~ $400 labor.
New rear leaf springs and associated bushings and shocks ~$500, ~$500 labor.
New exhaust system - $350, Labor cost lost to the ages, sorry.
Most of the front end parts (tie rods and bushings, etc.) were replaced by mechanic with parts I supplied back in 2015. Can’t recall specific cost, Sorry…
Holley EFI swap - $1500 for throttle body and fuel pump and misc parts, my labor.
Electronic Distributor and CD box - ~$500, my labor
New Fuel tank and sending unit calibration electronic unit ~$300, my labor.
Electric headlight actuator (replaced vacuum system). I designed and built my own linear actuator driven system (my cost ~$100), but if you bought a kit I think their around $600.
Upgraded to a 95 amp Gen 3 alternator ~$500 for Alt, Regulator, and pulley/belts, etc. My labor.
Rebuilt steering gear and replace rag joint ~$500 Rebuild sent out but all other labor by me.
Added A/C to a non A/C Car - $1500 for the Aftermarket A/C kit plus ~$500 in additional parts to get it all to work. My labor.
Big Block Radiator upgrade (to handle the A/C load) ~$750, my labor
LED tail lights (not headlights) and new sequencer ~$300, my labor
New Wheels and tires $2500.
New electronic Clock and Tachometer - ~$500
Probably forgetting a few thing, The car runs nice, stops on a quarter (not a dime, but still pretty good) has great acceleration and even gets more reasonable gas mileage and doesn’t stink up the garage when I’m warming it up to take it for a ride.
Looks like I’m at around $15,000! Dam, should have bought a new Mustang! Just kidding…
Hope this helps.

Keeping a running tab(I have an excel spreadsheet since day one)on your build is helpful but sometimes depressing lol. But just remember it’s a labor of love and enjoyment not return on investment!

Thanks to all for your advice especially Jayco59 ( your list will certainly help in guiding my project), and cougarbill. Here’s some pictures of the car.

Oh wow, that is a really nice CA survivor you’ve got there! Congratulations!

Thank you calicat! The engine needs a lot of work, though. And transmission leaks badly. The mechanic told me that the transmission gasket for the early 69s were different which is why it was difficult to find the right gasket size for the car. Is this true:?

It does look in great shape! Not needing any body work and paint will save you big $$$$. At least in my case, I’m not a mechanic but I’ve gotten pretty brave (or foolish) when it comes to turning wrenches but body work and paint is a refined skill that I don’t possess.
Good luck and let us know what we can help you with.

Thats a great start and appears in great shape body wise. Everything is there too which is a plus. I would suggest focusing on getting it running first and foremost then thinking about changes you may or may not want to make. Maybe keep things simple at first by changing up wheels and tires, maybe lowering the suspension a bit, then focus on performance upgrades like brakes, EFI, electrical upgrades etc. Hows the interior? Not alot of options here unless going full custom interior. While maybe not really a restromod these upgrades can really change the appearance and performance of the car and are reversible if you decided to go back to stock for some reason.

Get a Marti report to see how it was specd when new and that might lead to some insight on how original it may or might not be.

Thanks for the advice jayco59 and Diesel
I’ll let you know how my project is coming along.