Sprucing up a '68 Cougar

Hard to believe I haven’t posted anything about my car here in 3 years! Unfortunately some IRL stuff got in the way of doing any work, including the Cougar being in a luckily minor accident. I’ll do a separate post about that.

The tail lights/decklid area has been needing some attention for awhile. The trunk lock plate was very pitted, molding was faded, tail light lenses were cracked and the tail light bezels themselves didn’t have the correct finish (they were solid chrome with no black paint on the inside of the fins).

I sent the bezels and housings to powdercoating to have the correct look applied. Apparently chromed pot metal does not tolerate being heated in an oven very well so there was some bubbling, but it’s not really noticeable and overall they did a great job on them.

I sprayed the inside of the housings with a reflective paint, and got new seals for the housings and bezels. I also picked up a new set of lenses as mine had quite a few blemishes.

Moving onto the decklid, I needed to replace the lock plate and molding. Rather than try to contort myself inside the trunk to do this work, I decided it would just be easier to pull off the decklid and do the work on the bench. I ordered a restored set of the anodized aluminum moldings from WCCC. Unfortunately the pieces I got were in worse shape than my cores from a fitment perspective (I know they encourage pre-shipping your cores so they can match, I didn’t want to wait). Thankfully the aluminum is fairly malleable so I was able to tweak them back into shape. Replacing the lock plate was pretty easy with the deck lid removed, WCCC has a good video on exactly how to do it.

Once I got the decklid back on the car, I removed the quarter extensions to work on them. Those got new moldings as well, I also installed new hardware and seals while they were off.

Afterwards just a matter of getting the quarter extensions back on the car and aligned. The tail lights on these cars are such an important part of the look, it always bugged me having the solid chrome bezels. The whole thing looks way better now.

Great looking car! You have done a nice job with it. :+1:

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Nice butt lift! Agree with the taillights being such an important part of the look. Same with the grill, money well spent on the dress up of those areas!

I tediously painted my bezels and had thought about powdercoat. I was too afraid to powder coat them in fears it would damage the cast aluminum

Yeah after seeing the result I would probably not powdercoat any of the cast grill pieces on the car. I lucked out that the bubbling is in areas that are well hidden. It’s an incredibly tedious job but I think painting is the only safe way to do it.