Congratulations to Ted T aka 68 Gurney on an incredible restoration and becoming the first Ride of the Month of 2016!
Previously owned by the little old lady from Pasadena…
Well, not really, according to the Beach Boys lyrics she drove a Dodge, but chances are this Cougar was roaming those same Pasadena streets at the time.
Ted Taylor always liked classic Cougars. He came close to making a '68 equipped with a 390 his first car. His Dad had a different opinion and didn’t want to see his son with a dangerous combination of big power under the hood and little experience behind the wheel. Ted shifted his sights to a '72 XR7, but money stood in the way. After all, $1000 was real money back in the late '70’s but it wasn’t enough to take the XR7 home. He would end up with a small block Chevelle. That might have been the end of it, but his Great Aunt wasn’t driving a plain, boring, car, she had a Cougar.
She had purchased the new Cougar in June of 1968 at Foothill Motors in Pasadena California. Ted says " I can remember it when it was brand new, as a kid I thought it was the coolest car. Much better than the plain cars my parents and other relatives drove. I always told her that when she no longer wanted it, I did."
Eventually the Cougar would be his. “Many years later when she could no longer drive, she gave me the first opportunity to buy it. And of course I jumped. I purchased the car from her with just 70k miles on it.” The Cougar had spent its whole life in southern California." The Cougar was still wearing all of its original paint with the exception of the minor repair to the right fender. Ted goes on to say “The car was all original and well maintained. I also received all of her paperwork and maintenance receipts from day one.” The year was 1983 and all the Cougar really needed was a tune up.
The Cougar would become the second car in the household, and Ted’s wife’s daily driver. She drove the car daily for 4 years. After being essentially parked for another few years the Cougar need some TLC. New paint, a new vinyl top, seat covers, and styled steel wheels shod in new tires turned the Cougar back into a solid weekend car. Ted tells us “In 1999 with 122k miles on it I pulled the motor and had a complete long block rebuild done, the motor was returned and the motor sat in my garage on an engine stand……”
As is so often the case, life happens and time flies. Ted puts it this way. “Fast Forward 14 years to 2014, I was tired of hearing the nagging about the car sitting around, “why don’t you get rid of that thing” so I decided to get the engine back in and get it running again.”
While I am at it…
So many restorations start out this way. The simplest project just has a way of growing way out-of-hand, and before you know it, a full blown restoration is underway. Ted describes it like this. " I decided while I was at it I should paint the engine compartment, then while I was at it the suspension needed attention, next thing I know the whole car was complete stripped down to the bare body and I was into a complete restoration. I really knew what I was getting into, but I couldn’t stop. I had already restored two cars and knew what I did wrong. I wanted this one to be right and didn’t want to cut any corners. So I took my time, made my check lists, focused on one area at a time, and got to it. Everything on the car got attention."
Only the dash pad and door panels are original to the car, the vinyl top and headliner are from the 1990 refresh. Everything else was rebuilt, refurbished, or replaced. As with any major project, there are always a few suppliers that were helpful in making the restoration possible. In this case, Don Rush at WCCC, Jack Brooks at DeadNutsOn, Tony Sardo Auto Upholstery, Quigley’s Autobody, and OC Plating all get the nod of thanks.
Perhaps the most important credit should really go to Ted’s Great Aunt for picking out such a well optioned Cougar. Under the hood is a J code high compression 302 4V. This was also the engine in the Shelby GT350 for 1968. Power goes to the pavement through a C4 Select Shift Cruise-O-Matic and a 3.0 standard axle. Power disc brakes and power steering kept the Cougar under control. Lots of boxes got checked for comfort and convenience features: Courtesy Light Group, Electric Clock, Whisperaire AC, AM radio, Decor Group, Tinted Glass, Remote Mirror, and to top it all off, The Dan Gurney Special trim package. The Black Vinyl roof and Black Decor Bucket seat interior are a perfect match to the Polar white paint. The red pin stripes are original and a perfect accent to a beautiful car.
It was on June 19th, a Wednesday, in the summer of 1968, when Ted’s Great Aunt picked up her new Cougar. Ted has returned the car to almost exactly what she saw when she took delivery of her new Cougar. Congratulations Ted on winning the Ride of the Month and on the terrific restoration of your very special Cougar!