I wanted to expand our contest to the Classic Cougar Community. You can enter to win on either site now!
Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6bFmKN6DFs
I wanted to expand our contest to the Classic Cougar Community. You can enter to win on either site now!
Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6bFmKN6DFs
To get the momentum going I will copy over the submissions thus far from MC.net
I sent this as a PM to Don, and he asked me to post this here. Honestly this is a pretty hard story to tell, and I feel conflicted about showing this to everyone. Deep down, I know many people have stories like this… and it’s good to know that even something as simple a car can teach us so much about ourselves and the world around us. Just thank God for what we do have today, MC.net members I would post more pictures of us working on it, but I am in Taiwan right now, so access to any pics from home is impossible. That being said, a few of you here on MC.net know my story, and my father, “Swamper”… so I think that should be proof enough???
We had been searching for this car; for three I had been checking the internet, classifieds and swap meets even, when a gem finally seemed to appear to me in the Spokesman Review.
1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator
Project car, not running.
351W, 4sp, build sheets
My father and I had been searching for a Mercury Cougar Eliminator. We didn’t want a hot rodded Mustang, or super charged Nova… only an Eliminator would do. This was 2001, my junior year in high school. At this point, my story may sound like many others, but I assure you it isn’t.
The car was a complete basket case; anything that could be unbolted, unscrewed or lifted out, was. That didn’t really matter to me though, and honestly it didn’t matter to my dad either. It had been a dream car of my fathers since the first Eliminator rolled off the assembly line, and he passed on his love for the car to me at an early age. After 2 years of hard work, Eliminator was “done”. The memories I made with him during that time are unforgettable, growing closer than I ever could have thought. My dad had always been deeply involved in my life, but only as a coach for my soccer and wrestling teams. We never truly bonded until this car came along. Whether while waiting on parts or while sanding down the bucket seat springs, we were finally getting to know each other as father and son should.
Fast forward to 2005, when my dad got sick with cancer. The tough man that I grew up knowing was no longer invincible, and the father that told me he loved me for the first time when accepted that wasn’t invincible, became weak and malnourished. To watch my father slowly pass-away was the hardest thing I have ever known, especially after growing closer over few years prior to this.
In his last months, I couldn’t handle seeing him in the state he was in without completely breaking down emotionally. To avoid the constant emotional pain, I opted to not only start college while also working two part time jobs, but also pick up Chinese at the same time. I knew studying Chinese at university would give me a mental escape from what seemed like emotional torture at the time. November 26th 2006 came, and then passed, taking my father, James Robert Emerson, with it. He was known as “Swamper” to the Cougar community, “Coach Jim” to his athletes, and “Dad” to me. While working on the 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator, he somehow taught me what love is. Who knows, my dad may still have told me that he loved me if we never worked on that car together… but I know at the very least, the time we spent under that car taught me what love truly is; I would have never known the true meaning of those words if it wasn’t for that car.
Now my mother is a widow, with house payments to make. The last thing I wanted to do was to sell the Eliminator that my dad had initially intended to leave me, but I knew my mom wouldn’t be able to make ends meet if I didn’t. I put the car up for sale, and after months and months it finally sold. If that car hadn’t been sold, my mom would have had to sell the house my father built for them, or wait till she was 70 to retire. I couldn’t see either of those things happen; no matter how upset I was with the situation.
I graduated from university back in March, and am now teaching science in Taiwan of all places. There is a good chance I would have never gone to college if it wasn’t for my dad getting sick, and certainly wouldn’t be in Taiwan if I hadn’t learned Chinese as an escape. My dad studied science in college, and maybe I chose this route to make up for not being 100% there the last couple months of his life. I have started paying off my student loans and saving up to try and buy another Eliminator when I return state side next year. I’m not looking for a showroom condition car, not even something that looks like it needs a little work. My dream Eliminator is one that I can build in my shop using all the same tools and extra parts from that car my dad and I built, and that is why I think this car is for me. I could use a little help from the body-man, but not to the extent that most would be looking for. Swaper Jr.
First off, I want to thank you for not scrapping the car. I’ve always had a special spot in my heart for an Eliminator regardless of the year and it hurts each time I think of another one bitting the dust.
So, why should you consider me as a candidate for this project? Well, first I have restored a few Cougars in the past. I am by no means an expert on every topic, but I do know how to turn a wrench and my father (who was an airline mechanic) taught me to recognize those jobs I could do myself and to also know when I needed to get some help. I credit his memory for helping me to feel confident enough to even attempt these projects and I still feel he is there beside me each time I am rolling on the garage floor working on something. I had always wanted to do a car with him, but he passed a few years back. This could be a tribute to him and the memory that all Dad’s give to us.
Personally, my projects were always of the '69 vintage as my first car was a '69 Sports Special. Gosh, I loved that car. But as I headed off to college, my younger brother needed a set of wheels, I offered to sell it to him on one condition, I would be his only buyer when he wanted to sell the car himself. Also being savy to the recent state of marriage, I made my wife agree that if I sold it … I would have an opportunity to buy it back. Fortunately, she agreed. Unfortunately, my brother had an accident one day and totalled the car. I am grateful that he was ok, but the car was introduced to a telephone pole and it was effectively made into a boomerang.
Well years marched by. My wife and I adopted a wonderful infant girl and I eventually got a '69 coupe to restore. Rust was a major issue on that car and it just made more sense to part it out rather than to restore it. I more than tripled my investment and kept rolling the cash into my next project. Eventually I restored a '69 XR7 that had been totalled from an insurance claim. It was done in black jade and had a black vinyl top. It looked good … especially as I had one hood with an Eliminator scoop and another painted without. It turned heads everywhere I went.
Eventually, I had to try my hand at something a bit more exotic. So I new some locals who raced in the Corvette Chanllenge and I decided to ask them to help me on a pro-street project. I sold the XR7 and bought a '67 Mustang fastback. I also purchased a 427 medium riser that was bored, had LeMans rods and was tricked out to the nines. The car was just about to undergo a specialty paint/body redo, and the wife informed me we needed to adopt a second child. At the end of the day, family took priority and I parted out my pro street car. However, I did trade the medium riser for a '69 Mustang GT Convertible project that was 70% through reassembly. Although all other funds went to the adoption, I at least had a project car in my garage that I could eventually work on.
Well, years continued to pass and both of my daughters grew. When the youngest was about 8 or 9, she took a great interest in the Mustang under that 'ol dusty car cover. Together, we dusted it off and spent the odd weekend either hunting for pieces or putting parts back together. When she was about 11 she was a full fledged grease monkey. She was always ready to hand me a wrench or pump a grease gun and as we worked, she always asked about my first car … the '69 Sports Special. Well, I would tell her about the sequential taillights, the hidden headlights, the graceful curve of the body line, and more. She always said, “That’s the car that I want! But I want an orange one, with an automatic, and air conditioning (what can I say … she lives in Texas)”
Well, I initially think this is a passing phase, but I keep my eyes open. As the years march on, Jenny becomes more and more sure of “her first car”. However, she now has a laundry list. She wants an Eliminator, Orange, White interior, AC, console, pwr disc brakes, automatic, power steering … and any other options would be nice. I sit there and think … yeah right! Well, Jenny turned 14 this year and I placed an ad on WCCC’s cars wanted page. ‘Wanted father/daughter Eliminator project’. Low and behold, we get a hit and after a few months of negotiation … we have an Eliminator just the way she wanted it and a parts car here in Dallas. Since it has arrived, Jenny and I have worked on this father/daughter project steadly. All sheet metal has been addressed, all new seam sealer, the engine bay was primed and is now painted black, and it will soon be flipped upside down so the undercarriage can be painted. Next, the original comp orange will be applied to the interior and the trunk area. While the body shop takes these steps, Jenny and I have rebuilt the front spindles, rechromed all the trim/bumpers, restored the console, acquired the front suspension and steering linkages and we are currently using our glass beading cabinet to restore the wheels.
Well in short this '69 Eliminator we are working on is going to be her car. My interest in the project you are offering would be to have one for Dad. That way we could truly have both a Father car & a Daughter car … not just a father/daughter car. How would I fund this? I think I would sell my '69 Mustang GT Convertible and use the funds to restore it. Personally, I like the grabber green and would likely keep it close to original. Whoever gets the car I would offer the following thoughts as I am currently going through a similiar effort; it will cost more money than you think, it will take longer than you’ll hope, and it will take countless hours of research and work to find the missing “bits” and research to complete the car. However, the memories you make, the friends you develop and the fun of the project is worth more than the car could ever hope to approach. In the end, it’s not just the car … it’s also the journey.
To whoever wins the project, congratulations … I hope the journey brings you many hours of satisfaction. mzqj6r
We have known each other for close to three years now and I feel that our relationship has grown closer. Our relationship has been give and take, you give, give and give and I have taken so much from our friendship. The wife and I are talking about taking a vacation to Salem Oregon to sort of come up there to see you and the boys at WCC.
First I would like to ELIMINATE OR reduce any problems by saying that we are willing to DRIVE or take the TRAIN. We would have to do 3 SHIFTS to drive up there. I will drive while the wife sleeps. I estimate that it will take 351 dollars if we don’t have to drive through CLEVELAND. I of course would like to ELIMINATE spending a lot of GREEN but the wife wants to see the worlds largest yarn ball at Hawthorne Ford in Summerville SC. I do like to SPOIl hER and if we miss it I’m sure she’ll be CRUSHED.
4 SPEED we would not DRIVE but take the TRAIN and I DO kNOw that we will Rent a CAR to see you. Of course you could always POP for a flight. I have been looking on COBRA JET .com for a HALF PRICE rate and found a 3000.00 dollar ticket for only 1500.00 dollars, I think that is for an hour.
Maybe once we get there we’ll stay in a nice hotel because, SHEET Don, I don’t want to B METALing in your business.
I would like to see a COMPETITION between two of your hockey teams, boy my friends will be Green with envy. While there, we do not want to visit any BARS because it makes me SWAY when I have too many drinks. That goes for BOTH of us.
Maybe in March, I can return the favor VIN you can come down to New Orleans for the MARTI Gras. The news people are already starting to REPORT on it.
In closing I will not keep you in suspense on our arrival time. I have our COBRA JET tickets on hold at the JACKSONVILLE ORDERING DISTRICT. Our confirmation Number is
OF91M541710, only if you are interested.
See you soon Sal and Liz
I’m the right person to bring this car back to life because…
…when I mentioned the WCCC Eliminator Giveaway to my wife the other night she gave me one of those looks as if she were weighing my sanity. I let it go, thinking that it was a bad idea to attempt to influence the outcome of her decision. Then she says to me “I don’t think they are going to give you a car just because you’ve always wanted one.” Good point.
So over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about why I’ve always wanted one. What is it about a car like that that I really want?
Back in the late ‘80’s, when I was just starting to get into Mustangs, I was reading a car magazine article that featured a 1970 Cougar Eliminator. Holy cow… that thing looked awesome. Bold colors, black scoop, black stripes, and spoilers – aggressive to behold! That was a car that meant business. The combination of incredible looks, the fact that you didn’t see many Cougars around, and that they were more affordable than a Mustang made for an irresistible combination. I was hooked.
I made some photocopies of the pictures of that Eliminator in the magazine. This was before everyone had a color printer, so I had to color them myself. I made a yellow one and a blue one using colored pencils and I tucked those pictures into the clear outside cover of my Navy qual card folder (I had just reported to my first Sub). I’d look at those pictures and imagine what it would be like to slide into those tall-backed black buckets, to grab that Hurst T-handle shifter, to turn the key and listen to that old V-8 come to life.
Many years later, when the wife and I moved into our current home I took those pictures out of the cover of that folder and hung them on the wall in our garage – where they still hang, like a promise to myself. “Someday… someday…”
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Truthfully, I’m not the best person for this project. However, I feel that I’m the right person to bring this car back to life. Here is why: this isn’t only a car that I’m hoping to win. I’m hoping to win the Garage Memories that go along with it. THAT is the real prize!
When I read various car magazines, or posts and comments here on MC.net, it is clear that many of the car owners have awesome memories of their car and their experiences working on them with friends and family. Winning this car means that I will win my own set of those garage memories. Not just for myself, but for my wife and daughter. My daughter is only nine, but she is definitely old enough to learn her way around a wrench and a car, and she jumps at any chance to hang out with Daddy. While my wife is more interested in riding in a car than working on one, I can always count on her to give me a hand when needed. Even if they just come out to watch dad bust a knuckle (or two) or bring their poor thirsty husband an ice cold Coca~Cola, the entire family will be building garage memories.
Now, probably every fellah here on MC.net has a good amount of muscle car experience under their belt. Maybe they’ve been rebuilding engines or welding patch panels since they were old enough to turn a wrench. Not me.
While my father, uncle, and grandfather were all “car guys” and they used to run a body shop / garage / used car lot back in the day, by the time I came along they were closing up the shop and moving on to new non-automotive endeavors. So I was in high school when I had my first opportunity to tap their knowledge and get my hands dirty. Dad and I replaced the head gasket in his crusty old ’76 Chevy Luv pickup. A few years later that truck became my first car and that summer Dad and my Uncle offered to help me repaint it. Dad guided me through the body work / paint prep and my Uncle sprayed it in my dad’s workshop. Grampa made sure we all did everything the right way.
While a lot of the Cougar gang here on MC.net have done the sort of work that this car needs, I haven’t. That doesn’t mean that I can’t or won’t, it just means I’ll have a nice steep learning curve – just the way I like it. I’ve always been a “fixer”. When people ask me what I do for work I always tell them “I fix broke stuff”. Well, for the last 2 years my job has transitioned to a lot of desk work. Quite frankly, I miss fixing broke stuff. I love figuring out why something stopped working, and then making it work again.
For a long time I’ve had a budget set aside for a project car but it has just never penciled out right. Find one in good shape and they want too much for it. Find a crusty one and it will take too much to make it “right”. With help from WCCC on the body work this project actually fits the budget. And while I don’t anticipate tackling the bulk of the body work or paint duties (most of which will be beyond me), I think that this car will still provide me with plenty of other opportunities to get my hands dirty working in the garage under a big old Coke sign. Also, living relatively close to WCCC and their body man means that I have the opportunity to visit regularly and maybe pick up some tips and tricks first hand, from the experts.
I don’t pretend that it will be easy, or fast, and I won’t pretend that I know half of what most of the MC.net gang knows. I plan to ask a lot of questions, do a lot of research and reading, and probably a bit of bleeding too.
What would I do to a “poop-box” Eliminator? I would want to restore the car to be an original-appearing driver. I would take up the offer for body work and afterwards return it to its original competition green color, complete with all the proper ’70 Eliminator items and graphics. I would put a correct interior back into the car. For the drive-train…I haven’t really decided yet. I want to find out more history on the car. How did it end up like it is? Can the original drive train be found and acquired?
Either way, I’m thinking that to put a 351C back into it would only be “proper”, but a hot and stroked version isn’t out of the question. I would definitely have to deviate on the transmission and go with a 4 (or maybe five) -speed, with a Hurst T-handle shifter of course. I would also upgrade the car with power brakes to go along with the power steering it was originally optioned with.
And then I would drive it. And I’d teach my daughter to drive it. Then we’d both teach my wife how to drive a stick.
So what does this crusty old beat up Eliminator represent to me? It represents a chance to fulfill an almost lifelong dream of owning one; a chance to bond further with my family over hard work while making lasting memories; a chance to return an automotive legend to the road. These are things that most people only get to dream of.
Whether or not you choose me to become the new caretaker for this Eliminator, someone here will have that priviledge. And soon they’ll be making (or adding to) their own garage memories. Those are the real prize.
~ Mike B.
You may remember me from when you dented your truck delivering sheet metal to ups for me,
First let me start by saying sorry about that.
I feel that I would be the best person to restore this Eliminator for several reasons.
Starting with the fact that it would be very cool to have two green four speed Eliminators one for each child. Well maybe I won’t do that and keep them for myself. J
I have all the skills and the love for the model second to none, People have always thought I was a bit eccentric for restoring Cougars but when they are done there is no finer feeling in the world.
I feel that most of the fun is with restoring them and I have had a cougar Eliminator under restoration at my house for the last four years, I am one year into number two.
When I was sixteen my first car was a 1970 orange Eliminator clone, when I was twenty five I bought a real Eliminator in orange, the car was kept for about five years and the wife and kids came along.
I always regretted selling it but we needed to get the down-payment for our house and at the time I told my wife there would come a day where all the cars I have sold for the sake of the family would come back and I didn’t want to hear a bad word about it.
Well here I am 46 years old and I have restored a 70 eliminator in green and I am working on a blue 70 Eliminator that should be done about the time I win your give away car.
The one thing I should tell you after buying and restoring two 70 Eliminators my wife is a saint , she has never said a word.
If the fact that I have the passion and skills to restore the car is not enough I have a rust free 70 body to use as a donor car and would need to buy all the other parts I don’t have from you.
I have always had the Cougar fever I love to restore them and I love to drive them to show them off, yes I said it Drive them and I have no other plans than to restore as many as I can now that I have the time and money to do so.
Thank you for considering me for the give away.
Don, Thanks for bringing all of the posts over Sal
I was noticing your Eliminator has the cougar script on the quarters. Do you think the quarters have been replaced previously, or that someone just knocked some holes in it and stuck them on there? Or is there a possibility it has been rebodied at some point? I imagine you have matched the dash vin and fender / firewall vin, but I have to ask.
Thanks for copying over the essays, much appreciated!
Someone added the emblems, rocker mouldings and wheel lips, 1/4’s are original!
Might as well post the images too! As Don said, from here on out, you can submit your entry here as well as MC.net.
The Marti Report
Don’t forget the Coke!
Im really surprised that there are not many people that have given their story. I was going to post one, but decided not to. I have always loved the 70 and especially the Eliminator, it has been my favorite. I talked to my wife, ya I know, you shouldn’t really do that with something like this, but I knew, what she would say. She doesn’t want me to die! from being over worked. She didn’t say no and is fine with me sending in my story, but I work night and day with my busyness. Im 50 this month coming and still working on my 68 XR7-G tribute cougar. Still a lot of work to be done. I did promise her not to work on the cat till the kitchen and dinning room was finished and I see light at the end of the tunnel. Im excited about this year coming, that I will actually get a good amount of work done on the cougar. She is right though, I should finish the one I have first, before getting another. It’s kinda like having a full plate of food and asking for seconds, so I will be content!
I think a lot of people are in the same boat these days. Many project cars have changed hands in the last few years, lots of activity and our sales are up along with a few other vendors I have spoken to. But… There is only so much a guy can do and I respect folks who show restraint and say “One project at a time”. Cat hoarders usually just end up doing harm to the poor critters in the long run… In retrospect we are promoting this contest to the wrong crowd. It should be marketed to folks with no project. I think I will go over to HMN and place an ad right now…
Don , I think you are right. I really would love to have a Competition green 70 Eliminator, and I could of course post a story and hope to win, but to be honest I already have restoration work for the next 10 years waiting to be done. I think this car should go to someone who is ready to jump on it with tons of energy and what it takes to get it back on the road soon. An ad in HMN sound like a really good idea.
I think you should just call the contest off and give the car to the guy who wrote the essay that will never be beaten anyway. And unless I misunderstood, he has already done an Eliminator restoration once with his father who has passed on, and currently has no Cougar and no project. He’s gotta be the winner. You guys read his essay right? I can’t imagine anybody who deserves it more or will do the cat more justice than what I would anticipate him doing.
If this was a G code it would be my dream eliminator ! 4 Speed and Comp Green ! But like some of the others I have more work on my plate than I may ever finish. Now if you find a Comp.Green Boss 302 to give away, I will be the first to come up with an esay !
This car needs everything and is way too much work for most of us West Coast guys. I’d love to have a Comp Green Eliminator to go along with my Comp Green sunroof car but I have no desire to drop another $50K to restore this car. Whoever wins this car better have deep pockets and a thorough understanding of what it takes to properly restore a car. This isn’t for the faint of heart but it is a great gesture by WCCC to offer this contest for those who do have the means and the desire.
If you are going to open this up to a much wider audience, which from a business standpoint is the smartest thing to do, you should have a way to verify the stories people will write. It’s different in a small group like the Cougar community where everybody is known by somebody. It would be a shame for the giveaway to go to someone that’s just the best writer instead of someone that really deserves it.
I agree and disagree… Look hard at this car, NO vinyl top or rear window rot. What did you spend getting that fixed on your car? No pimples at the apron / shock tower seams, no rust in torque boxes, frame rails, trunk or rockers. Floors in my opinion are no big deal, most West Coast cars need at least some work on the floors and lets face it, you do not have to be an expert to do it your self as the carpet hides your welds on one side and who is really looking on the bottom? Two lower 1/4 patches (maybe one complete 1/4), one or two smartly bought parts cars (potentially free after you sell the leftovers) and the WCCC special deal on paint and body work makes this project “probably” cost less to do than your car and “potentially” worth just as much. In the end, like most cars, if you pay others to do the work you will still be upside down in it.
Don is right, from where I come from, this car is a dream and could be fixed up easy, body wise. I would replace the dash for one, it would have to be since the glue was put on it from who ever owned it from before. When doing body work, some people should never see the car in progress till it is finished. Im more optimistic myself.
“some people”, meaning wives? I doubt mine would have much faith in the end result (no matter how good the workmanship) if she saw the floor and quarters cut out of it and all the fenders and hood/trunk off. LOL!
Don, have you considered sending the contest information to Coca-Cola, along with info about the historical contest? I wonder what they would think.
Also, I was passing through Salem on Saturday and I was wondering what your policy is for drop-ins / visitors at WCCC. I know you guys have an open house in the summer, but what about other times? Just curious.
I spent about $1K properly repairing the rear window channel but as you know, my car was nowhere close to the project this car is. Even though I completely redid everything, I could have got by with spiffing up a few things, doing some minor metal work and putting a cheap paint job on the car for under $10K but I wouldn’t have been satisfied.
You are absolutely right that someone with skills can put this car together and have a driveable car that looks great going down the road for a nominal investment of around $20K. For those of us who are incapable of cutting corners, this car will cost the full $50K and another $20K to $30K if dropping it at a shop for the restoration.
I’m in no way trying to undermine this contest. I added my thoughts as an explanation to the question of why more people weren’t entering the contest. I could write a nice, compelling essay and I have the experience and means to restore the car-just not the interest in such a project.
Just give us a ring on Friday and if we can accommodate you we will. There is usually someone here from 9am - 1pm.
Don, Thanks for your thoughts, Not every car has to be a concours restoration or a trailer queen. The car is a major undertaking, but poor looking welds on a floor pan are not going to jump out at the average guy. My take is that it is totally doable for 20K especially with the inexpensive labor offer.
And for the guy who’s saying there is not any competition, give it to the first submission, we’ve all lost someone who has shaped our lives.
Drew Brees doesn’t give up in the fourth quarter because his team is behind, he sends it into over time and wins the game.
The votes aren’t totaled until all of the ballots are tallied, except maybe in Louisiana!
and it ant over until the fat lady sings and she hasn’t even taken the stage.
Don’t we have until December 31st?
Don, I think you should promote this competition in a big way, my only concern is that the winner will want to take the car and turn it to make a quick buck and not enjoy it like a true cat owner would.
Just my thoughts Sal
What are you a banker?