Would you do it?

Do you have a place to work on the car?

Yes and no, cramped 2 car garage. But the body stuff is out of our comfort range.

Nyle is a nice guy and top of the line shop. Unfortunately, that comes with a long waiting list and a higher shop rate. Everything he would do on the Cougar would be right or above right…if that’s possible. He draws in clients from all over the USA and Canada.

Another option:
My daughters boyfriend has his own restoration shop. He went to Ohio Tech college http://www.ohiotech.edu/ along with growing up restoring cars with his Dad. He has been in business about three years now. He is on his third complete restoration right now. He has done a 85 Ford 4x4 Truck, Volkswagen bug and is currently in the middle of a mid 30’s Lincoln zephyr convertible along with working on some smaller projects in between. He is young and hungry to get a good reputation in car restoration. So, he does good work, but doesn’t have the nice fancy shop (yet) and his rates are cheaper. He might be closer to what you are looking for to make the Cougar a nice show/driver dependable Cougar and not break the bank account doing it. He loves muscle cars and owns a Dodge Demon. He is located in Mendon MI south of Kalamazoo, so a little further to travel. Colton Carr 269-816-5307 the name of his company is: 21:5 restorations
Which refers to the bible verse " I am making everything new!" “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Well we’ve figured out a plan.

We are going to go back to the Essex Customz place and ask them to do JUST the frame. Not to touch anything other then straighten out what needs straightening, sand blast it, put in the top loader, and new suspension/shocks, and then basically we are going to work out any rust spots ourselves, throw black primer on it, and make it a bit of a rat rod for a while. We will be able to drive the hell out of it, and when Wing’s list gets down to our turn, we will have more money saved, and be ready to make it into a true beauty.

We figure this way our money won’t be stretched tight, and we can drive the car from the start of spring until right before the start of winter next year and enjoy it. We figure this way we can throw a new cowl on ourselves, and have the underneath of the car practically brand new, with a coat of primer on the whole thing to avoid any rust advancing for a year, and have fun.

The plan sounds reasonable (is the unibody bent? Technically there is no frame), but do you know what replacing a cowl entails? It is a BIG job and and an “advanced” body repair. Look here for some details: http://s1194.photobucket.com/user/ECIBob/library/Body/Body%20Repairs/Cowl?sort=3&page=1

Link say’s it’s a private album, even with a photo album account?

We aren’t sure. Looks pretty damn straight to the eye. Don’t got a lift though.

And we’ve looked into it. Going to go out to johns tomorrow to get see if he has some other parts for the top loader we have, and see what cowl advice he has lol.

Well we just ordered the clutch linkage for a 351c, the flywheel, bellhousing, pedal assembly, and other goodies for the toploader from John’s we bought when we bought this cat. Started clearing out room in the garage for her (have yet to think of a name) for winter, and for now we put and strapped down a tarp over the windshield (another suspect of leaking since the dash is rusty right near the seal) and cowl, and put our cover over it. Should help to keep the majority of the moisture down. Since we are going ratty, and we have a spare oil gauge and temperature gauge, we might just mount them above the dash (drill two tiny holes we can reverse in the future), and go from there. The tach works and speedometer both work, albeit it thinks we are going 10mph slower then we really are, which is somewhat humorous. Won’t have a right blinker light, but it clicks, and the sequentials on both sides work on this car, so not the end of the world.

Once we get her in, going to get the underside all cleaned up, straightened if need be, and get this cat roadworthy for spring!

Also my bf doesn’t know it, but found nice 351c 71 boss closed chamber heads for a reasonable price (ours are open chamber heads, but someone put an AFB Carter 4 barrel carb on it), he might be receiving for Christmas. :slight_smile:

Another thing on the list for our John’s shopping list is the shoulder harness-termonology? type seatbelts.

Oops, sorry about that! I changed the privileges, you (and moonie) should be able to view it now. I normally have the albums private and link to individual pictures but in this case it would be good to see them all to see what changing a cowl involves.


You may scare them away with that…I was never so happy to see something NOT need repaired on mine…

(Shaking head) Your cowl was good and you closed the grate up anyway. Someone cue the Foghorn Leghorn dialogue, would 'ya? :buck:

Looks better that way…IMO…plus, don’t need it open for VA, and, I have the added benefit of NEVER needing to worry about the dreaded repair. :thumbup: BONUS!

Wow that does look like quite a project. Ours, from the outside, looks to have a rust hole the diameter of a pencil. The rest looks OK.

Went out to John’s for a shopping trip, and also learned about a guy he knows thats starting up a garage after the new years, and its nearby, so we are going to give him a call and see what he thinks about the work we want done.

That’s most likely the guy that makes John’s body repair panels for him. Met him a couple of times and he told me at the metro cruise he was getting started on his own restoration shop. Don’t know about his work, but he makes some real good body repair panels for Cougars.
The only thing I would change with your plan is the blasting and priming the body. I would leave as is until you were ready to paint. Then blast it and take it right to the final paint job. Reframe from using products on it like wax and cleaners like Armor All, tire shine etc… That can cause fish eyes in the new paint and other issues.
Another good local source that I use a lot is “Consolidated Stripping” in Plainwell. I have my own blast cabinet at home but, for the larger items or a complete body I do my own blasting at their facility. They have a booth for doing the complete body and large blast cabinets for doing big items like the rear end, driveshaft, leaf springs etc… You can do the work yourself there renting the equipment. If you don’t like getting dirty they will do it for you. Very reasonable on price. My son and I blasted the race car body (67 Cougar) for $200



That is awesome. I’d want a place like that wherever I live!


I’m with Nate…^^^

Yeah it is the body panel guy. And we would just throw black primer over the current flaking paint. The body itself needs a lot of work. Bondo is bad in multiple locations, paint is chipping off, door handle on passenger side is separating from its bondo. So we aren’t going to touch the body aside from maybe throwing some primer on it. Any work we do, for now, is to make the cat drivable, and get everything, from a drive-ability standpoint, as solid as we can get it, underneath the car. I.e. get the frame straightened (if needed), sandblasted, brakes solidified as the brake booster is only kind of working, power steering needs some work, got that 4 speed toploader waiting for a home, car really wants to go left, etc. We might wait it out for Wing’s (he remembered your Cougar btw, asked where we heard about you), but we plan on giving John’s guy a call as well and since he’s in cedar springs, its a short easy drive to bring the cat out. It thumps so loud over 45mph, you’d think the rear end would fall out :unamused:

Hat’s off man, that’s not a task I would ever undertake. Thank’s for the pic’s!


They do nice work for sure. I’m just glad Dad got mine done in Il. He spent $5K. And they MADE and formed panels. I think he got a deal, as the car is smooth as glass, the panel fitment is terrific, and the gaps are probably better than it left the factory. Let me know if you want their number as well.

of course this was done in Danville, Il which is probably one of the most depressed economies in the continental US, which I think has a LOT to do with the prices of servies, including body work, as well as the prices of prospective project cars. read CHEAP!!!

Well we have made a decision, we are going to go with Wing’s. Going to be a long wait. The Essex placed refused to do what we wanted (just do the frame work and make it drivable), and turned us off while Wing was very friendly and willing to work in our budget too.

Just put together a new cherry picker and waiting on the call from John that our 4 barrel heads are in! Going to be cleaning this engine up this winter and making it purr, going to sell the Carter AFB (4 barrel) that is on it, and put on a Holley 750cfm double pumper. Looking for an intake manifold (pretty set on a Torker, but might make a thread on that one). Going to sell the current 2v heads that are on it. Car has 77k miles, and the heads look like that is the correct mileage, they are clean as a whistle. Along with giving this cat an engine rebuild (hoping by selling off the other parts, it will keep it within our budget), we found a place in Ionia to rebuild the toploader too.

Had a trusted family friend (worked in a garage for 10 years), give the car a good look over. Powertrain is shot, and it’s where our thumping is coming from, completely loose. But we were planning on putting a Detroit locker in it anyways. He looked over the rest of the car as well for a few hours, and found no rust at all on the frame. Has 70s era Cherry Bombs on it too, which explains why it sounds so nice. Said the frame is as straight as the human eye can tell, and actually asked if the car came from California due to the lack of rust. But alas, it’s an Ohio cat. We were both thrilled to hear the cat is that solid underneath. Was reassuring that we got a good car.

Wing told us we could put it on a lift (we did the inspection with Jack Stands LOL) this spring at his place so we could see what we are getting into, and we plan on getting this cat drivable for next summer until Wing can get it in to his shop (14 cars ahead of us right now).

Very excited to get to work on this engine!