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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All, I am a new member, but my Cat has been in the family since brand new in 1967. I was the lucky "first child" so my Dad home schooled me on auto shop and we rebuilt the motor, transmission, and a few other things for me to have the car as my first driver through college. Needless to say, the car took a lot of abuse and has been sitting with me saying "I am ready to get going" for literally decades now. It is currently sitting stripped down on skates in my garage with dedicated space to work on it and I have sourced most of the replacement metal for the bodywork.

I have found that my real problem is not having a firm direction on the car. This is going to be a full restomod, with very little thought given to original parts. For general background, my plan is to keep the car mostly looking original outside of ride height, rims, and tires. Internally, I am going to make appropriate upgrades to make the car a 2nd driver, and have budgeted about $60k on this project. I would love to make the 500hp mark naturally aspirated, but don't want the weight of a big block rolling around the front end. I already own a 2001 Stage 3 Roush convertible, so I don't need another supercharged car. I do plan to drive it once or twice a week when it is done instead of my current work car. Classics have style, but as muted as the Roush is compared to say a Saleen, it is still too edgy to show up in that as a real estate agent.

The first part where I need help is picking the engine and transmission, likely because I have some competing desires which in the end may not all be resolvable. However, until I pick that, I can't address the suspension, which will get done early with the body work since I am seriously considering a full new front end clip from Alston Chassisworks that is conveniently located only 30 minutes from my house. Obviously, I will want to pick an engine mount that is proper for the platform I intend to drop under the hood. I also would prefer to keep that 60's rumble, but know I may be giving up on gas mileage to stick to an older power plant and to get near the 500hp mark. It will be EFI because day trips from sea level to 7,500ft over Donner Summit to Tahoe will happen and I don't want to deal with a carb and the performance variations climbing altitudes so regularly.

Finally, the part many won't like is that I intend to switch this car from a stick to an automatic. My wife can't drive the Roush after 11 knee surgeries, and I am not going to invest $50-$60k of our family money into this project to not have her be able to drive it. Carroll Shelby was her "uncle" (really a cousin but that's who she knew him) and the girl can drive - seriously, mean it. After 4 ACL replacements myself, the same issues could be on the horizon for me. I would love to put a new 10-speed in it, but I understand that just won't work without completely redesigning the tunnel and I really like the original console look and height. So, maybe an electronic 4-speed. I need the highway gear and hate to lose the shift speed, but let's face it, the older I get the less I will be able to launch the manual effectively. If there is any way to keep the manual console in the swap, that would be great.

So, give my your thoughts on the engine/trans combo trying to resolve as best you can:
  • Power
  • Weight
  • Fitment
  • Streetability
  • Highway driving
  • Sound
  • Mileage (definitely willing to give on this but don't want 6 mpg)
  • Cost (sky is not the limit, but $15k - $20k into this combo including electronics is very realistic)

Feel free to forward me to other posts where this all may have previously been discussed as well, thanks!

-John

P.S. Out-of-date facebook page on the car at: Log In or Sign Up to View

Pre-teardown photo:
Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Land vehicle


Roush photo for fun:

Car Wheel Vehicle Automotive side marker light Land vehicle
 

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I think a 347 would make sense considering it would bolt in and all the accessory drive pullies and brackets would fit. Then an AOD would bolt to the engine. The only thing that you would need is a different rear crossmember.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think a 347 would make sense considering it would bolt in and all the accessory drive pullies and brackets would fit. Then an AOD would bolt to the engine. The only thing that you would need is a different rear crossmember.
Royce, thanks for the reply. I have been continuing to talk to folks and I think I am going with a 351W base and likely a built 5R55S transmission. Might stay 351, might stroke to 408 or 427. After talking to a pretty well-respected engine builder, it sounds like going with the Edelbrock Pro-Flow 4 EFI will be a very affordable way to convert to EFI and improve that gas mileage and consistent perfomance across altitudes.. That won't get me a single controller for both the EFI and the electronic transmission, but I will handle those separately if necessary. If I go this route, I end up with a couple more questions:

1) Has anybody set up paddle shifting on a Cougar? I want to keep the console and original look, although I will need to swap someone from my manual console configuration. It would be nice to be able to control the shifting if I wanted to go into more of a "sport" mode.

2) How do I figure out if I can fit this 351W/5R55S combo to keep the original center console?
 

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A 351W bolts in place to the original C4 and the console fit is unchanged.

However you are thinking of a 5R55S. I think using one of those means a new hump in the floor to clear the much larger transmission. In turn the bigger hump will eliminate the stock console.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have found a string where someone has put a 5R55S in a vintage mustang with minimal adjustment and no tunnel widening. However, I still need to make sure it will line up with the console. I don't know how to double-check that. If it won't work, I will likely move to a 4R70W. Appreciate your feedback Royce.
 
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