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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I want to get some advice on the best way to go about my new project but I thought I would take a few minutes to introduce myself and the car first.
The car is a 68 Cougar hard top. Options include: 390-2V x code engine, power steering, Tilt-away wheel, air conditioning, décor group, bench seat, 2.75 gears, and black vinyl top that has since been removed. The original color was black cherry. My brother David bought the car in August of 2013 on Oahu, Hawaii while he was stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. He and his buddies on base put a lot of hours into getting the car fixed up and was hoping to get it painted soon. On November 7th, 2013 he was on a training run and had a sudden heart attack and died. He was 25. Obituary

Growing up together we always did a lot of projects and building stuff together. I never got to work on cars with him with us being in different places but always wanted to, so this seems like a good way to remember the good times we had together. I don’t see myself ever selling the car so I’m not thinking about resale or finding a better restoration candidate.
It took a while for the car to be shipped from Hawaii to my parents’ house in Washington, and I just moved to Kansas City so I actually haven’t seen the car in person yet. There are a bunch of pictures here including the marti report: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157643419612904/

Here is what I’ve been able to figure out from pictures and others reports. The good:
The 390 runs well, looks like the carb has been changed out, I think he said it was a weber. Transmission seems to be in good shape. The interior for the most part appears in good shape with the exception of the front seat and head liner. Exhaust is fairly new and doesn’t leak. Headlight doors operate well.

The bad: Needs a lot of body work/rust repair. Brakes are very weak. Steering needs work. Windows have a gap, recovering the seats. Needs paint. There is a battery drain that they located so it needs some minor electrical work. Steering wheel. The air conditioning has been removed. I’m sure there is more I’ll find digging into things.

I’m thinking that the first step is getting the car drivable by putting on a good 4 wheel disc setup and fixing the steering components. Then when I’m back in Washington I can drive it. My other thought was with brakes and steering needing work and probably suspension too it might make sense to go with a TCI type front end replacement for better handling and ease of maintenance/adjustments. The additional money doesn’t sound too bad but the time to get it all installed is a negative. It would be nice to have more space in the engine room. Once the car is driving well and I’ve got a good chunk of funds saved up (probably a lot) I would strip it down and send it to a family friends body shop to have the rust repaired and painted black like my brother wanted. Probably do some engine work while that is happening, maybe transmission swap but I think all that is a long ways away. There are lots of people in Washington that want to help work on the car so they could do things like work on the brakes while in in Kansas, but I might ship it here at some point to work on the little things on a more frequent basis.

This site seems like a good community, I've been lurking for a bit trying to learn all I can. I’ll be headed to Washington in the next few months and wanted to get a handle on where to start and if I should have a brake kit waiting for me. What do you think of the plan?

--Tom
 

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Tom,

Welcome to the forum, VERY sorry for your loss. Hope the car will help to heal that.

Regards,

Robert
 

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Crummy way to get a cool car. Not a fair trade at all :-(

You'll find alot of great, helpful folks here, and a ton of information.

Also, be sure to check out the Classic Cougar Community forum (http://www.classiccougarcommunity.com/forum/index.php). Alot of us are members of both sites, and there are alot of great project / "resto-mod" threads over there that might help you out or give you some ideas.

Looks like your car has great potential! I say get it "safely drivable" and enjoy it a bit before you put it away for body and paint :)
 

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Very sorry for your loss.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you everyone for the kind words and offers of help. I copied the post over to classiccougarcommunity and have received some responses there too. It sounds like I'm generally on the right track.
 

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I don't know you or your brother but I have to say that the picture at the piano is priceless. That's love.
 

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wow, very sorry for your loss, but you'll have a good memories when you work on the car. Looks like a good car that will be a great car, when you are finished with it, as it looks like a runner. As per Al, once you've had a couple of drives in it, you will be hooked and you won't be able to hold yourself back, bringing the car back to it's former self. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Now for a more specific question. With the car running ok at the moment, it seems I should focus on the front end. I'm thinking a power disc conversion kit, rebuilt steering box, and it seems like while I'm in there replacing work out bushings in the steering and suspension components would be a good idea.


Some ideas I had were:
SSBC brakes
WCCC Front end rebuild
I've done some work on cars over the years but have never messed with steering components, so I'm not to sure what I'm looking at for parts there.


I'm not opposed to upgrading components when it makes sense. I would like to keep the tilt-away column so I don't know if that takes rack and pinion out of the picture.
The idea would be to have the parts shipped to the car in Washington where my grandfather in law would do some prep work and I could fly out for a week and we would get it all done and back driveable. Realistic?
Don-I'll give you a ring Monday.
 

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Hi Tom - sorry about your loss..... it's never easy.

Glad to hear that you are wanting to get his car to where he was heading with it! I have some friends/family in the KC area and you will love it there. I'm so jealous that you could pop into BB's lawnside and eat that awesome BBQ and listen to some great blues bands whenever you want! You gotta see Trampled Under Foot!! Say hi to Danielle for me ;>P

Anyway, welcome to the board! I guess it all depends on how sea worthy the car is to start with. Chances are if it wasn't driven much that you will run into quite a few snags at first. Brakes are of course the crucial thing to start with, then the fuel tank/lines follow because those are prone to internal rusting and plenty of issues. SO, I'd start by going over it after you get a good look at it it - or have grandpa in-law get a good opinion from a local shop he trusts. I don't think a week will buy you the time to get it driveable most likely.

I wouldn't worry about doing any mod's until you have it safely home and can do it at your leisure rather than be under time pressures. I'd flush all the lines out and clean the brake cylinders/rebuild them to start with. It's possible the proportioning valve is pretty rotted internally and will cause you grief. It may need replaced. Brake lines get very tough to take apart after all these years, so you will have to fight them most likely. Then, the gas tank and lines may need a good flushing and or replacing......
you will have to see what kind of shape it's in internally.

As far as a TCP or Heidts tyupe front end --- that will take some pretty serious work and fab to accomplish. You should consider if that's the kind of expense you want and if it fits your overall desires. I'd just go with a good rebuild kit like the WCCC one you looked at for now IMHO. Think it over for awhile.


Good luck and keep us posted.....


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Bought some tickets to Seattle for a week in mid-May. After looking up prices for drum brake parts getting that system back in proper order seems like a great way to start. Thea parts are cheap, available at the local hardware store, and definitely within my mechanical abilities. I figure I'll start at the master cylinder and replace items and fluid throughout the system. I see a lot of talk on here about proportioning valves, is that something that takes special consideration other than getting the right one?
At that point i'll have time to really go through everything else as well as drive it around.

I've also been playing around with paint schemes. My brother wasn't one to worry too much about getting his vehicles safe or reliable, it was always about looking cool, being loud and going fast. He had an old jeep he painted black with a scull on the hood and death trap on the sides. In that spirit I drew up some ideas for the time before it gets its real paint job/rust repair to dress up the primer grey a bit.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157643761700515/
--Tom
 

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I see a lot of talk on here about proportioning valves, is that something that takes special consideration other than getting the right one? Tom
Your car will already have the proper proportioning valve on it. You may need to go through it, you will only know that once you work on the system and use the brakes. The talk of changing the proportioning valve comes into play if you change the brake system, like changing the front from drum to disc or adding disc brakes to the rear. Do you have a copy of the factory shop manual? If no I would highly suggest that you purchase one. You will find a lot of answers in it.

Randy Goodling
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Good luck Tom! Might want to take some decent tools - especially a good brake/drum tools with. might as well rebuild the cylinders while your at it and put new rubbers in them. Hope it goes smoothly!

I like the flying tigers theme BTW! You should primer it that way for awhile........
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the info, I'll see about picking up the manual. My grandfather-in-lay actually has a pretty well stocked shop where the car is now. He had a classic cougar, I think a 68 in the 80s and helped his son put together a nice early camaro. He is pretty excited about helping with this project. The cylinders will get some attention.

I'm leaning towords the flying tigers theme too. Seems to fit well with the body style. I got the idea from someones profile picture I think on here.
 
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