Mercury Cougar Owners banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, new here.

I have a 72 Cougar that Ive purchased in 1991 (Restored in 1990/1991), was an Arizona car and was rust-free underneath. It looks like some body work was done (can see imperfections under paint). Was originally gold but repainted by the seller (Owner of Kaliber Auto Body in Port Washington, WI). Everything worked, even the squeezehorn and sequential taillamps. 351-c 2v and power brakes, manual windows. Interior near-mint except center console ashtray & some drying of armrest, and the dash was redone, looks nice. 2 small rips in headliner.

Sadly, I had a traveling job, a son, and many things happening...the last time the car was started was about 1998 when I converted it to electronic ignition. To save money on storage, I'd kept it outside at my parents house, my stepdad damaging the car with the riding mower every time he cut the lawn. God damnit!

Anyways, for you expert/experienced restorers out there, I have some questions;

I mainly want to get it started and running mechanically, don't know where to start. I have access to a full shop with hoist for repairs and paint booth.

1. What "trouble" am I probably in for?
2. I've heard rumors of the shock towers rotting out & other areas like on the Mustangs. What should I check?
3. How do I check to see how "good" the frame is, if I can be sure of a mechanically sound frame?
4. Paint is chipping off on the rear tops of the quarters (paint too think/not applied right and some rust on the bottom. Like I said I dont care too much about looks, I just want to know if I should be stripping away to check for hidden damage/repairs or if I need to work fast against rust.
5. Anything I'm forgetting about?

I'm a member of the West Allis Auto Club, so I can spend a hardcore 90-days-at-a-time on the car and possibly get some help there too.

I'm an ex-mechanic and currently an electrician, so I could probably figure some things out as long as I find the wiring diagrams I bought years ago :)

Any help or advice is GREATLY appreciated. This was my first muscle car, and I loved getting the "Oh my GOD! WOW!" reactions from people when it still looked nice. I'm so sad looking at it now. I hope it can be revived.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
The first things you'll need to do is make sure the engine turns freely. You can test that by putting a socket in the crankshaft and trying to turn it. Disconnect the battery, etc before doing this.

Expect to have to drain all fluids and replace them. You may also need to replace gaskets and seals in various places.

If the car was sitting on grass, expect to find rust underneath but not to the point of making the car unsalvageable. You may need new floor pans, rockers, and frame rails but you might also find that it wasn't there long enough for that kind of damage to occur.

I'd certainly expect to find critter damage, since cars make great winter shelters for small rodents and the like.

Overall, it sounds like you'll have to do a full restoration, but it's certainly achievable given what some folks on this board have successfully revived!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
364 Posts
Milwaukee

Hey Viss.I have a 72 that I have been restoring in Milwaukee.I have learned a ton on this site the last 5 years.If you want give me a call.We can talk Cougars.My number is 414-462-1728 call after 5pm, Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ahh! Thanks much, guys! Hopefully I can get it in this weekend. If nothing else I'll get it towed to my place before I can bring it to the auto club.

NICE 72, by the way! Oh, I love the 72s, they are so beautiful...

I'll call you next week sometime :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Finally got it in

the auto club didnt have an opening until last week, I had to flatbed the car in monday night.



Looks good from a distance. The weather has ruined the paint, and started rust under the vinyl top, and on the wheelwells under the paint. Bad restoration in 1990 from Kaliber Auto Body in Port Washington, I guess. Thats ok, I paid $2800 for it and had 10x the value in fun back then.

The wheel lock key was stolen in 1995. One was chiseled off, I'll just buy one of those removing tools for impact guns.

The car isnt as bad as what I'd thought! I'll peek underneath later this week.

Rat turds all over the engine. :( Interior is very dry. 9 years in the sun does that, I guess. Rear seats split now. Headliner was mint when parked, trashed now. Most weatherstripping is dried out, even under the trim and windshield. Cant find air cleaner. Tires still good & holding air!

Rust starting under where the paint had chipped. Rather thick paint over the original.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
341 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,883 Posts
Nice looking car, Viss.
Check the trunk and inner quarters for water damage/rust.
You have an easy task compared to a lot of other Cougars out there. Not to take away from what you're doing and your effort, at all.

What bill said.
And, once you get the fluids and such checked and changed, put a battery in without the spark plugs and turn it over for 2 or 3 intervals of 20 seconds to get the oil back up in the motor. Install a pair of clear filters in your fuel line so you can catch any crud that might be coming down the pike. (a temporary rubber line can be made from the fuel pump to the carb)
And, if the fuel runs clear, put the plugs back in and fire that mother up.

I had to do this to a 54 Ford I bought that had sat for probably 8 years or so. After I got it running I drove it around no problems.

Good luck and keep us posted. Nice workspace too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
632 Posts
The biggest "trouble" your in for is the lack of reproduction and parts in general. With the paint peeling like that I would guess your in for a full stripping of the car. With this you'll find out what you really bought and what the underlying condition really is.

Things always to check include the floor of the trunk (mats and leaky bodies = rust) cowl, rear quarters, door bottoms and everywhere for rust and prior damage from driving incidents ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well I took out the passenger seat (I ran out of time, the "man in charge" of the Auto Club tonight closed a little early). The floor under the carpet looks very nice, the passenger side has a little rust, I found some heavy slags of lead (solder?) that I removed which could mean I just shortened my 1/4 mile time by 0.00004 seconds!

Seriously, though. I have decided I'll get new heads for it, cam, HEI, etc. I do have the electronic point conversion drop-in, but the car has never neen started on it. I removed the radiatorand checked it out, I thought I;d seen a gash in it, but it looks fine & isnt leaking. I thought I;d replaced it but I dont remember.

Nothing is terribly rusty (well, not as much as I;d thought) and I have found carpeting at mustangsunlimited and leaning towards replacing much of the front end parts.

I'm going to tear off the bumper and the other seat tomorrow, maybe remove all the carpeting to see whats under it all.

I can not find the trunk key, i'll try to poke around with a rod from the rear seats and open it.

Sucks, as I had 5 sets of keys for this.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top