Mercury Cougar Owners banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,055 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've read a lot of the stories that guys and gals have posted on this site about their Cougars. Cool stories about acquisitions and family heirlooms and barn finds. I've enjoyed reading each and every one and it inspired me to tell you my story. Some of you already know part or even most of it. Some of you may not find it all that interesting. That's OK, because I'm writing it as much for me as I am for others to read.

It starts in the summer of 1968. I was 5 years old, standing next to my mom in the driveway of my grandparents house. We were waiting Dad's arrival with the car that he had gone to pick up. Around the corner came a cardinal red GT-E with Dad behind the wheel. I remember him getting annoyed because I thought it was a Mustang, but hey I was only 5!

Flash forward a few years later, I got to be a bit of a celebrity in my small town school. All the kids knew of Dads Cougar and it was without question the coolest car around. He worked at the local Ford dealership and knew how to build an engine. He also did his share of street racing and his Cougar was never beat. That was the early '70's and we lived in the country, so those kind of activities were fairly common place. Every summer dozens of people would stop and see if the car was for sale. I remember pleading with him to never sell the car. I like to think that was at least part of the reason he never did. Then in the spring of 1975, on the way home from dropping me off at school, the Cougar dropped a valve. The car was parked in the garage and for reasons I still don't know was never fixed. There were still people that found out about the car and would still try to buy it. And still I begged him not to sell.

As I grew up I constantly fantasized about one day driving that car. When I became an adult I decided if I ever had the chance to buy a GT-E of my own, I would own one. Aside from a near miss around 1995, I never got the chance. In the ensuing years I acquired two boys in addition to my wife. The Cougar fantasy was put on the back burner for more important things. But not for long.

As the internet rapidly expanded and the information highway ran squarely through my life, I discovered a website containing the GT-E registry. Wow, how cool is that? Someone actually keeps track of the surviving GT-E's. I promptly clicked the e-mail link and asked for information. The gentleman on the other end responded politely that he would not give me any information as I was not an owner of record. I explained to him that I knew the whereabouts of a GT-E (which he probably didn't believe), but I had to get the owners permission to discuss it. Dad was a bit leery, but was open to the idea nonetheless. As fate would have it, not more than a couple weeks later, a local guy that knew of the car was at the Carlisle show and opened his mouth to the wrong person and the word got out. Within a couple days Dad's phone rang and on the other end was Jim Pinkerton asking him to confirm the info that Jim had already surmised. After lengthy discussion, Jim informed my father that his car was actually a pre-production show unit, not just an ordinary GT-E. Not that there's anything ordinary about a GT-E. Needless to say we were both elated. First time I'd seen Dad excited about a car in years.

A little time passed, there was more communication with Mr. Pinkerton and Phil Parcells. Phil got to come see the car and took 4-5000 pictures to help him with his restoration. Dad had retired, my kids got a little older and I got the Cougar bug again. Jim brought this site to my attention and I signed up that day. A great decision I might add. Dad finally made up his mind to restore the car. I went a bit nutty with a mid life crisis thing and ended up buying 3 Cougars along with building a garage to work on them. We made a trip to the AFN with my two boys. Got to meet a few Cougar guys. We worked a little on the GT-E, but mostly Dad was helping me build my garage. I couldn't wait for it to be finished so we could spend all day on the Cougars. I have the luxury of being able to take time off whenever I want and I was gonna take a lot of it. Man life was good!

Then on January 12th around 5:00PM I got a phone call. Dad was gone. In the blink of an eye my whole life was turned upside down. All our plans would never be. I can't explain to my kids why their grandpa is gone, only that it's part of life.

The car that I've dreamed of owning since I was a little kid now belongs to me. What I wouldn't give to be able to trade it back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,126 Posts
WOW, I don't know what to say, but THANK YOU for posting such.

I kind of know the feeling, my dad was a Buick guy, 50 plus years as an employee, and dealer. He loved 41's, but never was around to see mine finished.

Dale in Indy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,191 Posts
Every day is precious. Never miss an opportunity to tell people you love them. Please finish the car and drive it. It's what he would have wanted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
367 Posts
That is a VERY moving story - really makes one realize the importance of spending time with the ones you love, and as much as possible. It doesn't matter what you do with the time you have, it is who you spend it with! My dad is has always loved the 66-67 GTO, and I have always wanted to buy one to restore with him; he has always been of the mind of just buying a finished one. I think it would be a great bonding opportunity and I know my other brother would be in, maybe I will discuss it once my Cougar and his VW's are one the road...

Thank you for sharing this deeply personal story...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
Thanks for sharing that story with all of us, Al. I sometimes wonder if those of you who have had such families understand the impact your stories have on those of us with very different family experiences. Personally, I find it uplifting to know that family relationships like yours do exist. I have been fortunate enough to marry into such a family, even though there isn't any linkage back to my automotive interests. My father is still with us and our relationship is good these days but I won't have the kind of memories that you have when my father passes on. That is your fathers real legacy to you and it is more valuable than all the GT-E's that were ever produced. To have that AND the GT-E your Dad brought home that day is incredibly special.

Please accept our condolences on your fathers passing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Reminds me of my dream of taking a 68 roadrunner and completely restoring it with my father. He had one and sold it back when I was born to pay bills. I feel like I kind of owe him a runner, hope to be able to do it soon since my kids would love to be able to tinker on a car with their father and grandfather. Your story also reminds me of how I missed my last chance to see my grandmother before she died 5 yrs ago, and as fate would have it my 1 yr old son was born on the 4th anniversary of her death. Life is bittersweet. As your car will always remind you of your father so too will my son of my grandmother.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,883 Posts
^Yep.
None of us know how many days we have.

Great story. Thanks for sharing it. It's really nice of you to share something like that with us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,552 Posts
Indeed, a very well written story. I'm sorry for your loss, but jealous of your capability to take whatever time off you want, and apparently can afford to fix the car up right! As others have said, I think dad would want you to keep after it.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,950 Posts
These are the kinds of stories that make us realize what's important Al.....always things to be thankful for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,598 Posts
Thanks for sharing.. A part of your dad will live on in his GTE you have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,972 Posts
Great story!! Thanks for sharing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
We never know how much time we have on earth. I just attended a funeral of a dear friend of mine, she was only 54 years old. She loved Mustangs and had a convertable late model GT as one of her last cars. Thank you for telling the story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,074 Posts
Very sorry to hear of your loss. Lost my mother 11 years ago, and my father ten years ago.

I can still remember him working under the hood of the 69 Cougar that is now mine. He was the reason, and the tutor, for my lifelong interest in cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,853 Posts
Wow, Thanks for sharing, I took my father at the age of 75 out west mule deer hunting, I couldn't afford it but couldn't afford not too. At 75 his health was not so good but he had always wanted to go. Didn't look forward to the four day drive out there or honestly to spending five days in a tent with him and then another four day drive back but I knew it was the right thing to do. He ended up getting a deer. A nice 4x4 buck, he shot at 347 yards while it was on a trot! I think the deer probably died laughing that my ole man even pulled up and shot. He was using a 30-06 semi-auto. Now at the beginning of camp they made us all shoot to make sure our guns were sighted in. My dad didn't even hit paper at 100 yards! Couldn't believe it. It wasn't long after the hunt that I bought this cougar I am redoing. He had bought my mom one when I was little and it was the first car I ever drove. My dad comes over and watches as I work on it and tells me stories about all his cars. Pretty cool what a car in the barn can do for a father son relationship. Now every time you take that cat out for a ride you will have him riding with you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,320 Posts
Al,

I for one am very glad you told that story-for yourself, especially, but also for us. We can all take something very special from it.

It is quite the car and legacy you have there. These cars always have a lot of personal stories attached to them. Cherish it and the memories you have of your Father and the car..

As much as I want to beg you to restore the car for your Dad's honor, it is just as important, for you, to drive it. That's when you're going to really feel fulfilled and connected with your Dad. As you said, you'd love to be able to unwind what life has dished out, but now you have a unique opportunity to keep the legacy of your Dad going forever..in the way that you desire.

Best regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,633 Posts
I inherited my Dad's tools. When I use them I can feel the imprint of his hands on them. I also got his boxes of bolts and stuff. When ever I am in a jam, I look in those boxes and find that Dad has put what i need in there for me... You should know that when ever you are working on the car, that he will be right there with you. And when you bust your knuckles, you will hear him laughing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,126 Posts
My father was a good business man, and also a very skilled hard worker. He would try anything, and wasn't afraid to fail, I have his floor drill press, and of course use it often, so have his name on a card where I see it every time I am using it. It reads, THANKS DAD!

I said in my post, #2 that "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY". Only YOU know how you feel, and YOU will do what your heart tells you to do, I'M SURE OF THAT.

I wish you the very best,

Dale in Indy
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top