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December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Eliminator

Posted: 03 Dec 2012, 19:18
by xr7g428
Nineteen Seventy. The Sixties were over, and it seemed so was most of the fun. But it's not over until we say it's over, and the 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator still had some talkin' to do!

For many 1970 represented the apogee of Cougar development. In '69 Cougar gained a little more head and elbow room on the inside, but without sacrificing the Pony car agility of the first generation cats. In '70 the design was perfected by bringing back the original electric-shaver vertical bar grill and prominent center nose. This would be the last year for hide-away head lights and the legendary FE big block V8. If you wanted a Boss 302, speak now, as this was the last chance to buy the Trans Am motor off the show room floor. New features like a locking steering column hinted at what was to come; little did we realize that within just a few short years the Cougar would become a completely different kind of cat.

John's perfectly restored '70 Eliminator gives us a glimpse of what it was like to be there when these cars were new. Every detail is faithfully executed. One of the first things that you will notice when you pop the hood is that in spite of the fact that this car has the Eliminator scoop on the hood it doesn't have functional Ram Air. In 1970 Ram Air became an option, another box to be checked or missed on the order form. But look at little farther and you will see that this was no stripped down Cougar, yes, that is a Cobra Jet with AC!

But all good things come to an end, after just less than two full years of production the Eliminator would become the victim of rising insurance and gasoline prices, and pollution controls that were sapping performance faster than emissions. Fortunately we still have a few of these amazing cars to take us back to a better time.

Hopefully, John will share a few details of the how this car was brought back to brand new.

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Re: December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Elimina

Posted: 03 Dec 2012, 20:54
by jcbingcougar
Congratulations, John! What a great car to finish out the year with.

Re: December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Elimina

Posted: 03 Dec 2012, 22:49
by mo2872
What Jeff said......if I wanted an Eliminator, that'd be the one.....! :thumbup:

Re: December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Elimina

Posted: 04 Dec 2012, 06:12
by Al Bundy
Fantastic car. Congrats on the win.

Geez too bad you don't want an eliminator 3. That's what I was going to get you for Xmas. Oh well.

Re: December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Elimina

Posted: 04 Dec 2012, 08:23
by R Code
Nice goin' John, great car.

Re: December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Elimina

Posted: 04 Dec 2012, 08:39
by RUNnWYLD
Congrats! Awesome car.

Re: December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Elimina

Posted: 04 Dec 2012, 09:23
by Zogman
Beautimus car John. perfection!!!

Re: December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Elimina

Posted: 04 Dec 2012, 10:26
by mo2872
Al Bundy wrote:Geez too bad you don't want an eliminator 3. That's what I was going to get you for Xmas. Oh well.
Geez, Al, it's the thought that counts, right? LOL. (You can send Kelly, instead!)

Re: December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Elimina

Posted: 04 Dec 2012, 11:19
by 68PUMA
Congrats John, she is a beauty. :beerchug: John

Re: December 2012 Ride of the Month: John B's '70 CJ Elimina

Posted: 04 Dec 2012, 11:37
by drcougar
Thank you for all the nice comments about the car. Figured I should write up some history and share a few photos.

I purchased the car in October of 2005 off EBay - yes EBay. I was able to have a long talk with the seller and asked him tons of questions and got additional photos. The car was a survivor living mainly in Californa and Texas. The exterior paint was 100% original except for the hood and cowl. The interior was also completely original. Engine and transmission had been rebuilt but had never been "tuned". The odometer showed 83K which I believe was original. From the Marti Report the cars options included Evaporative Emissions, F70X14 Belted Tires, Console, Power Disc Brakes, Power Steering, Air Conditioning, AM/FM Stereo, Decore Group and Tinted Glass. It was built October 2, 1969. The car was virtually rust free. The worst part of the car was the drivers door. I decided to replace it with a rust free date code correct one. I had to do a small 3" patch behind one wheel and repair a small spot around one side of the rear glass. That was it! The car was just that clean. Here is a couple photos of what it looked like when it arrived.

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At first I thought about just reselling it but just could not part with it. Finally in December of 2008, after 3 years of it sitting in the corner, I had some spare time from customer cars to get going on it. As the owner of Cascade Classics I've restored numerous Cougars and a few Mustangs but I had never done a complete ground up restoration on one of my own cars. Just never had the time. I figured this one was a good candidate.

The car came apart very easy. Not a single rusted bolt! During the teardown I found the build sheet under the drivers floor as well as some of the cleanest floors I've ever seen.

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Once the car was completely dissassembled I had every square inch plastic media blasted. The nice thing about plastic media is it leaves the zinc phosphate coating from the factory which keeps it from flash rusting. Now it's on to the body shop.

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We are now into the first part of 2009 and the car is making good progress. While the body shop handles paint work, I am detailing all the small parts, rebuilding all the mechanicals and redoing all the interior parts. I like to be ready for assembly as soon as the car is painted. Here is a photo of the car getting the bottom painted and another one with fresh Competition Blue paint. The bottom is painted slop gray just like it was from the factory. It looks shiny because it was still wet.

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I was able to work on it slowly the next year as I had another customer car to restore. In May I finally got to assemble most of the car. The 428CJ engine was completely rebuilt again as I did not trust the previous owners machine shop. I also had the transmission rebuilt as well as the rear end. The assembly of the car went very smoothly although dealing with a 428CJ with factory smog and factory air conditioning was a pain!! All small parts were painted correct colors and I used as many NOS trim parts as I could find. I have tons of pictures of the assembly process but in the end here is the final results.

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The car was unveiled at the 2010 Cascade Cougar Club Prowl where it won best of show. Just this past summer I entered in the Good Guys Pacific Northwest nationals were it was presented with Hemmings Motor News Muscle Car of the Year Finalists. To date the car has a total of 18 miles!

Thanks again for all who voted for my car. I appreciate it.