The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

From dusty barn find to daily driver, it seems our cars are never really done. This is the place to share your progress on your project car. We will celebrate your victories and commiserate over your tragedies. But most of all this is a great place to learn!
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Blitz
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Posts: 978
Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 13:02
Location: Salem, OR

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#211

Post by Blitz » 08 Jun 2018, 12:16

Finally.

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Those of you who have been following this build for a while know (at least to an extent) what a struggle I've had with the body and paint, ever since the first ill-fated paint job in 2012 through 2014 (was it really that long ago?). It's been one of the most frustrating, draining, expensive, discouraging things I've ever dealt with, but I knew giving up was not an option. Yesterday I finally got to see my Cougar all shiny, fresh and white again. It looks awesome. It's not absolute perfection, and a couple little areas will need attention, but I didn't expect perfection, and I'm very happy with how it came out. It's waaaaaaaaaaaay better than the previous paint job.

I ended up going for the Deltron, as painful as the extra cost was, and he laid down 4 coats of color and 3 coats of clear. The lower dash was done with the same paint, but with a flattener so it has a more correct satin finish. He then went over the exterior, doing a pretty extensive cut and buff, getting things pretty darn flat and glassy.

It should be coming back to the shop next week, and I can't wait to start bolting shiny stuff to it. I'm relieved to be done with this chapter, and excited for what comes next!

The painter took a lot of pictures throughout the process, which he's going to put on a memory stick for me, so I'll post the more interesting ones when I get them. I think you'll all be surprised at how much work it ended up being, I know we were!
-Andrew Chenovick
Photo/Video guy for WEST COAST CLASSIC COUGAR, INC.
Side Gig: FLYING A PHOTOGRAPHY


RIDES:
-1968 Mercury Cougar: original family owned, Polar White, 289-2V, auto, AC / "Snowball" view project thread
-1973 Opel Manta: 1.9L, 5-speed (restored)
-1991 Mazda Miata: fun driver
-1986 Volvo 240: dependable beater / "Goldilocks"
-1992 Volvo 240 wagon: classy hauling machine

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mfc133
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Posts: 113
Joined: 20 Dec 2016, 12:15
Location: Perkasie, PA

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#212

Post by mfc133 » 08 Jun 2018, 13:49

That really is like glass, looks great!
-Mike

1968 Cougar Standard, 302 4V, auto, Madras Blue

ccarney69
Registered Member
Posts: 523
Joined: 24 Sep 2012, 18:35
Location: Ward, Arkansas

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#213

Post by ccarney69 » 08 Jun 2018, 13:52

All those frustrations should be melting away about now. The paint on that car looks great. Whoever did it did a real good job for you and I’m sure he is well up to the task of some little repairs. The cut and buff is really nice. Seems like this paint job went off pretty quick too. Looking forward to see the assembly process .
1968 GT-E 427 Standard Nordic Blue/Black Décor, driver
1969 XR7 R Code 4 Speed Yellow/Black Top Black Interior, current project no.1
1969 XR7 Q Code C6 Green/Black Top Dark Ivy Green Interior, current project no. 2
CCOA #8275
MACC

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R Code
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Posts: 934
Joined: 27 Apr 2012, 10:26
Location: Boston, MA

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#214

Post by R Code » 08 Jun 2018, 15:14

Looking good Andrew! Congrats on getting this far. As the years go on, you won't regret doing the body/paint work the "right way", which takes time & good materials: no way around it.
- Chris

1967 Std 4 speed conversion
1969 XR-7 "R Code" Convertible

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70 Cougar
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Posts: 512
Joined: 29 Apr 2012, 03:01
Location: Vancouver, BC

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#215

Post by 70 Cougar » 08 Jun 2018, 22:32

Looks great Andrew. Glad you are still on it. In the home stretch now.
- Steve O

1970 Mercury Cougar
2004 SVT Cobra

SPLINEHEAD
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Posts: 482
Joined: 16 Jan 2015, 11:10
Location: Holland, MI

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#216

Post by SPLINEHEAD » 10 Jun 2018, 07:34

Very, very nice, congrats!

Gary Hill
Pole Cat
1969 XR7 390 S code 4bbl C6 3.0 TrueTrac rear end

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Mike_B_SVT
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Joined: 27 Oct 2011, 00:36
Location: Hillsboro, OR

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#217

Post by Mike_B_SVT » 10 Jun 2018, 09:42

Awesome! Need to schedule a WCCC rebuild party now. See if we can get that puppy back on the road sooner rather than later ;-)

M.
Mike B.
CCOA # 9553

1970 Cougar Eliminator (Competition Gold / Black Decor Interior)
1 of 70 with 428SCJ, Ram Air, 4-speed.
Cat Bites Man!

Looking for an Eliminator? Then be sure to check out the "Eliminators on the Market" thread in the Classic Cougars For Sale section of the forum!

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snafu
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Posts: 257
Joined: 19 Oct 2011, 11:17
Location: WA

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#218

Post by snafu » 11 Jun 2018, 08:34

Looks great Andrew!
_____________________________________________________________________
1969 Cougar Standard

8F91F
Registered Member
Posts: 160
Joined: 08 May 2015, 13:03
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#219

Post by 8F91F » 22 Jun 2018, 10:22

Fantastic, Andrew, it really looks great. (I'm hoping you'll be pinstriping, too, but that's just me.)
Nate

1968 2-Door Hardtop | 8F91F587473
302 2V / 3-speed Manual / 2.79:1
Saxony Yellow / Med. Saddle Vinyl / Decor Group
Purchased 5/26/1987 @ 94,167 miles

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Blitz
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Posts: 978
Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 13:02
Location: Salem, OR

Re: The Snowball Saga - '68 Standard Revitalization Project

#220

Post by Blitz » 22 Jun 2018, 14:06

Thanks all! It's great to have it back finally and I've been randomly putting things together, trying to do something every night after work, and on Saturdays. I don't really have a planned approach, I just walk up to the car, stare at it for a bit, and think of what to do next. Having the car and myself at WCCC is a huge luxury because A) it's a place to work on it with all the tools I could need, and maybe even more importantly B) all the parts I could possibly need are just a few footsteps away. I feel very lucky to have this luxury.

So before I update on things I've done, here's a cautionary tale. Don't be like me. Don't restore your car in the wrong order. Which is to say, don't detail your engine bay, under dash area, underbody, trunk, etc. and then have the car painted. No matter how conscientious you think your painter is with masking, there will be dust and overspray in all kinds of places you don't want it. All you want to give a painter is an empty shell.
Obviously it wasn't my intention to do things in this order, but I had already done a lot of work before it became clear to me that the first paint job wasn't gonna cut it. So, now I'm dealing with the frustration of trying to clean paint off of wiring harnesses and other parts, and there will be some items I'll have to remove and re-spray again. Kinda frustrating.

My engine bay is a mess (and this is after some preliminary blowing out with an air hose and wiping a couple things):

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I might have to try to wash out the engine bay, I don't think I can get everything by hand.

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Overspray on my nice new premium hood hinges:

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Since I had him redo the lower dash paint, a lot of stuff here got hit. I was hoping he'd do a better masking job, and tried to make it very clear that I didn't want overspray where it shouldn't be. But, it happened. Not terrible but still pretty frustrating and will be a pain to deal with. The lower column black plastic wasn't covered up at all, not were my pedals that I had redone:

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Really thorough masking job here. He could have just taken the 2 screws out for the parking brake bracket, but nah.

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I know most of this stuff will be out of sight, and maybe most people wouldn't care, but it does bother me. I'll never get all of it off the wiring under the dash that got hit, but I'm going to try to go to town with some solvent and a rag and try to get the worst of it. Just sucks to have to do this extra work when I already have so many more important tasks to complete on this car.

ANYWAY, on to the fun stuff. When I get frustrated about issues like the above, I just start bolting on shiny things, and I start to feel better. The first thing I did when I got the car back was to put the taillights back in, and to put together my trunk lock assembly. I saved my original lock cylinder, but replaced the backing plate with a good used one (mine had the little tab broken where the cover plate rests), then got the repro chrome cover plate and decal. Cleaned up the hardware and my original gasket and installed. (There is a repro gasket but we were out of stock at the time, and my old one still seemed serviceable). I was dumb at first and forgot that the conical sleeves slide on from inside the trunk, after you put the lock into the trunk lid. Then after I got it installed, I realized I couldn't get the latch in. So, more trial and error than expected, but got it in. Luckily the taillights were ready to go, since I had already restored them (see earlier in this thread).

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I also stuck my license plate holder back on. This is one item that I chose not to try to restore or repaint. It's in pretty good original shape, why mess with it? I did previously put on new rubber bumpers though.

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Then one of the next things I did was to stick down the insulation in the interior. Mostly because the box containing it was bulky and constantly getting in my way on the shelf.

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My ignition switch is one of the things that got some overspray on it, so I took it out and cleaned it up. This was pretty easy since I just ran the face of it across a wire wheel, giving it that shiny brushed look. I went ahead and got this kit for the lower dash chrome bezels and knobs, and installed the ring for the ignition switch. Here's a comparison between my original one and the new one.

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Installed. The special tool is a must for doing this.

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Then, I couldn't resist putting more shiny stuff on. Maybe it's still too soon for emblems, but it's just so satisfying. Here's the Mercury emblem on the trunk lid. What I learned putting this on is to gently file out the holes with a tiny round file (to remove excess paint materials) and to snap the tiny barrel clips into the holes first, before sliding the emblem in. Don't put the clips directly onto the emblem studs before installing, it won't work that way.

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Also put my rear plate on, to give the car its identity back and further motivate me. Being that this is a family heirloom car, the plate is kinda special and meaningful to me. I was looking into getting them restored, but I decided to just leave the original patina for now. Partly because I didn't want to wait months for them, partly because I have more important things to spend money on, and partly because I think keeping them original gives it that irreplaceable authenticity. Maybe later on down the road I'll want them to look fresh and new, but for now they're just going to go back on as is, with a little wax to freshen them up.

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Then, more shiny. I did the quarter panel Cougar emblems and the reflectors. I actually found that the "economy" reflectors are nicer quality, in terms of the chrome and overall fit and finish, than the "premium" ones with the FoMoCo logo. That's another bonus of being here at WCCC, I can take parts off the shelf and compare them, and use whichever I prefer. So in most cases I would prefer to use more correct stuff with the proper markings, but this time I felt that the other option was better. Bonus that the gaskets and hardware are included.

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I'm not crazy about how these things attach to the body; they use those dinky little nuts that cut their own threads into the emblem studs. It makes it kind of a one-time-use item, because if you take the nuts off and put them back on too many times, the studs will get worn down and the nuts won't grab anymore. If I had thought it through a little more, I probably would have used a die to cut real threads onto the studs and used real nuts. Anyway, they're on. The Cougar script emblems originally came with covered, rounded "acorn" style nuts, to protect hands or items in the trunk, but the new ones are just plain, so there are still pointy studs poking through. I'm going to try to find rubber vacuum caps that will fit over, or maybe try to find some good original nuts. For the reflectors, I did get the repro rubber caps.

Finally, the most recent thing I did was to assemble my quarter glass. I had previously gotten my brackets rechromed, and I just bought the restored stainless frames to compliment them. Luckily my rubber surrounds were in good shape on both of these, so I just cleaned and left those alone. Will have to improvise on other pieces, stay tuned for that. But here are a couple shiny shots before assembly:

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I'm very glad I bagged & tagged the tiny screws for these. Here are some things I learned doing this little project:
- Tape up all the shiny restored surfaces before you start manhandling things into place (luckily I had the forethought to do this)
- Rethread all the little holes, as well as the screws, before you even try to assemble. They are 8-32 NC.
- Lubricate the channels / rubber before pressing things together. I just used some glass cleaner, worked fine.

Here they are all assembled, with new seals installed. Also lube these with glass cleaner or similar to slide them in place. Keep in mind that the smooth part of the seal faces inward, and the "grooved" side faces out, for the door glass to fit into. I almost put them in the wrong way. Sorry these aren't very exciting, I'm going to leave the tape on until I get these installed in the car.

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Also don't forget the little screw at the bottom of the seals.

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Well, that pretty much brings this up to speed! Not sure how much I'm gonna get done before the WCCC Open House (3 weeks away) but I'll just keep plugging away the best I can!
-Andrew Chenovick
Photo/Video guy for WEST COAST CLASSIC COUGAR, INC.
Side Gig: FLYING A PHOTOGRAPHY


RIDES:
-1968 Mercury Cougar: original family owned, Polar White, 289-2V, auto, AC / "Snowball" view project thread
-1973 Opel Manta: 1.9L, 5-speed (restored)
-1991 Mazda Miata: fun driver
-1986 Volvo 240: dependable beater / "Goldilocks"
-1992 Volvo 240 wagon: classy hauling machine

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