As I got deeper into the Cougar hobby, I wanted to try restoring a car. Aqua Vert is a nice driver, which could use some more work, but isn't ready for a restoration. I decided to search for a car needing a restoration, but still nice or rare enough that I wouldn't end up completely upside down. The 69 XR-7 convertible has been my preference. The "R" code cars - equipped with the 428 Cobra Jet engine with Ram Air induction - are rare and valuable, making them excellent restoration candidates. The hood scoop, though, is not my thing... so I set my sights on the Q-code, 428 Cobra Jet XR-7 convertible without Ram Air.
I contacted the Cougar CJ Registrar, posted "wanted" ads on the CCOA site and MC.net and kept an eye open. Since only 46 Q-code XR-7 convertibles were built--39 with automatic, 7 with manual transmission--I figured it would take some time.
A couple of years went by. One day, I was talking to Lin at WCCC to buy something for Aqua Vert. We somehow strayed into talking about dream cars. He talked about the R-code convertble he was restoring and I mentioned my search for a Q-code convertible. Lin said, "Don's going to look at one of those next week, you should talk to him." I did.
Next thing I knew, I was flying to Phoenix, meeting Don and looking over the car. The trip coincided with the annual Barrett-Jackson auction, so I spent a day there too. Bill, a.k.a. xr7g428 on MC.net hosted his first annual B-J Cougar Garagapalooza which added to the fun. I should mention here that since that time, Bill has started and maintains the Classic Cougar Community forum, which has become the favorite of many Cougar enthusiasts.
It was a great trip, but I left Phoenix thinking the car needed too much for the price.
Although the car looks perty good as it sat in Phoenix, it needed a ground-up restoration. It was missing parts, the interior was trashed, the glass was ruined, grill busted up, chrome work dented or dull, etc. etc. The body was solid, though, and there was very little rust - some on the fender aprons, a little in the trunk, and on the passenger side floorpan. At least that's what I could find without taking the car apart in the seller's garage.
As the car sat, it had a 351 Windsor in the engine compartment. The seller had a C.J. engine and the rest of the drive line. The 428CJ already had been rebuilt, and was waiting for the rest of the car to be restored.
After returning home, I kept thinking about the car, and started second-guessing myself whether I should buy it. Ultimately, I struck a deal and the car was shipped to Duluth.
Here's the list of features:
|Optional Equipment:||XR-7 package:|
|Power steering||Rim-blow steering wheel|
|Front disk brakes||Curb molding|
|Tilt-away steering||Racing mirror|
|Whisper-aire conditioner||Courtesy light group|
|Sports console||Door ajar warning light|
|AM/FM stereo radio||Low fuel warning light|
|Door edge guards|
|Wire wheel covers|
|Color keyed floor mats|
|Front bumper guards|
|C-6 Cruise-O-Matic Transmission|
|F70x14 Traction tires|
The V.I.N. and data plate disclose the following information:
|9||1969 Model Year|
|F||Dearborn Assembly Plant|
|94||Cougar XR-7 Convertible|
|Q||428 4v Cobra Jet Engine|
|502794||Sequential number (2,794th Cougar)|
|Engine:||428 c.i.d. 4v Cobra Jet V-8 (Q-code)|
|Transmission:||C-6 Cruise-O-Matic 3 Speed Automatic (U)|
|Rear gear:||3.25 Trac-Lok (R)|
|Body Style:||XR-7 Convertible (76B)|
|Color:||Dark Ivy Green Metallic (C)|
|Trim:||White Leather with Ivy Gold Appointments (FG)|
|Assembly Plant:||Dearborn, Michigan (F)|
|Scheduled Build:||September 5, 1968 (05J)|
|Actual Build:||September 13, 1968 (Friday)|
|Sales District:||Dallas, Texas (22)|
|Date Sold:||September 23, 1969 (Tuesday)|
|Dealer:||Midland Auto Co., Midland, Texas|
This is the buck tag for Q Vert. The tags were attached to the radiator support, usually near the passenger side headlights. Buck tags were used on the assembly line to identify which options were applicable so holes could be cut or brackets added. For example, a car with tilt-away steering wheel has an additional vacuum reservoir mounted beneath the battery tray. A hole needed to be cut through the fender well, which was not required for cars without this option. The CCOA is working on deciphering all the buck tag codes. Click here for more information.
I decided to get the "Elite" Marti Report for Q-Vert. The Elite Report comes framed for use as a display board, but (as I learned) you can request the documents without the framing and save a few dollars. The Elite package includes the Marti production statistics report (shown at right), as well as a reproduction window sticker (below), a reproduction data plate (shown higher up on this page) and "One-of" breakdown (below right). Based on all of the permutations of various options, Marti can make just about every Cougar a "One-of-one." Q-vert's Cobra Jet engine, though, makes the car rare enough standing alone.
This is the "Eminger Report." A long time Ford employee and car lover herself, Lois Eminger saved these records from destruction and made them available to collectors. She sold them to current owners only upon proof of ownership, such as a copy of the title. The records became known as "Eminger Reports," a fitting tribute. Sometime between when I got the invoice for Aqua Vert and Q-Vert, Kevin Marti purchased the remaining inventory of these records from Lois, and they are now available here.
Q-Vert joined Aqua Vert in my garage and waited for the disassembly to commence. The next page follows the process of tearing apart and rebuilding this fine car.