Cougar Buying Guide

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Cougar Buying Guide

What to look for when buying a Cougar

Episode 1 YouTube Transcript:

here's a subject I've been meaning the tackle for a long time I get this question all the time hey I'm going to go look at a cougar this weekend I found it on Craigslist eBay whatever and I want to know what should I look at where should I look before I make a decision well I just bought this cougar here out of brush Prairie Washington I looked at it three times and I spent a half hour two hour each time and a few days later after really going over it I found I made you know I missed some stuff so I thought man if I bought over a thousand Cougars over the years make a mistake here and there man it must be really scary for the average guy so let's walk through this 1970 cougar together and see if I can't point out some things you should be looking for I find it's best to take two sets eyes with you here's one reason one guy can be talking to the to the owner getting history and stuff and clues and asking technical questions while the other person can just take some time and look without being interrupted sometimes if you have the owner right there you feel pressured to hurry up and make small talk and you maybe you don't want to wiggle things or touch certain areas because he's looking get your friend on the other end of the car to talk shop while you really look it over the first thing I do is just stare at it for a good long time just just look at what it can tell you get down on all different levels and all different lights and this one looks shiny it's a California car so we know we're not going to find much rust but it's a lot of money so let's really look at what's going on here let's look at gaps now these cars weren't lined up perfect from the factory but I'm seeing some things right now that just aren't right here's one look at this gap right here that should remain even look at that it disappears there oh look here I can't get my finger in here but over here I can again look at that now this bumper has obviously been rechromed I'm guessing like most 70s it was bumped and when they straightened it out something didn't get right let's go look for some more clues when we open the hood now this is one of the most key areas I look for an untouched core support I look for original spot welds I look for rust I look for holes in the shock towers I look for everything to line up this is important because this is a Cobra Jet we want to see tell-tale signs of a rebodied of a wreck of whatever so the first thing I notice is this hole isn't just right here the core support looks pretty straight looks original so you might just talked yourself into passing over that take a close look it should look just like this size it should be symmetric here when I reach on the other side it's been welded also this should be pretty much a 90 here I go over here looks a little rounded out looks a little stressed here I see a little wrinkle here I like this original spot welds with no rust here if I see no spot welds here that's because somebody's putty it over this because they've replaced an apron so I like seeing those original spot welds all four places another thing when I look down in here I see a service replacement sticker on this lower valence no big deal most cars have had their valence replaced at one time or another but look at this here again this gap is not lining up right here that's just way off this whole panel looks to be shifted this way well here I see a wrinkle and I feel under that wrinkle AHA Blondo this is not untouched piece so I've determined this has been in a front-end collision sometime doesn't look to been bad but it makes a difference and sometimes if you can kindly playfully tactfully point it out to the owner sometimes he's never even noticed oh wow I've owned this car for 18 years and I've never really noticed that might make a difference in the price let's keep moving on here's another thing I'm usually week on about half the time I forget my flashlight addition to a flashlight I sure like these little $15.00 glasses I got at Lowe's there's stuff hidden in here we got to find it we're only going to take this one time in the owners driveway to get it or is dark garage and you can't assume he's got a light we're not going to get into a whole lot of numbers-matching we do that in another video on a 428 Cobra jet convertible this is a non numbers-matching car but still we want to see how much is original here if first glance we'd say look at that the S tubes here take a little closer look and you'll see 10 snip marks down there this is off an old pickup truck it's meant to look like an original last two but it certainly isn't just take time and stare and look for what you can see look for wrinkles where they shouldn't be look for holes punched where they shouldn't be take off the air cleaner wiggle things look wiggle the fan wiggle the pulleys now that we've seen what we can see here let's get under the car and this is where I made my mistake the owner didn't have a lift and I got my head under there with a flashlight and did the best I could I made some mistakes because I didn't have a lift if you're spinning as much money as this car is get it to a lift get it to a repair facility I don't care if it cost you $100 to use it for 45 minutes Wow you'll find out a lot and again if you can discover some things with the owner standing there maybe that's going to make a difference on the price it's such a different view when you get it up in the air again just take time and stare at it study it look for look for things that shouldn't be there like and what I see here I guess I see an incorrect fastener no big deal but I see the original underlayment to sound deadener here see nobody's been messing with anything here that all looks factory this is a California car so I'd expect it to be rest free what do I say over here this is odd looks like somebody piled in some paper towels here that's odd oh my goodness look at that the original build sheet or remnants of I can just barely see the little numbers on here again this gives testament oh look at that c9 ze something or rather this gives testament to the fact that this is a low mile original car look at that the build sheet has been stuck under that sound deadener for many years yeah that's original alright that's really neat to see that shows nobody's been here I like that let's go to the other side okay this side isn't looking as good look at this up here look at that wrinkled arrow that's not right wrinkled there oh look at this incorrect fasteners it was in a fender bender no surprise a lot of these Cobra Jets hit the ditch at some point in their life let's look for mud in the fender if we sight down this fender we should see a nice crisp line seems to me it washes out right here see you hear that sometimes I'll just go around a car like that and do this lightly hear how it thuds on it should have a tinny sound like but when you hear this dull thud in here there's bondo I bet let's take and feel up here yeah you can you can I can feel my hand my right hand going like this in my left hand you can kind of sense the bondo in there they have gauges for this too and I always seem to forget my gauge if you get your gauge look for a refrigerator magnet see where your refrigerator magnet sticks when I was at the owners house looking under his lights and the car was down I noticed there was no dimples here no rust here well now that I look at it closer I feel a little bit of wrinkle on the paint most likely that's from where a rust repair was done this paint was done in the 90s so it's starting to come back a little bit which tells me that was a inferior repair again kind of normal even for a California car but you need to know what you're up against again it feels kind of dull and thudd thudd thudd right there let's open it up and see what we see hey we hear a door buzzer buzzer working that's pretty rare look at this they took the time and fix this side but look at that they didn't do much to this side here's another area I always look at I like to even if you can't see it feel for swelling along this Ridge this one feels pretty tight until I get to right here a little bit of swelling see how the lip is pulling away just a little bit it tells me there's a little rust starting in there right about there here's something I didn't notice when I looked at the car like this look at this tar or whatever it is smeared on here why do we have that smeared on here the original sound deadener should look more like this we'll have to investigate further on that one see this that tar is smeared all the way over here a whole outer wheelhouse has got some tar on it let's look for telltale signs of maybe a quarter panel replacement sure enough this lip is not what a factory attachment to the door jamb should look like nor is this gap quite right again a whole new perspective on a lift looking this way as opposed to looking down sure it was done long ago nothing to look for on a convertible should have a dip right here that's good news I can I can feel that dip right there which means it's not a reproduction and it's not a coupe quarter panel this confirms it look here that weld that's anything but professional by today's standards here's some more that smeared on seam sealer that does not look factory that doesn't look factory either everything here just looks a little off compared to this side this side looks untouched nice tight seam here everything looks factoring untouched here this is the way it should look now here's what this door jamb should look like look at the faint outlines of the original factory spot welds all through there this is original that's just how it should look nothing's been tampered with even those little marks there look original to me and again on a convertible not a coupe not other years look for this little swoop here you should see a little bit of an indentation on an original convertible quarter panel hard to see it's most prevalent right here you could sure feel it that's for sure the seller probably isn't going to let you take up the carpets to look at the floor plan pan so look close down here look for any aftermarket sound deadener look for welds look for things that don't line up common thing is to see a drain plug here because not many people offer correct floor pan patches we do on our site with this correct ribbing but you'll see 67 eight floor pans in here a lot of times this one appears to be original here's another area always look even on West Coast cars once in a while you'll see this happen not too often but water will get trapped in here you'll see this area swell and start to rot this one looks good and it looks original with original spot welds again I'm looking for swelling I'm looking for weld marks I like the original spot welds all around here I'm really liking what I see I always like to bring a little all with me don't bring a big one because that looks pretty offensive jabbing at somebody's cars a little one will usually do it just kind of probe and different area anything that looks suspicious you know bubbles and whatnot will get them with this again it's good to have your friend there so he can be talking what you're doing a little of this you're not out to ruin his car but you're going to find the rust let's keep going it's like we got a oil leak here yep I see I see a hokey power steering line fix here and that looks like it's losing some power steering fluid here because of it and in addition to that we probably got a oil leak on a driver like this that's not your number-one concern that can be taken care of for a hundred bucks in your driveway usually we're going to look for more rust and damage here almost always these will be a little bit up that is it usually comes because of a collision people like to put they like to put floor jacks on here so that's why you'll see weird bends in these with a crescent wrench and a little heat you can usually straighten those out good that fender bender was in that messed that up let's sight down this frame rail here and look for get it at eye level look for straightness here that's important that one's looking straight I mean you always look under the battery tray - here's something else I kind of look for you want to see camber and caster adjusting x' within the same range you don't want to see a whole bunch of threads on this one and minimal on this one and by the way here's a clue this is a 69 style strut rod see with the extra threads here the step-down threads this is what you'd expect to see on a 70 so again this side of the car sustained some damage and some replacement parts I do like seeing these though these are the original lower control arms these little tabs here that was part of the old rotunda alignment rack system you haven't used these for years to setup the front end but go ahead and look right here see where that indexing hole is there we don't want to see this one here and the other one way over here let's go look at the other side that one's around the same range they should be pretty close to each other not right on that tells me that this front end wasn't whacked too hard you won't be able to get the camera in here but I like to get some light in here a sunny day is best actually but you I'm looking to shine my light in there and I'm looking to see the original sound deadener in here that sound deadener is all beat off there's a good chance this was din it hard I'm also looking for worms when I say worm holes the way they used to repair dents is drill holes and put a slight hammer and bang it out and then they put bondo over it and you'd see little pink worms coming through your holes when I look in this one and I can't see every bit of the door but I am seeing much of it and it looks good with a window down I can also see through here by pulling back the rubber I like what I see down there all Cougars 67 to 73 have an issue with the cow even California cars leaves pine needles rodents whatever can get in there and cause them to rot the cow is kind of a hard thing to fix when that goes bad user your floor pants go bad now unlike the 67 68 you can actually take this cow panel off but do you think the owner is going to let you do that probably not here's a trick you're going to need your LED flashlight but you're going to probably can't see it on the film or on the camera but I'm looking at a valley right around a hat see that hat that ledge hat raised lip whatever you want to call it is meant to keep the weeds and in pine needles and stuff from falling down in your heater core I do not see any leaves I do not see any rat's nest and I don't see any rust that's a good sign look at that cowl floor or bottom surface they're nice and solid this may seem trivial but if this is really a low mild California car the windshield if it hasn't been replaced will be an original car light and it does look like this is an original car light windshield and by the amount of wear on the window it appears it is not a high mile car very few speckles probably not driven in the mountains where they were sanding the roads either everything points to this car actually having a hundred and two thousand miles I always lift up the trunk I'm looking for a rear-end collision again I'm going to look for factory spot welds I'm going to look for original markings those shouldn't be covered over I'm going to look for straightness on this panel I'm going to look for bondo this is looking really good back here aha look at here this is not right this is where they seemed in the quarter panel if first glance I'm looking at this this all looks original so this makes me think this quarter panel hasn't been touched well it wasn't touched here was touched up there here's a area I always look for rest this is the low part of the trunk where the water tends to rest from the factory this was left unpainted right here the reason it was left unpainted is that's how they suspended the cars down the assembly line when they were painted on the rack you saw no paint right in here very common for them to rust here and it looks like this one had some rust and they've repaired it right in here I'm seeing the faint outline of a skim coat of bondo here very typical you also want to see these original markings here you don't want to see a trunk that's just flat back here that means they've done some rust repair and just skimmed over everything here's the original d0w be marking look hard at that taillight panel for any wrinkles from where it was in a rear-end collision this lip here under the deck lid is is very much a place to look just like your door you're looking for swelling so feel right along here you ain't have to look I can feel a little swelling right in here that right there is not right a little more swelling there a little swelling right here not bad but the beginnings are rust in there also look look that it has the right deck lid that would be an indicator of a rack every year they changed the deck lid and on our website it points out the differences 1970 was a one-year only 1970 has the cutouts like this for the rear spoiler if it were an Eliminator so we know that's a 1970 deck lid 69 would have two holes for the hardware kit they used for the eliminators and 69 here's one thing I always do look at this walk up the car and grab one of the windshield wiper arms see how I have to give it a good tug to get any reaction there you got a war out bushing in here actually on a 69 or 70 that's no big deal because this cowl panel piece comes right off you can service everything right there no big deal sixty seven and eight has to be done from under the dash because this is a removable panel that's a big deal on a sixty seven eight a lot of time especially got air-conditioning enough about that convertible top frames in my opinion people focus too much on the exterior top tires brakes taillights headlights but I still want to cover a couple things feel the header panel in here almost all of them have some rot under here and you can feel the low spots if it has substantial rot on this cast aluminum piece that's an expensive piece to replace if you can find it they don't reproduce it so if you do feel a lot of bumps and whatnot don't dismiss it expensive the other the other the only other part that's really expensive and hard to replace on this is the two cast aluminum arms that are in the very back just know they're expensive and hard to replace as for everything else yeah the headlights don't work half the time you'll get a deduction in price when you buy the car because of it but know that the vacuum lines the check valve the headlights which are all available on our website and they're easy to diagnose they're just vacuum operated vacuum to one port opens it vacuum to the other port closes it it's that easy tail lights everybody so many times when I've sold Cougars in the past do the tail lights work who cares if the tail lights don't work it's a simple sequential unit they're like 89 bucks on our website for a plug-and-play solid-state sequential unit for this year if it's not the sequential unit it's the turn signal switch in the column good thing to know before you buy the car but don't go get all excited about that look at the integrity of the car the structure of the car look for rust rust rust look for previous damage from accidents in the end that's what makes or breaks a car and those are the things you're going to find out the hard way later so know in advance go get on a lift whatever it takes get the car on a lift pay the hundred bucks of the local shop a flashlight and a floor jack isn't enough spend a good hour plus time pay somebody to go with you if you have to pay that shop owner to spend some time with you you know if it's a $2,500 car I kick the tires walk around poke it make your decision but on anything above that well depends on what your risk level is but I say no what you're getting into ahead of time and usually you're going to find things that the owner of the car doesn't even know about and you're going to get that hundred dollar fee back in negotiating down the price so I'm going to do some other videos on all years of Cougars this is just the first one look for the other ones coming soon

1 comment(s)
Michael Crosser July 21, 2022 9:08 PM reply
Great job, very informative. My brother bought a 65 Fastback Mustang and didn't take me with him. He got screwed. He should have watched this video, it would have saved him thousands.

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