Although I’m not a car guy, this model is probably the most special to me. And there’s a bit of a long story to it. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you skip it.
My dad’s first car was a 1967 Mercury Cougar. He had kept it for years with the intention of restoring it, but it was too far gone, and he traded it for a 1968 that was in much better shape. He spent years restoring and customizing it back into his dream car. So, I decided, I was going to make him a little one.
Sunstar made a die cast 1968, but it was out of production. I sourced one on ebay, but, unfortunately this one had a rag top, and my dad’s was a hard top. That is when my frustration began, as both cars AND die cast are really outside of my wheelhouse. So I sat on the model for a few years not really making any progress.
Then one May morning I get a phone call from my mom saying that my dad had a heart attack. We didn’t really know much that morning, but, mom was thinking it wasn’t looking good. It’s funny how people react and cope in super stressful times, because the one thought that kept going through my head on the one hour drive to the hospital was “I can’t believe my Dad’s going to die, and I couldn’t even finish this model for him.”
Well, happily, my Dad not only survived, but is in even better shape than before. (And he was in pretty good shape before). So, I finally decided, come hell or high water, I was going to finish that model and give it to him for Christmas that year.
So I’ve included some pictures above of the work in progress. I had to disassemble the entire car. Grind down the texture and seams on the metal rag top and sand and bondo it all smooth. Unfortunately for me, Dad had also been customizing the real car quite extensively. He built an entirely new dashboard. Put in a new steering wheel. Different upholstery. Quite a few things. And every time I would go over, and he would proudly show off his latest customization, I would be silently gritting my teeth thinking about how I was going to have to go and change everything now too.
So, I too had to custom make a dashboard. Custom decals. Sculpt new door panels.
I had the local Ford dealership actually paint and clear coat the body of the car to that exact paint code.
And I’m happy to say, I finished the car in time to give him on Christmas day. I finished it at 12:26am on December 25th.
I actually got two times the joy giving him that gift. Not only was my dad speechless with the car, I also got the satisfaction of hearing my sister mumble “Well, no one is topping THAT Christmas gift this year.”
So now, the car goes along with my parents to every car show, and is proudly displayed under the opened hood for all to see.
And just to further add to the humour, I 3D printed up another 1968 Cougar that is 1/18th the scale of the 1/18th scale model I gave him. You can see it above next to my thumbnail.
The Ford dealership declined to paint that one though.