SURPRISE VISTOR: ’67 COUGAR 390

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Brett Irick’s ’67 Cougar was a surprise visitor to GGG. Brett encountered a major engine failure of some type on the way to the Iola Old Car Show and after stopping at a Ford dealer, he had it towed to Gunner’s Great Garage in Manawa, Wis.

We were hosting an Iola “Car-B-Q” for the International Mercury Owners Assoc. (wwwmercuryclub.com) that Thursday. ASo Brett's 1967 Mercury Cougar GT was a surprise guest. Brett is the Central Engineering Manager for Vehicle Operations at the automaker’s Ford Rouge manufacturing plant.

Brett’s car is white and has the XR7 option with the cool overhead console that I really fell in love with years ago, when these Cougars were new. It also has the 390-cid Ford FE big-block V-8 and many options including air conditioning.

During the Car-B-Q, Brett and a bumch of IMOA members and other friends started to teardown the Cougar’s engine, hoping to find a “top end” problem that might be an easy repair. Even Julie Strom, who had driven her Edsel Villager wagon to the party, picked up tools and dug into the project. It was great entertainment for the guests, but no top end problems showed up.

Brett ultimately decided to leave the car at Gunner’s great Garage for whatever repairs its needs. We plan to remove the cylinder heads first to see if they have any serious problems. If not, the engine will need to come out and go to our favorite machine shop — Diesel & Machine (www.diesel-machine.com) in Amherst, Wis. — for a complete rebuild.

We pull a lot of engines at Gunner’s, but this one is tightly packaged in the vehicle, making fasteners harder to reach and get a socket on. Even removing spark plugs on a Cougar 390 seems to be a big chore. So, if any of you have specific tricks that would come in handy for this project, please call me at (715) 281-5925 or email me at Gunnellj@TDS.net.