Introduction: The Journey Begins

A love for cars is one that runs deep in the Melody family. I was a Ford guy from a young age as my grandfather was president of the Southern California Ford V8 club and has restored numerous Fords to concours level. My first car, at the age of 17, was a bright orange 1969 Cougar XR-7 that was cloned to look like an Eliminator. I quickly realized I wanted ‘the real thing,’ and set my eyes on owning a real Mercury Cougar Eliminator. After a 2-year rotisserie restoration of a 1966 GT Convertible, a mechanical restoration on my dad’s 1970 BOSS 302 and an ongoing restoration on his 1970 Mustang Mach 1 428 SCJ, my dad and I finally made a deal to purchase a 1969 Cougar Eliminator 428 SCJ in summer of 2018. The long-term owners at the time, Skip and Gina, allowed me to make payments on the car and in summer of 2019, we traveled to the coal fields of North Eastern Pennsylvania to remove the car from its resting place. A 3,000 mile road trip lie ahead, headed by a rental U-Haul truck with a car dolly in tow. Countless issues were overcome during the journey and the Eliminator arrived at its new home after 9 days. I couldn’t be happier with the car, despite its very rough shape, and I pride myself in the fact that it’s a project very few people would consider taking on. I plan on restoring the car to a very high level in order to show it nationally and hope that you follow along my restoration journey.

The Cougar Eliminator Den – San Diego CA

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