Looking Back

jamie_duff

Honorary Member
Club Member
Sep 28, 2004
4,250
544
New Deer, Aberdeenshire
For me the Ford Cougar is a small chapter now at a close.
I missed my silver reflection in the dark tinted shop windows as I drove through the city this morning. Nothing lasts forever (and certainly not a Ford). Including my short break I've spent around 4 years on Cougar ownership overall, and covered over 70,000 miles in them. I've had more than my fair share of problems too in that time which has resulted in me knowing most of the car inside out through neccessity rather than choice - had I paid garages for all the times my Cougars let me down I'd have gone down the plug years ago. Still, I liked my reflection in dark tinted shop windows either side of King Street and Union Street.

14th September 2003 to 17th April 2008

I bought the car on my 2nd weekend off from my RAF Initial Officer Training. It was in every way an impulse buy, and I'd only even gone to test drive it for something to do in deep dark south west Wales. I'd driven one during Uni but couldn't afford the car. This time I just went for it. I paid ?ú7000 for it, and kept my existing car - the Rover 620 and gave it to Gill, my Fiancee of one week who was taking driving lessons. As a new insurance policy with no no-claims to apply, the Cougar cost me ?ú740 to insure :?

When I left the RAF after an injury and generally not being very good I needed money and took a job back at the airport just to keep up the car loan payments - I didn't want to sell her. My Cougar paid me back by disintigrating it's clutch. I had ?ú200 to my name and spent ?ú160 on parts. My dad (an aircraft engineer) helped me change the clutch on the most complex car we'd ever tinkered with over a week or so in the garage. It was evening & weekend work because we had day jobs. It was an utter bitch of a job at the time (I can do it in a fraction of that time now). He's a good father - always has been. I'm sure changing a clutch in a single car garage wouldn't have been his first choice of activities....

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2 weeks after that the car thanked us for our efforts with a dead alternator and a lift home on an AA truck. :evil:

It wasn't long after this that I joined UKCougar.com properly, but quickly realised that the information that would have eased my recent sufferings just wasn't there. Everyone was talking about modifications (of varying quality...) whereas I wanted detailed technical information. It was a slow realisation that if I wanted such material on the owners' club forum, I was probably going to have to write it myself.

My first meet a Crail Raceway, Fife, with Voidtiger (who would also end my Cougar ownership) and Stu (who remains a decent friend).

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I became conscious that my car looked like it was on stilts and had tiny wheels when parked next to Stu's, but it would be a long time before I'd buy Jason Jones' wheels after the demise of his car, and buy Apex springs from Urban Racing who did discounts for UKCougar.com.

I would get married to Gill in July 2005, and used the Cougar as our wedding car. The aircon didn't work and Gill almost melted in the heat waiting for someone to find the wedding rings...

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My tail light covers came from CustomCougars in the USA. I painted them myself but the colour match wasn't great.

One day, feeling ill and in too much of a rush I forgot there was a huge concrete platform on my nearside at a petrol station and slammed the door shut, drove off and scraped the side of my Cougar down it :(

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The man who fixed the car repainted my tail light covers and resprayed the whole nearside of my car for ?ú460. What a cracking job he did of it :)

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I paid Jason Jones who lived near Birmingham for his 18" alloys and I was excited. The logistical problems then became apparent. I bought lowering springs and fitted them one Saturday, again getting a spare pair of hands from my dad and I photographed everything and took mental notes off all the tools I was using for every nut and bolt. I'd use them to write a How-To with photos. This was spring 2005, and I had to write "Photographic How-To - 56k Beware" on the thread title. Nobody bothers with that any more :LOL: Over the years, several more pictorial How-Tos would appear from various other members with technical skills far exceeding my own as they joined up :D

It would bite me on the ass at Cougarfest 2005 when I agreed on the forum to change Stewart's wishbones at Billing Aquadrome. Half way through the job Stewart appeared from the sun glare holding a box of springs, a big grin and waving a printed off copy of my How-To :roll: :LOL:

Thus started my short lived tradition of lowering a car every Cougarfest.... the cars were Stewart's, Paul's and Tony's. :) It kept me busy during the day - I can't drink booze constantly - I get bored far too easily! A downer of Cougarfest 2005 was that Jason's hire car company let him down, and the pokey little Eurobox they gave him didn't have enough space to let him fit the alloys in.... I went home disappointed.

One evening in Autumn 2005... I remember I was a bit down when I took this photo. The blue colour is a coincidence. This photo prompted Stewart Wilson from .com to arrange the relay of Jason Jones' old BK166 alloys to me to cheer me up...

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And I was a happy boy after a whole day hunting round Aberdeen for wheel nuts that would fit - thanks for driving me around dad!

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I liked this photo so much it became my .com Sig for a few years :)

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Nothing much else expense wise happened to the car intentionally... I needed a new gearstick gaitor so Gill made one for me and I gave the interior a freshen up with some lighter silver:

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After a while the Cougar started to show it's age a bit, and the engine started making a noise I just couldn't isolate and identify for sure. It looked like early signs of a head gasket failure so we traded in the car for a Mazda MX-5 for Gill. It was a sad day leaving the Cougar behind when I picked up Gill's new car. The Mazda was and is a great car, but in a different way. I'd struggle to let the Mazda go now too, but I still missed my Cougar.

It would be around 6 months, but eventually I heard of a UKCougar.com member's car up for sale at the right price and I paid cash for it. Alex_16v had been staying with us for a week and gave us a lift down to England on his way home so we could collect the car. It had X-pack toys but never felt the same.

Still, I figured if I got to work on it, it would grow on me. A few of us got together and bought Roush bodykits from the USA and Gill bought me 19" alloys from Rick here.

Alas, it wasn't to be though, as Voidtiger had authorised his insurer's to sue me after a minor road accident whilst towing his car to change his knackered gearbox for him.

These were the first and last pics I'd take of the new Cougar. She doesn't look too bad here really. It's a shame I never got to fulfill my plans for her :(

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My plan was to finish her like this:

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P

Pie-in-ear

Nice write up Jamie. Always interesting to see a members' experiences documented so well.
 

jamie_duff

Honorary Member
Club Member
Sep 28, 2004
4,250
544
New Deer, Aberdeenshire
Thanks Neil :)

I handed over the keys to the new owner yesterday. He paid the full asking price in cash, which is now in the bank account ready to pay Diamond car insurance soon...

Sad to see another one go :(
 

skinnydawg

Well-known user
May 16, 2005
1,405
27
Burbaaaaarge
jamie_duff said:
Thanks Neil :)

I handed over the keys to the new owner yesterday. He paid the full asking price in cash, which is now in the bank account ready to pay Diamond car insurance soon...

Sad to see another one go :(

If I win the lottery tonight I will buy you another :wink:

not if I only win a fiver or summat though :eek:
 

cougar571

Well-known user
Apr 26, 2006
1,908
72
Whitley Bay
It's a story we can all relate to, the never ending saga of the Cougar.
Never say never, you may get another one & realise your dream of the Red
beauty in your pic's :wink:

You don't need me to tell you that your input into this club has been invaluable,
or, that if you don't come on & give us your legendary posts you would be missed :roll:

Cougar...........gone, Jamie.............to return? 8)
 

jamie_duff

Honorary Member
Club Member
Sep 28, 2004
4,250
544
New Deer, Aberdeenshire
I wont say "never" Mike, although it's fairly unlikely that I'll venture into a 3rd one now. I don't want to own 3 cars again, and Gill was never able to go a long way in a Cougar without a lot of pain. I've had a sore back whenever I've driven more than an hour or so in the second one myself :?

If I ever did get another, it would have to be an absolute stunner. Completely unmarked, unmolested and ridiculously low milage (I mean under 30k) - basically a car that's been dry stored since new.

If I ever happen to spot that car and I've got the cash burning a hole in my pocket then maybe, but otherwise I doubt I'd have another...

It's been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. When things were good, it was great. When the cars were broken I was swearing...

The truth is however that this insurance trouble has left a bitter taste in my mouth which has cast a dark shadow over everything Cougar-related. It saddens me that all the fun I've had has been smeared with the anger and upset from what happens.

With the cars now both gone, the memories ruined and my pockets empty it's been easier for me to let my subscription here lapse so that I couldn't stay in the loop. Few people manage to leave a good owners' club like this one, but with everything that's happened I feel it's been for the best that I detach myself from the past and move on.

When I think of all the nights I've sat in bed awake at 3am with Gill sound asleep beside me, wondering if he'd sue and how the hell I could find the money to pay that ?ú2200 it angers me. Sometimes I wish I'd never joined here at all. Other times I wish I'd read my policy small print properly. Yet other times I wish I'd just trusted my judge of character and not listened to those who criticised my tiny number of friends saying "Give him a chance, he seems alright". He is alright. Kindof. He's just the thickest plank that ever lived. I keep telling myself that because it makes me less angry. I've lost many hours sleep because of this, and I've dreaded opening the mail every day for the past 2 years incase there was another boot in the
censored.gif
coming. Why do they always arrive on a Friday so you get all weekend to worry about them before you can phone at 9am on Monday?

You have all been great. Thankyou, and best wishes.
 
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Shagmonkey

Well-known user
Sep 9, 2004
1,266
86
Chichester - Well....close enough!
Hi mate.

Very nice write up. I'm sure it must have been hard to let it all go, but as you say, when something comes along and just smears all the previous memories, you just fall out of love with the car.

I above everyone else can relate to that bud.

I still think you should have taken everyones offer to settle your very unjust insurance bill, but hey, it's all done now.

I would like to say a VERY big thank you for all the help you have given not just myself, but more importantly the entire club and it's members.
Your knowledge and write up's and willingness to help others was very much appreciated.

I wish you all the best in the future.

Paul
 

jamie_duff

Honorary Member
Club Member
Sep 28, 2004
4,250
544
New Deer, Aberdeenshire
Thanks Paul (and everyone for that matter).

It's a strange thing. It's like being dead in a diet kind of way. It's like I'm immortalised in the realm of the Ex Cougar Owners :oops: :LOL:

I'm almost at peace :eek:
 

jamie_duff

Honorary Member
Club Member
Sep 28, 2004
4,250
544
New Deer, Aberdeenshire
:LOL: :LOL:

My first experience of surrealism in the Cougar was driving down the M50 in T688 UAX in early 2004, listening to something very calming on Classic FM feeling very relaxed for a while before realising that the needle on the speedo was saying it was 3o'clock :eek: I swear I just did not know. I'm soooo glad I wasn't caught :eek:
 

JJ

Well-known user
Sep 10, 2004
4,040
504
Manchester
Wicked wright up dude you have been a great help to me over the time I have known you you have my number you only need to call if your ever down this way or need any help.

Don't forget us on here mate i hope you have enjoyed it overall.
 

Moostang

Active user
Jan 11, 2006
67
0
Duffy wrote:
You have all been great

You have been the Greatest... :wink:

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Respect the Duff... 8)

I just wish you got into the "Psychiatrists Couch" a bit more, you have a
Brilliant Mind.. :wink: