I won't get into the gory details that started in '08, but suffice it to say, my wife and I BOTH ended up without jobs like so many in an area that got hit so hard that I had to go back to playing music to keep us fed.
Fast forward five yrs, my Dad calls me and tells me he got a '68 Cougar like the one he had when I was a kid (I loved that car and had a picture of it on my mirror all through school. Still have the picture.). I get excited for him because I can hear it in his voice. He sends me pictures of every step from the day he gets it home until it goes to the body shop. It happens that I am up visiting when it gets delivered to Cedar's in Danville, IL. It's not bad, not perfect body wise, but has a complete and interior that is excellent for original (no tears in the Ivy Gold buckets or head liner, dash is great, carpet, console, etc.). I congratulate him.
A year later, we go to visit. My wife decides to take a nap. Dad throws me the keys and says,"Let's go for a ride!" Who am I to say no. So we go on a pretty hairy shake down run. I backed out of it at 130 because a) we were on I-74 b) the front end was getting light and c) it wasn't my car. I swear we must have looked like the parking attendants on Ferris Bueller.
Three months after that I get a call on a Thursday night telling me to stay home from work. I ask Dad if everything is ok. He says yeah, but I need to be home because I have an important package on that is supposed to be at my house Friday. So I cal my boss, put in some PTO and don't think much more about it.
Friday morning around 9 a.m. I get a call. It's Dad. He tells me to look outside. So I peer out the window and there he is with his truck in front of my driveway. I take another look and notice that there's a trailer attached to the truck. I take a third look and realize that there is a beautiful Augusta Green '68 Cougar sitting on the trailer. It takes a second because I am in disbelief. The only person who loved that Cougar that my Dad had more than me back when I was a kid was, well, my Dad.
I come outside and he throws me the keys. "I brought it down here. You can take it off the trailer, young man." I asked him why. His response? "I was so heart broken for you kids when you lost everything. I wasn't in a position at the time to help you. Now I am. I know you loved my Cougar when you were a kid. So this is my was of doing something for you now."
When I got in that car to take it off the trailer I looked in that passenger seat and I was instantly taken back to that high speed run, the look Dad had on his face (Pure elation) when we rung that car out, and it was all I could do to choke back the tears. I figured out why all those guys on those "let's secretly take that guy's car and fix it up" shows break down. I will always see the look on my Dad's face in that passenger seat. I will also always see the look of pride in his eyes when he threw me the keys. Heck, I'm getting choked up right now thinking about it.
It may only be a base model 289 automatic car to anyone else. But to me, it's the Holy Grail of muscle cars.
Wow you and your Dad have a wonderful relationship! Sounds like both of you had a lot of great memories with 1968 Cougars, and it's great to hear such a happy story...especially these days!
Kinda ironic for me too, as my Dad bought his 1988 Cougar new, it was my car in college (1999) and I still have it. I think I finally did the title transfer about 8 years ago. Gotta love having a Cougar in a world fulla Mustangs. 🙂
Agreed. I had a couple that was somewhere between my age, and my parents and they looked at my car and I heard the woman say, "I don't even know what this car is. Do you?" which was met by silence from the man. I got to educate them on the Mercury entry into the pony car wars of the late 60s as well as point out so many things that are shared with the mustang as well as what isn't. They loved the sequential turn signals.
I like that Fox body Cougar of yours. I always thought that the Fox body Cougar and Tbird were great looking cars. And having owned a Fox Tbird, can tell you that it was a great alternative to the Mustang which I also am a fan of.
Yeah, I-74 is not the best place to go triple digit speeds. You REALLY have to be paying attention to your car on the stretch I am talking about. The front end getting light helped me bring it back down to sane speeds.
Oh yes. Route 150 which goes straight into Danville (actually becomes Main St./Martin Luther King Dr.) which is where I grew up (well actually there and Georgetown). We used to cruise Main St. back then. That whole area has gone down hill since G.M. closed up shop. I lived on the East Side. From what I understand, there are a bunch of unsolved murders in that section now. I drove through the last time I visited Dad and couldn't believe how bad that side of town has gotten.