Which to purchase

szelller1721szelller1721 Member Posts: 2
edited June 2015 in Ford
Good day forum members.
I am in need of advice. I am looking at purchasing my very first classic car and deciding between the Mustang (67-68) or Cougar (67-69). My question is NOT which car to buy. What I am troubled with the amount to spend. You see, I have budgeted around 30-35K for this vehicle which I know would land me a very nice ride. However, I am wondering if it would be preferred to find a vehicle that would cost 15-20K so that I may take it through the restoration for major issues in order to create the dream car of my choice. I have come across several reasonable cars in the past few months which are more budget friendly and have imagined me making a purchase and then restoring and/or upgrading major components, including brakes, engine, steering, trans., etc.

If given the choice, would you prefer to drop it all on a high quality classic car or purchase the budget friendly model and make the upgrades over time with the $ you have left over?

FYI, this is not going to be just a show car--more of a weekend driver that will be well-cared for and garaged. And I am not in any rush or timeframe to have this up and running and I am happy to take the time to have it restored, so the latter is option is fine for me as well.

I appreciate your feedback and opinions!


  • MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 218,038
    I'd love to be in your shoes .... either would be a great car to own.

    I've sent up a flare to our regular posters, who I'm sure will be here shortly with all sorts of opinions. :smile:

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  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    If you like working on cars, then one that needs some work could provide some "garage" entertainment. I'd rather buy one that's already running good so I can go ahead and enjoy driving it without a lot of rehab work. But I'm not a wrench turner.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 15,757
    I'd buy the nicest car you can afford. A $20K classic car can become a $40K project very quickly. You want to enjoy the car. You don't want the headaches of going through a restoration. You are in a good position because you are not looking for a collectible or an all out performance model. Do you research, get the car inspected by a professional mechanic, write your check, & enjoy the rest of the summer. Keep us updated! Pics too please!

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  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 47,822
    Can split the middle. Get something where the body is good/done (no rust) but that could use some mechanical refresh. Spruce up the engine, stuff like that. That way you can also modify to taste. Upgrade suspension and brakes say, where you get better function.

    Cars needing major bodywork can take forever and shred your budget.

    So a good looking driver with room left in the budget to play with.

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,992
    edited June 2015
    There is a line that you might not want to cross. For example, and I'm just throwing some numbers around for illustrative purposes only, you might find a $30k show car vs a $20k real nice #2 or #3+ driver vs a $10k total basket case. To get from basket case to a #2 driver is going to cost WAY more than $10k, while going from #2 to #1 wouldn't cost all that much. In other words, the nicer you start with, the better off you are, up to a point. Don't go crazy paying showcar money for something you want to just tool around in for pleasure, yet don't buy something that needs body and paintwork because it typically isn't worth it (at least not for these cars you are talking about).

    Of course, you never know, you could get lucky.

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  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,295
    You need to tell us who will do the work, you or a shop? If you love working on cars, then I'd get one with a GREAT body, that runs, and go from there. If you're going to have shops do the restoration, you'll be money and time ahead getting one already done. My first car was a '65 Mustang, beware of rust, it attacks everywhere!
  • graphicguygraphicguy Member Posts: 13,599
    Kind of with Q on this. It also depends on how good you are truning wrenches and how much you know about restoration. Do you have time to do a restoration? Are you OK with having parts and pieces strewn all over your garage for long periods of time? Will you become frustrated at some point in the future with the progress and dump it?

    Only reason I ask the above is because I've had to ask myself those questions when I looked at a restoration project. I don't do them anymore because of my answers.

    Now, as Q states, if you want something pretty nice to begin with and just need to do some minor part replacement, that's not such a big deal.

    That said, a $10K budget for a full on retoration isn't going to get iyou much...maybe a nice paint job and a few cosmetic parts. And, believe it or not, $20K isn't all that much for a desireable car tthat needs restoration to begin with.

    I know all the all the TV shows that show restoration (i.e. Gas Monkee) that show small budgets don't take into account that they already have all the lifts, the paint booth, the tools, the labor, etc to do a restoration. Plus, they have the expertise.
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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,334
    edited June 2015
    Buy the best car, body-wise, you can afford up front. A shot engine isn't good either, but typically mechanical work costs less than body work and paint.

    I bought the white Studebaker in my sig pic for $2,600 in 1988 as I wanted one. It was a thirty-footer (looked fairly nice). I wanted the sunroof and Avanti engine, both unusual. It was quite structurally rusty in several places. I found a shop 150 miles away that specialized in Studebakers, and his hourly body rate was $21 at the time (1993). He had the car two years and did a good job within my parameters (he asked what level I wanted and asked that I don't change my mind in the middle, which is reasonable). I like the guy and consider him a friend now but I would not do that with another car I owned.

    Good luck...buy the best you can! There are lot of the cars you like out there, particularly the Mustang of course.
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 47,822
    We all seem to think alike.

    I believe in the theory that people that do a full restore can easily spend 2x what the final product is work. So find someone that did that, and take advantage!

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  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 16,423
    I also agree with uplander.
    And I know you don't want advice on which car to buy, but I'd go with the Cougar. EVERYBODY has a Mustang, and the Cougar prices haven't really lit up as of yet- and the XR-7 has a beautiful interior.

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  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 47,822
    Automobile magazine each month does a feature on a particular classic. Recently they did the cougar. Big draw, was prices are much lower for comparable condition.

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  • szelller1721szelller1721 Member Posts: 2
    Thank you everyone for this feedback. Sorry, I should have included that I am not looking to be the in-house garage mechanic here. But I do have a reliable mechanic in town who specializes in Cougars and Mustangs and I plan to develop a long-lasting relationship with him. Again, thank you for taking the time to respond. I will certainly get pics out to you all once I make the purchase. Wish me luck!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,334
    edited June 2015
    I saw that same article stickguy mentioned above, and I agree...I'm partial to the Cougar, for what that's worth. ;)

    For me, there was lots of new old stock sheetmetal available for my car--I got both doors, both rear quarters, a trunklid, and grille panel and rear end panel, for something under $700--and I still wouldn't have all that bodywork done on another car!

    Buy solid! ;) Good luck!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    edited June 2015
    $35K for a 67-68 Cougar? Is this a GT390? If it's just a Cougar Coupe or XR-7, you should already be able to buy the best one in the world for $35,000--certainly don't pay that for a regular base coupe....at $35K you can even buy a very nice but not quite show GT390.

    Cougars are harder to restore than Mustangs because there is not the vast aftermarket (there is an aftermarket but not as extensive).

    I agree, buy the best car you can afford. Very few people ever see their money back on restoration costs. I'd check in more detail on market prices though. I don't see why you'd have to spend that much money for 95% of all 67-68 Mustangs or Cougars.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,295
    I had trouble finding any Cougars with asking prices near $35k on Ebay, much less transaction prices. Nice ones seemed to go for $20k or so.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 216,020
    If I wanted a Mustang, not sure you could convince me to get a Cougar.. .no matter how nice they are.

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