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1/18 Fantasy '70 Trans Am Mercury Cougar

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Say you were a died-in-the-wool Mercury fan and got the local Mercury dealer in your pocket; and you had been campaigning a '67 Cougar, maybe even a hand-me-down factory racer.

But the bodywork was getting a little dated, and the dealer just wasn't going to be as generous next season, since your car was four years old, getting a little ragged, and looked nothing like what the factory had just put on his showroom floor.

So, for this build, here are the donors.









And this one is going to be just like the '71 Mustang I just did.  No repainting, but the search for a decal sheet is probably going to be a lot more difficult.

Stay Tuned!

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Love these builds.   And really love the Cougar since it was such a rarity in T/A

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I liked the Cougar idea, as well.  As I mentioned above, the real trick will be to find an over-the-counter set of decals that will work.

The bane to one of these body transfers is that no two diecast manufacturers do the same thing the same way.

Here we are dealing with a Welly body onto a SunStar chassis.

In one of these modifications, the real issue is primarily under the dashboard and at the firewall (of course, the two most difficult areas to see and access).

Usually, I try to keep the dashboard of the donor body, but that doesn't always have the right details.

Here are the two, side by side, Sunstar on the left, Welly on the right.


One of the real issues is how the steering columns connect to the suspension.  Most manufacturers use a stick-type steering column, but the end treatment is the key, and whether a donor will fit into another.

For engine compartment finish, we need the inner fender detail (which frequently includes the radiator support, brake master cylinder and other simple details that help make the model look finished.

Here are the two, again, side by side, this time the Welly is on the left, Sunstar on the right.


I'll try paint what I can (already put a dab of red paint on the tops of the Welly shocks.

Note that the battery is up front, whereas in a racer it would be in the trunk (non-opening on either of these models, unfortunately).  Also, the Sunstar has some oil system components and a few other features.

I will try to transfer as many as I can, assuming I use the Welly unit versus the Sunstar.  Again, a lot of this has to do with how well the other components match up.

Here is an initial dry-fit of the Welly body onto the Sunstar chassis (no dashboard, no engine compartment/inner fenders).

Stance isn't bad (and this sometimes can be corrected with the removal of superfluous plastic on the chassis).


Here's a couple more initial shots of the engine compartment and interior.

Will try to do a little more test fitting tonight.

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Anyway, had some time on my hands last night, and got to looking at what was causing a conflict that didn't allow the body to sit down flush, once I had the inner fenders and cage installed.

If you refer to the two engine compartments above, I chose to use the Welly, so that it would remain attached to the body, and had already cut away the back of the firewall where that interfered with the bellhousing of the Sunstar engine.  Would be hidden anyway, but I will fill the gap with something.


Even then, and with some of the bottom of the inner fender panels already ground away, but fearing the loss of too much detail, stopping; the engine wouldn't slip easily up into the engine compartment.

Again, if you refer to the pictures above, notice that the Welly engine compartment is located by four screws.  My assessment indicated that the rear of the engine compartment needed to flare out some, so I removed the plastic rings at the rear.


But also notice the ridge at the hood/fender meeting point.  That, added to a similar ridge molded into the engine compartment, kept the pieces from spreading, so that had to be ground away, as well.


Now, as I slip the body (with engine compartment attached only at the front), the rear will spread ever so slightly to let the valve covers push through.


But upon dry assembly, the body and chassis still would not mate up and close.

So, and I can't believe I really built these things back in the day, I looked for more interference, and there it was, textbook!

The A-pillar of the cage wouldn't clear the dashboard (again, Sunstar cage/Welly dash).



So, another date with Dr. Dremel and a diamond cutting tip (I like to use this one, as opposed to the other cutting tips, as the cutting area is about half inch, versus the similar diameter all-purpose tip, which is about a quarter inch).


I'm going to use the flash on these next pictures, to try to capture some detail.




I scavenged all the detail parts from the Sunstar (fuel pressure regulator, remote oil filter, brake master cylinder) and will mount them inside the bare Welly engine compartment next.  Additionally, need to mount the steering wheel and column, as well as locate the front spoiler.


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Well done indeed.  And that interior is super.

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Thanks, but credit for the interior goes to SunStar.

So, worked on the engine compartment last night.

Here's the parts that I am migrating from the Sunstar to the Welly, along with the Welly inner fender surround.


SunStar did a nice job, creating these roll cage extensions that come into the backside of the shock towers.


Here are the two sides of the engine compartment, driver's right and driver's left in that order.



You can see here that the Welly has the brake master cylinder molded into the plastic, which I will remove.

Here are most of the pieces in place, there are a couple of hoses that I have to decide where to locate. One looks like either fuel or oil, the other looks like a radiator overflow, but I'll need a catch tank.


The Welly included an export brace from the firewall forward to the shock towers, and my experience shows that you can never have too much bracing for the engine compartment, so I will incorporate it, as well.


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Awesome work, Jim.  You really know your stuff and your persistence in getting the job done is inspirational and admirable.

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Looking nice ibj40.  If you need alternate export brace options to tweak to fit, know that I have them.  The Welly '70 Cougar looks pretty good - certainly I like what they did with the dashboard detail.  Thanks for sharing...

Mike K./Swede70

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Got the mechanicals all finished up, waiting for a set of decals to show up.



Wheels actually have a metallic blue tint to them, which reflects nicely with the blue body color.


Engine compartment came out better than I expected (I have to admit that there were some substantive alterations from the "final" I showed above.  BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH You, Dog Leg Hinges!)



Compromises in the interior, the steering wasn't going to connect, with the discrepancy between the Welly and SunStar chassis, so the steering wheel is fixed in place.



The SunStar Cougar comes with a fuel filler cap stuck right in the middle of the rear deck lid, with no accommodation for the lid to open (even though it is fixed in place on the diecast).  I thought a better spot was at the rear of the car, like many others were during that era of Trans Am racing.


Remounted the front spoiler from the Welly back onto the SunStar chassis - had to drill a couple of new mounting holes.


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That came out really well - nice work!  Curious as to what decals you'll add.  Thanks for sharing...

Mike K./Swede70

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Posted (edited)

So, I went surfing into my decal collection, and found some sponsor decals that were appropriate, not real crazy about the numbers, though (cut out from a '70 Boss 302 Trans Am set).  Got another decal set on order, which should have better numbers, but thought I'd go ahead and share.




Edited by ibj40

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Looks neat.  I always thought it would be fun to do a phantom factory-backed Holman & Moody '70 Cougar consistent with filling out the series given everyone  else attended.  A very clean conversion you've carried off here...

Mike K./Swede70

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In a "Hold My Beer and Watch This" moment, I'll see if I can find an 1/18 scale H&M decal to add!

They aren't always as easy as this one was.


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Posted (edited)

Got the backup decal set in, and much prefer the numbers, so made that change.  Based on a suggestion from my good friend, Mike Kotwick (Swede70), he thought the Cougar being a Holman-Moody product might be an interesting twist, so ordered a Nascar set that had those in it.

Fairly pleased with the end product, and this one is done!






And something I noticed when I was doing these, was that Greenlight really screwed up the interior of this model (another thread to follow).

There's a window net included (as would have been required beginning around 1970 or so in the Trans Am), but it is stuck down between the seat and the cage bars.


With a little bit of prying and cutting, I have relocated it to be much more visible and correctly located.


Oh, and I upgraded my phone from a Samsung Galaxy to an Apple XR, so that is why the pictures may appear a little different.

Edited by ibj40

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