Q: Hello, Greg. I read your columns in the newspapers and on the Internet, so I want to take advantage of you welcoming reader questions. I purchased a brand-new 1972 Cougar convertible in 1971 in Spokane, Wash. For the last 15 years, the car has been in Rancho Mirage, Calif., near Palm Springs. The Cougar has always been garaged and just turned over 100,000 miles. It also has the renowned Cleveland 351 engine and runs great.
My Cougar was repainted its original green color some 25 years ago. It has a dark green interior, and today it needs repainting again. I'm considering spending some $10,000 or more to bring it up to show-car status. I know spending that type of money will not result in an equal increase in value, as I believe the Cougar today would sell for $10,000 to $12,000.
However, I am not interested in selling it.
My six teenage grandsons all inquire as to my intentions, but I have informed them that at 83 years of age, I am in good health and active professionally. Thus, I intend to enjoy it for many more years of driving.
I have considered having the Cougar painted a shiny black with a white interior. My family thinks it should be repainted the original color, and whatever the decision is, I need to find a reliable shop with collector car experience in the Rancho Mirage-Palm Springs or even Los Angeles area, the latter just 100 miles from where the Cougar is.
Do you have any recommendations in the area, and any thoughts on changing the color and upholstery? Thank you, Cougar owner from Washington
A: First, thanks for reading my column. Your 1972 Cougar is an interesting car, and few of the convertibles built from that era have survived the test of time.
Since you clearly state you want to enjoy your Cougar many more years, I wouldn't give a "hoot" as to the original green color if you have your heart set on black with a white interior.
Personally, black and white sounds way more attractive than the green combo, and the 351 Cleveland makes it even more interesting. So, in my opinion, I would go with the new color scheme and if one of your grandsons - whoever the lucky one is - decides to go with a "numbers and color matching original," then they can have it redone. I'll probably get some letters from those "numbers matching" readers, but you asked for my opinion.
So the first verdict is in - paint it black.
Second, there are many good custom body shops in the Los Angeles to Palm Springs area. Troy Ladd, owner and operator of Hollywood Hot Rods and Classic Cars, located at 40 East Palm Avenue in Burbank, is one of them. Hollywood Hot Rods is a full service build-up and restoration shop and voted "Builder Of the Year" in 2010. Troy will lead you in the right direction, as he knows all the painters out your way, and I told him you'd call at 818-842-6900 (www.hollywoodhotrods.com). I'm sure he can help with your project.
Thanks, and enjoy your Cougar - whichever way you go.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for GateHouse Media and welcomes reader questions on collector cars at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.