Young Barn Finder: 1969 Cougar Eliminator

1969 Mercury Cougar

An interesting conversation took place recently on the story about the 8,000 car salvage yard that’s for sale. Several of our readers mentioned concern about the lack of youth interest in the hobby. Whether there is less interest in classic cars in general or if it’s a shift in interest towards newer “classics”, we aren’t sure, but when we hear about a young person that has an interest in old cars, it gives us hope for the future of the hobby. Late last night we received an email from 17 year old Justin A, who is a fan of the site and classic cars. While on a family trip, he spotted this 1969 Mercury Cougar at a gas station. He thought it looked like an Eliminator, so he brought it to his dad’s attention and soon they were pulled into the gas station to talk to the owner.

1969 Cougar Eliminator

After talking to the owner, they found out this was a true R-Code Cougar Eliminator. It originally belonged to the owner’s father, but after he passed away the son decided to restore it. It originally had a 428 in it, but currently has a Shelby aluminum 427. Thankfully, the original motor is still with the car and will hopefully get restored as well. We are glad to see there are at least a few young people who are interested in the hobby enough to get excited about seeing an old car on a trailer! Justin has a few more barn find sightings in his home town of Topeka and we look forward to seeing them. Hopefully, this young autoholic will stick with it, so let’s make sure Justin feels welcome in our community!


  1. JP

    Right on, Justin! Nice find!

  2. Tim H

    I would not wish my addiction on anyone. Justin welcome to the ranks of people who spend the time and money loving big piles of metal that will never love them back.

  3. Terry Mcleod

    Had one of these cougar Eliminators in high school with the 428. Great cars. One of the many cars ive owned that slipped away.

  4. rancho bella

    R code Eliminator…………holy smokes. What a find. And, thanks for submission as we need more young guys like you in the mix…………
    Is that rarer than a Boss 302 Cougar?

    • rancho bella

      and…and….it’s Wimbledon White…………one of my favs. My ex ’70 Boss 302 will be auctioned off in Houston at Mecums in a couple of months, the color?
      Wimbledon White…….

    • Mike_B_SVT

      1969 Eliminator production numbers…
      2250 Eliminators in 1969
      169 Eliminators w/Boss302 in 1969
      302 Eliminators w/428CJ in 1969
      260 Eliminators w/390 in 1969
      1519 Eliminators w/351W in 1969

      Remember that the 428CJ was available in all Cougar models, while the Boss302 was only available in the Eliminator model.

      All that being said, that is a very cool find!

  5. Shilo

    I do not agree with Tim H., it is a great hobby, Justin!! You will meet great people, go to great places and events and last but not least travel in killer cars. Welcome Justin hope to meet you one day at an event. We show Antique Auto Club of America and Mustang Club of America. Does not matter what cars you get involved with, just love them and keep driving America iron.

    • Justin Allison

      If you’re ever out topeka way and go to the big car show down town, look for a black t-top foxbody. It’s probably mine. We go to the Mid America Ford and Shelby meet in Tulsa as well.

      • Shilo

        Hey Justin, going to the 50th anniversary? It will be PARTY Mustang style!!!! T top Fox body is cool, rare too, I think.

      • Shilo

        We may be in Topeka later in the year but not with a pony will be driving a F-150 King ranch. But we will check out the Mustang shows or just cruise ins.

      • Justin Allison

        I would love to go to the 50th but I don’t think I’ll be able to. Depends on when you’re in Topeka but we have a cruise at a local burger joint called “The Pad.” I think it’s either every 3rd or 4th saturday of the month at around 6P.M. Some friends work there so I try and make it.

  6. Brian

    Good going Justin and dad, have a blast with your new old ride and be sure to keep us informed as the fleet increases!

  7. Sunbeamdon

    Great find; but I don’t see an indication of father and son buying the car(???) This would be a great one to own. On the other hand, there are four fingers, oops, what I meant to say is my son destroyed an original ’70 GTO Judge I helped him buy when he was just out of high school.

    • Justin Allison

      I thought about asking if he would sell it, but I could tell it meant a lot to him so I didn’t ask.

      Like 1
  8. jean lecointe

    as a today grand pa, I can but be enthousiast with your interest about old cars.
    I do regret not to have been interested about old cars when I was your age. I was seventeen in 1962… What finds were possible in France at that time! Given Bugattis, Delage, Delahayes, Panhards, and so many foreign cars nobody was interested about for tax or fuel consumpsion.
    Go on Justin, and thank God your dad is with you.

  9. Art Fink

    To Justin’s Dad, Find Justin a decent, yet reasonably priced, Collector Car, they’re out there. Kids like Justin are hard to find, reward him with his own piece of automotive history.

    • Justin Allison

      Already got it. 1982 Mustang Gt. It’s a bit of a project but I love it. It’s black with T-tops. It looks good next to my dad’s 68 fastback.

  10. Don Andreina

    Good spotting Justin! Looking forward to more of your finds.

  11. Dave

    Sunbeamdon, your mistake is you should of known better than to give a muscle car to a young kid as his first car. Most, if not all, will not respect the car for what it is, but for what it can do. If it’s got power, believe me, they will abuse it. And the majority of kids’s first cars always end up being wrecked. Give them a beater to start out with. When they learn to respect the car, they will appreciate a more nicer car after that.

    • paul

      When I was 16 I bought my first car with my own $’s it was a 62 Chevy Impala SS 327/ 250 hp, I bought this car from my cousin & it was 7 yrs old, I did lovingly take care of it was never afraid to blast it out on the hwy but I never wrecked it or any other car I owned. I have driven in excess of 1 million miles in my driving career, have owned over 50 cars & have had track time on my prefered sports car track’s so I’m not afraid to put a car on track & if that car can do 150 on the straight of what ever track I’m on, I will do it.

    • dj

      Sorry but I have to go against you on that. My first car was a 72 LeMans 455 with Endura front end. My father told me if I tore that car it, I had to pay for it. That I couldn’t cut it up and put speakers in it and if I was caught doing donuts, he would take it back. I took care of that car like it was my baby. And everyone in my high school at that time did as well with their cars. It depends on how the parents treat their kids with their first car. I kept that car 12 years, did a total ground up resto on it and showed it at car shows. And drove it to the Pontiac Nationsls.

      Like 1
  12. jim s

    great find, please keep them coming. also please tell all your friend about this site. thanks

  13. Charles

    Congrats Justin, you have a good eye for rare cars!

    Art Fink recommended Justin’s father buying him a cheap collector car. May I suggest a 3rd generation Camaro or Firebird. Or if Fords are your thing, a Fox body Mustang. These 80 something’s are a whole lot of fun, plentiful, cheap to purchase, cheap to run, and are beginning to increase in value. The low mileage cars are seeing a few hundred dollars a year appreciation.

    • Art Fink

      That’s what I’m talking about, Charles. I go thru Hemmings almost daily and there are many well cared for, reasonably priced cars. Camaros, Firebirds and Mustangs are a great place to start.

  14. Charles

    Often a young person who takes an interest in cars and knows a lot about cars at an early age has a respect for them. To Justin’s father. You’re a lucky man. Hopefully you two can make some great memories sharing the car hobby. My children could care less… I tried to teach my children to drive a stick shift, but they were not interested. I tried to teach them basic mechanics, however they always had something else that would rather do.

    My kids trashed some cars. Consider yourself lucky or blessed if no one is injured while they polish their skills and gain responsibility.. During the time my children were in their teen years I owned an 83 Trans AM that I had bought new. The car was not driven much, and when I sold it in 2003 it had 46K actual miles on it. The car was no hot rod, but to high school kids it looked like it was. I caught a lot of crap from the kids and from my first wife because I would not hand the car over to them. Some kids are responsible, but mine were not. My children have zero appreciation for cars, and were pretty spoiled.

    I worked cutting grass, dumping the garbage in the school cafeteria, and delivering news papers to buy my first car, a 1957 BMW Isetta 300. My children played sports and band, but did not work. They expected me to furnish them with a car. They would enlist their mother to bombard me with guilt and threats which did not help. My second wife and I had full custody of the children, so all their mom could do is make noise.

    My daughter was the first one to drive. Her first car was a 1978 Olds Omega with a V6. The car had belonged to my grand-mother. Unfortunately the car had seen its share of road salt, and some rust. When my daughter jumped a curb, the subframe broke loose from the body. The car was no longer safe, so we removed it from the road. The next car was the retired family sedan. A 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis. That big old tank had lots of miles, but looked and drove like a new car. My daughter had two accidents in it, both minor. Both accidents were not her fault, however both mishaps could have been avoided by a more experienced driver. No one was injured, and the car was easily repaired.

    My son demolished a nice low mileage Dodge Diplomat that I bought from a Catholic Church. The car had been driven by the Nuns, and had almost no wear on it. He was showing off to his buddies, and lost control of the car driving over 90 MPH on a narrow country road. Thankfully no one was injured. After six months of riding the school bus, the Dodge was replaced with a used Caprice, that was no where near as nice as the Dodge had been.

    After the children gained some skills, graduated high school, started college, and started to act more responsible, they were furnished cars that were more to their liking.

    Like 1
    • Justin Allison

      My dad had to fight for himself when he was young. His dad said he had to buy his own car so my dad bought a wrecked 68 fastback. When his dad found out he chewed my dad out for doing that. So my dad had to fix it all on his own. He’s had multiple Mustangs in his lifetime. In fact if you go to the one add here on barn finds and find the article about the mustang/ford field with the red 68 fastback, he owned and actually painted that car that very color. He’s been wounderful in helping me. He’s trying to be a better dad than his. He currently has a ’68 fastback that he’s turning into a shelby replica. This project he’s had for 20+ years. My mom’s first car was a ’69 Mustang Convertible with a 351 Windsor. I have an ’82 GT. I’ve always thought I was born in the wrong era. When I tell my friends about my car, they’re either like “whatever” or “Cool but not really into it”. Also when they find out how much blood, sweat and frustration (sorry for the cliche although it fits) I have put into it, They’re like “Why?! Just get a car that runs.” They’re not willing to put in the work and money. They’de rather have the latest, greatest technology rather than old, project hot rod. For me it’s frustrating, my friends aren’t interested and some of the older guys think I’m just a dumb kid and don’t know what I’m talking about. SOME, not all by no means. I have met several guys that were really cool. Some came around after they realized I did know what that car was. But I love old cars. ’66 or ’67 fairlanes especially.

      Like 1
      • Shilo

        All that you are doing is VERY cool and think how much you have learned that other people will never have a clue about. Some people just do not “get it”. It makes you a member of a rare breed of us “car guys”. Us girls can be “car girls”. We understand that all that work is worth it when you get it done and go to a show and you can be proud of it. A car you just buy it not the same. NOT THE SAME. You may sell this current car and get others in life but that is ok, just leave them better than you found them. All you are learning now can be applied your whole life. Face it, you are a car guy, part of an elite group and even better a Mustang Guy!!!! Very cool!!!!

        Like 1
  15. Rich Member

    When I drive my ’69 Volvo 1800s around town, people are always turning their heads, or giving a thumbs up. One exception: males from age 16-40. I drive by teenagers and they aren’t even remotely interested in a cool old classic as rare at an 1800s. So, yes I certainly hope a younger generation will trade in their video games for a hobby that uses all 10 fingers, and not just two thumbs.

    Like 1
  16. john

    nice read and find, if I knew what a R-Code Cougar Eliminator, as against a Cougar Eliminator, is that would be nice, living now on Corfu Greece with my mini and wife, not a lot to find , but love to read a new youngster starting on the road to having no

    • Mike_B_SVT

      Hi John,

      R-Code refers to the code in the VIN for the engine. “R” = 428 cobra-jet engine, with Ram Air. The base engine in a Cougar Eliminator was a 351 with a 4v carb. The R-code engine is arguably the top engine available that year for a Cougar Eliminator.

      As a side note, in 1970 there were no R-code Cougars (unlike the Mustang cousin). The 428cj Cougar had a “Q” engine code, but ram-air was still an option. So with or without ram-air the engine code for the 428CJ was a “Q”.

  17. Fatboys Rod n' Custom

    If you don’t think there are young people involved in cars & hobby, check out Rat city rucus in Vegas. Ventura nationals ventura ca.,Beatnick weekend, also in Ventura Ca. These kids are amazing! Most of them build tier own cars from scraps. They even get thier girlfriends involved !!

    • Shilo

      I agree Red. Lots of young people involved with cars, their way with the money they can afford. They might not be driving HiPo Shelby’s but their cars are cool nonetheless

  18. Graham Lloyd

    I too have a boy that was a little too cocky with a doting mother. Yup, an 83 Grand Am with 50 k on it got rolled 2 months after I gave it to him for his 17th birthday. I thought he would be responsible, but within a month the interior was trashed with garbage, and it only got washed when it rained.

    But, after a series of real tough old beaters over 8 years, he has grown up. 2 summers ago I let him drive my 61 Buick Special wagon to cruise nights. The grin was ear to ear. And from time to time, he has taken my 04 F350 duallie to university. We live in the country so it is no big deal here, but the city kids can’t get over its size. A convoluted chick magnet for the city girls. Go figure.

    His mum was ill for a couple of years, and she passed away recently. Her “collector” car was a 95 Cougar XR7. His focus now is getting it cleaned up and painted so he can take it to cruise nights. While I won’t let him drive my GTOs, he is eying my my 54 Imperial to drive once in a while as well.

    He has 2 thumbs when it comes to tools and working on cars, but he wants to try now. And I have tried over the years to encourage him with mixed success.

    Now my efforts are paying off. So there is hope for the next generation.

    Like 1
  19. Sunbeamdon

    I love this thread! I should have noted that, I too, destroyed a few hot rods in my day, including ’40 Mercury Cvt with chopped Carson top, bored and stroked to 296+-CID. Then I at 19 discovered “SPORTS CARS” – Bug Eye Sprite, Sunbeam Alpines, Sunbeam Tigers, ZR1, Cobra #CSX2005 (don’t ask) and so on. Rallyed and raced and never destroyed another car, did spin a ZR1 (not mine) at SIR (drop throttle oversteer bit me on the butt). Good thing it had black interior.

    Anyway, it’s tax time – back to the salt mine.

  20. ConservativesDefeated

    IF you have any hair left it must be white!

    As for kids and cars I think we all need to relax. Those of us who grew up in the sixties and lived through an amazing time both culturally and car wise are damn lucky. Yeah its a different today. When I got my first car, a ’50 Packard for $250.00 no one was gong to Mecum or BJ and paying $200,000.00 for a Packard or Cord, $70,000.00 for a GTO and on and on.

    And yeah my stepson destroyed a perfect sunroof 66 Bug, a seventies MGB, An Audi 100 and finally his grandfathers ’77 Oldsmobile!

    On the other hand they are us and I’m sure there are many out there who will discover all the cars we did and save many of them.

  21. Ian @ Jewel or Jalopy

    There are lots of kids into old cars. They’re just not into 60’s muscle cars. The kids that tweak their Hondas, etc. are doing just what we did as kids, buying, driving and modifying what they know and can afford. And there are plenty of 80’s cars that are plenty fast, and actually have creature comforts as well.

  22. geomechs geomechs Member

    I think we should give the kids credit for being interested in cars, despite our maybe not agreeing with their choices. I have to fight off cringing when my nephew tells me all about the Supra he wants and what he plans to do with it. Or when a kid comes up to my ’49 Chev at a show ‘n’ shine and tells me about his plans for his Datsun 240Z. What it comes down to is that cars like those are what those kids knew and I have to be thankful that it’s a car and not an online video game group they’re interested in. I smile and wish them luck, even inviting them to bring their car around so I can have a look at it. I’ve found that those kids who are encouraged about the hobby are more likely to stay in the hobby.

    Like 1
    • paul

      True Geomechs does make a point , the huge stereos, the giant wheels with the rubber band tires, the Lambo doors on everything, the car slamed & the paint frosty or flat, are all so not me , but times have changed & sometimes you have to say OK it is what it is & as Geomechs says, at least it’s a car & not a video game.
      But you won’t be seeing any of my cars with 22’s.

      Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Yes, Paul, I’ve really got to try to get used to those thin bands of rubber on those monsterous hoops. Of course, if you’re driving one of those down some of the roads in my neighborhood, those fancy hoops will likely look like a stop sign by the time you get where you’re going; you need some rubber for a cushion.

        Like 1
  23. Charles

    My nephew loves cars. So does his wife. They are a young couple and my nephew is in the Air Force. The thing is that he loves import tuners, and has a Nissan 300 X,Y, Z, something- or- other… It’s a rear drive car, so a V8 can be swapped into the car. We have a friendly competition going on since I am a American Muscle V8 sort of guy. The odd thing is now he and his buddies all want to install GM LS V-8’s in their tuners. My reaction is WTF, just buy a factory LS powered car and go from there. Oh well, just like some of you have already observed, it is still the car hobby.

  24. Justin Allison

    What I’ve found is alot of 18 and under kids just aren’t interested in cars. Shoot, driving period. They have their nose buried in their phone or some drama show. For me, I’m 17 and love finding old cars. Not all are as great as that Cougar, that was just right place right time, but there are a few I know of. An old project is my history class. What the car went through in it’s lifetime.

  25. Jason N.

    Woah. I am 15 and I am deep into cars. And believe you me, I am into everything. I like it all. I do find it difficult sometimes though because my family isn’t really, and most of my friends don’t know anything. Oh, well.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Just keep at it, Jason. When I was 15, cars, bikes and trucks were my life, despite the negative reactions I got from my family and friends. Today I’m a lot older, and cars, bikes, and trucks are still my life. And I’m proud to say that I’ve got grandkids who are showing some interest in Poppa’s shop and the old cars.

      Like 1
    • Don Andreina

      This has been a great post thanks to a great spotted car and an inspiring young spotter. Justin, Jason and others; there’s good advice from good people here. I’m going to add my bit.

      1) Follow your nose – ain’t nobody gonna tell me what cars I like. Rice rocket or land yacht, if its your’s then be gracious to the compliments and ignore the haters.

      2) A motor vehicle can be a vicious and lethal weapon, to the driver and others. I’ve done my fair share of stupid driving as would have many other seasoned car lovers on this site, and I still remember why. Can’t stop others from driving stupid, so if you have to do it, do it in as controlled an environment as possible I.e. a closed track.

      Good luck, gentlemen (and ladies) and I hope to hear more from you on Barnfinds.

    • Justin Allison

      I was not meaning all teens. I know there are quite a few that like cars. It’s just that most of the ones I’m around don’t give a hoot. When I’m seeing and naming these cool cars I see on the way to sports games, most are like “Shut up.” Maybe I’m in the wrong crowd, huh?

      • Mike_B_SVT

        Justin, if it makes you feel any better, my wife and daughter tell me to “shut up” when I’m pointing out the cool cars too :-)

        They also call my project car “stinky”… and I’m like “sniff-sniff… it doesn’t stink! At least not that bad…” LOL!

      • Don Andreina

        Most of my friends tell me to shut up. That’s why I hang out here. Worst I cop is the naughty stick.

        No you’re not in the wrong crowd. Real friends is real friends.

  26. Mike_B_SVT

    I think there are alot more kids interested in cars than what we “older adults” think. I think a big deterrance is in the cost of those old cars ~ or any used car for that matter.

    How much does an old 5.0 Mustang, or comparable Camaro cost these days? $3500, or more?
    How long does a minimum wage, low weekly hours worker have to work in order to earn enough to plunk down that much money on a car? Then to have to spend more to get it going or maintain it? Fixing up old cars is just not cheap. But then again, maybe it never was?

  27. Charles

    I belong to three clubs for people who are fans of the 1982-92 Camaro and Firebird. The third generation of the GM F-Body car has always been the step child in muscle car/pony car circles. The cars were introduced in 1982 as a down sized version of the Z-28’s and Trans AM’s of the 60’s and 70’s. The GM corporate 305 small block Chevy style engine was the big engine option in 1982, and it was so choked up with computers and smog equipment that it developed a whooping 145HP on the four barrel model. The base engine was an Iron Duke four cylinder that would barely move the 3200 lb cars. The Crossfire equiped 305 made 165HP, but was a lot more difficult to keep running. The transmissions were weak T200C’s and the diff was a GM 10 bolt with the weakest of internals. Knightrider was on the tube and a lot of these cars were sold to non-car people who did not care about performance, but wanted to ride around in the Knight 2000. Still the cars have awesome handling, great styling, and a lot of potential for modification. Any thirdgen can be build into one mean street rod. Many old thirdgens are now sporting around 400HP small blocks, 500 plus HP LS engines, and a few other varations. These cars are a natural for the budget builder, and we have a significant number of young folks involved in the hobby. What is also cool, is that the old timers and the young kids have respect for each other and work well together. Some of the 20 somethings are already skilled enough with their mechanical and fabricating skills that they teach us old-timers a thing or two. The Fox body Mustang has a similiar following.

  28. walt

    i was 13 in 73 when i bought my first car it was a 68 mercury cyclone GT with a 390 hp for $150 it had a cracked ring which with help from a friend of my dads we fixed it, it had the old mercury side winder side pipes ,and it could roast marshmallows set a pair of pants on fire once by standing to close to it when we first started it up

  29. Scott

    My son is also named Justin Allison. He’s in the Navy – While training in Virginia, he called me and told me about a retired Master Chief that was selling his 87 Corvette. The price was right, and I said go for it! So, his first car is an 87 Vette. We drove it from Norfolk Va to Dallas, Tx. It was a great ride- Just the two of us on the road. We did spank a BMW and a few other cars on the way home too! Oh yeah… we kept a count of road-kill on the roads- A lot of animals lying on the side!

  30. Marc lawrence

    Just think in 10 years what this 15 year old will be able to pick up cheap – A 2016 Shelby 350 sitting in someones shed? – lol

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