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lol how bout that

i always wondered if that thing really had a function or was just an interior styling oddity. Who knew its for the interior temp sensor for the ATC. lol hmmm. i learned something new about my car tonight. how nice.
 

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1994 Cougar wood trim

This is one I discovered some time ago but it never occured to me to put it here.

For those who may or may not know the 94+ Cougar interiors were originally intended to have woodgrain strips mounted on the inserts, in fact all the preproduction literature features it and even this Motorweek demo car has it (the interior also seems to be a much lighter more orange hued shade of red than what went into production):

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LstFC0ZLeQA?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>





The 94 Brochure:





and this promo shot I randomly found on the web:



Now you may not be impressed since preproduction features change all the time, and you may also think that wood was tacked on as an afterthought anyway. Well, you may be surprised to see just what lurks under the foam insulator of each and every one of our 94-97 Cougar AND Tbird's door panels...

 

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I actually don't think it looks all that bad... The rest of the interior needs to have cues to tie it in though.
 

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That is an interesting fact I'm sure only a select few even know about..

Personally I never cared for the fake wood interior pieces, or even cheap wood paneling pieces..

It's probably better suited to some of the European cars..

Of course, It wouldn't be the first time Ford tried to copy a European trend, and cheapen the look enough to make it tacky.. :rolleyes:


The focus groups got one right in this case..lol






Rayo..
 

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I'm doing mine in perforated leather or vinyl. one thing I experemented with on the scrap door panel I had was cutting a slot at the corners to help pull some excess leather through, which won't let it pull back as it does on my current inserts.
 

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As always there's some insightful information. I've seen the wood boomerangs in some of Matts other pics. IMO they looked tacked on. Not cohesive with the rest of the interior.

Back when WSW tires were the norm me and my friends used to refer to that type of stuff as "tricky, tacky wood grain" Detroit loved the stuff and could seemingly managed to stick it anywhere. The Montego MX of 1968 is a prime example. Nothing says sporty like buried walnut body moldings. Or the dash of a seventies Dildorado. Fake wood trimmed by Crome trimmed by more wood and chrome. Excess to the nth degree. We actually celebrated the day when Ford stated that they were killing vinyl tops and white wall tires across the board back in the mid eighties. Back them most European cars had very business like interiors devoid of wood grain. And ford WAS on a euro kick from the late seventies onward. Much later wood worked its way back into european luxury sedans. But in a more tasteful integrated way. I don't dislike wood. In fact I like it in the right car. But it needs to be done in a way that's organic and doesn't look cheesy. Thunderbirds and Cougars share a common platform yet were marketed to two different groups. Ford did a good job of differentiating the two.

The 1994 on interior is very well designed from a ergonomic stand point. It's hard to find fault in the seating position and the controls. Sight lines are excellent. Everything falls to hand exactly where it should be. The cars are extremely comfortable and easy to to drive and nothing detracts from the driving experience by being out of place. The wrap around theme works extremely well in my opinion.

But......the giant sweep of plastic that's the dash panel does come across as just that. On the Cougars it's color keyed and harmonizes with the interior. On the Thunderbirds it's black plastic and ties into the console giving the interior more of a cockpit feel compared to the Cougars wide open spaces that feel a bit roomier and expansive. It's a subtle styling trick that works and gives each car a different feel using the same interior peices.

I'm not saying the interior isn't without a few awkward places. The "Egg in a Box" rear side side trim comes to mind. The mouse fur door inserts. The non padded door armrest. If I was going to redo the side inserts with perforated leather I'd completely pave over the rear side panel inserts eliminate the fussy speaker "egg" and let them look flush. I do think perforated material would look good here. How much it would damp the rear speakers is the question. Probably nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little EQ and more watts. It's too bad you can't pad the door armrest area slightly while redoing the door panels.

At least in the Cougars some wood grain on the dash wouldn't be entirely out of character. It would look odd with the Thunderbird with its more cockpit styled theme. I've obviously seen the the wood grain kits out there. Unfortunately with the wrap around theme it's really all or nothing. You would have to do the instrument panel sweeping it down across the console top to the lid. That would be a bit to unapologetically fake to me. And does nothing for the transition between the edge of the door panels control pod and the instrument cluster with would be awkward. If there was a way of termintating the wood right below the radio and leaving the top of the console either color keyed or black like a Thunderbird you might be able to pull it off. The Mks had some wood and I don't think it would be to out of place in a Cougar if done gracefully. In a Thunderbird I don't think it would work and would detract from its sportier nature. I don't think the wood grain door boomerangs would help the look even if the dash itself was woodgrain.

After 18 years of staring at the same sweep of color keyed plastic I'd be up for a change. If it could be done correctly.
 

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The rear sail panels had rear seat armrests (not to mention C pillar lights) in 94 (and 95?).
 

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The rear sail panels had rear seat armrests (not to mention C pillar lights) in 94 (and 95?).

Yeah I know the earlier cars were nicer in that regard. I'm not riding back there though ;)

It's the drivers door panel that I find hard and unyielding.

I know. I should hold the wheel in both hands and just drive faster.
 

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The beltline is so low on these cars the door armrests are pretty pointless anyway. I've only ever rested my left arm on the window sill, I find it downwrite awkward to use the door armrest in any car period(hence why I hate most newer cars which have molded plastic door panels and gunslit windows), the 94+ "armrest" to me is more of a smooth way to integrate the door pull.

I think you nail everything I dislike about the 94+ interiors, I'd also add that the console lid should have been leather wrapped or at least padded with foam a tad less dense, and I'd much prefer that to padded door armrests. The other thing is these cars are indeed very driver oriented, so much so that every update made the interior worse and worse for passengers lol. I absolutely abhor riding shotgun in a 94-97 interior, the dash vents are right at my knees, as is the door lock button on the side, the console is as high as the great wall of China and given the often/mandatory equipped manual passenger seat you can't do anything to at least maximize what comfort you have either. In back the legroom is ok, but the footroom is terrible due to the narrow seat tracks and the giant fuel tank, then in 96 the armrests(which were actually nice back there) were taken away.

And personally I love the way American cars were designed all through the 60s and very early end of the 1970s, safety and efficiency notwithstanding it was PEAK automobile to me, everything since pales. I never liked the over Euroing of cars in the 80s - I'll always prefer RWL tires or whiteline tires on a tall sidewall to blackwalls, I'll always prefer chrome trim to black rubber, and I'll always prefer woodgrain to plastic or carbon fiber.

I agree, it all got way overdone in the 70s to the point of revolt but the full blown Eurolook was an overcorrection IMO. Ford in the 80s was great because they did actually keep a lot of that stuff around and nicely blended it into the European inspired styling/ergonomics, giving you the best of both worlds. Even 89-93 MN12s were loaded with wood in base/LX/LS/92-3 XR7 trim, which always looked better to me than the pleather/faux carbon fiber trimmed SCs inside.
 

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The beltline is so low on these cars the door armrests are pretty pointless anyway. I've only ever rested my left arm on the window sill, I find it downwrite awkward to use the door armrest in any car period(hence why I hate most newer cars which have molded plastic door panels and gunslit windows), the 94+ "armrest" to me is more of a smooth way to integrate the door pull.

I think you nail everything I dislike about the 94+ interiors, I'd also add that the console lid should have been leather wrapped or at least padded with foam a tad less dense, and I'd much prefer that to padded door armrests. The other thing is these cars are indeed very driver oriented, so much so that every update made the interior worse and worse for passengers lol. I absolutely abhor riding shotgun in a 94-97 interior, the dash vents are right at my knees, as is the door lock button on the side, the console is as high as the great wall of China and given the often/mandatory equipped manual passenger seat you can't do anything to at least maximize what comfort you have either. In back the legroom is ok, but the footroom is terrible due to the narrow seat tracks and the giant fuel tank, then in 96 the armrests(which were actually nice back there) were taken away.

And personally I love the way American cars were designed all through the 60s and very early end of the 1970s, safety and efficiency notwithstanding it was PEAK automobile to me, everything since pales. I never liked the over Euroing of cars in the 80s - I'll always prefer RWL tires or whiteline tires on a tall sidewall to blackwalls, I'll always prefer chrome trim to black rubber, and I'll always prefer woodgrain to plastic or carbon fiber.

I agree, it all got way overdone in the 70s to the point of revolt but the full blown Eurolook was an overcorrection IMO. Ford in the 80s was great because they did actually keep a lot of that stuff around and nicely blended it into the European inspired styling/ergonomics, giving you the best of both worlds. Even 89-93 MN12s were loaded with wood in base/LX/LS/92-3 XR7 trim, which always looked better to me than the pleather/faux carbon fiber trimmed SCs inside.
Yeah I agree. It seems the 89-93 interiors were aiming for classy, while the 94-97 went more mainstream as the cars got cheaper and decontented. Just look at the 1989 LX interior:



I like the wood, metal, and cloth inserts on the doors and dash. The digital dashboard, JBL sound system, power antenna, VMM, auto dimming headlights and mirror. I'm actually suprised the car pictured doesn't have the automatic climate control.
 

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Auto climate control was unavailable in 89 and 90 IIRC so that's why it's not in the brochures. The 89-93 interiors definitely have their merits, my only dislike is the opposite of the one I have with the 94-97 in that I love being a passenger in the GEN 1s, but don't particularly like the view from the driver seat :tongue:
 

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Auto climate control was unavailable in 89 and 90 IIRC so that's why it's not in the brochures. The 89-93 interiors definitely have their merits, my only dislike is the opposite of the one I have with the 94-97 in that I love being a passenger in the GEN 1s, but don't particularly like the view from the driver seat :tongue:
I never knew that about the climate control systems, makes sense. :tongue:

I've driven both, and I like both. I like the higher materials and build quality in the 94-97, but the 89-93 looks nicer.

The Audi A5 takes a lot of cues from the early MN12 interior:



 

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The beltline is so low on these cars the door armrests are pretty pointless anyway. I've only ever rested my left arm on the window sill, I find it downwrite awkward to use the door armrest in any car period(hence why I hate most newer cars which have molded plastic door panels and gunslit windows), the 94+ "armrest" to me is more of a smooth way to integrate the door pull.

I think you nail everything I dislike about the 94+ interiors, I'd also add that the console lid should have been leather wrapped or at least padded with foam a tad less dense, and I'd much prefer that to padded door armrests. The other thing is these cars are indeed very driver oriented, so much so that every update made the interior worse and worse for passengers lol. I absolutely abhor riding shotgun in a 94-97 interior, the dash vents are right at my knees, as is the door lock button on the side, the console is as high as the great wall of China and given the often/mandatory equipped manual passenger seat you can't do anything to at least maximize what comfort you have either. In back the legroom is ok, but the footroom is terrible due to the narrow seat tracks and the giant fuel tank, then in 96 the armrests(which were actually nice back there) were taken away.

And personally I love the way American cars were designed all through the 60s and very early end of the 1970s, safety and efficiency notwithstanding it was PEAK automobile to me, everything since pales. I never liked the over Euroing of cars in the 80s - I'll always prefer RWL tires or whiteline tires on a tall sidewall to blackwalls, I'll always prefer chrome trim to black rubber, and I'll always prefer woodgrain to plastic or carbon fiber.

I agree, it all got way overdone in the 70s to the point of revolt but the full blown Eurolook was an overcorrection IMO. Ford in the 80s was great because they did actually keep a lot of that stuff around and nicely blended it into the European inspired styling/ergonomics, giving you the best of both worlds. Even 89-93 MN12s were loaded with wood in base/LX/LS/92-3 XR7 trim, which always looked better to me than the pleather/faux carbon fiber trimmed SCs inside.
I'm a huge fan of automobiles history and styling. As much as nothing else it shows a lot of what the current trends were. Automobile magazine is fascinating simply because they would interview the designers and you get the back story of the goals of the projects. Stuff like Irv Rybicki talking about how one of the goals on the mid to lake sixties Caddy's was to elimate any visible fasteners on the exterior and interior. Or that the Seville project started with the GM Nova X car series unit body and then they used Fast Founier Transform computer modeling to eliminate NVH from the pan stamping. Which was a first for them. Or that a lot of how a cars styled and built is determined by tooling constraints.

I like stuff of all eras. All manufacturers. The seventies in general was a the dark ages of American car manufacturing. In doing a lot of research online lately regarding the MN12 and its history and predecessors I've come across a lot comments poking fun of the mid to late seventies disco barges. People don't seem to realize exactly what impact the fuel crisis. EPA emission mandates. Federal safety regulations and budding CAFE requirements had on cars. Performances was dead. Not because Detroit wanted to make underpowered cars. But emission regs at the time coupled with the current technology simply strangled HP and drivability. Added safety gear made the cars much heavier and compounded the issue. If you can't sell performance you upsell luxury. It was the only route avaible to increase market share. So stuff like velour interiors, vinyl tops, WSW tires. Wire wheels became the new cool. Formal was in. If you couldn't go fast you might as well look good going slow.

Mercury. The Mans Car ;) Oh how that wouldn't fly today. But in the 1960s they where. There nothing the least bit feminine about a 67 XR-7. It looks like a giant electric razor ;) and damn good too. Contrast this with Mercury of the '00's where the Mariner and Milan were marketed towards woman. Times change, taste changes and markets change. And the cars evolve to meet their markets.

It's interesting. According to Aerocats the "Feature Cars" and anniversary specials can be traced back to the Clevelander specials ordered by the dealers group here. Cougars in general were extremely popular and these dealer specials did indeed sell like hot cakes. And apparently between those and the Bostonian Editions the feature car program evolved. So there's some weird heritage here I'm seemingly trapped in ;)

None of this has much to do with the thread mind you. I'm just trying to rationalize that a little wood in a cougar would be entirely out of place. But the wraparound theme does not lend itself particularily well to that. I might at some point try to find some earlier rear side panels and dye them. Your correct about the seat tracks in the rear. I think the proper technique is to Jam you feet under the front seat and and then make sure you kick and knock the track trim off. It's kinda fun watching someone do the shoulder harness limbo too. But there's much more room than a Fox body for your feet. Those were always shocking in just how little foot room there was.
 

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I disagree, the wraparound theme has been around forever, there's nothing about that layout that dictates it must be sans wood like a fighter jet. The early 70s were utterly littered with driver oriented wraparound dashes, and one of the most extreme examples, and my personal favorite, was the 73-77 intermediate Grand Prix with a fully integrated center console in all it's wood trimmed glory. Despite obviously being more square edged it's theme is undeniably in the same vein of the 94-97 MN12 interiors...


(this is actually a Can-Am but those used the same dash/console as the GP)
 

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I disagree, the wraparound theme has been around forever, there's nothing about that layout that dictates it must be sans wood like a fighter jet. The early 70s were utterly littered with driver oriented wraparound dashes, and one of the most extreme examples, and my personal favorite, was the 73-77 intermediate Grand Prix with a fully integrated center console in all it's wood trimmed glory. Despite obviously being more square edged it's theme is undeniably in the same vein of the 94-97 MN12 interiors...


(this is actually a Can-Am but those used the same dash/console as the GP)
My buddy's brother bought a brand new Can Am. That car was well just plain, well cool. His had the black dash. White buckets and as I recall red carpet. Ran pretty damn good too. The wrap around themes been around forever. Several other examples would be the Avanti, the 1969-70 Fullsize Fords. The 1970 Camaros etc. My point was not that it wouldn't work or look good good. All those cars had a sharply defined transition between the end of the dash and the doors and a clearly defined break between the dash and the consoles. Our cars in contrast have a dash that wraps into the drivers door and sweeps down into the console uninterrupted. Not that a wood grained console might not look interesting in all its plastic glory. In fact if you did that and the shift gate in faux aluminum it would be kinda retro cool. With with about a 1 1/4 stitched console armrest. Ala the Fox bodies. All you need to define the dash edge would be something like a old leather grained 3/8 body side moulding dyed the same color as the dash placed at the end of the dash by the headlamp switch.

I've already fallen in love with the 1989-1990 XR7 exterior for its clean lines. That LX interior is not helping things.
 
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