Tips, Tricks & Trends

MotorBiscuit’s Freak Show Friday: Three Fin, Two-Seat, Cougar-Thing

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whoever the builder was of this freak was proud enough to finish it off quite nicely. This is Freak Show royalty. It was once a late-1970s Mercury Cougar. The builder turned it into a Freak Show Friday three fin, two-seat, Cougar-thing freak. 

Freak Show royalty?

Why Freak Show royalty? Because it was turned into something less practical: a two-seater. It exhibits no continuity between speed lines, whoopie-do vents, and odd trim; and it got finished to a high degree. It’s even an odd color of gangrene gold. We celebrate each and every one of those negatives as Freak Show positives. 

Freak show friday Cougar custom

This Arizona freak has taken every styling cliche and turned them upside down to create an attention-getter. It may be bad attention, but it gets it nonetheless. Also, most every custom “feature” is a nod to legit 1950s customizing. It’s just odd seeing it performed on a later car. This is why 1950s customizing died. All of those tried and true customizations didn’t translate to later cars. The canted headlights, fins, skirts, chrome trim, dual canted antenna, and candy color are all 1950s custom car staples.

Trim is random and everywhere on this freak show

Trim is random and everywhere. It is on top of the fins, hood, decklid, and sides. In some cases, it helps to finish off certain parts of the body, but then abruptly stops. We don’t know why, but then that’s mostly true of everything related to Freak Show Friday. Right?

Interestingly, the builder kept the stock Cougar front and rear bumpers. They had heavy black rubber trim but that has been removed and the holes filled for a more 1950s custom look. Body details sometimes go from innie to outie and sometimes don’t follow any other design details of the body. For instance the front wheel flares that roll forward at an odd angle. For some reason, they don’t follow anything else on the body. Why? 

freak show friday custom Cougar

Our worst fears about how all of this was achieved are confirmed

Our worst fears about how all of this was achieved are confirmed by what we see on the passenger side. Down low on the rocker just behind the front wheel opening, you can see what looks like a huge chunk of Bondo broken off. Do you see it? 

RELATED: Freak Show Friday: 3rd- and 5th-Gen Camaro Mashup

It leads us to believe that all of the trick body details and customization are nothing more than Bondo sculpture. Oh, no! Bondo is a wonderful tool so long as you use it sparingly. Giant clumps and thick buildup leads to the inevitable. Most of the time it starts cracking, but in this case with nothing supporting it that glump of mud just broke off. 

Bondo sculpting never ends well

Freak Show Friday Custom Cougar

Cars move, jiggle, and get tweaked. That, combined with the endless cycle of hot, cold, hot, cold, means that the Bondo is expanding and contracting at a different rate than the metal under it. Eventually, it cracks. In lots of places. So while we marvel at the workmanship, we are horrified at this poor freak’s ultimate fate. Bondo sculpting never ends well.

But instead of looking at the bad, let’s celebrate the completion of a natty freak, one that will give its owner much pride and admiration. That is, until chunks of the body start breaking off. The good news is it was a late-1970s Cougar, so it doesn’t matter how goodly or badly this ends.