Recently installed the 2016 version of the black repo dash pad. I would recommend purchasing this product to anyone with a non-concourse level Cougar. Finding a replacement either NOS or grade A used, is getting harder and harder for the average enthusiast to find.
I have owned my current Lime Frost 68 since 1983, and just couldn't take another day of looking at the crack just to right of centerline running from the front edge to the window trim molding. Being a customer of Don Rush since 1997, I knew at some time he would have an affordable reproduction that doesn't have a casting flaw.. This is that product.
Drove down from Seattle and picked up the dash in Salem. Got home, unpacked it and yes the smell reminded me of Secaucus, NJ in the 1960's. Followed instructions and laid it out on flat surface until temperature was above 70 F.
Original Plan was to wait until October and do the installation when I do the factory correct A/C installation upgrade. Ha! on the third day I began the installation to see what it looked like in the car.
I've had my dash out many times so being somewhat versed in this procedure I decided to follow the step by step procedure found in Section 12 of the Ford Service Manual to see if I could offer any additional comments in this review. My conclusion is without any special tools except perhaps a plastic trim removal tool for the dash face panel the average enthusiast should be able to install this item at home in one day.
I only encountered two minor problems during the installation. Both related to the window trim molding. During the factory installation 2 ea #6 screws held the dash pad to the sheet metal frame below the windshield rubber trim. Very difficult to locate and I'm not sure if they were a production line item, or necessary following production. Secondly were the screws for the interior windshield (reveal?) molding.
The reproduction dash pad did not have the notches cut in for the molding screws access like the original. Necessary to match the pad up with the original, and cut notches with a razor knife. Also the most outboard molding screws were very difficult to get started. Solved this by temporarily installing longer screws to get started, shimmed the molding in place, then reinstalled the correct length screws.
I would also recommend purchasing a new dash pad fastening kit.
As stated in the ad, the new pad is made of modern and thicker material than the original. When installing the heater controls on the left, and blank (soon to be A/C vent) on the right, the thicker pad gives those pieces a slight camber. During the A/C install I may use a file to correct this slight flaw.
Another tip would be to run a straight edge and true up the sheet metal mounting flange spot welded to the dash sheet metal. The reproduction dash mounting studs and frame are very high quality in form fit and finish. The grain looks OK and the molded stitching is nice. the indentation above the instrument panel looks very close to the original.
As a long time Cougar owner I would not hesitate to purchase another one for a future project