50th Anniversary Edition 2023 Mercury Cougar
TUT – The “Electrified” Cougar!
In Loving Memory of Laura Tuttle “Tut” Collins Thrash
After 2 years of research, design, and engineering, “TUT”, a 1973 Mercury Cougar, is reborn. It serves a purpose of not only paying honor and tribute to Laura’s beloved grandparents, Charles “Chuck” Thrash and Laura “Tut” Thrash, but also one of sustainability as this won’t feature your typical Ford V-8, but rather an electric motor powered by Electric GT.
What makes this vehicle so special to Laura? Quite simple – it’s her connection to her grandparents. Grandpa Chuck and Grandma Tut met during WWII, while she was a nurse and he was serving in Germany. There they fell in love and after the war, they settled in Houston, TX, where Grandpa Chuck became a successful attorney and Grandma Tut raised their family.
As a child, Laura would remember visiting her grandparents, and Grandma Tut would drive her all over town in her 1973 Gold Mercury Cougar Convertible. Laura fell in love with that car! Grandma Tut promised Laura the Cougar would be hers someday.
Shortly before their passing, Grandma Tut’s Cougar was involved in an accident and was totaled. Laura was never able to keep the memories alive of her time spent cruising in the car they loved so dearly with Grandma Tut and Grandpa Chuck.
Years later, Lee Howard, Laura’s husband, attempted to build the memories back by purchasing another ‘73 Cougar Convertible, but at the time was unable to complete the project and sold the car a few years later. Lee reached out to Kurt and Crystal Lawrance from KTL Restorations close to 18 years later, and the inspiration for project “ECAT” (The Electric Cougar) began. Lee desired to build something that, not only, Laura would forever cherish, but to also represent looking to the future as something that will be passed along to their own children. Lee and Laura’s 25th wedding anniversary seemed to be the appropriate time to unveil his surprise.
TUT was debuted at 2022 SEMA, as a work-in-progress and as the ultimate 25th anniversary gift for Laura Howard from her husband Lee. Once completed, Laura will be able to continue her summer drives in her beloved 1973 Gold Mercury Cougar Convertible, with Tuxedo interior for years to come, but with the twist of being powered by an electric motor! TUT will provide the best of both worlds – the looks and styling of a classic muscle car, with the sustainability of an EV! Follow the build on Facebook and Instagram.
Transitioning a classic muscle car to an EV is easier said than done! KTL collaborated with Electric GT and chassis engineers from Roadster Shop to utilize Electric GT’s innovative eGT-413 “V8” modular EV System to fulfill power, range and image details. The eGT-413 system was provided with an 80 kWh OXD-E NCM battery pack divided into 4 battery enclosed modules. The flexibility of module designs allowed for frame rail space usage for low hidden weight displacement. The front “Motor Block” module at the core of the 413 with its motor, high voltage junction box (HVJB), and other components perfectly offset for even weight distribution, helping to keep the weight and placement as close to OEM as possible. With this configuration, you get the power and performance that is expected of a classic muscle car, with the efficiency and sustainability of modern day EV’s! The final product, a powertrain that provides the “Go” that TUT wants and deserves!
“Electric GT is excited to have partnered with KTL Restorations to further the development and application of its innovative eGT-413 “V8″ modular EV System! AFter receiving their client’s build criteria, KTL consulted with chassis engineers from Roadster Shop and systems engineers from Electric GT, and applied these resources to implement Electric GT’s modular eGT-413 EV-conversion system. The resulting effort is the fulfillment of power, range, and visual requirements of their customer, and a finished vehicle worthy of legendary status.” stated Eric Hutchison, co-owner of Electric GT.
Josh Henning, Director of Business Development at Roadster Shop commented “We are thrilled to have been chosen by KTL Restorations for the design and engineering of their custom Cougar “EV” chassis. Roadster Shop prides itself with thinking outside the box. We were presented with some significant design and packaging hurdles in this particular project and are extremely happy with the way these challenges were met and overcome. With the technology surrounding electrification moving at such a rapid pace, we are excited for the future of hot rodding and all that will benefit from it.”
Grandma Tut’s Cougar featured Mercury’s “Tuxedo” interior. The goal here was to maintain the same color scheme to better represent the memories associated with the vehicle, but take it to a 2023 level. The team at KTL partnered with Kuras Custom Renderings and transformed what was once a standard black and white high back seat into a work of art. The back is modeled after the 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7, the luxury interior package offered by Mercury.
The styling of a vehicle’s wheels go a long way in establishing the personality for that vehicle. The goal with TUT was to design a wheel that properly fit the style of the build, while trying to maintain a “vintage” feel. The inspiration for the wheels that will be fitted to TUT is a concept car that was built by Ford/Mercury called “El Gato”. This vehicle featured a futuristic wheel that was years ahead of its time. Coincidentally, those wheels fit the EV style quite nicely! KTL worked with Greening Auto began to “re-invent” the wheel, and TUT’s one-off made wheels will make this cat purr!
The team at KTL would like to thank each of our partners that are assisting in this amazing project!