But you're right, if something breaks then you're up a deep creek. I had an opportunity not long ago to get a mint '87 Cougar with very low miles. Car was two-tone taupe (okay), a few dings (fixable), 3.8L V6 (sigh), and wire hubcaps (changeable). Then there was the aftermarket moonroof. It broke the deal for me. I just didn't want to deal with it, either now or later. Even though Ford is horrid with parts support there's still eBay and boneyards and swap meets for factory parts if they're needed. The same really can't be said for aftermarket parts.
I still want to know how that dome light works...if it does work. Those were bolted to the roof structure originally, and the mounting bolts also acted as the ground. Yet this cover slides over it. Maybe it's fastened to the headliner with a ground wire going to the light...? Seems pretty odd.
Hmmm...that's sounding more like an aftermarket moonroof, from the description. But you never know. I like your enthusiasm to just get info, reminds me of my youth LOL.
The VIN number on our cars, unfortunately, don't tell much of a story. Even the trim levels were generic until 1987, when they finally got broken down per model. As mcb82gt mentioned, the buck tag should have the MOONROOF letters stamped in if it's factory.
If you can get photos and some more info, that would be awesome. And if you can, the VIN...that might be handy to have in the future when referencing moonroof vehicles.
As far as I know, the 1986 moonroof cars were equipped exactly like their later counterparts. Factory moonroof cars have a roof console between the sun visors, with a single open/close switch and two push on/off map lights. The sun visors are shorter, and don't have the extension in the middle of a regular sun visor. I believe they were always lighted visors as well. The headliner will have a headliner-colored rubber perimeter around where the moonroof is. The sliding vent shade has a bunch of slits to let heat release. It should be the same color as the headliner although I've seen them in other colors. On the outside, the moonroof will have a bright (chrome) ring around the perimeter, and when closed it will sit absolutely flush to the roof. Aftermarket moonroofs were smaller and sometimes would stick up a bit.
The headliner is also different, it's lower to allow the moonroof slider assembly and motor, but that's difficult to discern by just looking through the windows. The other options above are a better determining factor.
I've always felt that Ford really wanted to have a power moonroof option in the 1983-86 body style a lot sooner than they did. Their competitors (GM G-bodies) had the T-top option which was certainly unique. But in a lot of ways, these cars also competed with GM's other luxury cars (Riviera/Toronado/El Dorado) which did offer a power moonroof a lot earlier than Ford. The flip-up sunroof, while a nice option, was not really luxury-oriented. Ford seemingly does things with no real rhyme or reason though.
Back a long time ago (like, when parts for these cars were still relatively available at Ford dealers!), I remember going through a parts book at the dealership. I befriended the parts counter dude and he let me peruse at will whenever I stopped in....learned a lot of stuff that way. Anyhow, I was looking at roof panels for my old black '86, because at the time I thought maybe replacing the roof panel with one for a flip-up sunroof would be smarter, instead of getting an aftermarket sunroof installed (which I eventually did). I remember being surprised to find out that for 1986, three roof panels were available: one solid, one for a sunroof, and one for a power moonroof. I'm like...hrmmm, never saw one of those last ones before, must be a mistake or maybe a part that was produced for a car that never existed.
Well, here we are. Now we know there were real factory power moonroof cars for late 1986. Too bad we didn't know about them sooner, we could have been on missions to save them all.
Personally, I think they were a test bed for the upcoming 1987 models. Ford was supposed to have changed the body style for 1986 but they delayed it a year. The power moonroof was certainly one of the things they wanted to add then, which could explain why all the power moonroof parts have 1986 part numbers. Plus, the Mark VII was also slated to get the same parts around that time also. So with all the parts engineered and ready to go, installing them in late '86 kind of made sense in a "public beta" sort of way. From what I know, the factory power moonroof option for 1987 cars wasn't produced until Nov. 1986, so even that was delayed a bit. It's definitely a scattered timeline but interesting nonetheless.
@fordman3 : Awesome! Glad you found another one in your area. I hope you can get some pix...love to see that for sure.
@Vintage : There were power moonroof cars in late ‘86. They are incredibly rare, to the point where I’ve documented less than a handful in 30+ years. Most parts carry an ‘86 Ford part number. Now a lot of dealers offered aftermarket moonroofs but few, if any, had a sliding sun shade.
What company did the convertible conversion on these? Did they strengthen the underbody at all, any added cross braces?
Car Craft Company from Lima, OH did the conversion (they are not associated with the Car Kraft company from MI that did all the hot-rodding to Fords in the 1960s.) The company got bought out a few times and are now part of S&S/Superior Coach which is still in Lima. Essentially the company did nothing but GM conversions at the time, and the Cougar was its one and only Ford conversion which used the same GM parts they'd been using. The top, top skeleton, top motor, cylinders, latches, etc. were all from a Buick Riviera. Even the weatherstripping had GM part numbers. The small side windows do operate and have GM motors, wiring, and switches. They used some aftermarket/generic relays for the top and for each side window. A modified power seat switch is used to put the top up and down. The rear seat was just chopped and narrowed (center armrest removal); the rear side panels were made from sheetmetal and covered with matching vinyl. There is a full snap-on top boot as well. For its day, not a bad conversion although the cut 2-point lap belts usually scare people LOL.
Underneath there are some pretty hefty subframe connectors welded on. They are not the typical ones seen on Mustangs or our cars, for that matter. These are fully boxed, even on the end caps, and contoured to the floor pan and are made of 10-gauge steel. They didn't mess around. There were no other braces on the car that I've found, though. Sometimes I swear my A-pillars were gusseted on the bottom side, as they never quite fit correctly, but that might be from cowl twist. D'oh!
You have a Regatta Blue interior (1985 Ford code B). I have tried pre-made interior spray paint from LMR in that same color and did not find it to be a good match. It wasn’t really close. Haven’t really looked for other pre-made colors in other brands.
You won’t get a better match than getting automotive interior lacquer mixed up and put in a spray can. The color and sheen are factory style and of excellent quality. As long as you prep things correctly it will last a long time.
My '84 has two pumps. The changeover was 1985 when Ford used a single, in-tank pump. Some people do a conversion in their earlier cars (and tbh, I'll probably do that as well). That might be another option.
Size-wise, the tanks were 20.6 gallons from 1983 through 1985. Then it went to 22.1 gallons for 1986-88.
So a few years ago I spent some crazy money on NOS door strikers for the ‘84. These are the ones without the metal surround, just the striker bolt with sleeve and permanent washer. Installed fine, no issues. A week later I opened the driver’s door and the grey plastic sleeve disintegrated. A day or two later the passengers side did the same.
Went to the parts store, got two new Dorman strikers with the metal surround and replaceable sleeves, and all is well. They’re technically not correct for the car but they work great, they are future proof, and they proved that sometimes NOS is not the way to go.
There are two different sizes for Fords. Our cars did indeed use the shorter ones.