General advice and Aussie Fabricators
Should probably first expand on the title.
I have a '99 Ford (sometimes branded Mercury) Cougar that I wish to install quite a few after market and/or custom components into. My two main hurdles are that I am a perfectionist so it would have to be a seamless, factory looking job and also that i have no tech/fab skills whatsoever. This means that anything I set about doing has to be extremely easy (so that a 10 yo could do it blindfolded) or I will have to be paying for labour.
The first main change will be a completely new centre console/armrest structure. I was never happy with it and even considered not buying the car over it. In this new structure i wish to place an iPhone/iPod dock and a small lcd OBD2 reader. I also want to install 2 x 3-pin standard power points. For work i need to be able to charge my macbook on the go and this seems to be the best solution for quick access to power (considering im sitting on one big generator).
Next thing is to install a mac mini into what is currently a utility draw and directly below the stock stereo (it actually appears to the perfect size). My biggest problem here is trying to wire it to power on with all of the other equipment with the car starting. Also giving it a reserve power supply to shut down naturally (ie. if i were to stall or have to exit the car suddenly). I would hope to at least semi permanently mount it up inside so I would lose access to the rear control panel.
The next venture is to replace the 1.5 din stock head unit with a vga touch screen; hopefully utilising as much space as possible. I am unsure exactly how feasible it is but i would very much like a front end display to present itself first and then by way of (iPhone-like) apps i would be able to access various areas for multimedia.
These include; itunes, firefox, msn, digital radio, digital tv, uhf cb radio, detailed OBD2 reader, notepad and cd/dvd player (with an option for an on screen keyboard and/or voice recognition). Also an application to open up the rest of the mac and utilize a bluetooth keyboard and trackpad.
Once the primary multimedia components have been taken care of I will upgrade my sound system. Although the factory system is quite nice; any decent aftermarket set up leaves it in the dust. I wouldnt know where to start with the jargon but it would involve replacing the two door speakers, the two rear speakers and installing a sub woofer between the two back seats and the centre console. (i know this placement of the sub may sound weird but it is possible and would allow me to utilize the boot).
That is the main part and more than likely all that i could afford for the moment. But I also have to keep in mind what i want to add later. That is; a PS2 hooked up in the glove box, a flip down widescreen monitor for movies/tv, a reversing camera and a serious alarm system.
Ideally i would love to be pointed in the direction of someone who has conducted one or more of these installations. But even general tips on hardware, software, cost, time or anything else of relevance. Also if anyone knows of someone or a company who does these sorts of installations I would be very grateful for their contact details. I live in Brisbane, Australia. But any australian company would be a good starting point.