Ford Zephyr

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Ford Zephyr
Big Six Sixties Zephyr
Automotive industryFord of Britain
Production1950–1972
PredecessorFord Pilot
SuccessorFord Consul
Ford Granada
Car classificationFull-size
For other Ford related cars called Zephyr, see Mercury Zephyr, Lincoln-Zephyr, and Lincoln Zephyr

The Ford Zephyr is a Automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the United Kingdom. Between 1950 and 1962, it was sold as a more powerful six cylinder saloon to complement the four cylinder Ford Consul: from 1962 the Zephyr itself was offered in both four and six cylinder versions.

The Zephyr and its luxury variant, the Zephyr Zodiac which appeared in 1955, were the largest passenger cars in the British Ford range from 1950 till before being replaced in 1971 by a larger Ford Consul and Granada.

Contents

History


The Mark I Ford Consul and Zephyr models were first displayed at the Earls Court motor show in 1950. Production began with the Consul on January 1 1951. The Mark I model ran until 1956. From April 1956 the Mark II Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac went on sale and were known as the Three Graces. The Mark II range was a big seller and finished its run in 1962 when from April that year the Mark III Zephyr 4, Zephyr 6 and Zodiac went on sale; the Consul name was dropped, the car's place in the Ford UK line-up being filled by the first four cylinder Ford Zephyr. While the Mark II Zephyr and Zodiacs had shared the same body (although the Consul had a shortened front and tail), the new Zodiac and Zephyrs launched in 1962 shared few body panels. With the Mark III, Ford finally sorted out problems that had beset previous models (Mark I axles and Mark II gearboxes were particular weaknesses) and the Mark III proved to be the most popular and durable of the range (it is said that possibly no other UK-based car had undergone as much pre-production testing). The model sold at a rate equal or better than the Mark II both in the UK and overseas, but was in production for a shorter period of time. During the last months of production, an up-market Executive version was added to the Mark III range, and examples of these are today highly sought after. The Mk III range was discontinued in Jan 1966 (many believe prematurely given the cars' success) and the completely new Zephyr / Zodiac Mark IV range was released in April 1966. This car was somewhat ahead of its time with a design that resembled one of the later Consul/Granada range with V-engines and independent rear suspension, but the research and development of the model was very rushed and this unfortunately reflected in the car's durability.

Although the Ford Zephyr never saw United States production, cars were imported into the US and the name itself has appeared on other American Ford-related cars: the Mercury Zephyr was an upscale version of the Ford Fairmont, and the Lincoln Zephyr began its second production run in 2006 (the first was from 1936 to 1942).

Mark I


Zephyr Six (or Zephyr Mark I)

Ford Zephyr Six
Ford Zodiac Mark I
Production1951-1956
148,629 saloons and 4048 convertibles made.
Car body style4-door Sedan (car)
5-door Station wagon (conversion)
2-door Convertible (conversion)
Internal combustion engine2,262 cc (138 cu in) Straight-6 Ohv
Wheelbase107 in (2718 mm) [1]
Length172 in (4369 mm)[2]
Width64 in (1626 mm) [2]
Height60 in (1524 mm) [2]
Curb weight2,464 lb (1,118 kg)
RelatedFord Consul I
Model number EOTA

The first of the Zephyr range was a lengthened version of the Consul with a six cylinder 2,262 cc (138 cu in) engine producing 68 bhp (51 kW). Suspension was by coil springs at the front and a live axle with half elliptic springs at the rear. The car could reach just over 80 mph (130 km/h) and 23 mpg.

The Ford Zephyr Six was available with 4-door saloon, estate and 2-door convertible bodies. The convertible version was made by Carbodies and had a power-operated hood; the estate car was by Abbott Coachbuilders and was sold as the Farnham.

The car was a success in the market place but also in competition. In 1953 a Ford Zephyr 6 driven by Maurice Gatsonides won the Monte Carlo rally, pushing a Jaguar Mark VII into second place in the process.

A saloon tested by The Motor (magazine) magazine in 1951 had a top speed of 79.8 mph (128.4 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 20.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of Convert/foutmig (Convert/L/100 km mpgus) was recorded. The test car cost £842 including taxes but was fitted with optional leather trim, heater and radio (the basic car cost £842). [2]

Zephyr Zodiac (or Zodiac Mark I)

Ford Zephyr Zodiac
Ford Zephyr Zodiac
Production1954-1956
22,634 made.
Car body style4-door Sedan (car)
5-door Station wagon (conversion)
Internal combustion engine2,262 cc (138 cu in) Straight-6
Model number EOTTA

The Zephyr Zodiac (or Zodiac Mark I) was an upmarket version of the Zephyr launched at the London Motor Show in autumn 1953. It had two-tone paint, leather trim, heater, windscreen washers, whitewall tyres, spot lights, etc. The engine had a higher Compression ratio - 7.5:1 instead of 6.8:1 - giving an increased power output of 71 bhp (53 kW)[3]. There are no official records of Zodiac convertibles being produced but there were a few estate cars. Along with the Zephyr, the Zephyr Zodiac was one of the first cars to use MacPherson strut front suspension.

A car tested by The Motor magazine in 1955 had a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 20.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of Convert/foutmig (Convert/L/100 km mpgus) was recorded. The test car cost £851 including taxes. [3]

Mark II


Zephyr Mark II

Ford Zephyr Mark II
Ford Zephyr Mark II
Production1956-1962
294,506 (including the Zodiac Mark II) and 6911 Convertibles made.
Car body style4-door Sedan (car)
5-door Station wagon (conversion)
2-door Convertible (conversion)
5-door Estate (factory) (Australia)
2-door Pick-up (Australia)
Internal combustion engine2,553 cc (156 cu in) Straight-6 Ohv
Wheelbase107 in (2718 mm) [1]
Length178.5 in (4534 mm)
Width67 in (1702 mm) [4]
Curb weight2,576 lb (1,168 kg)
RelatedFord Consul II
Model number 206E

In 1956 the Consul, Zephyr, and Zodiac were all restyled to a new family look. The 6-cylinder cars had a their engines enlarged to 2,553 cc (156 cu in), with power output correspondingly raised to 86 bhp (64 kW)[4]. The wheelbase was increased by 3 inches (76 mm) to 107 inches (2,700 mm) and the width increased to 69 inches (1,800 mm). The weight distribution and turning circle were also improved. Top speed increased to 88 mph (142 km/h) and the economy was also better at 28 Convert/fourmig (Convert/L/100 km mpgus).

The Zodiac and Zephyr were also offered in two body styles these being the "Highline" and "Lowline", depending on the year of manufacture — the difference being 1.75 in (44 mm) being cut from the height of the roof panel. The two models shared various slightly differing components, but are generally interchangeable between the two. The "Highline" variant featured a hemispherical instrument cluster, whereas the "Lowline" had a more rectangular panel. A locally-engineered version of each of these models was introduced to Australia.

As well as a 3-speed manual gearbox there was an optional overdrive and from 1956 (1959 in Australia) a Borg Warner DG Automatic transmission. At first Drum brakes were fitted all round (with a larger lining area of 147 Square inch/950 Square centimetre) but front discs became optional in 1960 and standard from mid 1961 (in Australia only 4-wheel drum brakes were available; some dealers fitted servo-assistance from 1961).

A two-door convertible version was offered with power operated hood, and a pick-up and factory-built estate were sold on the Australia market. Owing to the structural weaknesses inherent in the construction of convertibles very few convertibles are known to survive: probably only 20-25 examples.

A convertible with overdrive was tested by The Motor magazine in 1961 had a top speed of 88.3 mph (142.1 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 17.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of Convert/foutmig (Convert/L/100 km mpgus) was recorded. The test car cost £1193 including taxes. [5]

Zodiac Mark II

Ford Zodiac Mark II
Ford Zodiac Mark II
Production1956-1962
294,506 (including the Zodiac Mark II) and 6911 Convertibles made.
Car body style4-door Sedan (car)
5-door Station wagon (conversion)
2-door Convertible (conversion)
Internal combustion engine2,553 cc (156 cu in) Straight-6
Model number 206E

The Mark II Zodiac was slightly altered to distinguish it from the lesser variants, having more elaborate tail-end styling and at the front a different grille. The auxiliary lamps and wing mirrors were deleted from the Zodiac range but it retained two-tone paint, whitewall tyres, chrome wheel-trim embellishers and gold plated badges.

A car tested by the British magazine The Motor (magazine) in 1956 had a top speed of 87.9 mph (141.5 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 17.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of Convert/foutmig (Convert/L/100 km mpgus) was recorded. The test car cost £968 including taxes. [4]

Abbott Estates

Mark III

Zephyr 4 Mark III

Ford Zephyr 4 Mark III
Ford Zephyr 4 (211E)
Production1962-1966
106,810 made.
Car body style4-door Sedan (car)
5-door Station wagon (conversion)
Internal combustion engine1,703 cc (104 cu in) Straight-4
Wheelbase107 in (2718 mm)
Length180.75 in (4591 mm)
(saloon & estate)
Width69.25 in (1759 mm)
Height57.25 in (1454 mm) (saloon)
57.75 in (1467 mm) (estate)
Curb weight2,576 lb (1,168 kg) (Saloon)
2,912 lb (1,321 kg) (estate)
Fuel capacityConvert/LoffAonDbSoffImp
RelatedFord Zephyr 6 Mark III
Automotive designRoy Brown
Model 211E

Rather than call the smaller-engined model the Consul as before, Ford UK called it a Zephyr 4 — the 4 to indicate that it had the four cylinder 1,703 cc (104 cu in) engine from old Consul. A four-speed manual geabox, now with Synchromesh on all ratios, was standard, with overdrive or automatic transmission available as options.

Zephyr 6 Mark III

Ford Zephyr 6 Mark III
Ford Zephyr 6
Production1962-1966
105,256 made.
Car body style4-door Sedan (car)
5-door Station wagon (conversion)
Internal combustion engine2,553 cc (156 cu in) Straight-6
Model numbers 213E, 214E (Right-hand drive and Left-hand drive)

The Zephyr / Zodiac Mark III shared some of its mechanical components, as well as the basic chassis design, with the Mark II, but had a stronger overall body construction. The exterior was designed by Canadian Roy Brown who also designed the Edsel and the Cortina, though the rear of the body was inspired by a design proposal by Pietro Frua. Unlike the Zephyr 4, the Zephyr 6 had a full width grille including the headlight surrounds: overall body length and width were the same for both Zephyr III versions, however. With the same 2,553 cc (156 cu in) displacement as before, the Mark III model had higher compression ratio resulting in some 20 hp (15 kW) higher output as well as a broader torque range.

Only saloons and estate cars were made, the estate being a conversion by Abbott Coachbuilders.

Abbott Estates

Zodiac Mark III

Ford Zodiac Mark III
Quad lamps for Zodiac Mark III
Production1962-1966
77,323 made.
Car body style4-door Sedan (car)
5-door Station wagon (conversion)
Internal combustion engine2,553 cc (156 cu in) Straight-6
Wheelbase107 in (2718 mm)
Length182.75 in (4642 mm)
Width69 in (1753 mm)
Height56.75 in (1441 mm)
Curb weight2,828 lb (1,283 kg)
Fuel capacityConvert/LoffAonDbSoffImp
Model numbers 213E, 214E

The Zodiac was an upmarket version of the Zephyr 6, but differed considerably from that model by the limousine-type rear doors, sharper roofline and tail, unique grille (four headlights instead of two), exclusive bumper bars, plusher seating, and up-market upholstery, dashboard and interior fittings. The front doors and bonnet panels were shared with the Zephyr 6. The Executive version had extra luxury fittings again.

Mark IV

Zephyr Mark IV

Ford Zephyr Mark IV
Big Ford, small four
Production1966-1972
102,417 made.
Car body style4-door Sedan (car)
5-door Station wagon (conversion)
Internal combustion engine1,996 cc (122 cu in) V4
2,495 cc (152 cu in) V6
Wheelbase115 in (2921 mm)[6]
Length185 in (4699 mm)
Width71.25 in (1810 mm)
Height58.5 in (1486 mm)
Curb weight2,716 lb (1,232 kg) (Zephyr 4)
2,884 lb (1,308 kg) (Zephyr 6)
Fuel capacityConvert/LoffAonDbSoffImp
Models 3008 / 3010E

A completely new and larger body was made for the Mk IV range and the suspension was independent all round using coil springs. Disc brakes, servo-assisted, were used on all wheels. The engines were new and of V format, the 4 having a 1,996 cc (122 cu in) V4 and the 6 a 2,495 cc (152 cu in) V6 unit.

Zodiac and Executive Mark IV

Ford Zodiac Mark IV
Ford Zephyr Mark IV
Production1966-1972
48,846 made.
Car body style4-door Sedan (car)
5-door Station wagon (conversion)
Internal combustion engine2,994 cc (183 cu in) V6
Models 3012E / 3022E

The Zodiac Mark IV and "Executive" had four headlights and an uprated 2,994 cc (183 cu in) V-6 engine. The Zodiac featured an Alternator (auto) instead of a dynamo on the Zephyr, an adjustable steering column, a spare wheel in the engine compartment, a heater and Aeroflow ventilation, electric window washers, 2-speed wipers, a cigar lighter, rev counter, clock, Ammeter and reversing lights as standard.

The "Executive" was an upmarket version and had the highest specification offered by Ford to UK customers in the 1960s. Automatic transmission, power steering and a sunroof were standard equipment. Other standard features included; fully reclining front seats, Walnut fascia, full instrumentation, carpeting throughout, reversing lights, fog lamps, front inertia reel safety belts and a radio. The Executive was distinguishable from other models by exterior trim and name badges on the front and rear.

References

  • Allen M. Consul, Zephyr, Zodiac, Executive/Fords Mark 1 to 4. Motor Racing Publications Ltd, Croydon, 2nd Ed, 1990. ISBN 0-947981-42-X
  1. 1.0 1.1 Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "The Ford Zephyr Six Saloon". The Motor (magazine). October 3 1951. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Ford Zephyr Zodiac". The Motor (magazine). June 8 1955. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "The Ford Zodiac Mk.II". The Motor (magazine). May 2 1956. 
  5. "The Ford Zephyr Convertible". The Motor (magazine). May 10, 1961. 
  6. Cardew, Basil (1966). Daily Express Review of the 1966 Motor Show. London: Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd. 

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