Curbside Capsule: Ford Zephyr 6 Mk3 – Frua Finistration

I saw a Mk3 Zephyr in action the other day. Not a common sighting for me. The only other I can remember seeing is this one above. It used to live around the corner for a while, and I met its owner who was slowly trying to clean it up on his meagre income. He was totally devoted to it.

The Mk1 was a staple in Australia, as would have been the Mk2 (above) had it not been disrupted by the Falcon as Ford Australia’s standard family offering.

The Mk3 was assembled CKD here as well as in New Zealand, who also offered a stripper model of the 6 called the ‘Zephyr Special’.

I simply cannot remember the Mk3 on our streets during my 70s childhood; that’s how popular it must have been over here. The Falcon was more Australian-sized.

The attractive Mk2 shape had come courtesy of UK stylist Colin Neale, and he was tasked with the next generation. His initial suggestions worked with his reverse-backlight 105 Anglia language.

This prompted his boss to ask Elwood Engel over from the US to provide some alternatives – which were apparently be-finned. Neale re-applied himself and came up with the sleeker interpretation shown bottom. UK management liked neither Engel’s nor Neale’s proposals, considering both too American.

Engel gave Neale a job in Dearborn.

In 1958 Ford UK asked Frua to style a proposal for the four door saloon, shown top.

That flayed, finned rear from their shape was retained, and the recently-arrived Canadian Roy Brown Jr. was tasked with bringing it to the street. Brown had been one of the primary stylists for the Edsel, and the Mk1 Cortina would be his most noted success. Above is a Cortina clay with Frua fins.

The fins of 1959 Sunbeam Alpine come to mind. This shape is from the hand of Kenneth Howes at Rootes, and its popularity must have helped Ford UK overcome their aversion to the American influence. To their credit, the fins of both the Alpine and the Zephyr are extraordinarily cleanly shaped and bereft of any embellishment.

Roy Brown provided three distinct faces for the big Ford; twin headlight with inset grille for the base 73.5 bhp Zephyr 4, a natty split grille for the 106 bhp Zephyr 6, and quad headlights under a six-light greenhouse for 114 bhp senior Zodiac.

Wagons were again produced by Farnham, and could be had through the range. Bottom right is the one-off Ferguson Formula 4WD wagon prepared for the Lancashire County Constabulary.

If you grew up in the UK during the 1960s, you would have been very aware of Z Cars on the television. But unlike almost every other popular television show in history, finding episodes of the original 1962-65 Z Cars run is apparently rather difficult. I know Dr. Who lost vast swathes of episodeage during this period, but a whole show disappearing?

And with no still-frames to provide a tangible legacy on internet, it’s like it never existed.

Speaking of existential, you can catch the Zephyr in the Polish movie Myrotvyy Sezon. Never seen it but it looks like a stylish Cold War thriller with plenty of thinking time. Also featured in this movie are a Mercury Comet Caliente, Hudson Hornet, 300 SL Gullwing, Barkas van and Daimler Majestic.

Erstwhile CCist Jim just bought himself a Zephyr, Matchbox model number 33 in a nice turquoise.

This is the one I caught recently. Not quite my style, but plenty style nonetheless.

Further Reading

Mk1 by David Saunders

Mk2 by David Saunders

Mk3 by Paul Niedermeyer