Junkyard Classic: 1955 (English) Ford Zephyr

The U-Pull-&-Pay junk yard near US 36 and Broadway in North Denver appears to include a vortex drawing in obscure English Fords. Some months ago, I captured a very modified ’63 Consul Capri in the customer parking lot (link here), and this week I found a ’55 Zephyr up on blocks inside the fence.

English Fords were sold and marketed in the US and Canada using a dedicated sales organization from 1948 through 1973 (1970 in the US). A part of the post war “Export or Die” effort, roughly 250,000 British built Fords were sold in the US over that time period. Canada’s British ties seemed to help sales up North, since a Canadian population one tenth the size the US also bought about 250,000 vehicles. Jason Shafer described this sales effort in an article he wrote about a ’53 Ford Consul (link here).

To dive into the English Ford sales effort, I thought I’d compare this car to some Zephyr sale brochure images from the internet. As Ford of Britain’s “Big car,” this page emphasizes the Zephyr’s big size, 6 cylinder engine, and bright chrome trim.

A rather stark contrast to a fairly small car whose shiny features have dulled with the passage of time. This is also an early  version of the Mark 2 model, which lacks some of the bright work shown in the brochure.

Next the brochure praises the comfortable interior with center armrest, accessible ashtray, and wide commodious parcel shelf. Three different upholstery types are available, including rayon and PVC! Frankly, I’d prefer to use Poly Vinyl Chloride for my drain pipes, not my seating surfaces.

Viewing the interior today, the passage of sixty eight years have reduced that fine interior to rubble, but on the upside, most of the interior hardware remains in place.

In the last brochure image, we see the six cylinder engine that separates the Zephyr from the lesser Ford offerings. A relatively new engine at the time, contemporary reviews considered it a solid performer, and over in Britain it gained some traction with the Hot Rod crowd.

Here in the junk yard, we see a very stock version, but again, with a complete set of accessories (for the moment).

As we all know, a surge of European imports made their way over to the US all through the fifties, and generated enough sales to garner a response from the big 3 starting in 1960. It would have been an interesting time to be a car dealer, so I did a bit of research into Bob Jones Midway Motors, to see how he fared in the English Ford business.

Based on the 1958 Denver Yellow Pages, it appears Bob Jones was quite successful, with a Ford Dealership in Downtown Denver, and a Mercury-Edsel-English Ford shop out on West Colfax (unincorporated in the fifties, now Lakewood, Colorado). However, by 1961 the Colfax site focused exclusively on the Mercury line, and the Downtown dealership had shut down.

A year later, Midway Motors placed Bill Eggers name at the top of the sign, and now sold Mopar and International product. Clearly, Ford and Bob Smith had parted ways, for reasons unknown. A this point, we’ll never know whether Bob Smith sold out on a high note, or folded his tent and left in the dark of the night.

Thanks to Jim Klein for all photos of the car- He took a batch before I saw the car, and was kind enough to share them.

Further Reading

Mk1 by David Saunders

Mk2 by David Saunders

Mk3 by Paul Niedermeyer