The car is non-standard in two-tone blue (Westminster over Winchester) but looks very smart (very much a full-size version of the Dinky Toys model no.162 sold from 1956 to 1959).
The short history of the car is as follows:
She was sold new in 1955 by the Ford dealer in Lobethal, just outside Adelaide in South Australia, to a married couple who used the car mainly for trips into Adelaide. The husband liked the two-tone colour scheme of the Zodiac, and asked the Ford dealer to spray the lower half of the Zephyr in Winchester Blue (so he got a Zodiac appearance without paying the Zodiac price). Unexpectedly, the husband died in 1965, but the wife, who didn’t drive, didn’t want to part with the car, so, with about 44500 miles on the clock, it was locked up in their garage where it sat untouched until she eventually passed away – 33 years later in around 1998!
It then came into the possession of the second owner, a collector in Adelaide. He was very impressed with the solid condition of the bodywork, but of course, after all that time the paintwork was beyond rescue, and the upholstery had become so brittle (after 30-odd years of sitting closed up in a superheated Australian garage) that it crumbled to the touch – so he decided that a bare metal respray was called for, together with re-upholstery and new carpets.
After the work was completed, the car was entered in the ‘Bay to Birdwood’ classic car rally a couple of times, but she was never re-registered. In 2006 the owner decided that it would be better to thin down his collection, and the Zephyr was then advertised for sale. Having had a flat-dash Consul as a teenager, (which I had hand-painted in a shade of light blue very much like Westminster blue), when I came across the advertisement, nostalgia got the better of me and I soon found myself the proud owner of the Zephyr.
Living in Ulladulla, which is on the New South Wales south coast about 150 miles down from Sydney, I had intended to get the car transported back home from Adelaide, a trip of around 1000 miles one-way – but the vendor convinced me that I should fly down and drive the car back. I was very sceptical that the car would make it out of Adelaide, let alone 1000 miles home – but here was an adventure just begging to be taken, and what the heck!
So, with a mate along to help out if the inevitable happened, we flew down and drove the car back home. It took three days, travelling at a steady 55 mph (they really do need an overdrive out here!) and the only thing to break was the mileage distance recorder which stripped the gear teeth about 150 miles from home.
I am now about to start an engine and gearbox rebuild (jumps out of 2nd as per usual!) so that the mechanicals will be up to the standard of the paintwork and interior, which have been done to an extremely high standard. She sailed through her registration check, and I managed to get the rego. plates ZZ1955 (I also have a 1962 Mk 2 Zephyr convertible which is registered as………. ZZ1962, what else?)
The second pic in the gallery was taken through the windscreen, halfway back home from Adelaide in the middle of the Hay plain (the real outback). The road goes as straight as an arrow for 16 miles, and it is dead flat to the horizon – for 360 degrees all around, without a solitary sign of life. Feels quite lonely there – we ran out of petrol about a mile up the road (had a full two-gallon can in the boot, of course).
Anyway, thanks for posting the pics of my Zephyr – maybe next time I should tell you the story of a mate here in NSW who has just completed a twenty-year rebuild of a Mk 1 Zephyr convertible!
Regards from Australia to all Mk 1 (and 2) enthusiasts,