Chris Tomlinson – Mk1 Zephyr Six, Mk1 Zephyr Zodiac & Mk1 Zephyr Convertible

The Zephyr 6 was one of the first cars I remember, at the impressionable age of 5 my Father bought a new Black one with Red Leather. 1954 Registered in Rochdale, Lancs NDK 324 and equipped with the all important sunvisor. This was his first new car. I remember him carrying the cash into the Ford dealership. He was glad to ditch a Triumph Mayflower and get some power under his right foot.

The love affair with Ford went on for many years – 1963 Anglia estate, 1965 Corsair GT, 1968 Corsair 2000E – then I took over from 1969 with a Ford Zodiac Exec Mk4 (taxidriving in London at the time to support motor racing costs), 1970 Capri 2000 GTXLR, 1975 Granada 3.0 Est (kids), 1983 Granada 2.8 ghia, 1988 Granada 2.8 ghia.

In 1996 I decided to ‘go back in time’ and look for some of the old cars we had. First the 1954 Zodiac was bought – in poor overall condition but with a clean engine & drivetrain, this was PGJ 622 but the number had been sold earlier and now had a ‘MFF’ number which I didn’t like.

The Zephyr 6 was then acquired, has its original number, a very good interior but poor respray to the bonnet which will be redone shortly – a pity as the rest of the car has a fine patina. I rallied the Zodiac a few times, the small fuel tank was a handicap, but the car competed well in the 50’s class. Then I embarked on a full interior & exterior restoration purchasing ARI 624 as a donor car to provide many trim parts. 12 years on and she’s still very good. Regularly winning prizes at Scottish events. The most recent acquistion is the Mk1 Zephyr Convertible that used to belong to Neil Tees, all three cars are pictured below.

The Zodiac hasn’t been South of the border since 1996, on her way from Lands End to John O’ Groats, I intend to rally the Zephyr 6 with an eye on entering the ‘Rally of the Tests’ this winter, I hope she’ll qualify in the ‘post war’ class, with the model being built from ’51. Fifties class applies to cars first made from 1952!

My other Ford interests are a 1971 Capri 3000E, and two V6 1967 Scimitar Coupes, pre GTE. Next I would like to find a good Zephyr 6 Mk 3 to be my final addition.

I also enclose a shot of a 1953 Rally plate that I bought in 2000 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – with the all important number, 365.

Glamis Extravanganza on Sat 7th July.

After a few days expecting a cancellation the show arena at Glamis Castle, nr Forfar in Angus was a lot better than expected.

Some 700 cars, motor bikes, army vehicles, steam tractors, commercials and agricultural machines were entered, but unfortunately there were quite a lot of ‘no shows’ due to the weather expectations.

The Zodiac was earmarked to represent 1954 in the Diamond Jubilee arena, but the other two took their places in the 1950’s arena.

Both were entered into the regularity rally commencing at 10.00 am, which proved to be a 40 mile run around the surrounding countryside including a route through the centre of Forfar on the return leg. this frustrated most of our 30mph calculations and there were some very entusiastically driven 50’s cars trying to make up time after that excursion.

I was in the Zephyr 6 convertible, entered in 50’s Touring cars, with my pal Jamie Stewart in our black Zephyr 6 entered as ‘saloon’ class.

The point of the regularity is to follow a set route, given at the start, averaging exactly 30mph with a number of secret time checks on route. Arriving on time equals nil penalty points, every minute out earns penalties. Sounds easy, but every tractor, wagon etc caught up on these narrow roads, is a source of delay and a wrong, or missed, turn can be very expensive.

I had the ‘slight’ problem of front wheel nuts working loose !!! – but off with the hubcap, on with the wrench and we’d lost 3 minutes. Unfortunately the next time control appeared before we could make up time and 2 of those penalties stayed with us.

Jamie’s navigator mixed up his timing and they ultimately lost 5 points.

Result – Z6 Convertible won its class – 2 penalties.

Zephyr 6, 5 penalties, came third.

Heather, my wife in our 1967 Scimitar GT ( 60’s Sports) 2 penalties, won her class so three reasonable results.

In the concours – Not so good – the Z6 came closest with a fourth, but the convertible came nowhere. I have a sneaking suspicion the judges didn’t realise what it was, but both cars were a little les than pristine due to the wet weather and muddy route. In rally mode the Scimitar is a bit off the par for the concours.

The 3 Zephyrs will now wait for dry roads and sunshine, before too much further use, a couple more shows but no yomping around on rallies – once a year is enough.

The Scimitar will be busy throughout the Autumn, with one of us enjoying its torque and Ford V6 power through the Highlands and Islands.

There are a couple of Scots Mark 1 owners who I would love to tempt out and join us in the show arena. This year there were no Mk 2’s, 3’s or 4’s on display. My Mk 3 stayed at home, but it is a bit wide for some of the back roads, plus the nuisance of a continuing problem selecting 2nd Gear.