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Homepage. This page: Earliest of the English Ford Zephyrs, seen on European holidays in 1955 & 1957, and another in the UK.

1. A Dutch-registered Zephyr Six saloon car.

A big thanks to Leo who sent over the first three photographs on this page, all featuring his family's Mk1 Zephyr Six. The first photograph shows the car being loaded in 1957, ready for a trip.
Ford Zephyr Six in Holland
This picture was taken on 3rd August 1957, at which time this Ford Zephyr was approximately two years old, it being a 1955 model. The car looks very well loaded, with a large loaded roof rack attached to the roof gutters, and no doubt a very full bootspace - the suspension looks quite low! Note the 'NL' identified plate attached to the back panel ('Netherlands'), and the optional exhaust deflector fitted.
The next photo from Leo shows the Dorchester Grey Zephyr parked on his driveway in 1957, minus the roof rack.
Dutch-registered Mk1 Ford Zephyr
The third photo was taken two years earlier, in 1955, while driving through Switzerland. Leo remembers coming across another Dutch family, also in a Ford, this time a V8 - possibly a Ford Victoria? fortunately he had his camera with him, and took a photo, with the Zephyr Six parked behind.
Ford Zephyr and a V8 Victoria
Leo adds: "My father paid for the Zephyr new 7,300 gld. The Guilder to the Pound was then 10.64 gld : 1 Pound, Swiss Frank 12:1 Pound."

2. A British-registered Zephyr Six.

Next, a photo sent over by David in 2009, showing his father's Zephyr Six (PKA 316) parked in a quiet road, with a Vauxhall 14 for company. He remembers about this car: "My father bought a succession of cars, mainly Mark One Ford Zephyr Sixes. My father would buy a light coloured second-hand car and he, later we, would rub down the paintwork below the chrome strip down the side. He would then cellulose spray the bottom half a different colour, usually red or blue and whitewall the tyres so that it looked like a Zephyr Zodiac. Cars then were in short supply and Zodiacs mainly went for export. He would then sell the Zodiac lookalike for �60 more than he paid for it. Doesn't sound a lot but it was for a day's work, sometimes two, when he was earning �11 a week as a Factory Safety Officer. Spraying in the open air could be a pain and now and again we would have to repeat the operation because of flying insects". (A factory leaflet describing the colours that the Mk1 cars were available in can be found on this page of the site.)
"All this was done in full view of the local bus stop and passing buses, with the result that he got orders for re-sprays. This led to him working as a car salesman and my own interest in cars. That is a story in itself". Thanks for sending the photo and those memories over!
A Ford Zephyr Six

3. A Ford Zephyr and other classics in London.

This next shot came in a batch of images taken in the early 1950s, taken as part of a review designed to reduce congestion in the city. Various old cars are in view. Nearest the camera to the left is something quite large and grand, while in front of it is parked a delivery bicycle. A black Zephyr Six, registration 738 BMK, is parked outside the premises of C & J Weldon Ltd. Ahead of it another classic Ford, this time in the upright form of an E494A Anglia (with roof rack). Sandwiched between the Anglia and another Mk1 Ford, is an example of razor-edged Triumph Mayflower.
Various other old cars are parked on either side of this London street, although most of them - bar an Austin A40/A70 - I've not been able to identify. To the right I think there is an example of the Scammell Scarab mechanical horse, towing a flatbed trailer with a sheeted load upon it.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A Ford Zephyr parked in a London street

4. A Mk1 parked alongside a Bedford TK.

Mick sent over this colour snap some time ago. In it are two vehicles he drove, a Bedford TK lorry in the livery of Williams & Griffin Limited, a removals business in Colchester, and his own Mk1 Zephyr Six, originally painted light green but now fitted with a darker nearside front door. Other non-standard features include a large bonnet mascot and, unusually for a saloon, a luggage rack mounted onto the bootlid. Thanks for sending it over!
Bedford TK lorry and a Ford

5. Modified Zephyr Six in the 1960s.

Photographs of Frank's Nickri (a Ford-based special) already feature on the site, and now it's the turn of his modified Mk1 Zephyr Six. The first (colour) photo actually shows said Ford with his friend Pete at the wheel, taking ownership of his new car after buying it from Frank. As the photos show, Frank - like many keen motorists in the 1960s - was keen to personalise his vehicle to make it stand out from the rest. Not for him a sombre black 1955 Zephyr. To this end, racy stripes run over the top of the car, Cobra-style, with narrower stripes adorning the lower edges of the doors. "GT" badges also feature on the rear wings, and the hubcaps have been removed to give the car something of the Monte Carlo rally look, a common "mod". Frank's unusual Nickri is parked just in front of the Ford.
Modified Zephyr with stripes etc
The second shot (this time in black and white) reveals the front of the mighty Ford, reg. VKX 838, and again once-popular mods are in evidence. Stick-on registration letters drape themselves across the front of the bonnet, joined on the left by "Moon Eyes" stickers, not something often seen on Zephyrs it has to be said. More common are the wing mirrors and the aerial, hinting at a radio fitted within the Ford's amply-sized cabin. Just visible within the windscreen is a transfer depicting all the new road signs. The signs were updated in the mid-1960s and it was common for magazines and motoring organisations to distribute such items, to aid drivers' memories. Thanks so much for the photos Frank!
Front view of Frank's car

Background to the "Mk1" Zephyr and Zodiac.

This style of Zephyr was the first of a range of English Ford cars that would use this model name. It was based on the similar-looking four cylinder Mk1 Consul, but offered extra 'go' as well as improvements in creature comforts over the basic model. The range was introduced in 1950, with production of the Zephyr commencing in 1951. A Zodiac, top-of-the-range, version of the big Ford would follow on in 1953. Engine size was 2,262cc in both six cylinder cars. Production of all types, including estates and convertibles, would continue until 1956, when the Mk2 range was introduced - again comprising of a base Mk2 Consul, a Zephyr (including a Zephyr convertible) and a Zodiac. In later years the Zephyr name would grace both a Mk3 and Mk4 variant, before disappearing altogether from Ford's large-car range in the early 1970s.
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