Ford Zephyr Six
The Ford Zephyr is a car that was manufactured by Ford of Britain from 1950 to 1972. Initially, the four cylinder version was named Ford Consul but from 1962 both four- and six-cylinder versions were named Zephyr, the Consul name having been discontinued on this line of cars.
The Zephyr, and its luxury variants, the Ford Zodiac and Ford Executive, were the largest passenger cars in the British Ford range from 1950 until their replacement by the Consul and Granada models in 1972.
The first of the Zephyr range was a lengthened version of the four-cylinder Consul, with a 2,262 cc six-cylinder engine producing 51 kW (68 bhp). Like the Consul, the Zephyr came with a three-speed gear box, controlled by a column-mounted lever. The front suspension design employed what would later come to be known as MacPherson struts while a more conventional configuration for the rear suspension used a live axle with half-elliptic springs. The car could reach just over 130 km/h (80 mph).
In addition to the main British Ford factory in Dagenham, the Consul and Zephyr were assembled at Ford New Zealand’s Seaview factory in Lower Hutt from CKD kits. The large Fords competed with the also locally built Vauxhall Wyvern and Velox and, later the Australian Holden. When the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II visited New Zealand as part of a Commonwealth tour in the early 1950s, she was pictured watching Zephyrs being built at the local Ford plant.
In 1953, a Ford Zephyr Six driven by Maurice Gatsonides won the Monte Carlo rally, pushing a Jaguar Mark VII into second place in the process. Two years later a Ford Zephyr Six driven by Vic Preston (Snr) and D P Marwaha won the East African Safari Rally.