Ford Zephyr Mk. III
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
Convex Windows / Concave Grille
The MKIII Zephyr was introduced in 1962
which saw an end to the 1950's style Consuls, Zephyrs and Zodiacs - which had been amongst the best-loved British family saloons of their time. Arguably the Mark III Zephyr's biggest claim to fame was that it was the first car assembled in Australia to have curved glass side windows, an innovation aimed to provide passengers with more elbow and hip room.
The concave radiator grille which incorporated the headlamps, gave an individual touch to the front aspect of the car. At the rear end, the angling of the tail lights, matched by the opposed angling of the rear window, was very unusual. Although a completely new model, the Mark III did share many of the Mark IIs mechanicals. But things were improved, with the engine refined and producing an extra 20 bhp. Road testers in 1962
were immediately impressed by the road-holding qualities, manoeuvrability and acceleration.
The design may have been entirely new - but to our eyes it still retained a conservative flavor. But despite the conservativeness, the Zephyr was at last a driver's car and would impress with its power, direct controls, light recirculatory ball steering, front disc brakes
and the fact that it was responsive and roadworthy. Dimensionally the body remained almost unchanged except that it was one and a half inches longer than the previous model and five inches lower, but not at the expense of ground clearance.
The Mark III Zephyr Engine
The Mark III Zephyr's had, for the time, a highly developed six-cylinder o.h.v. engine with a cubic capacity of 155.8 cubic inches (2553cc.). The compression ratio of 8.3 provided 106 bhp at 4750 rpm. The extra power was a result of refinements to the manifolds, ports and valves
which, in turn, contributed to improved gas flow. Better still, the engine's excellent economy (up to 30 m.p.g. could be expected) did not sufferas a result of the improved performance.
Apart from the extra horses on tap, the most important mechanical feature of the Mark III was its new four-speed gear box with synchromesh on all forward ratios. All the ratios were well chosen, with third-gear giving early 80 mph. A top speed of 95 mph was possible, and some road reviews claim 100 was possible, provided the engine was in perfect tune, and there was no head-wind.
The new curved windows of the Zephyr, apart from providing a little extra space, made for excellent visibility. Both the front and rear seats were the full width bench type with arm rests. The seat is fully adjustable over a five-inch travel. Ford mounted a parcel tray beneath the dash, and this had a padded edge and extended three-quarters of the way across the dash. The instrument panel contained seperature gauge, warning lights, oil pressure, generator, main and audible warning arrows - as well as direction indicators. Other features included, as standard equipment, electric windscreen wipers. padded fascia panel, safety belt attachment fittings, and of course a cigarette lighter.
The Zephyr body was styled to give every important line a slight curve-and created a graceful appearance without looking bulky. As mentioned, the Zephy Mark III was the first car assembled in Australia to have curved glass side windows, an innovation aimed to provide passengers more elbow and hip room. Tie concave radiator grille, which incorporated the headlamps, gave an individual look to the front of the car. At the rear end, the angling of the tail lights, matched by the opposed angling of the rear window, was very unusual.
The lamps, both at the front and in the rear, were protected by very substantial wrap-round bumpers. Another feature of the Mark III was that it would require maintenance only twice a year. Important technical developments enabled the chassis greasing intervals to be extended from 1000 miles to 6000 miles. The engine oil change period averaged 6000 miles, too, the gearbox oil has to be drained only after the first 1000 miles.
Ford Zephyr Mark III Quick Specifications:
Displacement: 155.8 cub. in. o.h.v. Bore: 3.25 in. Stroke: 3.13 in. Compression Ratio: 8.3.1. Brake horse-power/r.p.m.: 106 at 4750. Torque: lbs. ft./r.p.m., 134 at 2000. Electrical System: 12 volt. Fuel Tank Capacity: 121 gals.
The transmission, a Borg-Warner Model 35, was a completely new design and size to that used on the Mark I and II Zephyr's. The drive was through a fluid medium in all drive ranges. Speed in gears - 1st. 35 m.p.h., 2nd. 51 m.p.h., 3rd. 80 m.p.h., 4th. 101 m.p.h.
Tyre size: 6.40 x 13.
Brake Size: front, 91 dsc. dia.; rear, 9 x 21. Turning Diameter (kerb to kerb): 36.6 ft.
Front - McPherson independent coil spring; Rear - Hotchkiss type.
Wheelbase: 107 in. Ground Clearance: 6.8 in. Tread, front: 53 in. Tread, rear: 52 in. Overall Length: 180 in. Overall Height: 57.5 in. Overall Width: 69 in. Boot Volume (with spare): 213 cub. ft. Kerb Weight - 4-door Sedan (standard transmission): 2740 lb.
0-30 m.p.h., 4.5 secs.; 0-40 m.p.h,. 6.4 secs.; 0-50 m.p.h., 10 secs.; 0-60 m.p.h., 13.6 secs.; 0-70 m.p.h., 18.8 secs.; 0-80 m.p.h., 25.4 secs. Standing Quarter Mile 19.4 secs. Acceleration from constant speeds: 10-30 (Third) 6.8 secs.; 20-40 (Top) 9.5 secs., (Third) 6.3 secs.; 30-50 (Top) 10.2 secs., (Third) 6.7 secs.; 50-70 (Top) 11.8 secs., (Third) 8.0 secs. Fuel economy: 22-25 m.p.g.