Ford’s Zephyr Mk.2 was introduced in 1956. Longer, wider and more powerful than its predecessor, these Mk.2s were full six-seaters and even more flamboyantly styled. They were objects of desire amongst the younger generation with its newfound fascination with the American dream, but few could turn that dream in reality. Instead the Zephyr and its Zodiac sibling sold to well-heeled middle-class professionals, only in their classic afterlife becoming an achievable goal amongst those whose lifestyle centred on the rock-‘n’-roll years. Armed with Ford’s innovative McPherson Strut suspension and a lusty short-stoke six-cylinder of 2553cc, the model also showed a lot of potential for competition and is was not long before this stylish new Ford was proving itself in both rallying and circuit racing.
Once in a while a true ‘time warp’ comes to auction and this is certainly one of them. Prepared in the early 1990s by Ford Main Agents Harrison & Sons under the direction of well-known rally exponent, James Harrison, this well-conceived competition car boasts old-style FIA and RAC rally papers, showing that it has been the veteran of at least two Pirelli Classic Marathons. Further research shows that James Harrison and Adrian Woodhouse came 2nd in Class 1 behind Peter Quinton and Bob Beales’ 3.8-litre Jaguar Mk.2 in the 1998 ‘Coys Historic Rally of Great Britain’. Now showing a delightful patina and retaining all its period decals from the Coys event, this evocative competition car has received some thoughtful re-commissioning work recently and is in running condition.
Its application is immense if one does a little homework: Peter Riley and Bill Meredeth-Owen’s Ford Zephyr Mk.2, finished the 1957 Mille Miglia 115th overall, fourth in the over 2-litre touring car category. Few cars in this price bracket can ever boast Mille Miglia Retrospective entry potential! With more and more road rally events being added to an already busy historic calendar year on year, a car with the pace and potential of the Ford Zephyr Mk.2 has to be a natural candidate whether for a novice or an experienced competitor.
But historic road rallying does not hold all the aces. The Ford Zephyr Mk.2 makes a very competitive option for historic circuit racing as proved at the Goodwood Revival and in HRDC ‘Touring Greats’ Series for pre-’60 Touring Cars.
True ‘entry level’ historic competition cars rarely come to market at such an accessible price range and with such provenance. Whatever competitive discipline you favour, you can be sure of one thing – this car fits the bill in all respects! The perfect historic all-rounder!