Ford smoothie of the

1950s

Ford Zephyr Convertible

IN 1950 the game changed for Ford with the introduction of the six-cylinder Zephyr model.

With bodywork based on the four-cylinder Consul, the Zephyr was a smoother more powerful car.

In essence it replaced the outdated V8 Pilot and brought top-end Ford motoring to thousands more driveways in Britain.

But the real treat came in 1951 when the wraps came off a prototype convertible version which was a stunner for its day.

Thisdevelopment was not without its problems. Getting it into production took another two years due to issues in reinforcing the monocoque structure.

The project was handed to one of the oldest and most experience contract coachworks in the industry, Carbodies of Coventry.

This company had built up a significant portfolio of important clients including Alvis, MG and Rover, in addition to working on Austin Somerset and Hereford drop-tops.

With the Zephyr came a somewhat complex task including cross-bracing the body underneath to strengthen it in the absence of a steel roof.

The shell had been modified with two instead of four doors and like some of the more expensive convertibles, the top could be rolled back to an intermediate de ville position.

The Zephyr Convertible was catalogued with an electro-hydraulic power operated roof and all in all it was a very modern car for the 1950s.

Costing £960 the convertible reached a production figure of 4048.

Of course the Zephyr was one of Ford's ‘heavenly twins' which featured the same 2262cc engine, the other half being the more luxurious Zodiac.

Both were names whichreached the heightsin the Ford range for a long time afterwards.

I have often wondered whether some high-ranker at Ford had served in the Royal Navy in the Second World because two similar destroyers were named Zephyr and Zodiac.

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