Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ranting Stan's Sunday Drive: Ford Zephyr MkIII

If you're as old as me you'll remember these from the classic police drama series, Z Cars. The series ensured the car would have a cult status from the start and, for me, it is well deserved. From that prominent chromed front grille to the tip of the fins at the rear of the car the Zephyr/Zodiac range was stylish, elegant and very, very distinctive.
The 6 cylinder Zephyr 6 was distinguished from the smaller engined Zephyr 4 by larger 2 piece grille that wrapped around the headlights. The more upmarket Zodiac was visually similar to the Zephyr 6 but this time with a single piece full width grille that wrapped around twin headlamps. They were all very handsome cars.
My first experience of the Zephyr is probably the same as a lot of kids around that time - no, not being driven to the local police station, but going to a family wedding. I would only have been around five years old at the time, but the memory lives on with me even now - possibly because it is one of the earliest recollections I have of being in a car, but maybe because it was also the first ever wedding I went to. The car was black with enormous red seats that seemed to stretch on for ever to my mind - which is just as well as there were five of us crammed onto that rear bench seat!
I recall how I sat all the way through the ceremony just longing for the moment when I'd get back into that gorgeous machine for the trip from the church to the Royal British Legion club where the reception was to be held - only to end up sitting in the back of an uncles old A40 instead. What a disappointment! That was to be my first and last ever trip in a Zephyr, but I still remember it well more than 40 years later. How many modern cars will have that sort of effect on kids today? Not many, I bet.
The Zephyr was a masterpiece of a car from a very mainstream manufacturer. Like most cars of that time you'd recognise it at a glance - very different from the modern identikit cars of today. Also, typical of the time, the car looked "friendly". That was something which I think we miss today - the sheer aesthetic appeal of those old classics which enriched our lives simply with their presence.


This Royal Throne of Kings said...

My dad had a Zephyr 6, in 1966, if my memory serves, when I was five years old.

My abiding memories of it are firstly that it was absolutely huge and secondly that it had a PVC covered bench seat in the front, which when warmed by the sun, used to virtually scald the back of my legs!

Well, we boys all used to wear shorts back then...

Stan said...

Yeah, those vinyl seats were a bugger in hot weather - especially if they were black!