Henry Ford began building cars in Great Britain all the way back in 1911, when the first Model Ts
European-built Fords became more mainstream here in the 1970s, with the Capri
That said, pre-Capri European Fords have been extremely rare finds in American boneyards for many decades. This is the first one I’ve seen since the 1968 Cortina I documented in a Northern California yard
1956 was the first model year for the restyled Zephyr Mark II
The Mark II weighed about 2,600 pounds, making it about 500 pounds lighter than a Michigan-built 1956 Mainline Fordor sedan. In mid-1950s Britain, where times remained tough after the war and food rationing continued all the way through 1954, the Zephyr was considered a status symbol.
With the facilities of much of the overseas competition bombed to rubble just over a decade before and smaller American competitors being squeezed tighter with each passing year, Ford in the United States was flying high in 1956. Ford sold nearly 1.4 million new Mainlines, Customlines, Fairlanes and wagons in the United States that year. A shiny new ’56 Customline Fordor sedan
The Zephyr had a pushrod straight-six engine, too (which I was forced to photograph through the grille due to the hood latch mechanism being completely jammed). This is a 2.6-liter rated at 86 horsepower.
Americans would have found the transmission setup in this car comfortingly familiar, since it’s a good old three-on-the-tree column-shift manual.
The Zephyr name has an important place in Ford history. Lincoln first used the Zephyr name from 1936 through 1942, then revived it as the name for the first model year of the car that became the MKZ.
There’s some rust down low, probably from sitting in deep snow every winter.
The interior is completely destroyed by the High Plains sun.
The condition of the tires suggests outdoor storage of at least a few decades.
Still, there are many good parts remaining on this car. Perhaps some Zephyr restorer will rescue them.
I’m skeptical about claims of this car getting 32 mpg.
One of the “Three Graces” from Dagenham that year.