I spent Drive It Day fiddling with my latest acquisition – a Ford Zodiac Mk3 estate that is the latest in what is now quite a long history of fatally optimistic rare estate car purchases that just need this and that, but which are in fact massively beyond my technical capabilities and patience.
The Zephyr is the natural successor to the Humber Super Snipe estate and shares many of its qualities, some good, some bad. When delivered on Saturday I decided to try and get it started and knobbed around all afternoon with jump leads and Easy Start in a manner that was sadly familiar and ultimately fruitless. The Zephyr would not start.
However, I then gave it a charged battery, hitched it up to the Skoda, fired in some Easy Start for good measure and it fired. I think some fettling of various terminals to the starter may have helped, plus the fact that I was told when jump starting that sometimes the flow of electrical juice doesn’t get to starter but just tries to charge the dead battery... or something.
I seem to have lots of odd dead batteries about me so I will be taking them to be checked out. I could really do with one of those proper starter packs on wheels that you plug in.
Anyway, I put some fuel in and ran the Zephyr up my dead end test road where it went through its four gears nicely and even stopped, although I soon realised the brakes where actually sticking on.
The point about this Zephyr – which I bought off C&SC special projects man John Deverell – is that the floors and inner wings are incredibly sound. The bad news is it has an awful rat rod paint job perpetrated by somebody who thinks he lives in America and has carnal relations with his sister.
I would actually make it an offence to do things like that to old cars, particularly when there are only 10 of the things left as is the case with this Ford.
Of all the Farnham big Fords they are the easily the best looking because the roofline flows naturally rather than looking like a later addition. They were much favoured by the new Motorway Police for their speed and carrying capacity: for five seconds I even considered making this one into a Police replica, but the moment passed.
I may in fact MOT the car if I can free the brakes off. I might even fit the new-old-stock bonnet that comes with the car, but I will need to do something reasonably dramatic with the inside of the thing if depression is not to set in.
The rear fold-down seat is in A1 condition, but the front bench has various splits and tears and the dash top is heavily split.
The headlining is intact, but will need cleaning or recolouring. The nearside front door card is missing and the offside is non-original, but both rear door cards are good and the load area is surprisingly unmolested so it’s not all bad news.
Will keep you informed.