Saturday, 21 July 2012

1963 Ford Zephyr Mk3 Barn Find Progress Report

Rear View of the car called Ralph.

In this shot taken last night, the newly repainted bootlid can be seen reflecting the evening light in a way the rest of the car doesn't. The poor colour match is not so evident in this light, but at this angle the panel work below the right tail light is quite obvious. No history of this car is known, so exactly why each side has a dent in this particular spot is a mystery. Over all, though, this is quite a flattering photo. The Hustler mag wheels on this side have not yet been polished, but still suit the car.

One of my favorite views of the Mk3 Zephyr, a pose I plan to turn
 into a work of art one day soon. Watch this space...

Out with the camera last night for some twilight shots of my project car, "Ralph", the mk3 Zephyr barn find car that is currently being recommissioned for road use.

The repainted bootlid fitted temporarily to "Ralph"
whilst the other bootlid gets a meticulous resto.

I recently found out the hard way that access to the boot from inside the car is not too difficullt - having fitted the temporary bootlid and slammed it shut, tight on the old rubber seal, I tried to reopen the boot for a little fettling. That's when it became apparent that the newly fitted lock did not engage well with the opening mechanism! Try as I might, the only way to get the lid up again was to be from the inside. Lucky that the rear seat is easy to remove! This was likely the first time in it's life that it had been out. No secret mesages hidden in there from factory assembers of days gone by, though - damn!

An odd shot - the neighbours roofline doesn't sit well with the overall impression.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Road Worthy Condition Cert. (RWC)

 A permit was obtained to allow Ralph, my Mk3 Ford Zephyr, to be driven on the road so that a RWC could be carried out. The underside has been cleaned with degreaser and nice condition black paint was found over most of the floor. The old English car oil leaks have a use after all! Electrical earths were improved. Positive earth of course. The wheels were changed as the Hankooks that came with Ralph were perished and the treads cut on two of the four.

The muffler off the last Z.

 The muffler was also replaced. It was no where near as bad as the one off Z no.3 (above), but the 12 inch "Hot Dog" had a split in the weld that attached it to the pipe at the front. Yes, I know it could be welded, but I also know that these repairs are notoriously unreliable because of all the soot in the crack. This car is for the family and their safety comes first!
 Trying to find a muffler under $100 was not easy. Some were on Ebay, but postage took care of much of the saving. I had planned to fit the muffler myself. The one that was on the car was held on by clamps - too easy! Eventually I arrived at a local workshop and a suitable muffler was not in stock. However one could be ordered in. It was only $60. Then the proprietor had a look underneath. He wasn't really happy about such a small muffler, saying it would be too loud. I like the sound a Zephyr makes. It has a unique bark at certain revs as one accelerates up the gears. The 12 inch straight through muffler was a little loud, OK, quite a bit loud, but then it meant that lovely tune could be appreciated behind the wheel. So a 12 inch it was going to be.
 While looking under the car again, I again spied the clamps. And a few more clamps  - five in all from just in front of the rear axle to the rear tip. As a throw away comment, I asked how much for a new curve over the axle and one piece welded pipe/muffler all the way to the rear. When the reply came back at $100, I couldn't say "do it" fast enough!
 The result was a great job and was even finised with a chrome tip. I was very pleased and it does sound fantastic, like the sort of sound a sea lion bull makes when being sat upon by an elephant.

The Globe alloy wheels fitted with Hankook Optima 225/65 R14 tyres.

Before and after polishing.

 The Globe wheels were in a bit of a state, see above. I polished out the worst of the surface pitting and painted the wheels in a less obtrusive black finish. They will be fitted with a very tidy set of tryes I picked up off Ebay for $110.
 Ralph was sent in to be checked wearing the Hustler alloys that were purcahsed for Z no.3. Shod with Yokohama 215/60 R14's, I figured there was a chance it would pass.
 But no. Eleven faults were found. The prop shaft UJ's were too worn, as were the front shocks, though the tester did say he would let this go. The seat needs work, but more on that at a later date. The pedal rubbers were too worn, the steeering wheel needed to be centred and the pesky earth problem raised it's ugly head again - just once - this time on the front left indicator. The brake fluid failed! I would naturally have this changed anyway, as a matter of course, but that was a bit of a surprise rejection. The Yokohama's had too much wear, too. Pity, as they are a really good looking tyre on the Hustler mags and do suit the car well. They will eventually get fitted with an equally smart looking tyre and go onto the car for every day use.

Spare prop shaft sripped and ready for paint.

Parts such as the pedal rubbers and new Uj's were quickly obtained and fitted. The spare propellor shaft got a paint strip and de-rust job. I coated it with a shiny black ultra tough finish, however, now I'm thinking I'll repair the original one, but leave all the dirt and patena on it. One can't recreate originality...

Monday, 16 July 2012

So what's with that boot lid? (trunk lid)

So glad you asked. The previous owner is doing a V8 repower. Lucky he didn't find this one first! His car had been rear ended at some time and a lot of repair work was needed to fix a poor panel job. He has done a great job, but, understandably, took the easy way out when it came to the boot lid. Same story with the front bumper.

Back to bare metal, again as it turns out.

Knowing Ralph came without a good boot lid, I sold the black Z without it's bootlid. Sure it was far worse condition, but at least it meant I had something to put on while I repaired the green lid...

After a bit of work, including working out quite a decent dent that had been poorly repaired, it came up to a standard that would suit the car temporarily.

In Stark Contrast

More bodged electrical. Blue tape everywhere.

Vacuum tube in the engine bay where it squeezes between the exhaust pipe and steering idler!
The rubber vacuum tube again

The lenses, tail light and indicators, have been replaced, even though the old ones may have passed a RWC. Perhaps they will go back on later, as the new ones were only installed because some were available. New just doesn't quite look right.

Boot floor is amazingly tidy.

Unlike the previous Zephyr, the black one, the rust in Ralph is minimal. The boot from Z no.3 was more akin to swiss cheese. While this is more like chalk - quite a contrast. The boot drip lip is perfect in this one, too. Best not to mention the state of the lip on the black car...

Did I say it was tidy?


First Impressions

Although the last owner is Victorian, the car previously came from South Australia. One can only assume it spent most it's life there. First impressions once delivered did not disappoint. The car was infact better than expected. The carpets are absolutely useable, the doors close easily with one finger. No major dents and only surface rust where Ford Australia failed to apply enough paint when new.

Obvious fail points for the roadworthy Cert. will be wiper blades, 49 years of oil seapage along the underside (hence no rust on the floors!) and maybe the dodgy trailer wiring is why the indicators are so dull and slow. Yes, that is a bakelite 240 volt 3 pin plug under the rear valance! There is also a rubber vacuum tube and 3 core electrical cable running the length of the underside... WTF? Luckily all is removed with no major tell-tale marks left behind.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Fast Forward 15 years...

 Having changed countries three times and three houses later I find myself in Melbourne Australia with 2 kids and a cat. The Austin 7 I had bought when my eldest was one year old had given no end of problems and was languishing after breaking a crankshaft for the second time. Another motor had been fitted a couple of years before, but problems abounded. For some time the idea of buying another Mk3 had been growing stronger. A Zodiac would be ideal, but are uber rare here! I would really like to do one like the beauty I saw for sale at a show in NZ ; dark blue tinted windows, Cragar wheels and a 302 windsor to match. In the previous years I had only seen ONE mk3 Zodiac for sale!
 So to plan "B". Buy a tidy mk3 Zephyr and turn it into an English GT. Something like the Cortina mk1 and 2 GT, E and GTE; split front bumper, fog lights, GT badges, bucket seats, gauge cluster and tacho, floor change gearbox, wood grained door caps and of course a warmed over motor with twin throat carb and extractors. Lowered suspension, and trailing arms to the rear axle would round out the GT image.

"Rosie" The 1928 Austin 7 chummy.

 Vic Roads made the final decision for me - seat belts were made mandatory for all cars with children, who can only travel in the rear seat. What a crock! A timber framed car has no strength to mount a seat belt and an Austin 7 has no height in the body work to get the top mounting point to a safe height above the shoulder - even for a child! Pure lunacy!

 So the search ramped up. Of course nothing came up for sale for the longest time. Eventually however a Mk3 Zephyr came along on Ebay. The asking price was $2,000. A lot for what looked pretty rough in the pictures. The auction finished without a bid. I arranged to see the car - it was worse than the photos, but with nothing else about I paid $1,200 for it. After sourcing a complete carb it ran but the water pump was stuffed, spilling everywhere and the clutch was seized along with the brakes.

Wearing the grille from my old 4 cyl.
1962 Mk3 Zephyr wreck

I imported a rebuilt floor change overdrive gearbox from NZ. It was originally from the UK and had probably been fitted to a Reliant Scimitar. Next I found a pair of Falcon XL fairmont bucket seats - identical to mk3 executive seats! 99 cents sounds OK, but they are very rough. Lucky I have some sewing machine experience. I joined the ZZOCM. About that time I realised the ever growing list of faults with the black Z was just too much work. I started searching again. This time I advertised in the wanted section of Just Cars magazine.
 This is what turned up
 Original 62,000 miles
Mk 3 Ford Zephyr as found.

 I got lucky this time and after selling the black heap and the Austin 7 the blue Zephyr was delivered. Wearing South Australian registration RAL 409 it is nicknamed "Ralph". The previous owner is doing a mk3 V8 conversion, so having decided to concentrate funds on one project, I was able to buy this for $5,500. Included were all the bits from the other car that he no longer needed. So I have a spare running motor, gearbox, diff, 9 X 13 inch wheels, brake booster and sundry other items.

After a polish and with Hustler alloy wheels fitted

Follow the progress as "Ralph" is readied for a Roadworthy Certificate and registered for the road. Don't expect to see any mods on this car, though. The condition is far too good to go altering the originality of the car in any way. It will be preserved as best I can for generations to come.

The Beginning

 Placed somewhat unsurprisingly at the start of my Blog, is this - The Beginning.
 This is intended to be a pictorial diary of my Mk 3 Zephyr, "Ralph". Before getting down to the nuts and bolts though, a brief history...
 I grew up a car nut. I have owned 41 cars and 1 motorbike. There was a car under restoration in Dad's shed from the time I was born. (It was still there when I turned 18!)
 My first project was a 1934 Austin 7 special, started when I was 11. Consisting of Dad's leftover/surplus bits, one could hardly call the small pile of parts a car. Although substantial work has ensued, it is still awaiting completion 33 years on!
 When I was 7 we moved to a new home. Next door another new house was soon constructed. The neighbours drove a mk 3 Zephyr as an everyday car until it broke down (teen-age sons!!) It was left to languish on our property boundary and may have been one of the reasons why Dad built a fence. I thought nothing of it, but just maybe a seed was sown...
 I recall seeing a "boy racer" mk 3 Zephyr being driven around my home town of Blenhiem when I was a kid. It was black, loud and seriously jacked up in the rear end. It must have handled like shit! I did think the concept was cool, but had no ambition to own a Zephyr. I wanted to be a "Jack of All Trades" and drive a red Ford Capri mk1 - the only model at the time!
 A local VCC member that I saw often growing up, as he had 2 Austin 7's, drove a mk 3, but again, it meant nothing to me.
 When I got my lisence aged 16, I bought the car I wanted (within my budget) - a Vauxhall Viva HB estate. A mk1 or 2 Cortina would have been great, but was out of my price range, as was a very hot Anglia van that I was smitten with. A 6 cylinder was just not contemplated. Still being at school, I struggled to feed the 1159cc Viva enough fuel - particularly as it was always at full throttle!!

 So how did I come to own a Zephyr?

 Chance is a funny thing. I was rebuilding a Mk1 Corina GT with a good friend, Archie. We had the vast technical facilities of the Ohakea Airforce Base to draw upon. I owned 5 or so cars at the time. Another airman who was being transferred may have figured I was a soft target and so offered me a 1962 mk3 Zephyr 4 for the princely some of $100. It wasn't a runner, having burnt out the clutch. It had some rust, but was low mileage - only 60k odd and had a very tidy interior. So car number 19 was my first Z.

 I had thought a V8 might be in order, but soon discovered it was a rare beast, being one of the first Z's built. In 1962 the mk3 was launched utilising the mk2 rear axle and a remote inline brake booster. Not many 4 cylinders came to New Zealand. Most of the 4's got a 6 or 8 transplant, so this unmolested car was quite a rarity. It even had the original blank for the radio in the dash. Incidentally, the dash was not woodgrain vineer like the 6's - it was fluted aluminium. The door cards were different too., having colour coded (red) caps screwed on.
 Not much happened on the Z. I had plenty on with the Cortina and other cars. I did get to like it though and started searching for a mobile example.
 My daily driver needed to be traded, as it was getting to be unreliable and we planned to do the big OE (overseas experience) After looking at some very rough cars, I found an ad for a Mk3 Zodiac that could be taken as part trade on a modern 6. I couldn't get rid of the Cressida fast enough. The Zodiac was in great condition and I loved it.

 EP 937 - the car I should never have sold.

 I did promise to sell this car before I bought it, as it was just a trade-in and a good way of parting with the Cressida. Easier said than done! I put a small for sale sign on it and parked it in between the legs of an "H" block building that I was working in. Unfortunately someone spotted it within a week and had to have it! I was glad to see it go to a very enthusiastic airman, but thought that it was a car I would love to own again some day.