Saturday, February 21, 2015
5k: The Real California Zephyr: 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 Coupe
The original California Zephyr was a passenger train with service between Emeryville and Chicago -- a 2500 mile trip that took about 50 hours to complete in 1950. You could purchase a used train car and try to recreate that experience in your backyard, but a much easier way to get a Zephyr is to pickup a rust free CA blue plate Zephyr of the automotive variety. Like this 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 Coupe offered for $3,400 in Van Nuys, CA via craigslist. Tip from K2.
The Mercury Zephyr (not to be confused with the British Ford Zephyr or pre-war V-12 Lincoln Zephyr) was produced as a sedan, coupe and the uniquely styled Z7 coupe. The roof treament is allegedly an homage to the 1950s Crown Victoria, but looks to us like an El Camino with a truncated truck bed cover. It is called a 'wrap around roof' but looks more like a gigantic ill conceived B-pillar or Subaru BRAT style vanity stripe.
The Zephyr is powered by the well known Ford 302 (5.0 liter) engine and would have made 140 horsepower with stock smog legal carburetor and low compression. Bump up the compression, add intake/cams/exhaust and the Windsor will make an honest 300 horsepower without breaking a sweat.