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Ford Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac Mk2 buying guide

Ford Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac Mk2 buying guide Classic and Performance Car
Ford Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac Mk2 buying guide Ford Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac Mk2 buying guide Some cars don’t have to try hard; they’re just effortlessly cool. And some of the coolest, ever since they arrived in 1956, are the Ford Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac Mk2. It doesn’t matter whether you buy a saloon, a convertible, or one of the ultra-rare estates, these are classics that look perfect from every angle – a snapshot of Fifties Americana that made (and still makes) most of their contemporaries look just a little bit ordinary.

A car capable of providing comfortable family transport on long journeys, the Mk2 Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac, dubbed by Ford as the Three Graces, was equally at home in international rallying or circuit racing. Now it’s just as at home transporting the family on a classic drive out as it is being admired in a classic car show.

Bigger and consequently more spacious than the Mk1 models they replaced, the Mk2s were just 25lb heavier thanks to Ford’s monocoque contruction skills. With more power too, they were faster and more relaxing to drive – especially in six-cylinder form.

Which one to buy

If you’re looking for a slice of 1950s Heaven, Ford’s Mk2 range should fit the bill. There are some superb examples out there and these cars are extremely usable, but the Mk2’s desirability means prices are high because demand constantly outstrips supply. Tarted-up cars aren’t unusual, but there are lots of good cars around. They don’t come onto the market that often though, so be prepared to search and also to wait, to get the Mk2 of your dreams.

Six-cylinder cars are more sought after than the four-pot Consul while the convertible is by far the most valuable. The same three-speed manual gearbox is used on four and six-cylinder Mk2s, with overdrive available on six-cylinder cars; this extra is now hugely sought after. Six-pot cars were also available with a three-speed automatic gearbox; such cars are unusual though.

Later cars got discs at the front, with the same set-up used on four-cylinder cars as six-pot editions. Consuls don’t really need discs; any braking inadequacies of drum-equipped cars is usually down to seized front wheel cylinders.

Tech spec - Zephyr convertible Engine 2553cc, six-cylinder Power 85bhp @ 4000rpm Torque 133lb ft @ 2000rpm Top speed 84mph 0-60mph 17.9sec Consumption 25mpg Gearbox Three-speed manual (O/D or three-speed auto opt)

What to look for

• Inspect the car thoroughly for corrosion; all inner and outer panels rot badly, although the thick panels make repairs easier. Also check the seams; any signs of rust means there’s likely to be plenty of hidden corrosion.

• Six-cylinder engines generally live longest, but all Mk2 powerplants can suffer from worn piston rings, valvegear and bearings. Expect to get 80-100,000 miles between rebuilds. Mk2 engines tend to sound tappety even when in rude health.

• The biggest problem is a worn rocker shaft; the rocker tips wear when the seal for the oil feed pipe comes off. It’s easy to fix if caught in time, but once the camshaft has worn the engine has to come out for repairs. Six-cylinder rocker shafts are especially scarce.

• The manual transmission is weak, with jumping out of second gear common.

• Clutches are weak and hard to find, with pressure plates especially hard to find. New six-cylinder parts are extinct, with used bits scarce too. Used Consul bits are marginally more plentiful and will fit six-cylinder cars, but will fail almost immediately. Reconditioned clutches tend to fail quickly too.

• Differentials are strong, which is just as well because replacements are rare and so are parts for rebuilds.

• Stiff steering means the box has been overtightened to adjust out the play – which may have damaged it beyond repair.

• See if the rubber cap is in place on top of the front suspension strut. If it’s not there, water will have got in, and replacement bearings aren’t available.

• There are 14 suspension greasing points, which need attention every 1000 miles, so wear is common. Worn front struts can be a problem too, so bounce test each corner. If it keeps bouncing, a rebuild is needed – but the piston in each strut is no longer available, with used ones rare. Cars left standing for ages may have a rusty piston; that’s a major problem as they’re no longer available, whereas leaky dampers aren’t an issue, as replacement seals are cheap and available.

• New interior and exterior trim are extinct, with decent used stuff very scarce. Some brightwork (grilles, side trim) are chrome on brass, so they can be revived, bonnet mascots are mazac, which makes restoration tricky.

Model history

1956: Mk2 Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac launched, in saloon and convertible forms. Later on, an Abbott-converted estate arrives.

1957: The Consul de luxe arrives, with two-tone paint and trim plus plated window frames. There’s also an improved steering box plus the Zephyr gets a revised grille.

1959: There are now low-line versions of the Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac. The roofline is 1.5 inches lower (all above the glasshouse) plus there’s now a padded dash top, new rear lights, a twist-action handbrake and sun visors for the convertibles.

1960: Servo-assisted front discs brakes are now optional for all cars and available as a retro-fit kit for older Mk2s.

1961: Front disc brakes are now standard, along with sealed-beam headlights. Consul is now Consul 375 (to differentiate it from the Consul 315).

1962: The MkIII range hits showrooms.

Words: Richard Dredge
Ford Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac Mk2 buying guide Ford Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac Mk2 buying guide
Last updated: 6th May 2015
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Ford Consul
9995 29995 GBP
  • Lot 86

    1955 Ford Consul EOTA

    £2,000 - £4,000 est. £2,000 - £4,000 est.
    Auction Date: 29 Nov 2017
    RESERVE PRICE
    Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
    • Engine size: 1.5
    Auction Date: 29 Nov 2017
    £2,000 - £4,000 est. £2,000 - £4,000 est.
    Auction Date: 29 Nov 2017
    RESERVE PRICE
    Brightwells
    01568 611122 View contact number
  • Ford Consul

    £29,995 £29,995

    REFRESHINGLY EXPENSIVE- THE BEST IS NEVER CHEAP!!Consul Capri 1340Another top restoration by Trojan cars!DEPOSIT TAKENThis car has to be the best, low mileage, standard Capri in the world!!Just 40,000 miles with bills and receipts to substantiate mileage, original buff logbook, correct engine-never been customised, as most were.We have put countless man &8203;hours into this restoration, taken it down to a bare-metal shell and built it back up with £7500 spent on top of the line paint, new glass, slim white wall tyres, correct wheel trims, interior is original aside from new carpets and door cards. Finished to near concourse standard! THIS CAR WILL BE A SHOW WINNER!I have owned Capris for over 40 years and to my knowledge there are none like this!Rare Fords are making big money now with Mk 1 Cortina GTs making £30,000- this must be one of the rarest Fords on the market due to the mileage and condition. They are only going up in value, such a great investment plus great fun at the shows and car clubs.I have plenty of paperwork, all photos of the restoration, bills, receipts etc.This is a pristine car, it''s not cheap priced at £29,995 but where would you find another??Part exchange is possible, finance available! Early viewing a must! Serious enquirers only please!

    • Mileage: 40000 mi
    • Engine size: 1500
    For sale
    £29,995 £29,995
  • Ford Consul

    £9,995 £9,995

    Ford Consul Classic 315 1962Totally unique, one of a kind! LHD, French car, 1 owner, low mileage 46k. Been asleep for 40 years in a heated garage - NO RUST! 1340cc, column change. We have reconditioned the car - new rad, brakes, tyres etc. MOT'd and ready to go! Totally a one off car.

    • Mileage: 46000 mi
    • Engine size: 1340
    For sale
    £9,995 £9,995