British Import: 1947 Ford Consul

For reasons I can’t yet divulge, Ford products built in other countries have become quite intriguing to me as of late. I will tell you, it’s surprising how many vendors there are actively selling new old stock spares for Euro-market Fords like this 1947 Ford Consul, here on Facebook Marketplace, which should give you some confidence you could bring this one back to life if desired. The seller notes it needs mechanical but has not been substantially altered in any way. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Ian for the find. 

The Consul was Ford UK’s attempt to corner the family sedan market, which it did with the assistance of the popular Zephyr. Despite being the cheaper car of the range, the Consul still introduced engineering advancements like unibody construction and MacPherson independent front suspension. The listing for this Consul requires a translator, but the body seems to be in sound condition. No mention of any rust.

This is the one photo of the interior, which doesn’t tell us much. The seller simply notes that the Consul is a good restoration project and is a blank slate in terms of what you’re starting from since there are no obvious deviations from stock condition. More photos of the interior would be welcomed for determining if any ancient switchgear has gone missing or whether the seats are still in good condition.

While certainly not the prettiest car on the block, it’s an oddball that lets you stay in the Ford family while driving to the beat of a different drummer. I’ve had my eye on a German-made Ford product for years that, of course, has been rotting away in a junkyard, and I hope to rescue it soon. The seller is only asking $1,500 for this Consul, which seems like a bargain for an unusual Euro-Ford project like this.

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    It’s interesting how the design of this car alludes to the shoebox Fords, which didn’t come out in the US until ’49, is that right? Then think about the MGs and Morgans and Jags of the era, which still looked like they were designed in the 1920s.

    1
    • Andy

      This is definitely not a ’47. English Fords in ’47 still looked quite prewar, as did American Fords when you get down to it.

      4
  2. lc

    Me thinks the Consul came out in 1951 so there must be a bit of mistake with owners listing here. Nonetheless, a neat little car.

    5
    • ken tillyUK

      Judging by the tail lights I think it is at least a 1956 model, unless they have been upgraded. If I remember correctly the 1951 Ford Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac all had a flat dashboard not rounded as per this offering.

  3. Ken Carney

    Could be a ’52-’54 model judging by the way the dash is laid out.
    A friend of Dad’s owned a ’56 Counsel ragtop in the mid ’60s. From what I can remember, it ran fairly well and served him well
    until he passed away in 1970. If this car is a 4 speed model, it’s
    gonna be confusing for the new owner as these were munted on the column like a 3 on the tree here in the states. It also had
    a hydraulic clutch too for ease of shifting. It’s a pity that the ad
    doesn’t tell us where the car is located so that you could figure
    the shipping costs. First thing I’d do would be to ditch the Lucas
    electrical system in favor of a modern 12-volt American made
    unit as the factory systems are notoriously unreliable and downright dangerous. Other than that, it looks like a fun little
    car. One thing’s for sure, you won’t see another like it at your
    local cruise-in.

    .

    3
    • ken tillyUK

      It is a 3 speed model as were all of them until the Mk 4 came out in 1963. The worst part was that the gearbox didn’t have synchromesh on first gear so you had to stop before engaging the gear. As for the electrics being notoriously unreliable and downright dangerous, you talk junk. I have owned a 1953 Mk 1 Zephyr, 1955 Mk 1 Zodiac, 1957 Mk 2 Zephyr, 1957 Mk 2 Zodiac and a 1959 Mk2 Zephyr convertible, 1963 Mk 4 Zephyr and never even had a fuse blow on any of them. In fact of the over 200 cars that have passed through my hands the only serious electrical problem that I can remember was caused by myself using a self tapping screw in place of a fuse just to check whether the windscreen wipers worked or not. The screw short circuited the system, welded itself to the contacts, set fire to the wiring and burned out my 1957 Mercedes Benz Ponton 180 that I had bought that same day..

      8
  4. luke arnott

    The Consul was introduced October 1950 and had a 3 speed column shift.My father had a convertible,and it rotted underneath for a pastime.

    3
  5. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. I looked on FB Marketplace, and it must’ve already been sold, since it doesn’t seem to be available. I’d buy it if the steering wheel stayed on the RHD side of the car, rather than converted to LHD.

    • ken tillyUK

      It wasn’t necessarily converted to LHD as they were also made in LHD originally for the US market. Judging by the original advert, since taken down as it has been sold, they were marketed as a Ford Consul American in USA

      3
  6. luke arnott

    A much better car was the Zephyr Six,or even the Zephyr Zodiac.As I said,they were dreadful rotboxes so not many have survived.

    1
    • ken tillyUK

      Here in UK there are hundreds of them. They were also made Left Hand Drive for the American market.

      2
  7. Jeff T.

    they had rear axles that snapped like twigs aND needed a football field to do a u turn grossly under powered 4 cly designed by english ford sent all thru out the commonwealth no doubt canada to looking very similar to early 50s american ford ,never liked them much as a kid there were heaps of them in 60s and 70s ,there cousin the zephyr with the 6 cly was a better choice ,they would be very rare in the states ,i would think.

    1
    • ken tillyUK

      Yep, the Zephyr six was a much better car but if you were to wheelspin from gravel onto tarmac then you were guaranteed to break a half shaft. I fitted triple Zenith carbs to my Zodiac and the first time I tried it out it broke a shaft. I put a Consul diff in it but within one week it whined like my mother in law.

      4
      • luke arnott

        I worked with a guy in 1974 who entered a Zephyr Six in the ’54 Monte Carlo.Sadly,he’s no longer with us.

        1
  8. Sheffieldcortinacentre

    This is a 52-56 MK1 consul,The MK3 came out in 62 the consul name was dropped along with the shorter front panels for the 4 cyl models.
    The range now consisted of the zephyr 4 & 6, the zodiac had different C pillar’s with built in Windows & quad headlights.
    The MK4 was launched in 66 with 2.0 V4 & 2.5 V6 engines the zodiac retained quad headlights no other panel differences it had a larger 3.0 V6 engine.
    These are the main differences.

    2
  9. bog

    What a great store of knowledge you guys have, especially our UK “cousins”. Too bad this one’s already sold, as I really like the sort-of “plain-jane” styling. I bought and restored a ’50 “shoebox” Ford Tudor with the help of my Dad. I was 12 years old ! The funny thing is, I was stationed in West Germany during the latter 60’s and never remember seeing one of these. Lots of German Fords, which generally look similar to their English cousins…but nothing in my memory looked like this. Huh..

    1
  10. ken tilly UK

    @Luke Arnott. In 1955 the Monte Carlo Rally was won by Maurice Gatsonides and Peter Worledge driving a Ford Zephyr Six. I stand to be corrected but I think that the Mk 1 Ford Consul/Zephyr was the first production car to use Macpherson strut shock absorbers.

    1
    • luke arnott

      The guy I worked with was Dennis Emmett – he died a couple oy years ago.

  11. Danny from OZ

    KenTilleyUK, you’re obviously not very good at driving if you can’t engage first gear whilst still in motion in a non synchromesh gearbox, and obviously an even worse mechanic, if you’re stupid enough to replace a fuse with a self tapper to locate a fault. It reminds me of the old saying, “ If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur”.

    • ken tilly

      @Danny from Oz. Oh, I could engage first gear o.k. while the car was still moving, it was just too much trouble to do it. In later years I bought a 1930 Austin Heavy 12 and that had a 4 speed crash box which I mastered because I had to. As for my being an amateur, that’s what we all were back in the day, even you. Life is a learning curve after all.

      4
      • On and On On and On Member

        Well spoken ken, I find your posts interesting and informative.

        2
  12. Ian

    I owned a MK 1 Zephyr 6 cylinder. Faster than the Consul but very practical. Here in the UK there is very good club support-remade parts etc. From the A post back Consuls and Zephyr/Zodiac the same so handy for repairs. There are a lot in Oz – both through the club or to be discovered in the outback

    I think in these days of electric that and power driven this a simple car like the Mk 1 range has a place in modern traffic..especially in the city where we all queue at the same speed…but in Consul or Zephyr style and simplicity !

    2

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