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Non-Haggard Merc: 1978 Mercury Zephyr

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Merle Haggard’s home town of Bakersfield, CA is where this beauty can be found. I can’t imagine Mr. Haggard driving a light blue 1978 Mercury Zephyr, but who knows. This one is here on craigslist with an asking price of $5,000. Not a small chunk-o-change, but this non-haggard car looks like it’s in showroom condition.

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This whole era was somewhat maligned for its combination of regulations and build-quality. I was just coming into my driving age around the late-70s so I’m a fan of vehicles from that time. Who’s with me on that?! (crickets)

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There is no denying that this car is in fantastic shape. Like Mr. Haggard, even the color of this car is non-pretentious, it’s simply known as “Medium Blue”. Merle would be proud. 1978 was the first year for Mercury bringing back the Zephyr name, here as a fancy twin to the Ford Fairmont and a replacement for the Mercury Comet, believe it or not. Of course, the Comet was a fancy twin for the Ford Maverick. What a change.

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Unfortunately, there are no interior or engine photos of this car, but the seller says that this car has 61,000 miles and has a “6 cylinder engine with automatic transmission a/c and heater work tagged and smogged ready to go”. This car would have about 85 hp, which is a bit less than some owners’ cars have. The interior doesn’t look plaid to me, judging by the photos in the ad, which is a shame. Plaid interiors are always so much more interesting than solid colors are, as are plaid pants, which you most likely would have had on if you got one of these new in 1978. I’m guessing that it would look like this inside of this blue beauty.

If a person was looking for an unusual, nice, inexpensive newer-yet-older car for goofing around with on weekends, this one would surely stand out in the crowd. When the late-70s cars came out, like this nice non-haggard Zephyr, did you ask yourself, Are The Good Times Really Over For Good?


  1. jim s

    the car sure looks good but i too think more photos are needed. if the PI turns out good this would be a nice driver. great find. will plaid bell bottom pants ever come back in style? if you wear size 32 x 34 or 34 x32 there are 2 for sale on ebay!

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  2. z1rider

    “………..era maligned for regulations and build quality”

    You nailed it there. Engineering talent for all car companies had to be deployed into the effort to meet emissions regulations, at the expense of the designs of other parts of the cars. Even Porsche lost horsepower meeting the emissions regulations. That helps to explain the release of the 930 Turbo in an effort to compensate and try to preserve their performance reputation.

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  3. grant

    Y’all live in a different world than I do if 5k for a malaise era econocar is “cheap fun.”

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  4. Blueprint

    This car is a Zephyr Z-7, equivalent to the Fairmont Futura, a cut above the basic sedans. It’s incredible to see such a clean example, with factory-correct wheels on top of that, in 2016. These cars were troublesome and biodegradable. Easy to hop up as there share the Fox platform with Mustang & Capri.

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    • MountainMan

      I was wondering about the wheels… I thought these covers came along a few years later than this car

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  5. Duffy

    Sure would have been nice to see the interior and the engine. $5000.00 should let you have a better look. I do not agree that $5000.00 is a cheap ride for a six cylinder and what does the interior look like. Never know what lies underneath that baby blue “Haggard” paint. Why is his name even mentioned in this AD.

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    • MountainMan

      The car is in the town that Merle came from

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  6. Ed

    The only way it’s worth anywhere near even half of 5k is if it has a v8.

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  7. grant

    My cousin picked up one of these with a 302 last year for $800. Not as nice as this one but much more realistic.

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  8. DrinkinGasoline

    The seller can’t even spell the model name right.
    1978 Mercury Zephir – $5000 (sw bakersfield)
    Zephir ? I guess they never looked at the emblems on their own vehicle prior to placing the ad.

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    • grant

      Honestly, when the seller can’t be bothered to look at what’s written on the car he’s selling, I hold it against the car. I assume he pays pretty much no attention to it. Maybe doesn’t apply here but first impressions and all.

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      • Peter

        I totally agree with your sentiment. Not spelling the name of your car correctly, is like misspelling the name of your son or daughter!

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  9. Paul R

    Fox body platform, so all the Mustang parts bolt on. Would make a great sleeper with a stroked Windsor, 5 speed and an 8.8 rear with a 3.73 gear.

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  10. TBall

    Here’s one that apparently took to heart the “adding Mustang parts” moto:


    Plenty of examples of this care show up on 1978 search with these wheels, I cannot say whether they are actually ’78 wheels, but they look correct. Nice ride, need way more photos to invest $5k though.

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  11. Warren

    If you are going to have the guts to ask 5K, at least have the fortitude to do a decent ad…..

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  12. grenade

    I agree with Paul R –
    “Fox body platform, so all the Mustang parts bolt on. Would make a great sleeper with a stroked Windsor, 5 speed and an 8.8 rear with a 3.73 gear.”

    Or make it a 4×4… :)

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    My wife had a Futura when we first started dating in 84. It was yellow with a yellow interior, nice but the v8 was a total dog. I always thought that the cam was worn out on it cause it just wouldn’t go.
    I want one to hot rod now, but 5k is nuts.

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  14. patrick

    My mom had one of these (Ford Fairmont) from new when I was a kid. I remember the cheap plastic interior and vinyl seats getting so hot in the summertime that you couldn’t touch anything. Wouldn’t even think of trying to sit on the seats while wearing shorts without putting a beach towel on the seat first! The front bench seat would rattle when going over 60mph. My sister and I would stand on the backseat to look out the rear window while going down the road. Who needs seatbelts?!

    The car’s automatic transmission started slipping. My parents traded it in for a new ’84 Z28 with T-tops – a better choice!

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    • oeNYWF64

      Don’t leather seats get hot too in today’s “cars”? Even worse, most car interiors today are very DARK heat absorbing colors to make them even hotter inside. & the 70’s cars still had freeze me good R12 a/c, compared to mickey mouse a/c in today’s cars.
      EVERY single rent a car i rented in Orlando in the 2000’s had a/c that did not satisfy me after the cars sat in hot florida sun. Wish i still had my late 70’s amc ambassador – now ITS a/c would have made me VERY happy, even in Florida.

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  15. Slick51

    This was my first car. My parents let me take it to grad. I polished it and washed it for preparation of the big night. It was the 4 door sedan.

    Driving to grad I followed a friend who knew where to go. He was driving his father’s car and was flying. I couldn’t understand why I had the pedal all the way to the floor but it didn’t go faster than 100 Kmh. The car was slow, it was boxy, it squeaked and rattled. Build quality, not so much. I have stayed away from Ford products because of this car for 30 years.

    In the end some teenagers stole it and wrapped it around a tree.

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  16. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I thought Merle Haggard was an “Okie From Muskogee?” Buck Owens was from Bakersfield.

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  17. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I thought Merle Haggard was an “Okie From Muskogee?” Turns out I am wrong according to Wiki. Buck Owens was also Bakersfield.

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  18. Robert White

    This is a Merc.


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    Thought I’d come back and see if anyone commented on Merle passing this week

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  20. Dave Suton

    That 6cy will probably last forever. Had one in a Fairmont. Had 250k when I sold it to some high school kid.

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