Pristine 46k 1979 Mercury Zephyr

Todd FitchBy Todd Fitch

Resplendent in two-tone tan with brown accents, fake wire wheel hubcaps, and thin white-walls, this 1979 Mercury Zephyr needs only a tissue box on the package tray to complete the Senior Citizen Style Package. Thanks to Ethan D. who spotted this tidy low-mileage beauty in Bountiful, Utah with a listing on KSL.com

The greenhouse design shares a family resemblance with its Ford Futura sibling and the then-outgoing Ford Thunderbird as described here on curbsideclassic.com. I believe this body style is called the “Z7” as described on uniquecarsandparts.com.au, but I can’t quite make out the badge on the C-pillar. As with most cars of this vintage, the design follows the mantra that “It’s hip to be square,” with nary a circle in sight save the tires and steering wheel… and a couple gauges.

Though considered a step up from the Ford stablemate, the Mercury Zephyr shares nearly everything with the more pedestrian Ford. This car shows 45,990 miles which appears reasonable from the pictures. The listing describes a “4-speed automatic” but it’s more likely a 3-speed sans overdrive. Said to drive “like new,” this earth-toned chariot awaits a buyer with $5500 in their pocket and an urgent need to drive no faster than the posted speed limit to tonight’s Senior Discount Dinner Special.

The Ford Pinto’s 2.3 OHC inline four has plenty of elbow room in this Mercury. The Pinto carried on through the 1980 model year, and the 2.3 much longer. Like the ’79 Mustang, these Zephyrs could be ordered with 4, 6, or 8 cylinders.  Fox Body Mustang owners will recognize the firewall and sides of this engine compartment as identical to their ’79 to ’93 Mustangs, and indeed a number of Fairmonts and Zephyrs have been built up using Mustang go-fast parts. Is this two-door destined for a 351 swap and a future as your neighborhood’s “Tan Terror,” or do you have other plans for this Beehive State classic?

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Comments

  1. CCFisher

    Z-7 is the correct designation for this model. Also, “two-tone tan” is much too bourgeois for late 70s colors. It’s “Pastel Chamois” and, I believe, “Medium Chestnut”.

    5+
  2. Mepo

    Wow. My mind is officially blown.

    2+
  3. Terry J

    Hey, Don’t make fun. It resembles my 1955 Ford Crown Victoria (circa 1966). 🙂 Terry J

    1+
  4. Nrg8

    Looks loke someone literally rolled in and out that drivers seat. Twsted back flattened bottom. I feel the duct tape is a nice touch when you ask for all the money

    4+
    • AMXSTEVE

      uh i think you have the wrong car. This one is mint

      1+
  5. Jeffro

    You say Senior Discount Dinner Special! I say looks like a Senior Discount Sleeper! Build up that 2.3 or drop in a SBF. Yeah…you’d never see it coming!

    2+
  6. Sam

    I envision a Ken Block/Hoonigan retro drift/gymkhana build.

    2+
  7. Neal

    This is the automotive equivalent of the SnackPak Butterscotch pudding we used to eat at my grandmother’s house, in 1979. After tumbling out of her brown Dodge Dart four door. (Which had the 318, not a four banger).

    5+
    • RichS

      Haha, I loved those puddings. I can taste them now, just looking at that car!

      3+
  8. Rob

    Yep ditch the 2.3 and drop in the 343 stroker on this one with a stout automatic and let’er buck!

    2+
  9. Howard A Member

    There’s a “Senior Citizen Style Package” ( code 01GZR) Sweet. Hey, don’t laugh, Bob Glidden had a lot of success with one of these ( Fairmont) He dusted them all, until they finally caught up.
    https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6167/6176605330_2ed1a5d0f8_b.jpg
    While this car shares little, if anything , with Glidden’s car ( except the tach, I swear, they put tachs in everything back then) Be a wonderful car to putt over to the coffee shop, and piss and moan about all the world’s problems,,,and solve none of them.

    7+
    • Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

      “(code 01GZR)” Good one, Howard. My chuckle for the day. I always appreciate your comments, tongue-in-cheek and factual alike!

      1+
  10. guggie

    my Grandfather had one of these with a v8 (302?) it was ok nice ride for a little car ,cant imagine a 4 banger what a load its gotta be !

    1+
  11. RichS

    A ’79 Z7 was my first car, albeit mine was powder blue and at least had the 4 speed manual. It started my love for these things. I really want a set of Zephyr tailights for my Durango pickup. They look so much better than the Fairmont ones.

    2+
  12. W9BAG

    For some reason, I like this car. I’ve felt for many years, that they were the bane of U.S. automobile offerings. The horn button was on the end of the turn signal stalk, for cryin’ out loud. But after seeing this one, I may change my mind. I LIKE the 2 tone earth tone paint scheme. It’s kinda soothing.

    There WAS a V-8 available for this car, but I’m not sure if it was a 302. Ford kinda lost it’s way around the late 70’s / early 80’s, and offered some weird V-8 engine that no one cares about. I want to say it was a 4.7, but I could be wrong. Nonetheless, a 8 cylinder and a factory 4 gear would make this car a sweetie.

    0
  13. Wayne

    Hi Rich S.
    I already have my Z7 tail lamps for my Durango! The color, sunroof and dash is the exact interior of my Durango. But mine also has the console.
    Are your tail lamps broken? I have a partially broken set of the Fairmont style assemblies. With a little CAREFUL work. these lenses can be removed 1 at a time for repairs. Interested? Where are yours broken?

    0
    • RichS

      Hello Wayne, thanks for the offer – mine are not broken, I actually have an extra complete Fairmont taillight assembly I got about a year ago off a near pristine car in the junkyard. I couldn’t leave it there for the $25 the yard charged me. I have a single corner lens from a Zephyr (forget which side) in my parts stash.

      I just like the looks of the Zephyr lenses more – the horizontal lines are better. On my first Z7, I taped off the horizontal center “line” sections and painted the rest black so that just the lines across showed at night. I liked it then, not sure I’d do it again. Got some LED ideas for the new version…

      0
  14. James

    My girlfriend had one of these in high school. Looked like a turd going down the road, but it had plenty of room inside for extracurricular activities…

    0

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