Rust Free Sport Coupe: 1979 Mercury Zephyr Z-7

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As a kissin’ cousin to the Ford Fairmont, the Mercury Zephyr was appropriately fancy in a Mercury sort of way. This 1979 Mercury Zephyr Z-7 Sport Coupe can be found here on Craigslist with an asking price of $3,275 or best offer. It’s located in Lacey, Washington, just east of Olympia and it sure looks like it’s a car that could be driven home. Thanks to Miguel for sending in the tip on this Zephyr!

This car looks almost perfect to me, I really don’t see a flaw anywhere inside or out, but the seller says that this Z-7 “is all original including paint and upholstery. Only the Rt. Rear wheel cover is after market. This is not a perfect show car but it wouldn’t take much to be one. There are a few very small dings in the car. So small they probably won’t show in the pictures.”

That’s a lot of real estate devoted to tail lights. Mercury sold the Zephyr between 1978 and 1983 in several body styles including a wagon. The Z-7 Sport Coupe has to be the most famous one, or at least the most coveted one today. It was also the most popular one in 1979 with almost 43,000 examples being sold that year. A lot of Z-7 Sport Coupes had two-tone paint but this one doesn’t appear to, or at least in a highly-contrasting two-tone scheme. I can’t tell if the yellow/tan above and below the pinstriping is a shade darker or not.

This could be the only major cosmetic issue with this Z-7, the “Drivers Seat should be re-upholstered some day.” I want to see the seat to see what condition it’s in, that’s unfortunate that it’s covered up. The back seat looks perfect and even though we don’t see much of the interior other than a couple of other detail shots, they say that there are “No cracks in the dash, Headliner no tares [sic]. No animals. never smoked in.” In the photo of the back seat, what’s going on with the door jamb? It’s all original paint and upholstery according to the seller.

This clean looking engine is Ford’s 200 cubic-inch inline-six with 85 hp. The seller says that it’s been serviced recently and they “Just had the Carb. professionally rebuilt and it runs great.”It’s listed as a 27,725-mile car and it looks like this is a case where it actually could have that many miles and not 100,000 more than that. This engine looks too clean to have 127,000 miles on it to me. Any thoughts on this Zephyr Z-7 Sport Coupe?

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  1. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972Member

    Seems likely the mileage claimed is true though documentation would help. I think this is a good buy at the price; low mileage and it’s as clean inside and out as you would want. The driver’s seat is a minor issue but apparently it doesn’t have A/C, that’s a drawback to an otherwise very nice car. Of course, it’s an anemic six cylinder with an automatic but for $3,275, you can’t have everything. Too bad no A/C but I suppose you could add it to stay cool and drive even slower.

    Like 0
  2. MurrayMember

    Quite an oil build up behind the front hose on the engine as well as why is the seat ripped up and covered if it has only 20 some thousand miles. Still a nice car but I have to think it is 120k miles

    Like 1
  3. Dave in Arlington, TX

    Ford/Mercury Guys: that looks like an in-line speed sensor in the speedometer cable under the master cylinder in the engine photo. What was it being used for? Old GM tech is curious… Happy New Year everybody.

    Like 2
  4. Comet

    Perhaps a component of cruise control. Or maybe a gear reducer/enhancer allowing different axle/trans combinations among the model line? Just a guess.
    Happy new year back!

    Like 2
  5. LT1 Mike

    Cool cars, and no third brake light needed on taillights that big !! I’m always amazed at the cars that seemed to be EVERYWHERE, then disappeared, and then when you see one today you think, “hmmmm, they were pretty damn cool cars”! Nice find, keep ’em coming !!

    Like 2
  6. J PaulMember

    I remain fascinated that in the late 70s a manufacturer would differentiate its brands simply by changing the grill insert and taillight covers, and then everyone just shrugged their shoulders and (assumedly) got drunk.

    “Come see our exciting new Mercury! It’s almost exactly the same as the Ford, but a few bucks more expensive!”

    I have to wonder how much better American auto manufacturers would be positioned today if they hadn’t phoned in so much of their business in the 70s and 80s.

    Like 2
  7. Beatnik Bedouin

    My mother had one of these – same colour and all – albeit with A/C, which she really loved. She wanted to send the car to NZ to me when she decided to buy a new Taurus, but the shipping and import duties of the time were more than the car was worth!

    J Paul, the lack of brand differentiation was a result of development cost-cutting and trying to meet Federal emissions, safety and fuel economy mandates, in what was an increasingly competitive market, due to imports.

    It’s no different, today – have a look at domestic SUVs for proof. The idea that someone would start with the lowest-priced marque (e.g. Ford, Chevrolet and Plymouth) and then move up the ranks as the buyer became more affluent, is a distant memory.

    Like 0
  8. Curt k.

    It looks like it has ac to me.on the right side of motor you can see the ac lines.i dont think the power steering lines come out of the top of the pump..just my opinion…Thanx

    Like 0
  9. Sheffieldcortinacentre

    Just needs a coyote in it

    Like 3
  10. CanuckCarGuy

    Sweet little Mercury, and the colour on it is awesome…great price if the condition is as good as the pictures suggest. Drive it lightly and treat it right, this would be a nice long-term keeper.

    Like 0
    • Dwayne

      .. u m m. I had a 1979 Mercury Zephyr z7 several years ago in the mid to late ’80s looked a lot like this one except it had the automatic with 2.3 l 4 cylinder. Slow but reliable. Did not have the air conditioning and I do not remember the steering wheel being like this either. It was a very basic round Center with a single spoke to the right and left. Hard plastic and you had to hit the turn signal inward to make the horn work. That looks like a little bit later steering wheel from perhaps the from let’s 82 or 83 before they discontinued

      Like 0
  11. Rory McNeil

    That steel tubing is not A/C, but rather part of the reed valve/pulse air emission control plumbing. As for the signal generator in the speedo cable, it doesnot appear to have cruise control, but in the 70s, many Ford cars used a signal generator as part of the “DistOVac” vacuum advance system for ignition timing.

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      Rory McNeil, look at the steering wheel. the car was originally equipped with cruise control.

      Like 0
      • FordGal

        I actually had the Z7 two-tone brown/gold. It had factory air, AC, 4-speed automatic in the floor–and cruise. Many had the switches there, but not all opted for the top options. They were “blank” and not labeled unless the accessory was added.

        Like 0
  12. RITON

    Those tail lights are huge (I didn’t write ugly but…).

    Like 1
  13. Jim

    Coyote motor in it. I agree😊

    Like 1
  14. Wayne

    It does have cruise control. Please note dual throttle cables and cruise control steering wheel. The A/C at the time used the big (fuel economy/horse power eating) York compressor. It would be living on the left side of the engine hiding (from this view) the distributor. No way this is a 27,000 mile car. the door jamb shows it and the seat is the same one as in my Ford Durango. It has 90,000 miles, lived in the Nevada sun all it’s life AND sat outside with the driver’s door open for 15 years and still has no major faults. (Not so bad that you would feel the need to cover it up!) I worked at a Ford Mercury dealer in the mid and late eighties. The tail lights were broken so often that the original “stock pile”from Ford was used up and obsolete. That replacements were no longer available from about 1989. I was only able to find a replacement for my Ford Durango from a midwest wrecking yard after about a 2 year search. (From the Mercury Z7 not a Fairmont.) I like the Mercury horizontal better than the Ford vertical style lenses anyway.
    Still, a very nice car. I am very tempted.

    Like 0
  15. YellowjaxMember

    Did everybody sit around a table in the boardroom and design this sorry car? But then again if you like it for whatever reason that’s ok. To my eye this type of design was just begging for cars from overseas to take the lead.

    Like 0
  16. W9BAG

    Will Rogers once said “I never met a man I didn’t like”. When I was a kid, my Dad told me “you never saw a car you didn’t like”. Well, this one is THE one. The Fairmont/Zephyr platform was, IMO, the most hideous looking car ever made. Just to sound the horn, you pushed IN on the turn signal stalk. I mean, in the event of a serious horn event, who would do that ? Aerodynamics of a telephone booth. What was Ford thinking ? Ugliest car that America has ever made. I believe they were also offered with, like, a 3 HP diesel. Just kidding… NO appealing qualities whatsoever.

    Like 0

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