GRAFTERS: Mk1 Zephyr
Your projects: With his Dad, Jason addicted to Mk2 Zephyrs it wasn’t long before Jacob got the bug, too — now they’re building this period sleeper. “THIS CAR IS ONE WE ALL DREAM OF FINDING A 20,000 MILE ONE OWNER THAT’S BEEN IN STORAGE SINCE 1974”
Period sleeper build with Mays touches.
Corby-based Jason Blott is well known as a Mk2 devotee — his inventory of cars owned past and present is enviable. And naturally we’ve featured plenty, from his infamous 9-second ’56 Ute to the car he’s most passionate about: a black Zephyr that’s period correctly modified. But this one’s different — it’s a part-owner project with son, Jacob who can’t help but be almost as passionate about Z-Cars as his dad. And what an influence!
This car is the one we all dream of finding — the one-owner 20,000 miler that’s been wrapped up all cosy-like since 1974. A fantastic base to start with as the amount of repair it needed was absolutely minimal; bordering on zero. In fact the only bit of rot was in the exhaust and that was being replaced!
Naturally, with such an original car, the modifications to the shell need to be nonexistent, so it can be returned to original if it ever needs to be — which of course, it won’t — but it’s nice to have the option. There’s an envious tonne of period correct parts in there plus a little twist that brings the car bang up to date — we’ll let the two J’s explain what’s going on.
The shell was mint, but you’ve still restored it?
The whole car was very, very good — just as you’d want to find although the underside really needed a coat of love. Once stripped out completely to a shell, we attached it to a rollover jig, spun it over and shotblasted the underside a bit at a time. This we did at home using a portable blaster — a bit messy but if you work in sections, you can control it, which is how we talked it…
There really wasn’t anything, it just needed refinishing to protect it properly underneath, and the car’s totally amazing. The rest just needs a repaint to make it mint and it’s going to Rapid Refinishing in Kettering to get spot-on paint, which they seem to be very good at!
The colour’s rare on a Mk2 — Monaco Red, which is more a Mk3 colour, so it’s definitely staying.
The engine’s a bit special, then!
Oh yes. The basis is a 206E six-pot Zephyr engine that’s been bored to 2.7-litres featuring BDA pistons — six of them — plus alloy rods, a fully balanced and lightened crank, alloy flywheel and Chesman Engineering (who also supplied the rocker cover, www. chesmanengineering.co.uk) big wing, alloy sump, which really stiffens up the block — the cranks tend to whip a bit under high revs without! There’s a Kent high-lift cam in there too although the real topping’s the Raymond Mays alloy cylinder head with big valves. It’s a real one, but it’s been
“THE FLOORS ARE TOTALLY AMAZING — THEY JUST NEED REFINISHING TO PROTECT THEM PROPERLY”
completely refurbished. I absolutely love the period performance parts and you can’t really build a Mk2 without at least something Raymond Mays on it!
But there’s a modern twist?
Rather than a bank of triple Webers, which would have been nice, we decided on fuel injection, so the manifold’s from Chesman Engineering, but it’s fitted with a set of throttle bodies, which will be running on Emerald engine management. It’ll be interesting to see how well it drives compared to other more traditional forms of induction I’ve had in the past — my guess is that it’ll make all the difference in the world in drivability, along with around 200 bhp and a ton of straight-six torque to boot — literally!
There’s more to the drivetrain, right?
The gearbox is Zephyr three-speed manual but it’s got a new overdrive unit, which we’ll wire in so it has three normal and three electric overdriven gears. Because the car will sit so low, fellow Corby lad, Dave College from Retro Ford’s sorted a two-piece prop to hook it all up, running back to the standard back axle now fitted with 3.54:1 gears from a Mk3. Completing the lot is custom stainless exhaust, made by Simpson (www. simpsonraceexhausts.com), which features twin pipes. They really do a lovely job — it hugs the floor perfectly!
And Dave has done a bit more, too?
Yes, Dave’s had a massive hand in plenty of the fabricated parts, which has added to the idea of not modifying the shell. So he’s shortened the front struts by 4 inches and remade the internals, plus added an abutment kit so we can run 2.25 inch springs. This allows us to run about 5 inches lower than stock. There’s more he’s done too — we’re keeping the steering box, but Dave’s made the track control arms adjustable so we can properly set the geometry up using laser alignment.
Round the back, Dave’s decambered the springs, although we’ll run lowering blocks as well to get it on the floor, plus he’s in the midst of doing an adjustable telescopic damper conversion, too. Brakes are standard but servo assisted.
And the wheels?
We really think it needs steels and probably hubcaps, too — Retro Ford are well known for their trick fat steel wheels, which Dave converts from original centres using brand new hoops — this time in 7 inch wide pattern — although the Zephyr’s big bodywork will probably swallow them! At the moment, they’re black and they’ll probably stay that way albeit with period hubcaps.
What about the interior?
It’s often the case with cars that are laid up for ages that the interior really suffers but luckily, this wasn’t the case and it is absolutely mint, and finished in two-tone grey. It just has to go back in, albeit with a ton of period-correct performance stuff, including a chrome tacho and a few other touches.
Outside, the paint’s as we said, stock although the bumpers and brightwork’s good but it’ll get rechromed. I’m not a big fan of the stripped-out look, it needs all the bits it should have, so I’m prepared for a big chroming bill as it certainly isn’t cheap right now!
Car: 1962 Mk2 Zephyr Lowline Start condition: Standard example Condition now: Tail end of dummy build Time taken so far: Six months Estimated date of completion: July 2017
Name: Jason and Jacob Blott Age: 47 and 18 Job: Electrical Engineers Location: Corby, UK
Rare Raymond Mays alloy cylinder head being used is the real article. Steels are staying but now measure 7 inches.
Bored-out straight-six uses BDA pistons and is now a whopping 2.7-litres. Induction is taken car of by triple throttle bodies.
Front end uses a mix of period and period-modern parts.
Bespoke stainless-steel manifold is a work or art.
This Mk2 has been painted in later Monaco Red, but it’s original so it’s staying.
This Zephyr will run low, so the stainless-steel exhaust has been fabricated to hug the (über-mint) floor as closely as possible.
The Mk2’s struts have been shortened and converted to feature adjustable platforms.