ur mystery No. 246 this month sees us back in 1950–’60s Britain again. A rather different view of a forward-control van, which poses the question of whether mechanics would have appreciated working on vehicles in this situation. What is the vehicle? Send your solution to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 15, with ‘Mystery Car 246’ in the subject line.
It looks like our mystery last month was so mysterious that it confused everybody — perhaps because we ran the wrong picture, which should have been a shot of the very low-production Ford Zephyr Mk II pickup. Which pickup was that, you ask? Most of us will be passably familiar with the Australian Ford Zephyr utility, sold in some numbers here in New Zealand, but our mystery was not, in fact, this car. It was Ford of Britain’s notquite-so-successful version, built first in November 1956, which remained on sale and appearing in catalogues through until August 1959, but, in that time, only 46 were built! Perhaps we can slot in the correct picture this month.
So, why such limited sales? Was it that the UK market at that time was not receptive to pickups? I don’t think that was the answer, as BMC featured pickups based on its A40/A50/55 and A70 ranges, and Standard likewise sold Vanguard-based pickups, though, as a car-mad youngster in 1950s rural Britain, I don’t remember seeing many pickups around. Perhaps Ford didn’t quite get the design right? Though the Zephyr pickup looked quite stylish, retaining the rear wing line of the MKII saloon, which, in its time, was quite simply one of the most handsome cars of the era. Perhaps that smart styling was at the expense of practical utility, restricting the depth of the load-carrying area. Another minus point came with the fold-down rear gate to the load tray — it allowed longer loads to be carried, but the number plate could not then be seen, which was illegal, of course, though it could have been easily fixed with a minor redesign. After the cool initial reception, maybe Ford just couldn’t be bothered changing the design or putting in much sales effort.
Ford Australia, with the benefits of its much greater experience in designing utes for the downunder market, addressed both the deficiencies noted here, and its ute, released a little later, retained the saloon’s wing line — but Ford’s design from Geelong raised the side height of the load area above the line of the wing. Pictures of the Aussie ute show this quite clearly. Extra-small windows let more light into the cab, too.
The Zephyr pickup retained the mechanical specs of the saloon MKII Zephyr, with the 2553cc six-cylinder motor, independent front suspension, leaf-sprung rear end, etc., and it probably weighed about the same, so performed in similar fashion.
Several of you identified Mystery Car No. 244, the sleek Panhard CD, in our June issue, but first out of the box was Tony Sparks of RD2, Albany.
engine (3,4) 5. Engines with this number of cylinders have been used with success by DKW, Saab, Suzuki, and Daihatsu, among others (5) 6. Classic of the future? Swatch-conception / Mercedes-design microcar and subcompact vehicle sold since 1998 (5) 9. 1960s model name for Renault’s four-cylinder coupé sold first as the ‘Floride’ in 1958 (9) 14. Christchurch engineer who designed and built a world-record-holding superbike in the early 1990s (7) 15. Ford of America’s full-size model from 1958/’59 through to 1974 — many millions were sold (7) 16. Italian car stylist, whose many credits include eight Lamborghinis, among them the Miura, Countach, and Diablo; the Lancia Stratos; and the Alfa Romeo Montreal (7) 19. See 8 across (5) 20. Late ’70s four-seater coupé from Lotus, 1975–’80 and 1980–’82, Lotus types 76 and 84. (5) 21. Slightly upmarket version (1968–’85) of Citroën’s economy classic 2CV, with body design input from Panhard after its takeover by Citroën: it sold nearly 1.5 million in its own right! (5)