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New Zealand Classic Car - - Automobilia -

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 ed­i­tor@clas­s­ic­car.co.nz 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)

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