VHS or Betamax? Beatles or the Stones? Zephyr or Zodiac?

The Ford Zephyr Zodiac

VHS or Betamax? Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Take That or Boyzone? Ford Zephyr or Ford Zodiac?

Ok, I may be overstating the last one a bit, but for some this was a serious debate. There would have been many a playground argument as to which you preferred. But now I bring a solution. How about the Ford Zephyr Zodiac?

You are probably wondering why I am wittering on about this car. Well, it all started a few weeks ago while I was reading the Spring 1954 edition of Lancashire Life. I was not at the dentist but actually researching some articles. This particular edition has articles on famous lancastrians Kathleen Ferrier and Jessica Lofthouse. At the back I noticed a review of the Ford Zephyr Zodiac which caught my eye especially as the reviewer had some interesting ways of testing the car!

He starts by testing the handling and proclaiming that he ‘only let the speedometer fall below fifty when safety for other road users dictated it’. Surprisingly, for such a big car it only had three gears! No problem for our man though who found that ‘one can drop to five miles per hour on quite steep hills in [third] gear and then accelerate without a shudder…and 63 m.p.h. was possible in second without any undue strain’. The brakes also met with the seal of approval after he decided ‘to slam the brakes on at 80 m.p.h. as hard as possible, on a wet road, without any ill effect.’

My favourite part of the review has to be his opinion on some of the new gadgets included in the car. These include a windscreen washer, cigar lighter, reversing light and clock.

But what was his highlight of the car? This would be the novel trafficators which flash on mounted side lights to indicate which way you were turning which helpfully ‘also [had] a novel ticking noise when the signals are operating and a warning light on the instrument panel.’

With this review in mind, would I go for a Zephyr, a Zodiac or a Zephyr Zodiac? To be honest, if it has a two-toned body and white walled tires I really couldn’t care.


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Blackburn Museum can be found in Blackburn, Lancashire. It houses objects documenting Blackburn's industrial past as well as a world class collection of Fine Art, Japanese prints, Icons, Numismatics and Manuscripts. Come and visit us to find out more.

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