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Mercury Zephyr
Mercury Zephyr
Manufacturer Mercury
Parent company Ford Motor Company
Production 1978–1983
Assembly St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
Kansas City, Missouri
Mahwah, New Jersey
Hapeville, Georgia
Predecessor Mercury Comet
Successor Mercury Topaz
Class Compact
Body style(s) 2-door sedan
2-door coupe
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform Ford Fox platform
Engine(s) 140 in³ OHC I4
200 in³ Thriftmaster Six I6
255 in³ Windsor V8
302 in³ Windsor V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual
3-speed C3 automatic
3-speed C4 automatic
Related Ford Fairmont
Ford Granada
Ford Mustang
Ford Thunderbird
Lincoln Continental
Mercury Capri
Mercury Cougar
For other Ford related cars called Zephyr, see Ford Zephyr, Lincoln-Zephyr, and Lincoln Zephyr

The Mercury Zephyr was a compact car sold by the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Company in the North American market from 1978 to 1983. Along with its corporate cousin the Ford Fairmont, it was the first use of Ford's long-lived unibody Fox platform, which did not completely leave production until 2004.

Zephyr, taken from a poetic name for the west wind, has a considerable history in the Ford line. It was used in the late 1930s for a smaller, less expensive Lincoln, which provided the basis for the first Continental. Later on, it was used on a European Ford model. In 2006, it returned to the Lincoln line once again.

The Mercury Zephyr shared most of the Fairmont's characteristics, being available with four, six, or eight-cylinder engines and appearing in coupe, sedan, or station wagon form. At introduction, the Zephyr was most easily told from the Fairmont by its curved grille and four square headlights, Fairmonts having a flatter front and only two large square lights. Later, though, an adaptation of the Zephyr's four-light front was also used on Fairmonts. The Zephyr was outfitted with Ford's 'Ride Engineered' suspension package.

Along with regular 4- and 2-door sedans (and 4-door wagons) introduced in 1978, Mercury also released a limited production, uniquely styled 2-door version of the Zephyr called the Z-7, similar to the Fairmont Futura coupe (though later, the Fairmont Futura was available as a sedan and wagon, the Z-7 remained a 2-door only its entire span). The Z-7 was a 2-door coupe that featured a unique wrapover roof design, wraparound taillights and was usually equipped with either the I6 or V8 (very few Z-7s had the four-cylinder engine). Many Z-7 models included a two-tone paint job.

By 1982 and 1983, Zephyr options dropped off one by one (for example, no V8 engine was available in 1983) as the Marquis and Topaz were being readied for the market.

The Zephyr was reskinned and later sold as the mid-size version of the Mercury Marquis, which had previously been the flagship Mercury. The smaller Fox-based Marquis dropped the Zephyr's long-used 3.3 L I6 for 1984 and replaced it with the larger and more powerful 3.8 L "Essex" V6, but kept the same 2.3 L I4 as standard and the same 5.0 L V8 as an option. The Fox-based Marquis was replaced by the 1986 Mercury Sable.

The larger Panther-platform model was renamed the Grand Marquis, and continues to use the name to this day.

See also

External links

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