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Classic YouTube: Bob Mayer Versus The 1978 Mercury Zephyr

Classic YouTube: Bob Mayer Versus The 1978 Mercury Zephyr

The aspirations were high for the platform that debuted in 1978 as the Fox chassis. Originally meant to be a “world car” design that would replace the American Ford Falcon and Pinto, the European Ford Escort, the UK-based Cortina and the Germany-based Taunus, the Fox chassis proved to be the first strong test for Ford regarding a platform that could meet all of the different regulatory requirements each world zone had regarding cars. Sometime around 1974, that plan was abandoned, but with the different wheelbase lengths made, the Fox was still going to get heavy use by Ford. And it certainly did…over fifteen years’ worth of cars came out of the first form and with the SN-95 Mustang’s platform improvement program, the updated unit added an additional decade to it’s lifespan. Not bad for 1970s design.

Well, maybe. The Fox chassis is certainly loved due to it’s tie-in with the Ford Mustang, the NASCAR and NHRA connections with the Thunderbird, and the surprisingly Euro-like Lincoln LSC, but the first cars to appear were simply meant to replace the Ford Maverick/Mercury Comet twins and to be mid-size cars, bread and butter machines for everyday families. The Mustang showed up a year later. We had a 1978 Ford Fairmont for a time as a family car, baby blue with the finned hubcaps, 200ci six, and column-shifted automatic and the most memorable thing I can say about that car is that it served it’s purpose. It wasn’t a rocket, it wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t even a style home run. It was a brick that was light as a feather compared to some other 1978 Fords, and it was a first step in a direction Ford desperately needed to take. But it also showed up just in time for “peak Malaise” and did it ever show. Bob Mayer, WTVJ’s chipper yet brutally honest car reviewer, took a Mercury Zephyr out for a spin and gave his thoughts. Not surprisingly, over forty years later, that damn glove compartment latch is still a problem on most every Fox body I’ve ever encountered…

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2 thoughts on “Classic YouTube: Bob Mayer Versus The 1978 Mercury Zephyr

  1. 71C10SWB

    My parents had a 78 Mercury Zephyr wagon. Dark blue with the faux wood panels. When I was a kid, I tried to imagine everything as a drag car. I really wanted to do the same to it, but that was before wagons were cool. We eventually traded it for a Ford Tempo…I can’t say it was an upgrade.

  2. BigDogSS

    In 1979, I took my driver’s test to get my license at 16 in my Mother’s 1978 Zephyr Z-7. Great car!

    I had dreams of throwing all of the Fox-body related performance parts on that car, including a 5.0/T5!

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