At $6,750, Will This 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z-7 Blow You Away?

At $6,750, Will This 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z-7 Blow You Away?

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mercury is named after Zephyrus, the Greek God of the westerly wind; a name also employed by Lincoln in the 1930s. Let’s see if this classic coupe comes with a price that’s just as refreshing as its name.

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There’s a scene in the hokey and shockingly poorly made 2022 film Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend in which Ferruccio Lamborghini, in a flamboyant blue V12 Countach, dices it up with Enzo Ferrari, the latter driving a contemporary but laughably less impressive or powerful V8 Mondial. The audio for both cars seems to be some off-the-shelf American V8 sound.

That movie was just another ignominy thrust upon the Mondial, the current pre-heroic Rudolph to Ferrari’s other reindeer. That might have dulled the appreciation of last Friday’s 1992 Ferrari Mondial cabriolet, but such tainted history was countered by a handsome color combination and mechanical condition that the seller described as “Tight, tight, tight!” At $64,500, however, few of you were willing to overlook the car’s position as the red-headed stepchild of the Ferrari family, with the result being a 75 percent No Dice loss to end our week.

Many of us consider the Foxbody Mustang to be one of the most versatile and best bang-for-your-buck cheap-seats performance platforms ever created. But how many of us remember that it wasn’t the Mustang that debuted the long-serving and ubiquitous RWD Fox platform in 1979, but the Ford Fairmont and sister Mercury Zephyr family cars that debuted a full year earlier?

As long-serving and far-reaching as the Fox platform did become, Ford had even more grandiose plans for it. Initial development for the platform began at the start of the 1970s, with Ford seeing the pressing need to replace its U.S. market Maverick, a model riding on a platform that could trace its roots all the way back to the Falcon of 1960. At the same time, the company’s European operations looked at its German market Taunus and UK-built Cortina, both of which were also getting long in the tooth, and said in various accents, “Let us get into that game as well.” The logistics of dealing with a myriad of local market regulations with one base platform proved too unwieldy for the time, and Ford chose instead to keep the Fox for the U.S. and let the subsidiaries across the pond go do their own thing.

Upon its debut for the 1978 model year, the Fox platform was already showing its flexibility, underpinning a sedan, four-door wagon, and not just one but two two-door variants. Not only that, but the company mirrored its product line between Ford (the Fairmont) and Mercury (the breezily-named Zephyr) to cover all its bases.

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This 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z-7 is one of those two two-door models, although the design, with its unique Thunderbird-inspired basket handle roofline, didn’t debut at the Zephyr’s launch. Instead, it arrived several months later as a sportier adjunct to the standard greenhouse two-door sedan.

Ford had used the Zephyr nameplate on pre-war Lincoln models as well as on the British-built Ford Zephyr of the 1950s and ’60s. This would be Mercury’s first and last application of the name, although it would return to Lincoln for a short time in the mid-aughts, anointing a Ford Fusion-based mid-sized sedan.

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The Mercury Zephyr served the company for six model years, during which time it was made available with a choice of four-cylinder, six-cylinder, or V8 power. This one is a Mama Bear middle-of-the-pack car sporting the 200 CID (3.2-liter) “Thriftpower” OHV inline six. Ford’s straight-six engines are legendary for their longevity, and the only thing damning this edition is its laughable 85 horsepower output. This was the 1970s, after all.

Backing up that meager stable is a three-speed C4 automatic driving the coil-sprung live rear axle. McPherson struts provide damping in the front, although much of the work that makes the Fox platform such a performer was still years in the future when this car was built.

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Aesthetically, this Z-7 seems to be in tired but reasonably nice shape. It’s a bit hard to tell since the photos in the ad were apparently shot using one of those drugstore disposable cameras that was probably as old as the car.

Regardless, the mint green paint lacks luster but is accented nicely by twin side stripes and a two-section green vinyl roof which is a wonderful bit of kitsch. Whitewall tires are mounted on factory alloy wheels, the latter being an amazing option on an American car of this era.

The interior shows more wear, with seams splitting on the driver’s cushion, but in another throwback, that cushion is part of a front bench seat with center armrest. When was the last time you saw one of those in a coupe?

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Other elements of the interior look to have held up well, although the driver’s door suffers the typical door lever spring-back wear that afflicts all these cars. On the plus side, the seller says the car runs well and has been recently detailed, so it should be clean and fairly turnkey. No mention is made of the age of the tires or other consumables in the ad, although it is noted that the car was owned by a couple who shared it into late age. The ad also affirms that it comes with a clean title and shows it wearing current tags on its wonderfully old-school blue and gold California plates. What might someone throw down for such a throwback?

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The asking price is $6,750, and considering the ad has been up for more than three weeks, the seller obviously needs our help in determining whether that price is a factor in the car’s lack of movement.

What do you say? Is this Zephyr worth that $6,750 asking as it’s presented in the ad? Or does that price just blow?

You decide!

San Francisco Bay Area, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Don R. for the hookup!

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