Ford Zodiac Mark III
|1962 to 1966|
|Production||1962-1966 77,323 made.|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door saloon 5-door estate (conversion)|
|Engine||2,553 cc (156 cu in) straight-6|
|Wheelbase||107 in (2,718 mm)|
|Length||182.75 in (4,642 mm)|
|Width||69 in (1,753 mm)|
|Height||56.75 in (1,441 mm)|
|Curb weight||2,828 lb (1,283 kg)|
The Zodiac was an upmarket version of the Zephyr 6, but differed considerably from that model by the limousine-type rear doors, sharper roofline (with narrower C-pillar) and tail, unique grille (four headlights instead of two), exclusive bumper bars, plusher seating, and up-market upholstery, dashboard and interior fittings. A choice of individual or bench front seat was available trimmed in leather or cloth. The front doors and bonnet panels were shared with the Zephyr 6. The Executive version had extra luxury fittings again. The 2553 cc single-carburettor six-cylinder engine was improved internally to increase the power output to 109 bhp and a new four-speed all synchromesh transmission with column change was fitted. The brakes, servo assisted, use discs at the front and drum at the rear.
A Mk III saloon tested by the British The Motor magazine in 1962 had a top speed of 100.7 mph (162.1 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 13.4 seconds. A touring fuel consumption of 22.6 miles per imperial gallon (12.5 L/100 km; 18.8 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1070 including taxes on the UK market.
Ford New Zealand built the Zephyr 4 and 6 as well as the Zodiac locally from CKD kits, offering only the bench front seat option finished in vinyl. Automatic transmission, introduced late in the life of the Mk II, was again available but was a rare factory option as most buyers chose manual.
As well as the 'Zephyr 6', Ford NZ built a six-cylinder 'Zephyr Special' with a lower equipment level and deletion of the boot lid trim strip and other exterior brightwork which was sold to fleet operators such as the government.
The big Fords were unusual in having four-speed manual gearboxes when rivals, including Ford's own Falcon, had only three speeds. Building the top luxury Zodiac model locally again also gave Ford a supply advantage over key rivals such as Vauxhall whose upmarket Cresta was only ever sold fully imported and much harder to obtain than the locally assembled Velox.