Home Forums CCC Forum Mercury Zephyr Wagon Custom

This topic contains 15 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Torchie 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #50960

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    I haven’t done an update on my 1981 Mercury Zephyr Wagon in quite awhile. I bought it in November of 2015 with just 54K on the odometer. It was a straight, clean driver. I spent the first 3 months on improving the mechanicals and have been driving it ever since.

    While it was built long after the 1st custom era ended, it is remarkable how much the body construction is virtually identical to the sixties compacts.

    The mechanicals and suspension are Fox-body Mustang, so everything including lowering kits are available and cheap. The engine is the 200 ci Falcon six dating to 1960! Old-style dress up parts are available, too.

    My goal has been do it as a sixties-style custom. Remove all the 80s paraphernalia like rubber bumper guards, elephant ear side mirror, and very square grille and headlights and replace them with something more appropriate.

    I have been searching for parts and doing digital alterations since I got it to help me visualize changes. Here it is when I bought it and the direction it’s headed.

    Zephyr ZA Zephyr 01

    #50962

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    I think the grille and headlights should set the tone for the rest of the work, so I have done literally hundreds of renderings. I really like the old practice of swapping parts to create something new and fresh. I didn’t want to rehash old ideas, but I wanted something untried.  Biggest question for me was dual or quad headlights. Here are a few of the ideas I came up with:  ’64 Galaxie, Chrysler 300, ’60TBird, ’64 GTO, ’73 Firebird, and ’64 Comet.

    64 Galaxie cutZ Merc Comet 300 XZephyr 60Tbird 021964 GTO Kustom 02Zz 72 Comet 71 Firebird 0364 Merc Comet

    #50963

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    Two weeks ago, I spotted a 1968 Fairane/Ranchero grille on Ebay and bought it. It was a little grotty, but fixable.

    A tad too wide with the stock headlight sections, but I figured I could trim it.  Three days later, up popped a perfect set of ’68 Imperial headlight rings – my favorites ever since I saw Jimmie Vaughan’s ’63 Riviera 20+ years ago. Sal Vega used the same set on his Rivi, too. I hadn’t been able to score a set after years of looking. Then Bingo: $30.00 on Ebay and they were mine.

    Gotta run. More pics to follow.

    #51006

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    About a year ago I yanked out the grille to see what was behind it and what might work. I taped up some headlight rings and started to visualize a new front.

    SAM_0359

    #51014

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    Here’s what the assembled pieces look like perched on the front bumper. The center bars are vee’d and match the prow on the hood perfectly. There should be enough room to recess the grille an headlights, too.

    IMG_20170609_160233322

    #51018

    Torchie
    Participant

    Lots of Ideas. I may be in the minority here, but it will  be fun to watch some one do some custom work on a newer style car.

    Take what you have and make it your own. That’s the true spirit of customizing. 🙂

    Torchie

    #51040

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    Thanks, Torchie. That’s the spirit!

     

    #51048

    Tom Kelly
    Participant

    Are you sure about the round lights Dave?

    I was thinking about stacked rectangle headlights rather than side by side? Maybe even split grill and painted centre bar down the centre , sort of like a Pontiac?

     

    #51082

    Torchie
    Participant

    Are you sure about the round lights Dave? I was thinking about stacked rectangle headlights rather than side by side? Maybe even split grill and painted centre bar down the centre , sort of like a Pontiac?

     

    I love the Chrysler head light bezels.  As far as the grill goes I would look for some sort of single floating bar and maybe back it perforated patterned metal.

    Or perhaps more of a late 50’s early 60’s custom look with the drawer pull grill.

    Keep at it.

    Torchie

    #51090

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    Tom, the grille opening is 62″ x 8″, so stacked, or even canted quads won’t work, but I did do renderings with a Pontiac-style split grille. Looked good, too!

    Torchie,  way ahead of you. If I go with the Fairlane grille center, it will be with bars polished and back section blacked out, to look like floating bars. Probably with some bullets added.

    The ’68 Chrysler bezels were what I had wanted all along, to be used with blackout perforated mesh and bullets or cabinet pulls as you suggested. I finally gave up looking for a set and bought the Fairlane grille. Two days later the Chrysler bezels appeared on Ebay and I jumped on them!  So may go back to the perf metal and bullets idea.

    Anybody know what I can use for the actual headlights and buckets? (Aside from the original Chrysler Imperial, which I don’t have).

     

    #51097

    Torchie
    Participant

    Great minds think alike Dave. 🙂

    What size are the headlights? And are you wanting to use separate buckets for each light or a duel headlight bucket set up?

    If you were able to use a separate bucket for each bulb you may have more options.

    You may just have to find a junk yard (If there is one near you) and go hunting

    Torchie

    #51098

    Torchie
    Participant
    #51137

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    Torchie:  Thanks for jogging my memory.

    The answer was right under my nose, or to be precise, under my workbench. I remembered I had a complete set of ’63 Ford headlights I had picked up with a batch of stainless last year. So I yanked them out:

    6″ lenses – check.

    Staggered fore and aft – check.

    Dropped on the bezels – looks like it will work…with a little work.

    63 Ford Quad 0163 Ford Quad 0268 Imp Bezel

     

    #51139

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    I spent some time cleaning up the Fairlane grille with some Bon Ami, 600 grit paper, and a bit of WD40. Shine came up nicely.

    69 Fairlane 00

    #51140

    Dave Tartaglia
    Participant

    Here are a few ideas I photoshopped:

    Combo Grilles 00

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