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Jun4

Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z-7

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1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 in California wrecking yard, RH view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIn between the homely Ford Maverick/Mercury Comet and the punitively sensible Ford Tempo/Mercury Topaz, the folks at Dearborn provided North Americans with the Ford Fairmont and its Mercury sibling, the Zephyr, as reasonably modern rear-wheel-drive compact commuter machines. For those car shoppers wanting to get a bit devilish with their selections, Ford dealers offered the Fairmont Futura coupe, while your local Mercury store had the Zephyr Z-7 coupe.

Here’s a tan-beige-brown Zephyr Z-7 in a Northern California self-service wrecking yard.

1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 in California wrecking yard, hood ornament - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Z-7 came with plenty of Malaise Era decorative stuff, including “rich, Corinthian Vinyl” bucket seats, paint stripes, and this disco-style hood ornament.

1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 in California wrecking yard, engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsMechanically, it’s a first-year Fox Platform car, built a year before the Mustang became a Fox. Zephyr buyers could choose between a 2.3-liter straight-four, a 3.3-liter straight-six, and a 5.0-liter V8, rated at 88, 85, and 134 horsepower, respectively (the six offered 154 lb-ft of torque versus the Pinto four’s 118, so it wasn’t quite as miserable a choice as the lackluster horsepower number suggests). This car has the V8.

1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 in California wrecking yard, 8-track radio - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe top-of-the-line factory audio system for the ’78 Z-7 played 8-track tapes, of course, and it cost a breathtaking $243 (about $1,000 in 2019 dollars). Just the thing for listening to Sweet!

1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 in California wrecking yard, instrument cluster - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI thought about pulling the clock for my extensive collection, but the difficulty of disassembling a Malaise Ford’s dash without breaking everything (busting parts in a rare old car is a violation of the Junkyard Code) prevented me from doing so. These cars were designed to be assembled quickly and cheaply, not disassembled later on, so getting to the gauges without shattering countless low-bidder one-way plastic tabs borders on the impossible.

1978 Mercury Zephyr Z7 in California wrecking yard, steering wheel - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsPlenty of good parts remain for the Bay Area Fox coupe restorer.


Melody Anderson suggests that you put a charge in your life, baby, with the Zephyr Z-7 and/or Cougar XR-7.

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– Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z-7 –

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