Cold Start: No Grille, No Problem

Cs Zephyr Nogrille

Are you familiar with Ford of Britain’s Mk. IV Zephyr, the car in this brochure that the guy kind of looks like he’s pushing? They’re interesting! Built from 1966 to 1972, what I find most exciting about them is that they’re one of the few front-engined cars of their era that doesn’t have a huge front radiator grille. It’s a great, clean, grille-free look. So few cars had the ‘nads to go grille-free, so I’m going to showcase some of the ones that did every now and then. It’ll be good for us all, I promise.

The Mk IV Zephyr is also interesting because it shares some notable traits with an old British car I used to own: the Reliant Scimitar GTE. Like the Scimitar, the Zephyr used an Essex V6 engine (a Ford of Germany Taunus V4 was available, too) and like the Scimitar, the spare tire was shoved in front of the engine, freeing up room in the trunk.

Cs Zephyr Nogrille2

Damn, I love this clean, crisp front end! The air intake is below the bumper there, also like a Scimitar, and on higher trim models, Ford lost their bravery and stuck on a silly fake grille between the headlights. That’s a shame, I think, because there’s no shame in a grille-free face.

One more interesting Mk4 Zephyr detail:

Cs Zephyr Instrument

What the hell is this icon on the dash? It looks kinda like a sci-fi ray gun. Did these cars come equipped with death rays? Is that legal? Also, is that second icon from the left a layer cake?

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36 Responses

  1. The only icon I’m fairly confident in is what I believe to be the wipers. The rest I would figure out by pressing buttons while traveling at a high rate of speed and hoping for the best. Also, no external mirrors on the brochure but at least one extra one in the photograph? Interesting.

  2. Hmmm – recalling that this is a British car of the 1960’s I am figuring that the ‘raygun’ symbol is for invoking a major electrical problem in case the car fails to do so automatically, as designed.

    “Lucas, I am your failure”

    1. Y’all are right. Electric window washers
      Standard equipment across the range included an adjustable steering column, that spare wheel in the engine compartment, a heater and Aeroflow ventilation. On the plusher Zodiac, you also got electric window washers, two-speed wipers, a cigar lighter, rev counter, clock, ammeter, and reversing lights as standard

  3. Yes, more of this please. Do rear engine cars count? I like Corvairs, Beetles, X19’s and older 911’s if rear engine cars count. Also C2 & C3 Vettes almost don’t have a grill. My 66 A100 doesn’t either.

    Also, leave out any of the current EV’s. Seems like current designers haven’t figured out what to do yet. Especially TESLa.

  4. From left: Parking Lights, Convection Oven (not JUST for layer cakes, but mostly), Deflector Shields, Signal Flag, Electro Gun (early directed EMP device), Parking Light Launcher (the parking lights could be deployed ahead of the vehicle to provide better guidance and limited forward sensors).

    1. Unfortunately, at the time, the return guidance systems on the parking lights were kind of terrible, so you wanted a lot of spares. You were as likely to run one over as successfully return it to the port.

      1. I really want that second-from-the-left one to be the rear window defroster. B/c I voted this for this design in the discussion a few weeks back on what the symbol should rationally look like.

        But it’s probably actually tea cake warmer or something. Damn.

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