picture postDouble Take: 1978-83 Mercury Zephyr

1978-83 Mercury Zephyr 4-door sedan banner


1978-83 Mercury Zephyr 4-door sedan

This Mercury Zephyr has been parking here since my childhood. Judging by the expired tags and bed of arugula, it’s been dormant for several years now. I’ve never happened across anyone to inquire about it. (Though, while taking these photographs, the neighbor’s garage opened just long enough for me to spot the front of a mid-1980s Monte Carlo SS. Now, that’s a door worth knocking on. But this is about a Mercury.)


1978 Mercury Zephyr ad

For the 1978 model year, Mercury replaced its Ford Maverick-based Comet with the Fairmont-based Zephyr as their mid-size offering. Though Zephyr’s design departure from the Comet was dramatic, it wasn’t dramatically styled. Quite the opposite.


1978-83 Mercury Zephyr 3-box graphic

Stylistically it was literal three-box design.


1978-83 Mercury Zephyr 4-door sedan

This Zephyr model is a four-door sedan but it was also produced in two-door sedan, Z-7 coupe, and wagon configurations. Two-door sedans shared a roof line with the four-door but the Z-7, a companion to Ford’s Fairmont Futura coupe, had a unique slant to its rear windows and back end which also featured wrap-around taillights.


1978-83 Mercury Zephyr 4-door sedan

On the topic of taillights, for Zephyr, Mercury seemingly explored the depths of mediocrity. However, they did go through the trouble of putting horizontal lines within the rectangle lenses (Ford’s rectangles were divided by vertical lines).


1978-83 Mercury Zephyr 4-door sedan

Their blocky appearance always caused me to see these as scaled-up Lego cars or real-life versions of an anonymous vehicle from a 64-bit video game. Though, its blandness has contributed to graceful aging.


1978-83 Mercury Zephyr 4-door sedan

I was unable to determine the exact year of this car since it appears there were no externally visual changes made to the Zephyr while it was produced, from 1978 to 1983. It was replaced by the all-new Ford Tempo-based Topaz, introduced for 1984.