1979 Mercury Zephyr 2dr Box Top

massacre

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I know this isn't a T-Bird or Cougar or MKVIII. And it is a Fox chassis. But it's not a Mustang so i had asked a while back if it was OK to post here.

1979 Mercury Zephyr 2dr sedan in Dark Canyon Red. Interior is also red. Car was built in NJ, sold in CT and ended up in southern MA.
Straight 6, automatic, power steering, power brakes, 7.5" rearend with highway gears, single exhaust. That's it for options. No AC, no trunk light, no underhood light, even the pass door does not turn on the dome light. Crank windows, the HVAC controls are all cables. No intermittent wipers, very bare bones. 4 lug, drum rear and tiny 9" front rotors. 13 or 14 inch wheels, i forget which.
I bought the car as a roller, no engine/trans/driveshaft but everything else was there. Kid i bought if off was going to LS swap it.

First order of business- Team Z tubular K member and control arms, 94-95 spindles, 10-way adjustable Strange coilovers, C/C plates, bump steer kit and rack bushings. New rack, borgeson steering shaft. 1/4" K member spacers.
Swapped in a 1991 fox 8.8, 4.10 gears, auburn style diff and yukon axles. MAC diff brace. North race cars rear caliper brackets/calipers/rotors. Team Z double adjustable upper and lower control arms with spherical bushings in the housing. Team Z drag springs. Strange 10-way adjustable shocks. Stifflers trans X member and driveshaft loop. Parking brake cables are from Lokar.

Engine is a Teksid with terminator heads and Mach1 intake. Engine has some mods but nothing ridiculous. Trans is 2001 4r70w that has been gone through and 3600 stall converter. Driveshaft is custom made. Lokar shifter mounted on floor (was originally column). Exhaust is just stock exhaust manifolds, BBK catted X and modified Flowmaster catback and super 44 mufflers/tailpipes.

Car has all brand new nicopp brake lines and fittings. Hydroboost brake booster with MM install kit and pedal. Braided stainless front brake hoses. Front calipers are aluminum twin piston, rears iron single piston. Basically 99-04 mustang GT size brakes.
Car stops really well, it is very light about 2800lb.

Originally had the car running/driving on a 1994 MKVIII ECM and SCT chip from Lonnie. That tune never ran right and of course Lonnie blamed me for it once he got paid which is a story in itself. Decided to ditch the factory ECU and wiring and got a Holley Term X Max and have been very happy ever since. I took the car out of storage yesterday, started right up after sitting since october, drove 60 miles home with no issues. It is not a race car, it is just a really fun street car. The "smiles per gallon" are off the charts.

The bad stuff-
The car sat outside at some point, the cowl drains had gotten blocked up and rotted the cowl right above the gauge cluster. Also had small leak at lower drivers windshield pillar. Someone had thankfully removed the carpet, which probably saved the car. Also rotted hole below the back window where the trunk weatherstripping goes, which i still have not fixed yet. 2 small holes in both toe boards up front which i fixed. I did remove the windshield and the cowl, cut out the old rotted metal and welded in new. That was a big job but it came out good.
The interior is a train wreck, dash pad is roached. I have a new black carpet for it but need to get subframe connectors installed first. I chucked the bench seat. Wanted to keep it but it smelled pretty bad from the water that had obviously been in the car at some point.
Put a set of 99 Mustang bucket seats in it, they bolted right in. Rear seat was also smelly, my buddy gave me the back seat out of his Fairmont which is much better. It still needs a headliner. Package tray is a mess.
 
How i got it


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Eric you are really making me want a Turbo Coupe now, I'm jealous, that thing is beautiful
 
I’m not sure how strong the repro supply is but 4 eye Mustangs use an almost identical dash to the fairmonts so sourcing that stuff could be pretty easy


Love everything about it, LS swaps in Fox chassis cars is beyond boring to me
 
This is amazing. Can't remember the last time I saw a box top.
 
I’m not sure how strong the repro supply is but 4 eye Mustangs use an almost identical dash to the fairmonts so sourcing that stuff could be pretty easy


Love everything about it, LS swaps in Fox chassis cars is beyond boring to me

Yes, the Mustang dashes are close, but to those in the know it is immediately obvious. I use the Holley 3.5" touchscreen for gauges anyways. The only stock gauges that i use are the gas gauge, speedometer and idiot lights.
That 1970s plastic is just so brittle, i had to remove and install the dash a couple of times and it just kept cracking/breaking. It matches the car though. I love the fact that people do not look twice at this car. Flying under the radar. The wheels are Lincoln MarkVII LSC wheels, even those seem to fit the look of the car as well.

Thanks for the kind words guys, 4 eye Mustangs are cool, but seeing a Fairmont or Zephyr is much more rare nowadays. People have asked me if it's a Malibu before lmao.

The car i built before this one, i really took a lot of time to make sure everything was "perfect", and it ended up taking forever and at the end of it all it wasn't worth it (to me).
The mindset with this car was "get it running and drive it", i'm so glad i approached it that way.
Can't work on the car year-round, so it took me i think 3 years to get to this point. Car has never been driven in the rain (by me) it goes into storage from Oct to April. Did this all in my shitty 2-car garage with no lift. The garage is so narrow that i could not open both doors at the same time. Had to push the car out and turn it around and push it back in to work on the other side. It is dark like a cave, and is a literal oven in the summer.

It's not perfect but it is OK and good enough for now. Still have to fix an exhaust leak and finish the interior and some small stuff.
The car pulls hard with 26" tall tire and 4.10 gears and light weight with the converter and the high RPM of the 4v. Very happy with the combo.

ETA: the one thing i really don't like about the car is- no passenger mirror. The day i bought the car, i ordered a pass mirror from ebay. I went to install it, and was dumbfounded. There was only glass where the bolts should go through. I should have known why, but it didn't occur to me at the time.
The pass mirror was an option, the pass side window glass is shaped differently for a car that did not have the mirror option. I took off the drivers mirror and stuck my hand right through!
I might try to find a "mirror glass" window and fabricate the bracket to mount the mirror. I do like that it doesn't have one, but i don't really feel that safe without it.
 
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I think it’s kind of cool with just the driver side mirror, the fairmont must have been one of the last cars where the passenger mirror was an option. But yeah I’d probably be a little sketched out without it never having even driven a car without both mirrors.

I was tying to figure out where those wheels came from, they looked so familiar but I couldn’t place them, normally when I think Mark VII LSC I think of the snowflake pattern (BBS style) wheels, not the turbines.
 
I think it’s kind of cool with just the driver side mirror, the fairmont must have been one of the last cars where the passenger mirror was an option. But yeah I’d probably be a little sketched out without it never having even driven a car without both mirrors.
No, you could get lower end cars with no passenger mirror well into the 90s. Actually the EX trim level on Honda Civics and Accords originally referred to having the extra mirror.
 
I think it’s kind of cool with just the driver side mirror, the fairmont must have been one of the last cars where the passenger mirror was an option. But yeah I’d probably be a little sketched out without it never having even driven a car without both mirrors.

I was tying to figure out where those wheels came from, they looked so familiar but I couldn’t place them, normally when I think Mark VII LSC I think of the snowflake pattern (BBS style) wheels, not the turbines.

I got used to 2 mirrors driving hazmat CDL trucks. I really only get sketched out backing up.
I always liked the LSC turbine wheels. I got these for free from my cousin, and they fit.
 
I hope we get a walkaround, and maybe even a driving video :biggrin:
 
I learned the hard way that I cannot back up using a mirror now, lol. My Cougars kissed corner to corner. Mikey, I still owe you for the Taillight. :)

I used to put a delivery van that was huge into a loading dock without bumping it. In the 80's, lol. :rofl:
 
Great build! Love what you have done! Glad you posted. I worked on many fairmonts back in High School. Just don't see them now. Fantastic!
 
I got used to 2 mirrors driving hazmat CDL trucks. I really only get sketched out backing up.
I always liked the LSC turbine wheels. I got these for free from my cousin, and they fit.

I like them better on your Zephyr than I do on LSCs. There's a subtle sleeper look to them that fits the sleeper body better than on the LSCs, and yeah you can't beat that price!
 
One unique thing about my car, is that it has this "flat wire" stuff for the wiring at the rear of the car. Taillights, reverse lights, etc. use a flat paper-like wiring harness rather than a traditional harness. Not sure what other Fords used this arrangement, but it's the first time i have seen it. It is definitely factory.


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That's a flex circuit; they came in in the 90's. You see them inside a lot of electronics.They're as reliable as wires, but the end terminations go bad.
 
massacre, The car looks amazing!

A member of the Foxbody Club of Connecticut just got his hands on a Fairmont Station Wagon with a Capri nose. I believe he is putting a SBF with a manual transmission in it for the Hot Rod tour.
 
massacre, The car looks amazing!

A member of the Foxbody Club of Connecticut just got his hands on a Fairmont Station Wagon with a Capri nose. I believe he is putting a SBF with a manual transmission in it for the Hot Rod tour.

That sounds like a neat mashup, I always liked the Capri nose better, and I imagine it’s boxier shape would look better on the fairmont body. The sleek Mustang noses always looked a little gaudy as retrofits
 
massacre, The car looks amazing!

A member of the Foxbody Club of Connecticut just got his hands on a Fairmont Station Wagon with a Capri nose. I believe he is putting a SBF with a manual transmission in it for the Hot Rod tour.

Thanks for the compliment.
 
I wonder if that wiring ribbon was there up to the 82s or if it was a early 78-79 thing. Ford's "better ideas" often were short lived :tongue:
 
You can fix one if you're good at soldering; You cleay the insulation off the bad area, and bridge the wire break with solder, and 20 awg wire.Without melting the insulation. cover the solder places with tape.
If those get a heavy weight placed on top of them, it will eventually break the wires. Something like the jack ruins those.
My sis had an 82 Capri 5.0. I drove it to work one day; it was a blast! That was the first car I drove with a moonroof.
 

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