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Thread: 79 Mercury Zephyr

  1. #1
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Default 79 Mercury Zephyr

    I know this isnít a Panther, but I hope thatís OK.

    When the frame rot on my Aero MGM became too severe, I had to face reality. Was a tough decision but ultimately I think I made the right choice. Finding a mint Aero chassis that wasnít rusted/rotted was an impossible task. I didnít want to use a newer chassis. The best course of action was to say goodbye to my MGM, and swap the engine and trans into a different vehicle.

    I sat on the project until a proper chassis donor turned up- a 79 Mercury Zephyr rolling chassis. It was cheap and basically complete and unmodified except for having no engine or transmission, no drive shaft and parking brake cables cut. Someone removed the carpet at some point, which saved the floor pans.
    The Zephyr has the advantage of actually being able to fit in my garage, as the MGM was too long to fit. So I had to rent a bigger garage, and work on the MGM remotely which was a pain in the ass.

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    I knew that I wanted to use tubular k member and control arms and coil overs, the car was a 6 cylinder auto so the stock k member is not easily converted for v8 use. Car also had a 7.5Ē rear which would not hold up to the 300rwhp that the engine makes. I knew I wanted disc brakes all around and a 5 lug swap.
    Parts installed are from team z racing, I have used their suspension parts on my mustang and had very good results.

    Tubular K member, tubular control arms(1Ē shorter control arms to keep fox track width) 1/4Ē k member spacers
    Strange 10-way adjustable coil overs, offset rack bushings, bump steer kit, 95 mustang spindles, caster/camber plates.
    Brakes are aluminum 2 piston 99-04 calipers and 99-04 GT rotors. The cobra brakes are too big to fit under the wheels I want to use, and these cars are light enough that Iím not concerned about stopping power.

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    Rear suspension consists of double adjustable upper and lower team z rear control arms, 10-way strange shocks and team z drag springs. Also swapped in a 91 mustang 8.8Ē rear end, cut off the quad shock brackets and had it rebuilt with an auburn diff and 4.10 gears. I used a kit from north race cars to mount 99-04 rear brakes and 5 lug axles. Pic is from a test fit, before the new rear suspension parts were installed.

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    Here is how the car looked after the new suspension and brakes were installed with the new wheels

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  2. #2
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Next step was removing the drivetrain from the MGM and installing it in the fox.

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    Clears stock hood
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    The car is put away for the winter, looking forward to springtime to get back at it!

    Couple more pics

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    I had to remove the windshield and cowl to repair some rust/rot. Was rotted through and leaking. Also had to replace part of the pass side frame rail, as the battery leaked. Was a lot of work but I am happy with it.

    Gas tank is brand new, itís an Ď86 LTD wagon tank with 255lph pump installed for return style EFI. The old tank was not useable as it was set up for carb.

    Parking brake cables are all new, used a Lokar kit to fit the rear discs as they attach differently than the drum style. Again this was a test fit with the original rear end and parts still installed

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    Here is pic of how rear suspension turned out

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  3. #3
    Member of the Orb Alliance packman's Avatar
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    This is awesome!

  4. #4
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Some pics of the cowl repair

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  5. #5
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Frame rail repair

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  6. #6
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by packman View Post
    This is awesome!
    Thank you very much!
    ..

  7. #7
    GMN Regular Giraffe's Avatar
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    Very nice! I'm with you on using the GT brakes. I'm considering using a front suspension kit on my '66 Mustang that would allow me to use SN-95 brakes. I'd stick with GT/V6 hardware since I wouldn't need much stopping power for a car that weighed 2600 fully equipped from the factory.
    óJohn

    1985 Ford F-150 XLT Lariat
    1990 Mercury Grand Marquis LS (POTM March 2017 & May 2019 - gone, but not forgotten)
    1995 Mustang SVT Cobra coupe (cream puff)
    1966 Mustang coupe (restoration in-progress)

  8. #8
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giraffe View Post
    Very nice! I'm with you on using the GT brakes. I'm considering using a front suspension kit on my '66 Mustang that would allow me to use SN-95 brakes. I'd stick with GT/V6 hardware since I wouldn't need much stopping power for a car that weighed 2600 fully equipped from the factory.
    Exactly what I was thinking. My car doesn’t need 13” rotors, plus the GT stuff is cheaper and easier to find.
    Thanks for the compliments as well
    ..

  9. #9
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    I like the mark VII wheels.

    Engine fits nicely in there.

    What are you planning on doing with the body?

    Id suggest leaving it as is. As a guy who got a complete repaint done on his car I dont ever want to take it anyplace......really picky where I go with it..No fun in that.

    I think your existing paint can come back around with some detail work.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  10. #10
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Very nice project.

    Didn’t know these cars suffered from the cowl rust. Looks like a spot weld drilling good time. Very thorough of you to fix that.
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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  11. #11
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 87gtVIC View Post
    I like the mark VII wheels.

    Engine fits nicely in there.

    What are you planning on doing with the body?

    Id suggest leaving it as is. As a guy who got a complete repaint done on his car I dont ever want to take it anyplace......really picky where I go with it..No fun in that.

    I think your existing paint can come back around with some detail work.
    Thanks for the compliments!
    Have always liked the Mark7 wheels.
    Everyone either goes for drag wheels (which look awesome), or steel wheels with hub caps (which look awesome).
    Decided to go a different way.
    IMHO the mark7 wheels are more modern than the stock wheels, but not too modern.
    Engine was not as tight as I had anticipated which is nice.
    Paint and body is going to stay as is. I have no plans to paint it.
    ..

  12. #12
    fomoco panthers !
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    The Zephyr is turning out very well. Nice mods. Good job.

  13. #13
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiggie View Post
    Very nice project.

    Didnít know these cars suffered from the cowl rust. Looks like a spot weld drilling good time. Very thorough of you to fix that.
    Thank you very much for the compliment!
    Well it looks like the drivers cowl drain got clogged up at some point before I owned it and allowed water to pool in that location.
    There is a ton of wiring right underneath there, plus the steering column mounts there too.
    For safety, replacing it was the right thing to do.

    I did watch some videos of 60s Mustang cowl replacements because it is essentially the same.
    They even make 60s Mustang cowl patch panels.
    Problem is no one makes cowl patch panels for fox so had to just dive in and do it.
    Itís not perfect but I think it is acceptable. Made sure to keep the body straight and level the entire time, tested it with garden hose, she doesnít leak any more and new windshield went in without a hitch.
    ..

  14. #14
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    The Zephyr is turning out very well. Nice mods. Good job.
    Thank you very much for the kind words
    ..

  15. #15
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Oh Oh oh The MTS on the old plates...is there a meaning behind that?
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  16. #16
    Donating Member massacre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 87gtVIC View Post
    Oh Oh oh The MTS on the old plates...is there a meaning behind that?
    Not really.
    It’s a long, boring story but my buddy collects license plates and he gave me that plate.
    ..

  17. #17
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Car looks sweet!

    Best part for me was seeing the old Michigan blue plate. I miss those, and am amidst the last few people who actually had one fully registered to a vehicle.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  18. #18
    GMN Regular Giraffe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiggie View Post
    Very nice project.

    Didn’t know these cars suffered from the cowl rust. Looks like a spot weld drilling good time. Very thorough of you to fix that.
    Not as common as with early Mustangs, but it's possible. The primary rust areas on fox platform cars are the bottom of the windshield opening and (the big one) the frame rails just below the strut towers.
    óJohn

    1985 Ford F-150 XLT Lariat
    1990 Mercury Grand Marquis LS (POTM March 2017 & May 2019 - gone, but not forgotten)
    1995 Mustang SVT Cobra coupe (cream puff)
    1966 Mustang coupe (restoration in-progress)

  19. #19
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    Wow! You arent messing around. Nice work and nice car!

  20. #20
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    I love a zephyr! My 3rd car was an '81 zephyr wagon that i drove EVERYWHERE! Had big plans to do neat things but ultimately just put my mustang lowering springs and wheels on it and bombed around. Fell asleep at the wheel and drove it off the freeway. I still want another one. I love your car and everything you've done. My hat is off to you sir.

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