By on October 20, 2010

Too many Cubside Classics shot, not enough time to write about them extensively.  So we’ll call it CC Jr.: heavy on the pics, light on the text.

The great import boom of the fifties involved everything from Europe; from Abarth to Zagato. And the Big Three got in on the act too, selling their European subsidiaries’ wares. The Opel Rekord sold particularly well, and they used to be easy to find, in California, anyway. And English Fords were mainly the smaller Anglia and the later Cortinas. But here’s a rare bird, a Consul, looking very much like a scaled down ’55 Ford.

The Consul was the four cylinder low-end version of the Zephyr, a gaudier and six-cylinder saloon, and related to the Zodiac (above) . Ford’s biggest offering in the UK.

The Zephyr and Zodiac would have been too expensive and competed unsuccessfully against the domestic big Fords, but the Consul filled the gap at the bottom until the Falcon arrived in 1960.

The Consul had a 1703 cc OHV four that generated 59 hp. According to a test by Motor, it had a top speed of 79 mph, and took 23 seconds for the 0-60 amble. Not too bad, actually, especially compared to the VW in the fifties. It’s not clear whether the column shifter now had four gears or still three; possibly either or.

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23 Comments on “Curbside Classic Jr: The 1955 Ford Mini Me – 1956 Ford Consul Mk II...”


  • avatar
    CT_Jake

    Ever think about changing the sites name to “The Truth About Used Cars” since it seems to be a significant portion of articles?  Just a thought.  Otherwise, I like the site.

  • avatar

    Nice find. I’ve always liked these – at least to look at. The Zephyr was sold in Canada at least. I’ve seen a few over the years including this one that was for sale at last year’s swap meet.
     
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveseven/3280163508/in/set-72157613794751717/

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Talking about scaled down Fords, check out this English Consul Capri.
    Link: http://www.beachcitygas.com/capri4sale/capriphotos.htm  

    Tell me which models it resembles.
    Always wanted one.   It would be so hot with a 2011 Mustang 3.7 V6 !!

  • avatar
    Johnnyangel

    One reason for the import boom you mention, apart from the simplicity of what could be considered a dealer in the 50s, appears to have been the fact that “Federalization” seems to have involved basically the installation of sealed-beam headlights and not a whole lot more. Now, of course, our market is much more isolated, and the (deliberate? protectionist?) fact that safety and emissions standards aren’t simply unified (between the U.S. and the European Community, at least) is downright dumb.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Reminds me of the car I learned to drive stick shift — 1967 Ford Anglia.

    Twotone

    PS: The trash can & recycle bin reflection in the photo is a nice touch.

  • avatar
    BuzWeston

    My dad thought the American cars of the late fifties were too big, so he bought a Ford Consul. According to him, it was a very poor car (lots of repair problems). After two years he traded it in on a 1960 Dodge Dart Seneca. It was a big car. The Consul was Dad’s last small car.

  • avatar
    baabthesaab

    Hi Paul,
    I don’t know whether it’s a correction – You nabbed the Consul, but The ZODIAC was the (slightly for the times) over the top six- cylinder car. The Zephyr was a sweet spot, offering the Consul’s appearance, essentially, with a six- cylinder engine. Whether it was the Zodiac engine exactly, I don’t remember, but I recall the Zephyr being the gem of the bunch. Low(?) tack, High(?) power.
    Oh, and the tranny on the Zephyr was a 4 in the tree. Don’t know about the Zodiac, but I know it could be had with an automatic – whew!

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      I knew I was missing some zzzs today. I fixed it, and even added a photo of a Zodiac, because it looks so much like the big US Ford. Thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Wow. Seeing “the Zodiac” reminded me of a record album entitled “The Zodiac – Cosmic Sounds” in the late sixties! It was awful. Never knew there was a car called that! But I digress…

      I always liked the looks of the Ford Cortina. I used to see one quite often when on the long school bus ride home. Definitely 50′s styling. Right along with the Morris Minors. Always disliked VWs, though. I never saw the classic Anglias like you saw in Hot Rod magazine photos at the drag strip until I actually got to see one in person at a nostalgic drag race in 1998. Still a cool style.

  • avatar
    red60r

    3 on the tree, definitely. My family had a blue ’56 Consul ragtop which managed an indicated 76 mph, with the side mirror turned parallel to the airflow and the radio whip pushed all the way down, and hood (or canvas top) up. The top deployed in 2 sections — front seats open to the sky if desired, or fully up. The most memorable feature of this thing was that its handbrake cable would develop a kink and snap after a few dozen applications. Oh, and vacuum-powered wipers. Remember those?  It was traded after 3 years of service for a 3.4 Jag sedan with 4-speed + Laycock OD. What a difference!!!

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    I remember these. My sisters’ husband drove a Consul Estate in the 60′s – I borrowed it once or twice , and it was 3 speed. The Zodiac was a loaded two-tone Zephyr. When the Mk3 models came out , the Consul name was dropped and the entry-level model became the Zephyr 4.
      A cousin of mine had a Mk 2 Zephyr convertible for a time .( I think the convertibles and estates were factory-approved conversions). I remember it had the spare wheel mounted vertically between the tail and the rear bumper , which was moved out to make space. 

  • avatar
    ern35

    I bought a used 1959 Zephyr in ’61—baby-blue in colour, and a 3-speed manual on the steering column, 6-cylinder.  Had is for 4 1/2 years, lived through 4 Ontario winters, was a great handling and tracking vehicle, good quality leatherette-type bench seats, but it did have issues that appeared over its last couple of years—i.e. air getting into the braking system and a leaking hydraulic clutch.  It supposedly had the ‘first edition’ MacPherson stuts—one of which gave out when I was crossing a wooden bridge on my way to work.  Had to drive home to the Toronto area, leave the car with a Ford dealer and thanks to my brother, was allowed to use his 1961 Volvo PV554 stick-on-the-floor back to my country abode.  Now THAT was a car!  But I really did enjoy driving that English-Ford Zephyr!

  • avatar
    obbop

    Different perspective.
    I read the word “Zodiac” and memories of the local serial killer of the times floods in.
    The constabulary never did knowingly catch the culprit though, perhaps, he was nabbed for another crime and incarcerated, at least getting the scoundrel off the street.
    Dad bought me a bigger knife to carry for self-defense as Zodiac roamed the area, taunting the police and general public.
    No problems carrying the shiv to school back in those days.
    Wouldn’t it be something if the Zodiac DROVE a Zodiac?!!!!!!

  • avatar
    wmba

    First car we had when we arrived in Canada mid 1959. Lasted 108,000 miles over 6 years with just one re-paint for fenders that sprung from rust. They were quite heavily built cars and very big inside — 56 inches across the bench seat.  Three on the tree, very low geared so 45 to 65 miles per hour was decent in high. No synchro on low, my Dad practised double de-clutching to get it in, and became quite good at it. Consul 1703 cc/59 bhp.
     
    The Zephyr had two more exact same size cylinders and was quite peppy but understeered like a pig. Nevertheless, the 1960 Falcon was made out of tissue paper compared to these English Fords, being several hundred pounds lighter than the Zephyr and with a terrible ride on dirt roads compared to the solid UK models, especially on washboard.  We lived on an unpaved road in those days. Zephyr 2553 cc, 90 bhp.
     
    Not bad vehicles at all for the times. The vacuum wipers drove us crazy. The later Cortina was a cardboard box compared to the Consul.

  • avatar
    Jeffer

    I don’t believe the car pictured is a ’56. I believe the MK2 was introduced in 1957 and that the large tail lights on the pictured model make it a 1959 or newer.

  • avatar
    Bryce

    Tail lights say 60/61 lowline body


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