Kev Hunt’s finished a four-year long rebuild of this Mk2 Zephyr ute that mixes subtle upgrades with its original looks.
When Kev Hunt saw a Mk2 Zephyr ute for sale he jumped at the chance to own it. “I’ve had a few old Fords, loved the Mk2 Consul, Zephyr, Zodiacs since I was a kid, and always wanted a ute,” explains Kev. As you’re no doubt aware the Coupe Utility model is a pick-up version of the Consul and Zephyr that’s rarely found outside its native Australia. “I bought it sight unseen and when it arrived it needed a lot of work and had a number of parts missing.” Kev was about to begin a big restoration when his phone rang. “The seller had another ute to sell, this time in decent condition and he wondered if I knew anyone. I said I’d have it as soon as I sold the first one.”
The ute you see here is that second car, bought in May 2013. “I drove it from Darlington home to Bodmin and it didn’t miss a beat. Then I used it daily for a year until I noticed the power was down.” A compression test revealed number three piston was at 10 psi so Kev had the head rebuilt and pulled the engine to check its condition. “The rest of the engine was fine, but while it was out I gutted the engine bay and removed the front wings.” Before long the Zephyr was bare-metalled and Kev trailered it to work at Allen Town Car Body Repairs where his boss, Alan kindly lent him the workshop on a part time basis.
“It needed bodywork,” says Kev “and I taught myself how to weld. I repaired the bases of the A-pillars, both inner sills and one outer. I was careful to put all the spot welds back in the same place. I also replaced both footwells, an outrigger and repaired previous work — there were Australian numberplates pop riveted in over rust.”
Luckily, the parts unique to the ute such as the rear wings, tailgate and cab back were in good shape. “It had been used as a truck but not abused, most of the damage was in the front wings which had been walked on, but I removed those dents. It’s possible the 50,000 miles on the clock was correct since the engine is the original one.”
Kev painted the underside as far as the rear axle, then went through the running gear. Most of it seemed fine although he rebuilt the brakes and stripped the three-speed gearbox for peace of mind. “Most of it’s the same as the UK-market Zephyrs, but there’s an unusual bath style oil filter on the valve cover and I’m not sure what the air cleaner is from. It might be aftermarket or from a Holden — it came with the ute when I bought it.” Fortunately, Kev had Newquay Radiators recore the radiator “just in case” since it turned out to be half blocked.
Kev then turned his attention to the interior. “It had been retrimmed previously, so I had Aldridge Trimming reupholster the doorcards and seat since they can heat press the vinyl onto the doorcards as per the original, rather than stitch the material. They also supplied carpet I cut to fit and matching vinyl that I used to upholster the dashboard and parcel shelf.” Extra gauges showing water and oil pressure were added after a friend found the gauge surround for just £1 at an autojumble. Noel Deegan at Trim & Fit Auto Upholstery supplied and altered the Furflex around the doors.
Stick to it
Various decals were added — including one for Kev’s favourite tattoo parlour — then local trimmer, Gary Stephen’s Upholstery was called in for the headlining and a tonneau cover that’s been fitted since our photos were taken. Kev then turned his attention to the paint.
“I’ve always loved Caribbean Turquoise but also like rat rods, so after primering the body I added areas of red oxide primer where I planned to rub through the top coat. That was easy in theory, but rubbing back four layers of smooth blue to get to the red took forever. I spent two days ‘ruining’ all my hard work, eventually using 500-grit 3M paper to get the look I wanted, then lacquering over the top.”
The window rubbers were like new, just requiring the copious amounts of sealant removed to help them fit correctly — only the quarterlights required new rubbers. New hardwood planks were cut to size and added to the bed, which is covered in Raptor Liner protective coating. “It’s brilliant, if I’d known about it earlier I might have undersealed the ute with it, too.”
The grille was replaced. “It came with a later style one but I wanted the correct Highline one, so I ended up buying one back from a guy I’d sold it to years before.”
Parts and trim were sourced through Kev’s Facebook group, the Ford Consul Mk2 Zephyr Ute Group. Another member supplied a pair of thinner ute interior door handles. They’re needed to clear the seat when it tilts forward to gain access to the storage and fuel tank under the parcel shelf.
“The rubber rear bumpers were a lucky find — everyone wants a set, but the guy doesn’t trade any more. The front bumper was rechromed by Colonnade Metal Finishers.”
“I’m really pleased with the way it turned out,” says Kev, “it’s far better than I expected, which now means I can’t use it as a truck to cart wood and stone about anymore.
“I will be doing some longer journeys to car shows though — with approximately 30 of these in the UK. I sometimes forget how unusual it is — one guy recently asked why I’d cut up an estate car…”
Thanks to Bodmin Airfield for the photo location
Words Mike Renaut
Photos Andy Saunders
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