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Consul
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Consul

Consul (United Kingdom, 1956)

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General Information

By the end of the 1940s, Ford in Britain was being left well behind by its contemporaries in both the design stakes and in the way of technological advancements. Its flagship model, the Pilot, was essentially a pre-war model with dated styling and the smaller Anglia and Prefect models were derived from Ford's 8hp and 10hp offerings of the late 1930s, while the underpinnings originated even earlier. Such things as upright styling, sidevalve engines, mechanical brakes, transverse leaf springs (at both ends) and vacuum wipers were fast becoming a thing of the past, particularly when combined all on the one vehicle.

The 1950 Motor Show at Earl's Court was a watershed moment in the history of the company when it unveiled its new four-cylinder Consul and six-cylinder Zephyr. Built on the same monocoque platform but with instantly recognisable styling differences, the new Consul and Zephyr had clearly borrowed from the 1949 American Ford with its three-box design and flat front and rear decks.

Equipped with up-to-date styling and technology that was largely abreast with the times, the first generation of Consul and Zephyr was able to continue in production with little more than an interior redesign, right through until late1956, when Ford once again adjusted the pace of its British full-sized offerings in line with styling advancements that had occurred stateside over those five short years.



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Technical Details

Under the skin there were considerable advances in the mechanical specifications, with an overhead valve engine, hydraulic brakes, and McPherson strut suspension. On the down side and clearly bowing to budgetary restraints, Ford had retained a three-speed gearbox with synchromesh only on second and third - something that was still tolerated by the British motorist - and the company was to inflict vacuum windscreen wipers on its customers for a further decade or so. These devices had a habit of performing at their best when least required (for example, at idle), while at open road speed, or ascending a hill, they slowed right down to a crawl across the screen.



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Design Details

Acquienscent with the fashions of the times, both Consul and Zephyr came equipped with column-mounted gear shift lever, bench seats front and rear, a full width parcel shelf under the dash, and an umbrella-style handbrake beneath the steering column. Two-tone paint was also offered upon the release of the more upmarket Zodiac of 1953, based on the Zephyr but with a number of luxury fittings previously unseen on cars of this price range.



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Production

For the first time on a post-war British Ford an estate car (station wagon) was offered in both Consul and Zephyr, though it was not completed in-house at the Dagenham factory. Instead the cars were prepared by Ford as four-door saloons and then shipped off to Abbotts of Farnham to be completed into estate form. Similarly, Carbodies of Coventry were commissioned to build convertible versions of both Consul and Zephyr from 1953. These featured a two-door design, and while the convertible hood on the Zephyr was electrically operated, that on the Consul had to be manually raised and lowered.



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Ford


Ford’s history in the United Kingdom started shortly after the foundation of the North American Ford by Henry Ford in 1903. Not even a year later, model T’s were being exported to the United Kingdom. The sales success led to the creation of the Ford Motor Company Limited, with its headquarters in London, in 1909, along with an assembly plant that opened in Manchester in 1911. By 1913, Model T was the biggest selling automobile in Britain, hav...  more

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