When my father finally realised he would never again be hooking his prized 1971 Mark 4 Zephyr car to the family caravan he started staring down the reality that it was time to do something about the car.
He wanted me to have it. But that had to be stared down too. Much and all as I would love to have had the car, the brute fact was that the Zephyr was a right hand drive vehicle domiciled in New Zealand, and I was domiciled in Mexico, where steering wheels are firmly on the left. It was a no brainer. The car would be staying close to home.
Happily, Tom had shown interest in it. That made me happy, because while Tom was not a mechanic he had been interested for years in restoring vehicles and had made a very nice job of some old bicycles. He has some mechanically proficient friends, so it looked like a good option for Tom to take the Mark 4, get it back on the road, and eventually get it back to its former glory.
The tricky part was always going to be getting my father to actually let go of the car -- psychically, emotionally and physically (although I figured that if he could let go physically for long enough to get the car to some other place, the other “lettings go” would follow in due course).
When I was in New Zealand visiting, a couple of trips back, we confirmed with Tom and talked it through with Dad. And much sooner that I could ever have anticipated there was a car carrier truck at the gate. Dad passed the test of letting the car go physically with flying colours and was soon happy that Tom and friends were making a start on getting it back on the road.
That was a couple of years ago.
Then, two or three days ago, a decidedly understated Facebook post sprang the rewritten Mark 4 Zephyr back into life. It had a warrant of fitness, was registered for road use, and it looked great. It always steered like a tank, very heavy in the steering. No power steering in those days, and I wouldn't fancy the chances of taking on a power steering mod on that car. But for all I know …..
Anyway, here it is. Massive congratulations to Tom and his pals on getting the car back on the road. I remember how it felt when I finally got my 1950 BSA 500 single (a plunger framed B33) on the road. There was no other feeling like it other, perhaps, than firing it up and taking that first ride. And I am sure Tom will have felt beyond exhilarated to have the car on the road. I’m thrilled, and I wish Tom tens of thousands of happy miles of motoring. A fantastic job well done, and a cause for much pride on the parts of all involved.
Ride on, old Zephyr, ride on.