I wouldn’t consider myself a petrol-head, but I do love a good looking car, so when I spotted a very smart, chrome-laden Zodiac Mk III Saloon heading down Park Street, I simply had to follow it so I quickly u-turned and caught up with owner Ross Todd.
The Zodiac Mk III Saloon was the top of the range executive vehicle in the 1960’s. An upmarket version of the Zephyr 6, it was a high performance car in its day. The engine is a four-cylinder, straight six, 2553cc. It has front disc brakes, column change, and front and rear bench seats designed to accommodate up to six people.
With just two previous owners, Ross’s 1965 Zodiac Mk III had only 283 miles on the clock when he bought it from Autolines Car Sales (on the current KFC site) back in 1970. He still has the receipt for $2,140.00.
“He’s had the car longer than we’ve been married,” wife Doreen laughs. “He doesn’t discard things easily, so there’s hope for me yet!”
For the first 20 years of their married life the Zodiac was the family car. “It was a great family car. Three kids on the back seat and everything else on the floor. You could pack everything including the kitchen sink on a family holiday!”
Roll forward to today, and this car still turns heads with its lavish amounts of chrome, rear fins and jet aeroplane lines.
These days it is Ross’s everyday car so he keeps it in good driving shape. “The original colour was white with a mustard-coloured roof but the paint cracked 43 years ago, so I scraped it back to the bare metal and re-painted it blue,” he says. He continues to keep the body and paintwork up to a very high standard.
Over the years the car has had a couple of minor dings requiring just minor work, but it has had two major mechanical overhauls, at 100,000 and 200,000k’s. Ross has great regard for the team at Triangle Garage, who he says are exceptional.
Ross and Doreen belong to the Timaru Zephyr/Zodiac Club, taking art in rallies and NZ Conventions, mostly around the South Island. “We really enjoy these gatherings,” Doreen says. “Great people, great fun.” It has also been used as a bridal car for both the Todd’s daughter’s weddings, as well as a couple of others.
“By today’s standards it has no mod cons; manual choke, no power steering, wind up windows, and it’s ‘a bit of a gas-guzzler’ but the our grandchildren love riding in ‘Pop’s fancy car,’ Ross laughs. I don’t blame them a bit!