The Ford controversy.

We wish to reply to the vindictive criticism of the Ford Zephyr in your January issue.

We have had experience of these cars and are very favourably impressed. One of these has recently completed 21,000 miles and, apart from the normal routine servicing, the car has never been off the road. After this mileage it still has the original set of tyres, two of which are, however, due for replacement, and the other two good for at least another 5,000 miles.

The fuel consumption is on an average 26-27 m.p.g., which includes fast runs in the hilly districts of Northumberland; in addition it often has to cope with unmetalled roads in the same district. Incidentally, the only oil put into the car has been when serviced and the level remained constant between these times.

Admittedly the car is prone to skidding on wet roads, but this can easily be rectified by carrying weights in the boot, as many Zephyr owners do.

Most of the other faults mentioned by correspondents, such as damaged back axles, steering boxes, plucking at low speeds and juddering in reverse, can be eliminated by smoother driving techniques. From the mileage on the front tyres of Mr. Kearns' model it would appear that many of these faults have been caused by excessive hard cornering. We suggest that Mr. Kearns remembers that the Zephyr is not built as a sports car but as a family saloon, even though its rally successes might indicate the former.

The general character of the car gains the confidence of any conscientious driver by its excellent all-round visibility, its lighting system, and very brisk acceleration; we only deplore the three-speed gearbox; the ratios, however, are well chosen for this car. We do not find it difficult, as one correspondent apparently does, to engage first gear on the move, and none of us claim to be potential "Fangios."

We suggest that other Zephyr owners who are troubled by "drumming" at speeds round the 60-m.p.h. mark should tighten the screws on the windscreen and near-window mouldings; this does not eliminate the trouble but certainly reduces it.

We are, Yours, etc.,

Kingswood, J.R.U. Leiseiman, E.S. Portlock, M. Ransome,

[This correspondence is now closed.—ED).