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The V-12 Zephyr engine -- facts and myths


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Hi all,

I figure you guys out to know the truth about the Zephyr engine --- pre-War.

There's been many comments over the years on how the engine was weak, troublesome, prone to bearing failure, etc.

Could someone comment on what these engine are really like today? With modern lubrication, it seems that many of the problems might be overcome. Are these generally reliable engines? Do they still have weak spots you need to cater to? What's it like to drive a pre-War Zephyr? I've heard they are very low torque engines that need to be revved-up most of the time. True?

I'd appreciate any comments on the engine and these pre-War Zephyr cars. They sure are terrific looking cars !!

Thanks alot ! --- Scott

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I can tell you what my late Father's thoughts were, having owned them back in the 30's and '40's, and then when he restored his '40 Continental.

He said the engines always got a bad rap as being a bad engine from not being properly maintained.

I can't speak for the earlier years, but on his '40, it didn't have an oil dipstick, but rather a float level device that would visually indicate the oil level.

The problem with this was you could not see the condition and color of the oil.

Owner's, or service station attendants would only see the level. It's full, everything must be fine then right?

Also, he attributed the lack of maintenance to the fact that many who bought these cars while being highly educated people, (Doctor's Lawyers, etc.) were not of a mechanical mind, and as long as the car would start, they were happy. Not unlike many a car owner today.

He used to stress to me NOT to rev the engine too fast when I was allowed to drive his '40 Continental, because the engines were not designed to be run at high RPM's.

It was always my experience that there really was no need to go high in the RPM band to get the car moving sufficiently to enter an expressway, or to pull away from a traffic light in a timely manner.

Nor, did he ever have any issues with overheating on any of the V-12s he owned.

Those are my thoughts, and those that were passed on to me.

smile.gif

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