While it wears a disguise that is fairly convincing, there is a Fox-body Mustang underneath today’s Nice Price or No Dice Zimmer. It served as the base for this New York-built contemporary classic. Let’s see if we can uncover whether or not its price makes it a deal.
A good bottle of wine will change as it ages. Flavors will mature and the color will get duskier as time goes on. It’s all about playing the waiting game and knowing when to pull the cork and enjoy the wine at its peak.
In contrast, the 1972 Ford LTD convertible we looked at yesterday had changed little in its 50 years of existence, which was for the best. Oh sure, it had received a new top and some other updated consumables over that time, but its basic experience remains the same today as when it was new. That fact appealed to a lot of you, as did the big Ford’s $10,000 asking price, which earned a solid 82 percent Nice Price vote. That was one of our most lopsided wins in recent memory.
Yesterday’s LTD may be a classic owing to its age, and at nine years newer, today’s 1981 Zimmer Golden Spirit should rightfully be deemed a Neo-classic.
Zimmer Motor Cars Corporation was founded in 1978 in Syracuse, New York by Paul Zimmer and his son, Bob. They sought to cash in on the burgeoning Neo-classic specialty car market that had reached its heyday in the late ’70s and would continue through the early ’80s.
The idea with the Golden Spirit was to take a new Ford Mustang coupe and clothe it in bodywork that harkened back to 1930s elegance. Keen-eyed observers will pick out the Mustang parts—doors, mirrors, dash, etc.—but the extended wheelbase and sweeping fenders really do turn the car into something completely different. Zimmer built just under 1,500 Golden Spirits before ending production in 1988.
This ’81 comes in deep blue with a beige vinyl landau roof and a literal trunk in the back. Both front and rear tracks have been widened to fill the voluptuous sweeping fenders and the wheelbase has been extended by almost four feet to give the car its dramatic dimensions.
The interior carries over the Mustang’s dash and door cards, but adds opera lamps, flower vases, and a beautiful Nardi steering wheel to class it up a bit. Seating is by way of a pair of leather-covered Recaro Idealsitz thrones, which are probably the coolest aftermarket car seats in all of history. Being Mustang-based, there are also a couple of seats in the back. One additional neat little cabin detail is the graphic for the diagnostic display at the leading edge of the center console. That has been updated to show an outline of the Golden Spirit, instead of that of the original Mustang.
Everything inside the car looks to be in decent shape, although there is a disconcerting difference in the colors of the two seats in front. That may, however, just be a trick of the light in the pictures. Amazingly, the trunk is even fancier than the cabin, with fur-like carpeting that gives it the appearance of some place Burt Reynolds may have once lain in Raphaelesque fashion for a Playgirl spread.
Other benefits of the car include a clean title, side-mounted spares And a Continental-style bustle, and only 16,000 miles on the clock!
When you look at the mechanicals, things get a little dicey. This year was before Ford took serious steps toward bringing performance back to the V8 Mustang and as such, this Mustang-based Zimmer’s 4.2 liter V8 manages only 120 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. A standard three-speed C4 automatic does transmission duties here. As fitted in the significantly heavier Zimmer, that drivetrain offers a top speed of only 93 miles per hour and acceleration that few would consider scintillating. It should also be noted that the long wheelbase gives the Zimmer a turning radius somewhere around that of a Kenworth. Oh, and those side pipes? Those are just for show, and in fact, they somewhat comically exit the sides of the cowl well ahead of the engine.
Okay, so that’s the good, the bad, and the funky about this Neo-classic Zimmer. What might all that be worth? The seller thinks it’s worth $15,000 and it’s now incumbent upon you all to prove that assertion right or wrong.
What do you say, is this Golden Spirit worth its asking as it is presented in the ad? Or, does that price feel less than golden?
H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!
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