Model number 206E
In 1956 the Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac were all restyled. The 6-cylinder cars’ engines were enlarged to 2,553 cc (156 cu in), with power output correspondingly raised to 86 bhp (64 kW). The wheelbase was increased by 3 inches (76 mm) to 107 inches (2,700 mm) and the width increased to 69 inches (1,800 mm). The weight distribution and turning circle were also improved. Top speed increased to 88 mph (142 km/h) and the fuel consumption was also improved at 28 mpg-imp (10 L/100 km; 23 mpg-US).
The Zodiac and Zephyr were also offered in two body styles these being the “Highline” and “Lowline”, depending on the year of manufacture — the difference being 1.75 in (44 mm) being cut from the height of the roof panel. The “Highline” variant featured a hemispherical instrument cluster, whereas the “Lowline” had a more rectangular panel.
As well as a 3-speed manual gearbox there was an optional overdrive and from 1956 (1959 in Australia) a Borg Warner DG automatic transmission. At first drum brakes were fitted all round (with a larger lining area of 147 sq in or 950 cm2) but front discs became optional in 1960 and standard from mid 1961 (in Australia only 4-wheel drum brakes were available; some dealers fitted servo-assistance from 1961).
A two-door convertible version was offered with power-operated hood. Because of the structural weaknesses inherent in the construction of convertibles, few convertibles are known to survive.
A convertible with overdrive tested by The Motor magazine in 1961 had a top speed of 88.3 mph (142.1 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 17.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of 24.5 miles per imperial gallon (11.5 L/100 km; 20.4 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1193 including taxes.
In Australia, the Mark II Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac were built at Ford Australia’s factory in Geelong. Sedan, coupe utility, and station wagon versions were produced. The Australian developed Mark II Station Wagon differed from its English Estate Car counterpart in having a wind up rear window, and a straight, rather than curved C pillar. Mark II manufacture continued until 1962, in which year production switched to assembly of Mark IIIs from imported Completely knocked down kits.
New Zealand assembly of the Mark II, also from CKD kits, now included the Zodiac. The big Fords from England were now offered alongside the Australian-sourced Ford Falcon and also competed with the Vauxhall Victor and Velox, Holden, and Australia’s Chrysler Valiant. Supplies were restricted due to strict import licensing and demand always exceeded availability; it was not uncommon for buyers to wait two to three years for their new big Ford.