At $15,000, is this 1981 Zimmer Golden Spirit a bargain?
Although he’s wearing a pretty convincing disguise, there’s a fox-bodied Mustang under today’s car. Good price or no dice Zimmer. This served as the basis for this contemporary classic built in New York. Let’s see if we can find out if its price makes it a bargain or not.
A good bottle of wine will change as it ages. The flavors will mature and the color will darken over time. It’s about playing the waiting game and knowing when to pull the cork and enjoy the wine at its peak.
On the other hand, the 1972 Ford LTD Convertible we watched yesterday had changed little in its 50 years of existence, which was for the best. Oh sure, he had received a new top and a few other updated consumables during that time, but his base experience remains the same now as when he was new. That fact appealed to many of you, as did the big Ford’s $10,000 asking price, which got a solid 82% vote for the Nice Price. It was one of our most lopsided wins in recent memory.
Yesterday’s LTD is perhaps a classic because of its age, and at nine years younger, the 1981 Zimmer Golden Spirit should rightly be considered 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 market for neo-classic specialty cars which had peaked in the late 1970s and would continue into the early 1980s.
The idea with the Golden Spirit was to take a new Ford Mustang coupe and dress it in a body reminiscent of the elegance of the 1930s. Attentive observers will choose the parts of the Mustang – doors, mirrors, dashboard, etc – but the extended wheelbase and wide fenders really transform 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 tan vinyl pram roof and a literal trunk in the back. The front and rear tracks have been widened to fill the voluptuous fenders and the wheelbase has been extended by nearly four feet to give the car its dramatic dimensions.
The interior picks up the dashboard and door cards from the Mustang, but adds opera lamps, flower vases and a beautiful Nardi steering wheel to class it up a bit. The seats are made up of a pair of leather-covered Recaro Idealsitz thrones, which are probably the coolest aftermarket car seats in history. Being Mustang-based, there are also some seats in the back. A small additional cabin detail is the diagnostic display graphic on the leading edge of the center console. This has been updated to show a preview of the Golden Spirit, instead of the original Mustang.
Everything inside the car appears to be in good condition, although there is a disconcerting difference in the colors of the two front seats. However, it may just be an illusion of light in the photos. Surprisingly, the trunk is even fancier than the cabin, with furry carpeting making it look like a place Burt Reynolds may have once laid down in Raphaelesque fashion for a Playgirl broadcast.
Other car perks include a clean title, side spares and continental-style animation, and only 16,000 miles on the odometer!
When you look at the mechanics, things get a bit dicey. This year was before Ford took any serious steps to bring back Mustang V8 performance, and as such, Zimmer’s Mustang-based 4.2-liter V8 only manages 120 horsepower and 190 lb- ft of torque. A standard three-speed C4 automatic takes care of the transmission here. As mounted in the significantly heavier Zimmer, this powertrain offers a top speed of just 93 miles per hour and acceleration that few would consider scintillating. It’s also worth noting that the long wheelbase gives the Zimmer a turning radius somewhere around that of a Kenworth. Oh, and those side pipes? These are just for show, and actually stick out a little comically from the sides of the hood well forward of the engine.
Alright, so that’s the good, the bad, and the funky of this neo-classic Zimmer. What can all this be worth? The seller thinks it’s worth $15,000 and now it’s up to all of you to prove that claim right or wrong.
What do you say, is this Golden Spirit worth asking for as it is presented in the ad? Or, does this price seem less than golden?
H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!
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