The Not So Great Gatsby: Zimmer Motorcars

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Zimmer Motorcars

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, American automakers were in the thick of the Malaise Era, when luxury and comfort ranked above styling and performance. The Malaise Era is one of my favorite eras of automotive design because of how uniform everything looked while the interiors went wild with vinyl roofs, corinthian leather, and seat designs that looked like they were stolen straight out of your grandmother’s fancy living room, you the room with all the plastic on the furniture? That one.

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In 1978, Paul Zimmer sketched out the initial design for a neo-classic coupe on a napkin during a dinner with his son, and future president of the company, Bob Zimmer. In 1979, The Golden Spirit went into production as the first car in Zimmer’s lineup. The Golden Spirit was a work of art, with its long hood, huge fenders and prominently featured spare tires and trunk. The interior was heavily upgraded but was largely an early fox-body Mustang. That means that this massive coupe actually has rear seats! Under the massive hood was a 4.2-liter V8 producing the exact same numbers as the Mustang, the 5.0-liter V8 would also find its way into later model Golden Spirits.

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The Golden Spirit actually did pretty well for as crazy as it looks. The original MSRP was $62,000, which is roughly $160,000 in today’s money, and they sold 1,500 of them throughout the Golden Spirit’s run. Nowadays, Golden Spirits can be picked up for roughly $30,000 which is pocket change to become the center of attention at the next Cars and Coffee. While there are plenty of classics that can be found cheaper and with more power, I can’t think of another vehicle that will turn more heads than this thing will.

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If the Golden Spirit doesn’t get you all excited for a neo-classic automobile, then perhaps the Zimmer Quicksilver will. Based on a Pontiac Fiero, the Quicksilver follows the Zimmer recipe of being drop dead gorgeous while being relatively easy to service because it doesn’t use an outlandish powertrain. The Quicksilver was powered by the 2.8-liter V6 from the Fiero, though there was one of these customized to run a 4.9-liter Cadillac V8. The Quicksilver is much more elusive in the classic car market, with just two examples seen across the variety of classic car sites, one of the two is the modified V8 one as well, both of which are going for less than $20,000 which is a steal considering the Quicksilver had an MSRP of $52,000.

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If you thought that Zimmer was just a one-and-done company, you would be wrong. Although the company has no real internet footprint, there are still a handful of modern Zimmer Golden Spirits that are based on the , they even built several four-door models based on the third-generation Lincoln Town Car. Though these are still going for high prices.

There is no takeaway here other than the fact that these things exist, and I’m not entirely sure we’re better for it, but I have the overwhelming urge to get a really big driveway and park this in front of my house. Of course there are other ridiculous neo-classic body kit manufacturers like Tiffany and Excalibur, which I also recommend looking at it if you enjoyed these Zimmers.

What are your thoughts on the Golden Spirit and the Quicksilver? Should they still be in production? Should more people make neo-classic automobiles? Should they never see the light of day again? Comment Below!

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