Remember the song “I Hate Myself for Loving You” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts? That’s how I feel sometimes about the Zimmer Quicksilver. I don’t want to love it, but I do. After all, it’s sort of a ridiculous automobile, gaudy and of questionable engineering. It’s ostentatious and most people bought them simply to show off their wealth. In other words, the Zimmer Quicksilver stands for everything I’m against. And I badly want one.
For those folks unfamiliar with the Zimmer Quicksilver, here’s a little background. The Zimmer Motorcars Corporation of Syracuse, New York, was founded by Paul Zimmer in 1978 to manufacture neoclassic cars. The neoclassic car movement was quite strong at the time, with several producers building products, usually with fiberglass bodies, which recalled the stylish cars of the 1930s. The movement got its start in the 1960s with the Glassic Model A and Brooks Stevens’ stunning Excalibur roadster, and it really began to take off in the mid-1970s. Zimmer’s Golden Spirit cars were the company’s first automobiles. They used readily available Ford Mustang drivetrains and mechanicals, with styling that sort of mimicked classic 1930s Mercedes-Benz cars. Golden Spirits were big, bold, in-your-face automobiles. They were ostentatious to the nth degree, and they were surprisingly popular.
At its peak in the mid-1980s, Zimmer Motorcars employed 175 people and generated more than $25 million in annual revenue. That’s a pretty successful company by most standards. Online references claim the company was building as many as 300 cars a year, though some years it produced less than half that number.In time, the neoclassic market began to decline. The smaller producers went out of business pretty quickly, but Zimmer hung on. For 1988, the company decided to branch out into more modern looking cars, introducing its all-new Quicksilver luxury coupe, with styling created to appeal to buyers of contemporary high-end cars seeking an extra helping of exclusivity.Like the Golden Spirit, the Quicksilver was boldly styled, though toned down for more delicate tastes. It was low and sleek, and if it reminded one of anything at all, it would probably be the Lincoln Mark III. But the resemblance was only slight; the Quicksilver really was its own car.