By on September 30, 2011

Carrozzeria Ghia and Ford go way back, with the Ghia name getting slapped on everything from the Fiesta to the Barchetta. A few days back, I snapped this photograph in a Denver junkyard. What sort of car do you think we’re looking at here?
What else could it be but a Granada? And not the effete European Granada; this is the type of Granada that taught me everything I needed to know about the Malaise Era.
Such luxury! It’s too bad that Ford never made a Cartier Continental Ghia.

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43 Comments on “Junkyard Find: Guess the Ghia!...”


  • avatar
    Syke

    The best memory I have of those cars was the print ad with the overjoyed, very-obviously-Jewish, middle-aged woman who was overjoyed about her Granada . . . . . having just received a parking ticket that claimed the car was a Cadillac.

    Best definition of the car ever done.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Here it is:

      http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID8812/images/granada_1.jpg

      Good ol’ Elaine Finkelstein, of Manhasset, New York.

      I suppose the meter attendants in that municipality weren’t required to have good vision…

  • avatar
    Zombo

    A friend of mine bought one of those brand new and thought it was a poor man’s Mercedes . It had the Ghia vinyl roof and a factory three speed manual on the floor with a wood shift knob . You still see a Granada at the beginning of Cheers reruns – on the street not so much .

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      Which means your friend bought the hype of the Ford print ads…I remember them from Sports Illustrated…they showed a maroon Mercedes of the time…probably a D coupe ….and the Granada in the same color. They were about the same size and proportion, and if ya squinted so hard your eyes were almost closed you could sorta maybe kinda see a half-assed resemblance ….but probably the only thing the Benz had in common with the Granada is they both appeared in that ad…..even as a 15 year old boy, I knew better….

      That was back in the day when Hank the Deuce and Lido Iaccocca were duking it out for control over at Ford.

      Ya gotta give their marketing and advertising people a point and a half for Chutzpah….

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Ewww! That’s truly an example of Ghia whoring its good name to Ford, because they can’t possibly have anything to do with the styling of this monstrosity! This is just about the most un-Ghia like vehicle imanginable! The only thing Ghia about this thing is the badge.

  • avatar
    Mark_Miata

    Scares me that I actually recognized that badge – my girlfriend in grad school had a Granada, so the picture seemed awfully familiar, esp. the vinyl roof background. What a terrible car – it was so bad she rejoiced at its replacement: a Cavalier.

    And people wonder why I’ve never owned an American made automobile…

  • avatar
    obbop

    Is this the critter whose TV ads had a diamond cutter in the back seat cleaving an expensive diamond while the voice-over spews how the slightest error in diamond cutting caused by jostling from the car will render the diamond near- to totally worthless; fit only for use as an abrasive upon a saw blade?

    • 0 avatar
      jruhi4

      I think the diamond-cutting ad was for the pre-Panther Mercury Grand Marquis, later spoofed on Saturday Night Live with a rabbi sitting in the back seat attempting to perform a circumcision on a newborn boy while the Grand Marquis with ultra-worn shocks hauls ass and its occupants bounce around endlessly…

      • 0 avatar
        gator marco

        God I remember that spoof!
        Bill Murray is sitting up front giving a “play by play”, while also extolling the luxury features of the car.
        Garrett Morris is driving, and he keeps looking in the back seat, not believing what he is seeing.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      I believe that car used in the SNL skit was the LTD II. You can watch the skit here:

      http://www.hulu.com/watch/2323/saturday-night-live-royal-deluxe-ii

      • 0 avatar

        To nitpick even further, that’s a 1977-1979 Mercury Cougar, the LTD II’s twin sister:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_Cougar#Fourth_generation_.281977.E2.80.931979.29

        Only in the Seventies can a muscle car slowly transform into a barcalounging sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Yup, you are correct. The Ford T-Bird, the Mercury Cougar and the Ford LTD II were all the same car from 1977-1979. You can see some good pictures of a 4 door 77 Cougar here: http://www.murrayco.com/car_collection/1977_mercury_cougar.html

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        And not only is it an LTD, but it looks to be the base model as it has the dog dish hubcaps. :-)

        I remember seeing this ad online not too long ago, perhaps a couple of years ago anyway.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I reread your diatribe written back in May and I have to simply tell you that you beat that car like a rented mule and it simply put up with whatever you dealt it like a rented mule. That is an admirable trait, regardless of how many other shortcomings it had.

    The Granada wasn’t meant to be fun. It wasn’t sold to be fun. It wasn’t designed to be fun. It was created by Lee Iacocca to pull in a ton of money from recycled parts engineered twenty years earlier. For some ungodly reason, perhaps sheer evil, Iacocca imagined taking an obsolete car and covering it in disposable luxury, then selling it as a real car. An utter act of complete depravity.

    But then, imagine what Dr. Iacocca did with the Mustang. He took a Falcon and made it profitable beyond his Ford rival’s imaginings. So, the Granada was the Frankenstein Ford of the 1970s. Lee took the freaking Falcon parts and heaped Mustang levels of vinyl, velour, chromed plastic and fake woodgrain applique onto a Mark III styled vehicle. Iacocca not only trumped the Industry by turning a decaying sow’s ear into a silk purse, but trumped his own previous famous Falcon spin-off.

    In 1974, Iaccoca showed the Industry how to recycle a Pinto into a Mustang and a Falcon into a Granada. For all the love given his cars, it seems that this man’s automotive offsprings were not love children. The love for Lee’s cars were accidental and secondary to the need to pull in the green.

    Like an artist throwing paint, Iacocca let customers see what they wanted to see in his work. He worked in mirages, not engineering. The Granada showed the limits of his craft, while the Mustang, Mark III, Pinto and Caravan/Voyager showed how well it sometimes worked.

    The Granada was never meant to be real enough to do much more than idle down the street until the car payment book was empty. What gave the car the respect it earned were the parts engineered for real cars from long ago that refused to be submissive within the evil creations Iacocca spawned. Like Frankenstein, the Granada had parts within it from real vehicles and sometimes this surprised.

    There was simply no way other auto makers could not fall prey to this new pool of profits. Recycling paid-off parts into Malaise Frankensteins covered in chintz and plastic was the new game. A decade earlier we saw turd sedans become muscle cars, then they became rolling bordellos. From 1990 until 2007, we saw a similar transformation with pick up trucks. The pursuit isn’t over perfection. The pursuit is over paying the bills.

    The late 1950′s gave us ugly rocket ships that rusted away within twenty four months. So every era has it’s excesses. The Granada was the Malaise Era’s.

    • 0 avatar
      friedclams

      Great post! “Like an artist throwing paint”, that is first-rate. A great way to understand D3 car offerings in the 1970s.

      “He worked in mirages, not engineering”, isn’t that what all auto marketing is?

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      Interesting post VanillaDude. You’ve definitely hit on something there. I’m now wondering what the current crop of platforms and powertrains will eventually evolve/morph into. Should be interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Don’t forget the Lincoln Versailles. It’s a Granada only better because it’s a Lincoln.

      http://www.google.com/imgres?q=lincoln+versailles&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=3Zm&sa=X&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1024&bih=614&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=J57I0QRX3wg1EM:&imgrefurl=http://www.classic-carauction.com/auction_results_details.cfm%3F%3FRequestTimeout%3D150%26auctionnbr%3D46%26lotnbr%3D288&docid=6x8KKkarRJfiCM&w=1000&h=623&ei=u0KGToDDN-Ho0QGizInzDw&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=423&page=1&tbnh=120&tbnw=168&start=0&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:0&tx=102&ty=68

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Is this the nicest remaining Granada? http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/?cmd=ViewItem&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649&item=200657573756&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT

    Even though I was looking at a ’77 Granada listing yesterday, my guess for the car wearing the badge was a Mustang II.

  • avatar
    Birddog

    I was having a conversation about this car last night with a British ex-pat.

    Horrible vehicle. Right down to the generic Ford face of the 70s. It was like they weren’t even trying.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    If they were such horrible cars why did Ford sell so many? And the Granada WAS extremely popular. So much so that the name carried over to the Fox body for a while. I think we sometimes tend to make the mistake of judging 1970s cars through 2011 lenses.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      They sold because GM and Chrysler were making cars like the Malibu and the Volare. There wasn’t any quality volume competition. The era was tasteless by any measure, as evidenced by the complete lack of authenticity all these fake wire wheel hubcap wearing, fake radiator shell facia masked, fake convertible vinyl top covered, fake landau bar badged, fake gauge filled dashboards, fake wood trimmed tributes to drug induced bad taste. Under the skin, they had aging technology that performed worse than when introduced in previous decades due to heavy handed government regulators that were in front of the industry’s ability to deliver cars that were both clean enough and performed reasonably. On top of all that, they were built with zero pride and less attention to detail out of materials that aged visibly weeks after leaving the dealership. They had so much poorly applied chintzy trim that even when new one almost never saw one without glaring fit issues, incomplete trim, or some other glaring indication that the bloom was off the rose. On these Granadas, a missing hubcap revealing a mud colored steel wheel with rusted lug nuts and hub was often an early hole in the illusion that just was an old economy car with laddled on cheap chrome.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        I don’t recall seeing fake convertibles until the 80s, although there were vinyl roofs aplenty in the 70s. To be fair, in the 70s Detroit got hit with the triple whammy of rocketing gas prices, stricter emission regulations, and safety regs(5 mph bumpers). Still, that didn’t stop the Europeans and Japanese from engineering decent (if far from perfect) cars, and considering GM and Ford were Nos. 1 & 2 in the world their offerings were pretty pathetic. But Americans were used to buying big, cheap, heavy cars, so that’s what we got. Didn’t help that the small cars Detroit built were disasters.

      • 0 avatar
        getacargetacheck

        Actually, there was plenty of quality volume competition in those days. The Nova, for example, was a solid choice throughout the 70s. The Dart and Valiant with their Slant Sixes were legendary. Nothing wrong with an LTD or Impala. Underpowered because of immature emission devices? Yes. Not great on gas? To be sure. But we liked, no LOVED fake wire wheel covers, Landau tops, fake wood, chintzy trim, Rolls-knockoff grilles, and all the rest. Just look at how many T-birds, Grand Prixs, Monte Carlos and Cordobas were sold. The Japanese and Germans were not selling family-sized cars en masse yet and therefore weren’t yet capturing big market share. Again, looking at the 1970s through 2011 lenses is ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The Dart and Valiant died in 1976. The Nova was a poverty model by the late ’70s, and most people who were initially attracted to Novas already had one and had seen it go from new car to rusted hulk. My grandparents new Nova aged out in time for them to replace it with a new Duster. It was bad enough for them to give up on GM. I can’t think of anyone I knew that bought one of the facelifted Novas of the mid ’70s new. They were cars for water meter readers and civil service fleets. I knew plenty of people that had awful colonnades, dreadful Monzas, over-rated B bodies, slow Chevettes, and door sagging Camaros. I knew a couple people that had used late-’70s Novas as their high school cars in the mid ’80s. They just wouldn’t have made sense in my middle class suburban world as a new family car. Someone looking to spend very little on some functionality would have rather shown up in a Datsun 210 with a story rather than the look of forced austerity that driving a Nova would carry.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Russycle,

        If you look at the marketing materials of the era, you’ll find that even the thinnest, most restrained vinyl top was advertised as the appearance of a convertible with the security of a hard top.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        What was the appeal of the fake convertible top? I understand the wood trim, plush seats, and fancy wheels – those are all pretty standard on luxury cars today but a fake convertible top? I just don’t get it.

        Is this an option that buyers were willing to pay for or just unfortunate default styling of 70′s cars similar to plastic cladding on a mid 90′s Pontiac?

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      As others have said, despite the fact that they sold plenty of the Granada/Monarch models, they were really nothing more than a 1960′s Ford mechanically.

      Even the Fox bodied Fairmont had parts that dated back to the Falcon even though it had McPherson strut suspensions and rack and pinion steering, a rare thing in US makes of the time. I should know I had a 78 Fairmont four door with the 200 CID inline 6 which dated back to the 60′s and yes, it WAS a POS.

      Many Americans simply didn’t know better at that time.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        I think the comment about looking at 1970′s tastes through 2011′s lenses is very good. I remember my Dad buying a blue ’78 Granada nad he couldn’t have been prouder of himself. It was a nice dark metallic blue with a white vinyl half-roof that had opera windows. It had blue mouse-fur cloth seats, which to me as a kid of the times thought was very luxorious compared to the black vinyl found in our ’75 Vega station wagon. The faux wood trim also seemed very upscale as did the bits of chrome every where and it was BIG but not too big. And it was the first car I can remember of this size that had bucket seats, not a bench. Don’t forget as well at the time, that used cars weren’t exactly known to be reliable forms of transportation and that any new car showed you to be on the up.

  • avatar
    red60r

    There was another Granada ad on TV of the day that showed a country-club parking valet bringing out a Mercedes and being chided by the Ford owner for retrieving the wrong car. Actually, Mercs of that era tended to become smoking rust buckets all too soon, too. Malaise era was all about image over substance, be it machinery or people. Right, Ronnie R?

  • avatar
    carve

    I thought it was going to be a ’78 Mustang with a vinyl roof. My grandma had one in the 80′s, and it had a similar badge on the white vinyl.

    I recognize a lot of interior pieces as being reused in my dad’s ’86 F-150…speedo…steeringcolumn and wheel, vents.

    It boggles the mind how anybody ever found a box on wheels with a non-retractable vinyl roof appealing in any way whatsoever.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    I had a Mustang II with those same emblems only in red/blue.

  • avatar
    Jeffer

    Oh! all the Granada hate! I’ve got a FI 351W & C6 just waiting for a lovely mayonnaise-era Granada. If I ever find one, I’ll celebrate with a 6-pack of Billy beer and some Carter’s Peanuts…

  • avatar
    DM335

    Having been the then-proud owner of a 1981 Mustang Ghia, I instantly knew it was from a FoMoCo product. It could have been a Mustang, a Granada, a Monarch or the inexplicable Grand Monarch Ghia. I can’t recall if there were any other Ghia models.

    To underscore the build-quality issues, one time I saw a Granada with Monarch badges. I would say it was the only Granarch produced, but I suspect there were others.

  • avatar
    skor

    1977 Ford Granada commercial.

  • avatar
    84GT-S

    My guess was Mustang II too. Drove one of these for driver’s education in 1979. Education alright. While parallel parking, the power steering hose broke, and the instructor said “I’ll take it from here”. On CJ’s comment about fit and finish: wasn’t it these that had the gas cap in the middle above the bumper? Always looked crooked. Friend had the two-door Monarch. That poor thing was abused. I remember it held up pretty good though.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    All I remember of these cars were church friends whom my Mom plays bridge with now once had a ’79 I think Monarch. All I recall of it was it was brown with the tan interior and had a digital clock that sat in the blank area above the glove box. I rode in it once when my younger, older sister was house sitting for them at the time. I was in Jr High.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    I didn’t recognise the badge, but I knew from the sun-striated vinyl and vague memory of ’70s trim levels that it had to be a Granada. Seeing Murilee’s nom de plume may have influenced my mindset, of course.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Was gonna inflict #1 son with a Fairmont for a first car.. But it was just too far gone. I had a free Granada in the wings for a spare, but never needed it. Every so often, I will see one in my travels. If kept up, they look pretty spiffy. I often lusted for the 80s LTD/ Marquis. De smogged now, they prolly run fairly sweet. Good explanation about using old standard parts to keep costs down. Spot on. But they weren’t supposed to last. They fulfilled their mission well. Chrysler pretty much did the same with the Dart.. Diplomat devolution. Come to think of it, My Fords were that same brown as the pic.


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