By on March 14, 2016

1979 Ford Granada RH front view in California junkyard - © 2016 Murilee Martin / The Truth About Cars

I took my first driver’s test, in 1982, in a loathsome ex-rental-car 1979 Ford Granada sedan, a car that made my beige 1969 Toyota Corona sedan seem both fun to drive and cool by comparison. Since that time, it makes me happy each time I see a pre-Fox Platform Granada (or its Mercury sibling, the Monarch) in the junkyard. Where it belongs.

1979 Ford Granada 250 engine in California junkyard - © 2016 Murilee Martin / The Truth About Cars

The Granada was Ford’s final squeezing of revenue from the basic chassis design used in its compact and midsize cars starting in the 1960s, and so a lot of the Granada’s components will fit older Fords. The front disc brakes from these cars will bolt onto 1960s Mustangs, so they’re gone from this one. However, there is very little interest in an emissions-emasculated, early-1960s-technology 250-cubic-inch straight-six pushrod engine, so this one is reasonably certain to go to The Crusher with the rest of the car.

1979 Ford Granada hood ornament in California junkyard - © 2016 Murilee Martin / The Truth About Cars

The sight of this hood ornament, and the vague-yet-parts-bendy feel of the automatic column shifter, were burned into my formative driving brain at age 16, and will remain there forever.

1979 Ford Granada front seat in California junkyard - © 2016 Murilee Martin / The Truth About Cars

I keep thinking I have photographed quite a few of these cars in junkyards, but prior to today we’d seen just this ’77 Granada Ghia sedan and this ’79 Granada sedan. Ford produced some two door, first-generation Granadas, but few bought them.

It’s just like the Mercedes-Benz 450SLC, but only about one-sixth the price!

1979 Ford Granada Brochure Cover

The Fox-based Granadas of 1981-1982 were much, much better than the 1975-1980 Granadas. The Taurus, introduced for the 1986 model year, was like a futuristic intergalactic spaceship next to the standard midsize Ford of just six years earlier.

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94 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1979 Ford Granada Sedan...”


  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I find the silver and black car pictured with those wheels to be attractive for a Granada. I don’t know what that means, but it’s handsome in that trim.

    I think nearly every one I saw during my youth was that awful beige, brown or light blue. And it is truly amazing that the same Ford that made these things in only 6 years made the Taurus. That’s like Hyundai levels of improvement. A shame the “old Ford” returned at let the car languish.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They used similar wheels on some of the 81-83 Imperials, and they looked good in that application as well.

      http://www.imperialclub.org/Events/Midwest01/81AtShow.jpg (This one’s a FS Edition, most of which had the wire wheel covers. The wheels are a bit too sporty for such a color.)

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Yes, I can’t remember two cars that were more radical when they came out than the Taurus and 5000s. It was like the future had arrived (along with the Space Shuttle), and cars like these are what made the future look so much better.

      I fell nostalgic when I see something like this (there is a nicely maintained Maverick in a nearby town), but I would not give up any of our cars to drive something like this.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I didn’t remember that they sold the Granada after the Fairmont came out. How were they positioned relative to each other? This Granada seem fairly luxurious for the time (split bench, premium fabric), especially for a 6. Was the Granada an upsell from a Fairmont, or was it tarted-up just so it would sell at all?

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      The Fairmont was the direct replacement for the Maverick for 1978. The 1975 Granada was originally supposed to the the replacement but strong Maverick sales resulted in the decision to move the Granada upmarket and let the Maverick soldier on for a few more years. The first-gen Granada lasted through 1980.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        That’s really odd. Both cars were almost exactly the same size, but the Fairmont was better in every way. That Granada must have been a tough sell.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          The Granada was a huge seller for its first few years, so they probably figured they’d keep it around.

        • 0 avatar
          agent534

          @heavy handle
          The Granada was Falcon based, and the Fairmont was the first Fox body.

          Back in the day when Granadas were plentiful, if you had a classic Mustang with front drums, the Granadas discs would swap right over.

        • 0 avatar
          Johnster

          Actually, the Fairmont was slightly shorter, narrower, and taller than the Granada. It weighed less and it had more interior and trunk space. Under the dubious classification system used by the EPA, the Fairmont was classified as a “mid-sized” car, while the Granada was classified as a “compact.”

        • 0 avatar
          NOSLucasWiringSmoke

          Granada sales were good at first, but went off a cliff in the last couple of years. Probably a mix of the car being tired and cannibalism from the Fairmont (and other, fresher, entries in the segment).

          From 548,000 in 1976 (I was able to find a source on Google books), I think in 1980 it moved about 90,000 units (this is a hazy memory from an old book about Ford, no easy cite found on Google), small potatoes for Ford. By then it was all about the Foxes.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            I remember the buff books screaming about the upcoming “mini-LTD”, which is exactly how the Granada was positioned. They certainly made a lot of hay with that Falcon-era chassis. The Fairmont must of seemed like a race car 4 years later.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Just like the Volare/Aspen was introduced in the 1976 model year as a replacement for the Dart/Valiant yet they were continued through the model year because they were still quite popular.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      The Fairmont arrived in 1978. It was a clean sheet design, yet retained rear drive and room for a four, six or eight cylinder engine. The Granada remained popular until the Fairmont arrived, then started losing sales. The second generation Granada arrived in 1981. It was a stretched Fairmont with more interior room, and larger engine options. The second generation Granada was vastly improved over the Falcon-based Granada which came before it. It had problems selling and Ford renamed the Granada, the LTD and gave it an aerodynamic front end and an awesome LX option. This car became a police interceptor during the early 1980s.

      There is a huge difference between the first and second generation of the Granada. There is little to enjoy in the first generation, and a lot to love in the second.

      The Taurus arrived in 1985, and changed everything for Ford Motor Company in a very good way for the next decade.

      The Fox body Granada, LTD, Cougar, Marquis, Continental, Mark VII, and Thunderbird were good rear, drive V8 that can accept most Fox body Mustang engine components and performance parts.

      They are still fun to have around today.

      The Fox bodies were my first Fords, so I was very lucky to have escaped dealing with the earlier ones. Consequently, I still usually drive Fords today. I missed suffering through car ownership during the Malaise Era, and that’s probably why I will never consider any foreign brands today.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    That interior is in spectacular shape for a car nearly pushing 40. Many of today’s cars should be so lucky to hold up that well. And for a car that started life in Iowa, the body is in really good shape too.

  • avatar
    Urlik

    My cousin had one in the 80s and he called it the Grenade cause crap kept blowing up on it.

  • avatar
    RetroGrouch

    This POS, possibly the most malaisey of the malaise era Fords, perfectly summarizes why Japanese cars took over the US in the 80s. With that said, I loved the last manual trans Fusion I drove. The Fiesta ST is brilliant.

    Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who currently owns two wagons, one German and one Swedish.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Actually, I’m disagreeing on this one. It was Detroit’s failure with compact cars that let the Japanese in. The Granada was a midsize, and until the ’80s, there weren’t really many Japanese midsize cars to compete with it. Plus, it wasn’t a bad car per se.

      But there was a very long line of Detroit compacts that WERE bad (horrid, as a matter of fact), which included snap-oversteering Corvairs, exploding Pintos, Vegas with rust and engine meltdowns, and on and on. Pretty much every compact built by Detroit or AMC in the ’70s was just deplorable from about every possible standpoint. Japanese compacts were RADICALLY better. This was the segment that Japanese makes used to gain a foothold in our market.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        This version of the Granada was a Compact, not a mid size. The Pinto, Vega and most of the cars from Japan were Mini-Compacts or Sub-Compacts as they were later called.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    One of my college professors had a new Ford of this era. I remember it had a rust hole on the upper rear fender the size of your outstretched hand. Not a rust spot. A rust hole.

  • avatar

    When I took my Nissan in for servicing in the late 80s I usually had a loaner of an old Ford Granada or a Chevy Nova. They were both genuinely terrible cars but I think the Granada was worse. I do recall that in the heyday of the Granada there was a Great Gatsby Edition, in chocolate and tan. I think it may have been the two door but I cannot find reference on the Internets to it anywhere. I could not have dreamed up this horror. It probably came out in 1974, as a tie-in to the Robert Redford film.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Ah yes the 79 Granada what fine memories I have of this POS, lost out buying a used accord for my girlfriend who needed a car asap and ended up buying the granada instead, lasted maybe a year IIRC but I remember clear as crystal the day it died, my girlfriend was in a dress heading to my brothers wedding and the car caught on fire, she had to pull over and ask some neighbor if she could borrow his garden hose to put it out while dress for a wedding! Fire dept comes end of car good riddance FORD. She was a good sport about it and is now my wife but she will never never drive a Ford car again.

  • avatar

    There is no car that represents MALAISE more than a bronze-on-bronze Granada.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    My best friend’s mother had the Mercury version of this ’79 and we, ah, borrowed it to check out the ladies of the night who use to cruise 14th Street in D.C.

    This one evening stroller, who was wearing a full length fur coat and nothing else, produced a brick and flung it at the Monarch but I can’t remember what might have been said to encourage such a reaction. The brick bounced off but her high-heeled boot didn’t and she put a bit of a dent in the quarter panel over the rear right wheel. My friend mumbled it away by complaining about inconsiderate parkers on a supermarket parking lot.

    I don’t remember a thing else about that car. Oh yes, the vagaries of youth….

  • avatar
    John

    It’s kind of a shame young people today will never know how gut-wrenchingly awful American cars of the ’70s were.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Sticky hot vinyl. Wind, body, and engine noises galore. Oftentimes no A/C. An awful single speaker A/M radio. Not to mention very few interstates.

      No wonder a trip of just 30 miles seemed so long an exhausting. Nowadays we can drive hundreds of miles with no discomfort or effort.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    CAN SOMEONE AT TTAC TURN OFF THE POP UP WINDOW REQUIRING, NO DEMANDING, THAT WE LIKE TTAC’S PAGE ON FACEBOOK? IT’S BEEN GOING ON FOR OVER A MONTH NOW AND IT’S VERY ANNOYING.

    I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT MY DESIRE TO “LIKE” TTAC FB IS DIRECTLY DISPROPORTIONATE TO THE NUMBER OF TIMES I HAVE TO CLICK THE UNTRUTHFUL “LIKED ALREADY” RESPONSE.

    IN SHORT, IT’S A REALLY STUPID MOVE, TTAC.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    The crossing guard in my neighborhood had a early 80s Ford Grenada Coupe. I remember it being ugly then. This was in the late 80s / early 90s. It was poop green and just as ugly as you can imagine it would be.

    My Mom had a Merkur XR4Ti at the time and it looked like the future compared to the Grenada. Even my Dad’s 70 Mustang Grande looked better, landau top and all.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    The Granada/Monarch epitomizes the worst of the malaise era and Brougham epoch!

    While underpowered and thirsty with the ancient, anemic six-cylinder, the veneer of ersatz luxury (even the base cars had full-wheel covers) and square lines helped propel these cars to great sales from 1975-77.

    I was a kid then, but people really bought into the idea of a right-sized LTD or Marquis–a smaller Brougham.

    In that era, anything that offered most of what people wanted for less was a hit. Granada was less than a Torino or LTD.

    Similarly, the intro of the ‘modern’ Fairmont, offering room for 5 with Pinto-like economy, was a big hit for Ford–over 400,000 sold in 1978. Bigger than the Granada’s best year–and it also accelerated the demise of the Brougham-like Granada.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    In 1979 I was car shopping and compared a Granada to the Chevy Malibu. The Malibu felt leagues ahead of the Ford. A few years later, I nearly traded the Malibu for an LTD-LX, but they were so rare I couldn’t find a used one and had no intention to pay the $12K wanted for a new one. But the Fox body LTD was pretty good.

  • avatar
    April S

    Those hood ornaments came in handy when I was learning to drive. My Driver’s Ed teacher told us we could use the hood ornament to gauge where the edge of the road was.

    (we used a sharp looking 1977 Dodge Aspen coupe)

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My high school friend had a 1980 burnt orange sedan just like this one and with the same color vinyl bench seats. It was an old lady special with but 51K miles, no A/C, radio delete with plastic block off plate and little other than power steering, brakes and automatic tied to the 90HP 250 six. It was a fairly reliable car and drove down the road well enough but those vinyl seats were misery without A/C and the 250 six was embarrassingly slow. Even my 1981 231 V6 Cutlass would walk away from it and that wasn’t saying much. It did get decent mileage oddly enough. Slightly better than my 1979 Fairmont with the 200 six which barely cracked 20 MPG. All I can remember looking under the hood was the miles of vacuum line running like spaghetti everywhere. Every couple of months it would develop a rough idle. The 250 six would for some reason vibrate the carburetor base bolts loose creating a vacuum leak. Some thread lock solved that issue.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    The tail lights on the subject Granada look like they were lifted directly from the Mercedes R107 line.I should know, I own a 74 450SL. I don’t know what the marketing people at Ford were smoking to compare an MB 450SLC to the Granada other than the tail lights.

  • avatar

    I have no recollection of comparisons being made between the Granada coupe and the M-B 450SLC. but I do clearly remember TV commercials (late 1970s-early 1980s) where Chrysler products (LeBaron, perhaps) were compared with Mercedes. Particularly there was one spy spoof ad where someone was instructed to meet up with a contact in a Mercedes outside of an airport, and the agent mistakenly got into the Chrysler. Performance and quality aside (and conveniently ignoring the fact I own a 1970s Mercedes), it seems unlikely anyone would have confused a LeBaron or Granada for a Mercedes in this period, if only for obvious brand-specific styling differences.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      I do not recall any Chrysler ads or commercials comparing themselves to Mercedes, but I do remember the stupid Granada versus Mercedes ones vividly. They are to me the epitome of absurd and inane advertising. I have yet to see anything worse.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I do remember the comparisons and we even compared them side by side on the road and in a parking lot.

    One of The Old Man’s employees had a burnt orange 450SLC , that he would lend me occasionally and The Old Man had just added 1 Granada to the company ‘fleet’. A rare departure from the ‘personal luxury coupe’ with a big V8 that was normally mandated.

    Remember that this was a ‘fully dressed’ ‘top of the line’ Granada (Ghia or Gatsby, can’t remember which) with the V8.

    Let’s just say that the driving comparison was pretty one sided.

    However the young lady that I was courting at the time, much preferred the ‘creature comforts’ of the Ford.

    In reality, based on its domestic competition the Granada was not a bad car. It had good visibility, a quiet and very well appointed interior and was actually fairly handsome in a mid 70’s disco era, way.

    And yes the interior has held up very well. Something that the D3 did get right in the 70’s with the exception of the cracking dashboards on the full size Chevs which were endemic.

    In Southern Ontario it seems like at least half of the mid and full sized Fords sold in the 70’s were brown.

    Just like the majority of Dodges were either green or brown in the early 70’s.

  • avatar
    JMII

    We had 2 of these horrible things in the family back in the mid/late 70s! Mom had a white one and grandma had a green one. They were both so, so terrible. The thing I remember most from being a kid back then (born early 70s) was how huge and flat they were, basically slab sided from all angles. It was not styled at all, instead it was just a box on wheels, easily copied in LEGO form. It looked nothing like the wedge or sweeping, slightly rounded shapes I drew when I thought of what a car should look like. Case in point: the C3 “Mako Shark” Corvette, a vehicle I still fine to be gorgeous was made during the same years as this ugly Ford. I also remember how the interior plastic was so thin and cheap it was easily scratched with a fingernail. All the chrome bits got super hot in the summer so touching the door handles was asking for 3rd degree burns. A drunk driver squished mom’s Granada so we got a Rabbit next and it was pretty much the polar opposite in every possible way. Even as grade school kid I knew the Granada was crappy and old… the fact that grandma had one just reinforced it.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    Owned a Granada once. Got 100 MPG–10 while driving, 90 behind a tow truck. Total POS. People tell me Ford is “getting better” well yeah, couldn’t get any worse than this pile.

    John

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Is that the rare 3-on-the-tree version, or did someone jam the automatic shifter into Low?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    For those complaining about the Granada/Monarch. Please remember that their domestic competition at that time were the 4th generation Nova/Phoenix/Skylark/Omega from GM, the Volare/Aspen from Chrysler and the Hornet from AMC.

    Japanese imports in that era were generally compact and biodegradable.

    VW was selling the Series IV, basically a rebodied Beetle and then the Rabbit which while a great idea had a large number of quality issues. Also the Dasher which self-destructed or the ‘Audi’ Fox which had the same quality issues.

    French. British and Italian vehicles were best left for those with either their own garage or no need to drive their car on a regular basis.

    So actually the best of a bad lot and far more stylish in their 70’s Disco way. You might say the pick of a very poor litter.

    There is a reason that is referred to as the ‘Malaise Era’.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      The Hornet couldn’t have been that bad.

      Well okay, the 258 was a dog, but it was somehow less of a dog than the Ford 250…

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        This is very true. The AMC 258 in the RWD Hornet series was actually fairly peppy for the time. AMC didn’t publish power figures but sources indicate roughly 110-112 SAE HP was the norm for these. A bit better than the 90-97 HP ratings on the Ford 250

    • 0 avatar

      And it was just at this time, that I went from a super expensive 300 two door Mercedes (at the car show) to a Fiat, and then, a Honda. The Mercedes was a vault. The Fiat had interesting panel gaps and a tinny demeanor. The Honda was as tinny as the Fiat but everything lined up like the Benz, which is when you knew the Japanese cars were onto something.

      The Americans ? The puking chicken was bigger this year. Don’t ask about build quality.

      Now everything lines up like the Benz, mostly, and the same solid can be bought for 30k new or lots less used. Malise, indeed-when Vettes barely broke 200 hp.

    • 0 avatar
      NOSLucasWiringSmoke

      I would take a RWD GM X-body over the rest of its domestic contemporaries anyday, maybe a Hornet second (dat Sportabout). The AMC 258 was still being put in Jeep YJ’s until the early 90s when they came up with the 4.0. A good buddy of mine had a 258-equipped YJ. It drank a lot of gas for not very much acceleration…

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    You know, people give the Fairmont/Zephyr a lot of sh*t for being boring and boxy and utilitarian, but the Granada is UGLY, and boring will always beat ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Tony Manero would have preferred a Granada over a Fairmont.
      And during that era, at least when the Granad debuted ‘broughmanization’ and flash were the ideals. Remember that it was originally a sales hit for Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        NOSLucasWiringSmoke

        Timing is everything, and I think Ford hit the nail on the head with a “premium” compact right on the heels of the first OPEC embargo. Big car sales tanked in 1974 (down about 50%), people wanted more fuel-efficient cars but didn’t want to buy cars that already had a “cheap” image even optioned up (like a Maverick with the “Luxury Decor Option” package), so the timing was ripe for a new nameplate that positioned itself upmarket.

        • 0 avatar
          CobraJet

          My boss traded in a 67 Galaxie for a new 74 Pinto wagon in search of good gas mileage. The next year he traded for one of the first 75 Granadas that arrived at the local Ford dealership. I was excited to see it because I thought Ford had started with a clean slate like the advertising at the time indicated. When I examined it I realized it had the same underpinnings as my 66 Mercury Comet.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I owned a handed down 1979 Fairmont 200 six for about a year and half. That was all I could stand of the flat as a board bench seat, wheezy 200 six, vibrating dash, loads of road noise due to poor or lacking sound insulation and numerous issues starting with a failed rear end differential at a little over 60K miles. The Granada drove like a luxury car in comparison.

  • avatar
    DougYNDOT

    Yeah, we had a 1975 Granada, in silver with the whorehouse red interior. Dad bought it to replace a 1973 Audi 100 that ate its transmission twice and would emit smoke from the a/c vents. I learned to drive on this car in the north Atlanta suburbs, but preferred mom’s 1970 LTD wagon (with the 390) for blasting along the top end Perimeter highway. The Granada was a loathsome rattle trap, and a bitch to start on what passed for a winter day in Atlanta. Probably the only thing worse than the Granada was the 1979 Fairmont that replaced it. Clearly plastic chemistry had regressed in the late 70s and the Fairmont was full of it (pun intended) I loved how you could floor it, and the 200cid six would just wheeze but the car didn’t go faster. After a few years it was promptly dispatched with my sister to her college in Ohio, and replaced by a 1982 Camry that dad had to buy at $2000 over sticker. 3 Toyotas followed that Camry. No more Fords.

  • avatar

    An Uncle had a Granada. Worst car ever, and drove him to euros for his next four cars. He’ll never consider a ford again.

    I worked with a guy who had the Lincoln Versailles version. His was kept perfect and he loved it to death. Different strokes / folks, I guess. Maybe the v8 made all the difference ? The Versailles was a 5/8 version of the Continental at the peak of chrome.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      My problem with the Versailles is that Ford cheaped out and didn’t apply the Continental rear-end treatment with the “finlets” and full width lightbar. Instead it just had the back end of a Granada.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The money they asked for the Versailles was ludicrous at the time. $11,500 – same price as a Fleetwood Brougham. More than a Mark or an Eldorado.

        http://blog.consumerguide.com/5-expensive-american-cars-1977/

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Remember how the Grandadda had three-color taillights like a Euro car, but the amber segments were only reflectors, so the red brake lights actually signaled turns? Stupid and dangerous, like the car itself.

    The Fairmont–my driver’s ed car–was no better: no power from the straight six, no centering from the steering, and no braking from the brakes–I distinctly remember going through a stop sign one time, trying in vain to make the instructor look down and verify that I had the brake pedal floored.

    The first jellybean Taurus was a revelation: rewarding to drive like an Audi, comfortable to ride in like a Lincoln, affordable to buy and run like a Toyota, and built with real attention to precision controls and quality materials in the cabin like a Honda. And it was gorgeous, handsomer even than the Audi 5000. God, what a miraculous turnaround after 30 years of flaming-garbage sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      While I agree the Taurus was a lightening bolt in the market and a pleasure to drive (I had an older Audi 5000 at the time and my sister’s new Taurus very much reminded me of it in how well it tracked and handled), it’s weak systems showed up soon enough with warped rotors, broken tranny, fading paint and poor ac. After 3 years of ownership my sister went Camry and never looked back.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I always thought Ford should have marketed a special edition of the car in a two-tone pineapple-yellow over white (or the other way around): the Pina Colada Granada!

  • avatar
    roger628

    The character of these was highly contingent on the option choices. Firstly, the six was a lost cause. The 302 was adequate but no barn burner, and no economy champ either. The 351 was too thirsty. Secondly, be prepared to shell out for at least 2 grand worth of options. Preferably on the Ghia model. The best ones were the round headlight ’75-77 versions. With a V8, AC, stereo, power goodies and a high trim level with lots of sound deadening, they weren’t too bad a car, not class leading, that’s for sure. A little more money would have bought you a Cutlass, a much better car. Many of the gripes cited above seem to stem from the perils of low-spec models. Anemic sixes, vinyl seats, clunky truck-like manual transmissions, no AC, etc. No car equipped this way is going to be pleasant. The moral of the story? Don’t be a cheapskate!

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      This is so true. If my friend’s 1980 sedan had the up-level cloth interior, A/C, a 302 V8 and a stereo he surly would have liked it a lot more. It’s funny just how bare bones many of these 70’s and early 80’s compact/mid size sedans were ordered. Total 360 from the last 10-15 years where your average Chevy Cruze or Ford Focus has power everything, moon roof, touch screens, air bags everywhere and oodles of other features.

  • avatar
    skor

    Mr. Martin, Prez Obama, and I all have something in common, we took our driver’s tests in malaise era Granadas.

    I took my driver’s test in 1980, the car was my father’s 1979 2 door Granada in ESS (European Sports Sedan) trim…I failed the first test. The DMV guy got into the car with me, and slammed the door, I mean slammed as hard as he could. He then proceeded to tear off (not remove) the air freshener that my father had hanging from the rear view mirror. At that point he started screaming instructions at me like a USMC DI. After we drove back to the start point, he got out of the car and slammed the door as hard as he could. My father witnessed him do this and they exchanged some words, the DMV threatened to have my father arrested. My next attempt at the driver’s test came a couple months later. DMV guy #2 looked like he was half asleep and couldn’t be arsed. When went around the test course, he signed my permit and that was it.

    Oh, and the car was a POS as well.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    2nd gen Granada was built in Chicago. Outside one of the doors heading to the sea wall there’s an electrical box that someone stuck a Granada badge to it….and it survives till this day. (Although it’s been painted over a few times)

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    An associate of mine back in high school drove a late 70’s Granada in powder blue which was in really, *really* remarkable condition. Still felt bad for the guy. Girls hated that car.

    Hell, I felt bad for the guy and I was driving a J-Body.

    Whomever thought this car could be considered attractive is beyond me.

    Then again, Ford gave us the Mustang II… so, maybe not so surprising that we got this eyesore bestowed upon us.

    That being said, I don’t find the Lincoln Versailles to be nearly as appalling. Woe is me.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    Sometimes there isn’t much truth about cars here – lots of opinion, which in comments is to be expected, but there isn’t any fact in the seminal stories.

    We can deal with the lack of quality assembly – all products made by the big three were lacking at times – and we can understand that the archaic platforms used existed and were recycled to the point of absurdity.

    What is left out is the reality these companies faced – perhaps this should knock a few for a loop – and let me educate you.

    During the 1950’s and 1960’s, it was customary to do whole product changeovers on a substantial sheetmetal level year in and year out. The public expected this and Detroit fueled it. And just like today’s Honduh and Toyoduh, the basic platforms were not changed but there was substantial exterior and interior changes. I add the Honduh and Toyoduh slam here because they also employ keeping hard points from old platforms while calling their products all new. But I digress.

    When the infestation of Federal safety standards came about as if automakers could fiat inventions to meet them, along with emissions standards, automakers necessarily pulled back where they could and retained basic platforms for longer cycles. And since you cannot predict what stupid politicians will do with regulation, the prudent thing was to pull back on all innovation that did not help meet these regulations.

    To fault those automakers for retaining old engines and transmissions is ludicrous. Automakers had limited resources and weren’t going to bite the hand that fed them. At that time Japanese products were garbage – despite any revisionist spin that we can apply from today to then, garbage is what they made and rust buckets were abundant. Even now Toyoduh trucks have frame rust through issues.

    The Granada was no worse than any other product made at that time – it was vague in steering feeling – it was hit or miss on assembly construction (and we must pin that on the UAW who was demanding more money for fewer hours and ended up sabotaging builds).

    I had a Mustang with the 250 engine that the schumck who took the pictures blasted – it was heavy torque and was definitely not a bad engine. And it was nearly indestructible.

    The Granada was one of those last gasps of automakers trying to come to grips with the old ways, the never ending meddling by Government, and the cusp of computers and new ways of thinking.

    Let’s just keep the product eras in the prespective of their tims.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Well said and very true. I can drive behind any Toyota dealer and snap pictures of at least 10 Tundra/Tacoma trucks with rotted out frames each week that are being replaced at a feverish pace at any given time. It’s almost surreal seeing these frames stacked up high waiting to be picked up by a metal scrapper complete with rust holes and even broken crossmembers. Never see a Ram, Silverado, F-150 or even a Titan frame at these same dealers though.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Well, no – you’re at a Toyota dealer silly.

        My brother’s 2008 Ram chassis is rotted through though. So there’s that. He’s 0-for-3 in the Mopar department and recently jumped over to Hyundai and Toyota for all his automotive needs.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Somehow I’m just not feeling much love for Grandpa’s old Ford here….

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Poor Granada gets no love. For the time these were fairly attractive cars. Certainly more so than FoMoCo’s midsize offerings and the barge like LTD/Marquis. They were a solid choice for someone looking to to downsize from those offerings and still stay in a Ford. They always looked more expensive than the appliance-like Fairmont/Zephyr. Sure you would have to be brain dead to order it with a 6, but the V8’s motivated it well enough for the time.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Survivor Granadas, in excellent condition, are now selling at Hemmings in the $7K-$8K range. I think the most you could pay for a new Granada back in the day was $6K.

      Google ‘Granada ESS for Sale’ and see for yourself.

  • avatar
    skor

    Oh, one more fact about the Granada. The Granada based Lincoln Versailles used a 9 inch rear with disc brakes. That rear unit will bolt right into early Mustangs/Falcons, and for years was the only practical way to get a rear disc set-up on a first-gen Mustang.


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