The Truth About Cars » Ghia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 20 Apr 2014 19:03:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Ghia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com TTAC Project Car: Citizen Sierra http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/ttac-project-car-citizen-sierra/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/ttac-project-car-citizen-sierra/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 12:03:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=635937

It’s been a while since our last update on TTAC’s intercontinental project car: a UK-spec 1983 Ford Sierra Ghia finished in Rio Brown.  Since then the Sierra’s gifted creator passed away and more positively, Ford wisely ditched its Titanium trim level for a famous name befitting a premium offering with brown paint…even if it isn’t Ghia.

Jealous much of TTAC’s sweet ride, FoMoCo?  

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We ended our last story with the Sierra’s hood cable unable to release the “bonnet”. Which was fixed one year ago this week: reaching between the front fascia and the radiator to grab the release lever and pop it free.  From there, two zip ties eliminated the slack in the cable and it’s been fine ever since.  A surprisingly easy fix!

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Any hope of getting Citizen Sierra nice and legal started with its horrible exhaust leak, probably stemming from the Nürburgring workout given by Capt. Mike at said famous race track.

I grabbed a 2.3L Mustang manifold gasket, pulled the cast iron lump off and realized that the 2.0L Pinto motor has a unique cylinder head.  With no matching gasket in sight, I swapped my unopened part for Mr. Gasket’s sheet of “make your own” gasket paper.  In less time than it took to watch a football game, I crafted a set of four gaskets. About a week before Christmas 2012, I finished the Sierra’s exhaust. Ironically, that was also the day I confronted my inner and outer demons.

Making a concerted effort to change my attitude/personality that evening, the Sierra–in some twisted way–became my catalyst for that change. So it became that Citizen Sierra joined my personal quest for continuous improvement.

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Considering the number of cars in the Mehta garage, a unique key chain was needed.  I found these vintage units (modeled after a promotional button Ford made in 1982) on eBay in the US, and they were mine in a couple of days. Nice.

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Shameless Plug: in February I scored specialty car insurance, quite affordable thanks to the extraordinary customer service at the National Corvette Museum. With proof of fiduciary responsility in hand, I motored out of the warehouse for a state inspection, a simple task with any 25+ year old car in Texas!  The ride there was surprisingly serene, and it easily passed the test.

With the Sierra legal (enough) to begin the path to citizenship, I hit another roadblock: the head lights and brake lights went berserk.  I tried fixing them: repairing frayed wiring, replacing bulbs, a new brake pedal switch, a multifunction switch from a Merkur, all to no avail.  By mid March I was 100% frustrated: so I quickly reassembled my work and drove to a friend’s shop. And a little over three months later…

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Sadly that friend had even more existential concerns than myself: after his cell phone was disconnected, I went to claim my Sierra, in whatever condition it may sit.  Mercifully he fixed it well, charged next to nothing and I learned a lesson…or three.

Soon after I took a few hours off work to get the Sierra titled. Except not: the county wasn’t pleased with the paperwork.  The Sierra is pictured here (above) in July at the Houston Police Department’s Auto Theft division, where they quickly processed/approved Form 68-A: a crucial part to obtaining citizenship in Texas.  While this was one of the creepiest, covert operations I’ve seen (they don’t even let you inside) the people were certainly pleasant enough.

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Victory!  Sort of: between an international title that wasn’t signed by Capt. Mike and two ownership changes between here and the UK, I needed a bonded title to get legal.  My friends in the classic car trade recommended a local title company. In less than a week, they made the impossible happen.  While I enjoy working instead of waiting in lines, there was a singular downside. Their handiwork set me back a painful $750.

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Legal issues cleared, the work began: first the horrible radio. While the factory unit supposedly picked up FM, it seemed to miss the land of BBC radio. Then the tape deck broke, taking away my MP3 interface!  I grabbed the same (Blaupunkt) radio from a 1980s USA Audi in hopes it would work. No dice.

Then I bought a stunning vintage, NOS, perfect DENON cassette deck, which wasn’t amplified and therefore useless to the Sierra. Stereo #4, a “so cheap its worth a shot” NOS Pyramid deck with a graphic equalizer did work, but made the original speakers crackle and pop like that “snappy” breakfast cereal.  $50 later on eBay and I was installing new 4” Kenwood coaxial speakers into a very chocolatey cabin.  The rears were a snap, but the fronts were…well you see the photo.

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While the craptastic Pyramid was an improvement, it was still a horrible radio.  Back to eBay, and this Hitachi tape deck with an AUX jack and an ingenious spring-loaded pull out mechanism (no grab handle) was mine for a fair price.  Lesson learned: vintage Kenwood/Alpine audio fanbois pay waaaay too much for cassette decks!

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After a few more miles of weekend cruises and plans for a short trip to judge a LeMons race, the Sierra developed some annoying problems. A ripped spark plug boot (that I destroyed during inspection/removal) needed attention, but ordering tune up parts for a Sierra (i.e. not of the GMC variety) at the parts store is cumbersome. And the word “Merkur” doesn’t help, either. Luckily an Autozone cut-to-fit kit (USA made!) combined with new Motorcraft plugs worked perfectly. A nice repair for less than $25.   4_1

The exhaust had problems at the rear, too.  $150 later and a local shop replaced the crusty rear resonator and it looks factory. Surprisingly, the new assembly is louder than the original, probably because it isn’t full of rust flakes.

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Then a front-end alignment: I’m stunned at the number of shops that refuse to work on a car if the alignment specs aren’t in their machine.  I had the Ford factory shop manual (purchased from a UK re-seller of discarded library books) with the specs in hand, but nobody would play…until I found a Meineke with the balls to read books, not just computers.

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Then tires: these Romanian-made Vikings were not only a poor tribute to Nordic heritage, they were past it thanks to the (mis) alignment. Since the usual places don’t stock a 165/80/13 tire, I found a vendor in California selling China’s finest speed rated radials for $34 a pop. Apparently this is a common tire size for Honda Accords from the same era, so I got lucky!

5The Sierra’s fan clutch puked its fluid at the LeMons race in late September, making it hurl coolant as I extorted bribes from cheaty racers.  Determined to find a local replacement, I realized European Ford clutches use the same removal tool as BMWs.  I was lucky to find a brilliant night manager at the local O’Reilly’s, as he hammered away at his computer to find a ($100) clutch from an E30 that dropped right in. Thirty minutes later, the Sierra was running cooler than Jonathan Goldsmith in a booth fulla hot women.

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Last month I added this custom-made LeMons bribe to the Sierra’s hatch.  One race team had a talented graphic company in tow, and it’s certainly good to be a corrupt judge with a penchant for exotic machines ending in “RI”!

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Our man in Czechoslovakia, Mr.  Vojta Dobeš befriended me shortly after my initial purchase.  Turns out he grew up with Fords from the 1970s and 1980s, so his love of Sierras is strong. Even better, his ability to find valuable parts is even stronger.  I literally bounced off the walls when his box of Ford goodies arrived. We are very lucky to have this guy in our ranks.

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As alluded to in last week’s Piston Slap, I ran into problems while installing these parts.  Bad grounds, blown fuses, dirty connections and a truckload of time with wiring diagrams to make it all work: but the result is brilliant. Now I have a well-mannered RWD hatchback with enough head lamps to bake your legs on an autumn winter morning. Yes, really.

The plan was to put the finished Sierra* back in the warehouse…but screw that!  I’ll keep TTAC’s project car in my garage until summer rears its ugly head (no A/C) once more. Citizen Sierra is now, after all, a big part of my past, present and future.

And now you know The Truth About TTAC’s Ford Sierra. I hope you have a fantastic week.

*NOTE: the Sierra is currently running European style plates with the correct license number for the State of Texas.  This, along with keeping the real plates in the spare tire well, is a temporary measure until I figure out how to install a Texas plate without modifying the body or the plate itself.  More to come.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford Granada Ghia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1977-ford-granada-ghia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1977-ford-granada-ghia/#comments Fri, 14 Sep 2012 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=460120 I took my first driver’s-license test in a 1979 Ford Granada, and so I always notice Granadas (and Monarchs) when I see them on the street (very rarely) and in the junkyard (slightly more frequently).
The Granada Ghia was the version with the top trim level, using the name of Ford-purchased Carrozzeria Ghia. Since you could also buy a Fiesta Ghia, there was a certain amount of 70s-style designer-label brand-cheapening involved.
This car has the 302-cubic-inch V8 instead of the standard, miserably low-powered 250 L6. The V8 Granadas weren’t quick, but they managed to avoid being dangerously slow.
Riding as a passenger in my parents’ Granada, I would get a little bit freaked out by the Faces of Tormented Souls In Hell™ pattern on the faux woodgrain interior panels.
Like every Granada that shows up in a junkyard, this one had its front brake components yanked immediately. That’s because the Granada is a member of the same chassis family that produced the 1964-73 Mustang, which means that Granada brakes can be used as a bolt-on disc upgrade for old Mustangs.
I collect old car clocks, but I’ve learned that exactly zero percent of these mechanical digital Ford clocks of the 1980s are in working condition.

You don’t see many cultural references to the Granada, but here’s about the only reference I can find in popular culture.

18 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 17 - 1977 Ford Granada Ghia Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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TTAC Project Car: Home and Dry! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/ttac-project-car-home-and-dry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/ttac-project-car-home-and-dry/#comments Sun, 03 Jun 2012 17:43:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=447348

It happened. TTAC finally has their very own Ford Sierra.

It’s true: the UK-spec Ford Sierra I promised to TTAC readers has arrived.  Well actually two Brits, as our man Captain Mike Solo imported both his Peugeot 205 1.6 GTI and my Ford Sierra Ghia at the same time.  And while I eagerly awaited the Sierra’s arrival in Houston, I could not meet the ship at the port. The precious cargo went up to an official military delivery area in Dallas, about 4-5 hours away.

If you think getting the car from Europe to USA was tough, try making the journey from Houston to Dallas.

Due to timing between my work schedule, the storage fees at the receiving area and Captain Mike’s legal signature required to take delivery, the Sierra waited for at least another month before getting home.

Mike signed for both British beauties (so to speak) and proceeded to trailer off his pretty little Pug. Apparently the staff was more impressed with the bizarre brown space ship on wheels, though most of that credit goes to the exhaust leak from the 2.0L Pinto mill.

One of my racer friends from the 24 Hours of LeMons, Brian Pollock of Property Devaluation Racing, promised to tow it from the place you see here to his workshop filled with similarly bizarre and crappy old Fords.

But then the starter in Brian’s Cummins I-6 converted Ford F-350 took a dump.  No dice. He had a friend in the tow truck business who’d do us a solid, and deliver the car to Brian for $125.  Considering the alternative of leaving the Sierra in this spot, I gladly paid that. I don’t like how that white S10 is staring at my Rio Brown Ghia goodness!

And there it goes.  The deliciously Brown Ford is off to meet LeMons cars, LeMons racers and eventually…its very Brown-toned new owner.

           So what’s up with the random belt shot?  This is one of the many steps required to get me (safely) over to Dallas. See, the Mehta fleet includes a 2006 Lincoln Navigator with a ROUSH Supercharger from an F-150.  And while the roots-style fed, tubular exhaust header equipped Navigator sucks down plenty of premium fuel, the massive torque and close ratio 6-speed transmission makes towing damn near anything a breeze.  But, just in case, here’s the part number if the belt decides the Sierra isn’t a worthy trailer queen.

Luckily there was no need for drama, the Supercharged Navigator happily made it here.  There’s my Sierra!  FINALLY!

And after spending far too much time trying to get the Sierra on the back of the stupid fast Navigator, it was ready to go home. Note my smile with the ratchet straps, as I am terrible with these things.  Combined with the stress of my normal work week, the labor involved in making this day happen and my level of exhaustion while driving up to Dallas, this was no small feat. I need to clone myself.

But still, there’s always time to smile.  Even if all my friends know it’s official: I’m absolutely nuts!

And it got worse.  Apparently the Sierra was homesick, longing for some proper UK weather.  The rain went from British charm to Gulf Coast beat down in a matter of minutes.  I took this terrible shot while filling the Navigator at the gas station: the wind was so strong I was soaked under the station’s prodigious roof. The day went from tiring to absolutely miserable.

But with a bit of caffeine, my two road trip buddies Todd and Angie, the open highway and the amazing view at my back…well, it was all worth it. I doubt I’ll ever have another automotive purchase experience like this one.  And FWIW, the Supercharged Navigator got 9 MPG on the way back.

Annnnd we’re back!  The weather cleared up in the Bayou City just long enough to get the Sierra off the trailer.  And, as the Brits say, the Sierra is now “home and dry” with the rest of the Mehta fleet, some of them shown here.

This is also a good time to mention the theme song for this milestone:

Click here to view the embedded video.

I gotta see you, I gotta be with you,

We’ll make it better now in every way,

Yes, home and dry.

So what’s next?  Fixing that massive exhaust leak, coming from the gap between the engine and the  manifold. Too bad the hood release also decided to fail.  On the plus side, I finally bought a proper set of Ford shop manuals, sporting this helpful diagram. Looks like I’m spending one morning with the Sierra, a pair of jacks, a flashlight and one very, VERY long screwdriver.

Thank you all for reading.  Get your hands dirty and enjoy your Sunday!

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Junkyard Find: Guess the Ghia! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/junkyard-find-guess-the-ghia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/junkyard-find-guess-the-ghia/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2011 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413021 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.

DOTJ-GhiaGranada-Car DOTJ-GhiaGranada-Emblem DOTJ-GhiaGranada-Interior Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Sunday Concours: The Destruction Of The Chrysler-Ghia Turbine Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/sunday-concours-the-destruction-of-the-chrysler-ghia-turbine-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/sunday-concours-the-destruction-of-the-chrysler-ghia-turbine-cars/#comments Sun, 22 Nov 2009 19:40:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336442

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