Junkyard Find: 1979 Ford Granada

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Thanks to rental-car companies, the Granada was once seen in great numbers on American roads. The Granada remained a fairly common sight well into the 1990s, but they’re just about all gone now. We saw this Crusher-bound ’77 Granada Ghia in California last month, and I found today’s Junkyard Find in a nearby East Bay wrecking yard on the same trip.

One thing about junkyard Granadas (and Monarchs) is that the front brake parts always get grabbed by the first person to spot the car. That’s because everyone knows that Mustang guys will pay good money for these bolt-on-to-1960s-Mustangs parts.

The original purchaser of this car (probably Hertz) splurged and bought the optional AM radio. I still have vivid memories of frustrated spinning of tuning knobs on this type of radio, from driving my parents’ “extra car” Granada as a yoot; it was always a challenge to find something good on AM in the early 1980s. About as good as you were going to get was maybe Joan Jett, Blondie, or Ace Frehley. Still, it could have been worse— plenty of cars back then came with zero audio system.

Yes, the 250-cubic-inch six was as gutless as it looks.

Cruise control was a fairly uncommon option in 1979, so maybe this Granada didn’t start its career as a rental. In this era, cruise-control systems used a big vacuum motor to control the throttle and weren’t particularly steady.

One good thing about cars from the darkest days of the Malaise Era— and 1979 was about as dark as it got— was that designers weren’t afraid to use vivid interior colors. This interior is a symphony in brown and red vinyl and faux woodgrain.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Neilljuilfs Neilljuilfs on Mar 15, 2013

    I came across a 1976 Granada with around 125K miles. It ran great until it was parked 3 years ago, and in immaculate condition. Any idea of value once I get it running? Neill in Eugene, OR

    • Parkwood60 Parkwood60 on Mar 15, 2013

      They are worthless. Get it running and it will still only be worth between the scrap value of the metal and whatever you can sell the front spindles & disc brakes for to someone with a Mustang or a Falcon.

  • Laserwizard Laserwizard on Dec 28, 2015

    I had a 250 inline six in my 1969 Mustang and I can assure you that engine is not gutless. It had great torque and was no slug off the line.

  • Theflyersfan Well, if you're on a Samsung phone, (noticing all of the shipping boxes are half Vietnamese), you're using a Vietnam-built phone. Apple? Most of ours in the warehouse say China, but they are trying to spread out to other countries because putting all eggs in the Chinese basket right now is not wise. I'm asking Apple users here (the point of above) - if you're OK using an expensive iPhone, where is your Made in China line in the sand? Can't stress this enough - not being confrontational. I am curious, that's all. Is it because Apple is California-based that manufacturing location doesn't matter, vs a company in a Beijing skyscraper? We have all weekend to hopefully have a civil discussion about how much is too much when it comes to supporting companies being HQ-ed in adversarial countries. I, for one, can't pull the trigger on a Chinese car. All kinds of reasons - political, human rights, war mongering and land grabbing - my morality is ruling my decisions with them.
  • Jbltg Ford AND VAG. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Leonard Ostrander We own a 2017 Buick Envision built in China. It has been very reliable and meets our needs perfectly. Of course Henry Ford was a fervent anti-semite and staunch nazi sympathizer so that rules out Ford products.
  • Ravenuer I would not.
  • V8fairy Absolutely no, for the same reasons I would not have bought a German car in the late 1930's, and I am glad to see a number of other posters here share my moral scruples. Like EBFlex I try to avoid Chinese made goods as much as possible. The quality may also be iffy, but that is not my primary concern