Junkyard Find: 1979 Ford Granada Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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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  • Whatnext Whatnext on Mar 17, 2016

    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.

    • Skor Skor on Mar 17, 2016

      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.

  • Skor Skor on Mar 17, 2016

    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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