Junkyard Find: 1981 Ford Granada L, Beige Fox-Body Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
The first-generation Ford Granada was based on the aging platform that debuted with the 1960 Falcon, and we have seen this ’77, this ’79, and this ’79 so far in the Junkyard Find series. For the 1981 model year, the Granada moved to the Fox Platform, and very few were sold for the two short years of the Fox Granada.Here’s a rare ’81 sedan that I found recently in a Denver-area self-service wrecking yard.
L was the base trim level in 1981, and the MSRP on a four-door L sedan was $6,633. That’s about $17,500 in inflation-adjusted 2016 dollars, so this car was very affordable.
The real cheapskates opted for the “Pinto” 2300 four-cylinder engine, but this car has the optional 200-cubic-inch straight-six, good for 88 horsepower. Fortunately, this car weighed only 2,750 pounds, or a bit less than a 2017 Honda Civic. It was slow, but not quite as slow as the depressing power numbers might suggest.
How about a nice pink-and-beige interior, made from the finest velour and vinyl (that was available for cheap in Michigan)?
Sometimes it’s hard to say why a particular car ended up in a place like this. Not this time!
It’s completely rust-free, as one would expect from a car sold in bone-dry New Mexico and driven in nearly-as-bone-dry Colorado. It would have been sleeperific fun (and easy) to take this car and apply all the standard go-fast tricks used by the Fox Mustang guys, as just about all the mechanical stuff interchanges between the various Foxes.
38 different inspectors examine every … single … car. Note the 1958-style theme music in this ad.
This dealership promotional video shows you everything you need to know about the Fox Granada.
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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  • New2000car New2000car on Mar 10, 2017

    The ads were right on about the quality. I wonder how much more it cost to drive home in one of these as compared to a K car of the day? Notice how it was still running probably 30 years later? It lasted 3x as long as an Aries/Reliant would have.

  • Shiv91 Shiv91 on Jul 25, 2017

    This was one of the earliest cars I can remember seeing on the road. These were relatively common in Buffalo NY, in fact there was one driving around the Southern part of the city as late as 2011. My grandpa had a white early 1980s Fairmont, he held onto it until about 1996.

  • Stephen My "mid-level" limited edition Tonino Lambo Ferraccio Junior watch has performed flawlessly with attractive understated style for nearly 20 years. Their cars are not so much to my taste-- my Acura NSX is just fine. Not sure why you have such condescension towards these excellent timepieces. They are attractive without unnecessary flamboyance, keep perfect time and are extremely reliable. They are also very reasonably priced.
  • Dana You don’t need park, you set auto hold (button on the console). Every BMW answers to ‘Hey, BMW’, but you can set your own personal wake word in iDrive. It takes less than 5 minutes to figure that that out, btw. The audio stays on which is handy for Teams meetings. Once your phone is out of range, the audio is stopped on the car. You can always press down on the audio volume wheel which will mute it, if it bothers you. I found all the controls very intuitive.
  • ToolGuy Not sure if I've ever said this, or if you were listening:• Learn to drive, people.Also, learn which vehicles to take home with you and which ones to walk away from. You are an adult now, think for yourself. (Those ads are lying to you. Your friendly neighborhood automotive dealer, also lying to you. Politicians? Lying to you. Oh yeah, learn how to vote lol.)Addendum for the weak-minded who think I am advocating some 'driver training' program: Learning is not something you do in school once for all time. Learning how to drive is not something that someone does for you. It is a continuous process driven by YOU. Learn how to learn how to drive, and learn to drive. Keep on learning how to drive. (You -- over there -- especially you, you kind of suck at driving. LOL.)Example: Do you know where your tires are? When you are 4 hours into a 6 hour interstate journey and change lanes, do you run over the raised center line retroreflective bumpers, or do you steer between them?
  • Mike Bradley Advertising, movies and TV, manufacturing, and car culture have all made speeding and crashing the ultimate tests of manhood. Throw in the political craziness and you've got a perfect soup of destruction and costs.
  • Lou_BC Jay Leno had said that EV's would be good since they could allow the continued existence of ICE cars for enthusiasts. That sentiment makes sense. Many buyers see vehicles as a necessary appliance.