The cars we loved.
The previous entry focused on how one car called various names globally managed to keep much of its charm intact. This one is quite different. Two cars one mission, that’s the story behind Ford’s use of the name Granada on two completely different cars on two continents. In another example of one name-but not the same, Ford would share names in a number of cars that had counterparts elsewhere. The Capri was one notable example that diverged in 1979. Another was the Granada. In early 70’s Europe, the Granada replaced two cars, the British built Zephyr and the German-made P7. The Granada was available worldwide with everything from a 1.6 straight 4 in Britain to a 5.0L V8 in South Africa. There was even a 2.0 that also saw duty in the American Pinto. Early stripped down models were called the Consul in England. It was available as a coupe but was really an upright sedan with two doors. Ford’s then recent purchase of the Ghia design studio in Italy would influence the model mix in England where the Granada came exclusively with a V6 in Ghia trim. The 3.0L OHV design produced just under 140 hp in the Mark I Granada. While the Consul coupe was not sold in England, a revised Granada branded coupe was.
When originally introduced in 1972, the Granada coupe had slightly different sheet metal than the sedan. Most notably its roofline was a fastback design and it had coke bottle styling reminiscent of an American car. By 1974, the curves had given way to more angular styling by Ghia that matched the coupe, similar to how the 1972 Consul coupe mirrored the sedan.
Because most English Granadas came in upscale Ghia trim, they were well-appointed with more sound insulation, interior wood trim, velour upholstery and plush carpeting. The Granada coupe had a reputation of being a spacious and comfortable four person car. Only one transmission was offered in Mark 1 cars, a four speed automatic. Many coupes featured a contrasting color vinyl top which made the Granada look somewhat stately in a very old school kind of way. Although it was never intended to be a performance car, it could be ordered with a GT or Rallye option pack that added blackout grille, sport tuned suspension with larger tires and wheels. All versions of the Granada had decent road manners thanks to an independent front and rear suspension. At 2,850lb. the Granada was lightweight for a large coupe. The low weight no doubt helped it reach 60 mph in the low 10 second range and reach a top speed of 106 mph. Stopping from speed may not have been as smooth as in the old Zephyr as the Granada had rear drum brakes. The old Zephyr had discs all around.
This kind of cost cutting would eventually come back to haunt Ford, as BMW, Audi and Mercedes grew more popular and accessible to the English market. Although the Granada was a rugged and solidly built car it never had the cachet of the emerging German competition. Young upwardly mobile executives who needed a car to match their aspirations would eventually find it in German alternatives.
The Granada in Europe would soldier on, long after the American Granada was retired in 1982. After a peak year in 1971, sales would slowly diminish. The engine range had expanded to include a diesel by 1976, the first time a diesel was used in a Ford car. There were also new transmission options including a standard 5 speed manual.
A version of the Granada built by Hyundai called the Grandeur was sold from the late 70’s to mid-80’s in Asia and some parts of Europe. An update would come in 1985, along with a a new name “Scorpio”. By this time thousands of Granadas were doing taxi and police duty all over Europe. It had become a popular smash-up derby car thanks to its rugged build. The new Scorpio however was a dud saleswise as it was becoming more difficult for mainstream companies like Ford to market an executive sedan to upscale clients. By the late 80’s UK buyers (like everyone else) wanted the prestige that came with BMW or Mercedes. After morphing into a Serria look-alike and finally the ugly bug-eyed continental version of the Scorpio, the last “Granada” was finally put to rest in 1994.
Compared to the US Granada’s short run, the UK car seemed more accomplished, due to its long history. It’s main fought was Ford’s unwillingness to keep the car updated to meet changing market tastes. The American Granada was the first Ford in the US to wear the Blue Oval logo since the Great Depression. That bit of trivia was lost on most Granada drivers. Many not realizing that they were being shortchanged once again by the presence of a more interesting although less modern looking European counterpart.