In Motion Classics: 1976 Ford Granada Ghia 3.0 and 1985 Ford Granada 2.3GL – Objects In The Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear

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2 granadas
A Ford Granada coming towards you on a Sunday afternoon, whist waiting at a bus stop. Noteworthy – any Granada on the road now deserves the CC wave of honour . But, hold on, what’s behind? Another Granada,   a 1977-1986 Mark 2 version. Truly, a nice bit of CC action.

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I have long considered the 1972-1977 Ford Granada Ghia as being Europe’s Brougham. The Ghia version, as in the US, was Ford’s top luxury label, with all the trimmings Henry could find. Vinyl roof, velour, sunroof, tinted glass, stereo cassette system, wood trim interior, a three speed automatic transmission (usually), specially shaped grille and bonnet, more chrome strips than truly necessary and Ghia only alloy wheels.

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In the UK, the usual engine for the Ghia was the Ford UK Essex 3.0 litre V6 with around 130bhp, though nominally a 2.5 litre was also available. Base Granadas started with a four cylinder 2.0 litre, with around 100 bhp. There was an estate version as well, and two door saloons and coupes also, but only in mainland Europe. The wheelbase was 107 inches, overall length 180 inches and weight around 3000ib for a fully trimmed V6.

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Truly, it was Lee Iacocca’s Granada.

The 3.0 Ghia was a classic example of a larger, well equipped car planned to compete with a smaller but premium badged car, in this case cars like the Rover 2200, Triumph 2500, BMW 1800/5 series and Audi 100. The style was, to many, perhaps a bit flash and unsubtle, but the value and solid ability of the car won it many fans, and being a Ford, it fitted well with the company car culture and pecking order of the 1970s.

In 1977, the Granada went to a Mark 2 version, with a visually very different and contemporary chiseled straight line style, over the same floorpan. Ford repeated most of the previous car’s features, though the V6 engines were now exclusively the German Ford Cologne V6, at 2.3 and 2.8 litre, with no loss of performance. Assembly was now all German as well.

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That square style matched well with the 1976 Cortina IV/Taunus TC2 twins. The running gear was carried over, with the same wishbone front suspension and an independent coil sprung rear. Keeping it all even more obvious, the estate version of the Mark 2 was common to the Mark 1 from the B pillar back, including the flick up of the rear door window line.

The Mark 2 lasted until spring 1985, when the Granada Mark 3 (in the UK, Scorpio in Europe) was launched, the car that was the base for the Merkur Scorpio. (The blue car above was registered on 1 August 1986, a date which suggests the original owner would have had a good deal).

And how well did Ford manage the transition to the Mark 2? The car looked very different, much calmer and some subtlety was regained, and it had a much nicer interior, with Ford of Europe’s first electric windows and central locking. But it used the same windscreen as the Mark 1.

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And the bus we were waiting for? A 1952 AEC RTL with a Leyland engine, in London County colours. More on that another day.