These two Ford Granadas presented themselves back in early June. My initial essay was about a few early Granada memories but the satisfaction in reading them continually fell short of the mark I wanted to hit.
Then Lee Iacocca died.
For whatever reason I’ve been enjoying the smooth singing of Boz Scaggs and his underrated Low Down. Exploring a little bit further, I remembered Scaggs has a song in which a small part of it summarizes the Granada and Lee Iacocca’s product philosophy.
Appropriately, it’s the Lido Shuffle.
He’s for the money
He’s for the show
Lido’s waiting for the go
Doesn’t that succinctly summarize the two?
Mustang, Fairlane, Comet, Meteor, Torino, Cougar, Ranchero, Maverick, Granada, Monarch, Versailles. So many cars and nameplates based upon the Falcon, many of which had Lido’s money making fingerprints.
We all know the shuffling that would happen with the K-Car platform during the 1980s.
Of these two Granadas, this yellow one is the newer of the two as it has the square headlights. Dare I say it is more Falcon-esque in its demeanor than is the silver one?
Something tells me both of these belong to the same owner. Cruising around in either of these Granadas while listening to some Boz, or whatever your taste, would make for a relaxing time.
Found June 8, 2019 in Columbia, Missouri
1975 Granada by PN
1978 to 1980 Granada by Joe Dennis
1980 Granada by Carey Haubrick
1981 Granada by JS
The Granada (and Monarch) seemed more dependent on color and trim than most cars of its era. The yellow one is in a color that is low on my wish list and has the low-level wheelcovers/black tires.
The gray one with the whitewalls and alloy wheels has a much more upscale look to it. Those wheels make a huge difference. My father’s 76 Monarch Ghia had those wheels, and gave the car a beefy, planted stance that was lacking on the cheaper models.
“Those wheels make a huge difference.”
Agreed- Those wheels look perfect under that Granada, but I don’t remember them on any other Ford product. Maybe that’s because the formal look didn’t work on other cars, but nailed it perfectly here.
+1 on the wheels. First thing that caught my eye and then how they compliment the car’s color.
Dove Gray was a hit in the 70s, and that yellow was the go-to color used on about every other Fairmont when they came out.
I can see if it had been a turnabout against the psychodelic colors of the tie-dyed 60s, but it really wasn’t. Disco era fashion was just as unique in use of loud color, so it wasn’t that, either.
Perhaps it was popular due to the fact that it was, for lack of a better word, vanilla. Plain. Boring, even. It blended in, it did not stand out. Same with the yellow, oddly enough. Not white, not black, but neutral.
Add a splash of metallic, and voila, today’s silver.
Dove Gray stood out when it first began appearing on cars. It was a bit upscale. I do not remember seeing any Dove Gray Pintos, Chevettes, Omnis or Horizons.
Also agreed on the wheels. One wonders if they shouldn’t have made some cars, like the Granada, standard with at least a very attractive and slightly aggressive rim and price it accordingly higher in the base price. On a car that’s supposed to be a bit more upscale (ie: “Granada/ Mercedes”), why even offer it with cheap looking hubcaps that you can get on the other models?
For example, Ford’s turbine rims on late 70’s Thunderbirds make all the difference, in my opinion.
Not sure I would call Lowdown underrated as both Lowdown and the album it came from, Silk Degrees sold very well.
Not to mention, Lowdown and Lido Shuffle seem to be the only Boz Scaggs songs ever played anymore on oldies stations. Occasionally you’ll hear Jojo or maybe Breakdown Dead Ahead, but that’s it. All the more reason to give terrestrial radio a miss.
I recently favorited Boz Scaggs on Sirius and, to be honest, I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just melancholy for the simpler time of the malaise era.
The Boz is on my iPod. I was first exposed to him back in early 1972 at a former bowling alley on Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach. My best friend, very big into music and with hundreds of albums, told me there was a band playing one night down in Pacific Beach. I was out to dinner with my parents that evening and then left them to go meet Ron. Buy a ticket at the door and walk in. Maybe 200 people there and the artist was Boz Scaggs who I had never heard of. Was hooked that night. Favorite, Dinah Flo…
The best Boz stuff was recorded before he became popular. Check out the first two Steve Miller Band albums (Children of the Future and Sailor). Scaggs steals the show on both albums. Also his first album, simply titled “Boz Scaggs” contains the legendary “Loan me a Dime,” with Duane Allman. His second album, “Boz Scaggs and Band” is Boz backed by a swinging big band and it’s terrific. He might have evolved into a smoothed out malaise crooner, but he started in the much more electric and fun 60’s.
A rawer 60’s Boz, as a member of the Steve Miller Band
Dinah Flo? I always thought it was Dynaflo, about a Buick (not joking). I think 1970 or ‘71 was about the first time I heard him; I think Loan Me A Dime turned me on to Duane Allman before the Allman Brothers.
I had “Silk Degrees” on cassette, years ago. It was a great listen from start to finish, and what impressed me most was the *variety* of musical styles on that record. “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle”, to me, sound like they came from completely different artists, on different LPs.
His “Miss Sun” from 1980 is also underrated, but then, I’ve been collecting a lot of so-called “Yacht Rock” lately. 🙂
IIRC, “We’re All Alone” is on Silk Degrees too. Boz’s (original) version is far superior to Rita Coolidge’s later cover, IMO.
Great song. Great album.
Back in the seventies Boz Scaggs seemed to do an annual New Years Eve show somewhere in the bay area. It was promoted as an alternative to your normal rock show (Grateful Dead et al), with Boz and his band dressed to the nines (tuxes for the men & dresses for the women). I never attended one of these extravaganzas but many of the people who did would dress up as well, at least wearing something “nicer” than blue jeans and a tee shirt. I have a couple of Scaggs’ CDs on my MP3 player and it always a treat when one of his songs gets played.
I can’t add anything about the Granada that hasn’t been said. When they were new, or lightly used, they were thick on the ground here in middle America. It is rare to see one on the road today; if one is spotted it usually shows 40+ years of hard living, apparently few people are interested in spending the time and effort to restore them to their past glory. It has been a long time since I rode in one of these but I seem to remember them as being quiet, if nothing else.
And gave birth to Toto, the best band no one’s heard of for 40 years. Silk Degrees was like 5x platinum or something like that. And you would be listening to the 8-track in these cars, or at least in the gray one.
Toto’s making a comeback now that Weezer has been covering their stuff. And curiously enough I found a Toto CD in the trunk of a junk car today and slipped it into my backpack. With Africa and Rosanna on there, I’m all set!
If I found myself in a Granada with Boz Skaggs music coming out of the radio – I’d scream and leap out of it from the sheer terror of both. Here is a photo of a famous Boz Skaggs loving Granada driver.
Adding politics makes everything better!😁
The Granada was his first car!
Um…how bout this weather we’re having…
Last month’s Collectible Auto mag had a biography of John Herlitz, who designed for Chrysler in the ’70s and ’80s. Herlitz also drew cartoons for Chrysler’s internal newsletter. One of the cartoons brings out a side of Lee that wasn’t well known. If he had succeeded in his crusade, a lot of things would be better now.
Great post. Given these are Fords of the mid 70s, ‘Breakdown Dead Ahead’ by Skaggs would be appropriate as well.
Two Granadas at one time? Holy cow!
I last saw a Granada a few years ago — it was a stripped-down 6-cyl. ’78 model. When I took pictures of it, I figured it was a daily driver, and the six-digit Virginia license plates pointed to the likelihood of a long-time owner.
About a half-hour later I drove by it again, and a very, very old man was sitting in the driver’s seat and evidently warming up the engine before driving off. I never could muster up the energy to write this car up, but here it is:
Clean car, even with the painted bumpers. I don’t like the whitewall/blackwall tire combo. I prefer the round headlighted versions, but its nice to see any 70s car in that good of shape. Those are handsome hubcaps, too.
But these cars are cheap to repair, right? So Scaggs’ “Loan Me a Dime” may be enough to finance a few fixes. Updated for inflation from 10 cents to 10 dollars.
Great article and analogy, Jason. As a child of the 80s it was certainly all too easy to see the family resemblance among all the various K car derivatives, but I’d never considered how all of the Falcon derivatives were touched by Iacocca. It’s easy to see in context though – both platforms had a plethora of derivatives and were quite elderly by the time they were finally killed off.
The Granarch is one of Iacocca’s lesser remembered successes. He scored bigly with the ersatz, wannabe brougham Mercedes and the damn things were everywhere in the mid-seventies. Then, just as quickly as they appeared, they were gone.
The irony of the Granarch is how Chrysler, for a change, had actually beaten GM and Ford to the market with the Valiant Brougham and Dart SE. Unfortunately for Chrysler, the A-body had gotten quite long in the tooth by 1974 and it took the ‘all-new’, rebodied Falcon to really score. Iacocca shrewdly knew that smaller cars meant smaller profits, so he was able to offset that dynamic by convincing auto consumers that squeezing yet another car off the Falcon platform as a small luxury car for the fuel economy era and slathering on the options to make the profit closer to that of the bigger cars.
Most remember Iacocca as ‘Mr. Mustang’ or ‘Mr. Minivan’ but, for my money, he should be known as ‘Mr. Brougham’. From the 1965 LTD, to the 1969 Mark III, to the 1975 Granarch, to the 1983 Lebaron, it’s where his lasting impact was most felt.
The other Iacocca Broughams were the Dodge Dynasty/New Yorker/Imperial. They were the last Iacoccamobiles and his last big gamble, that there were enough people who, like him, weren’t ready to move on from the Brougham Era to float it as an alternative to the Taurus/Sable, GM10s and the ever-more-convincing Camcords. He was right enough for one more product cycle but when he pushed for the same again he was pushed into retirement and the rest was cab-forward history.
I’ve said before that the Granada is Lee’s biggest “four-quadrant” hit. Most of his offerings were aimed either straight at the leading edge of the Baby Boomers (Mustang, T115 minivans) or squarely at his own generation (LTD, Mark III, both Imperial revivals). The Granada was a car that Boomers pushing 30 could feel like real grownups driving and their parents could trade their LTDs on without feeling like the neighbors would think they were going down in the world.
Your metaphor is perfect.
“One last shot before we quit it.”
“One more for the road.”
“…just long enough to grab a handful off the top…” And he did.
Jason, I 100% approve of this musical metaphor! Great job / entertaining read.
All I can thing of when I (rarely) see these cars is No Country for Old Men…
In the 90s my next door neighbor was an elderly, elderly lady who didn’t drive anymore. She was a good neighbor so I started cutting her grass, just kept going onto hers when I was done with mine. She one day was out in her garage sitting in her pristine ’75 Granada coupe, maroon with the vinyl roof, letting it run. “Oh, I start it about once a month,” she said, “and just enjoy sitting on the leather.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that her seats were absolutely, positively vinyl. I probably could have bought that car from her that day, just to get it off her back, probably for next to nothing. But oh god, did I not want to own a Granada.
The Granada actually did offer leather seats, though very few seemed to be so equipped.
For years leather seats were something you could (but people rarely did) get on a Ford, but never saw offered on a Chevy presumably because of GM policy enforcing the Sloan Ladder.
My father’s 76 Monarch had real leather. I don’t think I ever saw another as loaded as the one he special ordered. He came as close as he could to a Lincoln Versailles before Lincoln started making a Versailles. It’s probably a good thing he did not wait another year for a car, he might have actually gotten a Versailles.
That was back in the day when leather was leather and automatics were 3 speeds.
Today, its “sprayed on” leather seating which is ugly and uncomfortable. Automatics are 6 or more speeds and can’t make up their minds on which gear to use.
I sooo much miss the Malaise era.
Granadas? Gee, I mistook those for Mercedes at first. 😉
I performed a Bris and cut a diamond in mine – both at the same time 🙂
you mean like this:
Both look to be Ghia models based on the badge on the C pillar and wider trim along the body.
But as mentioned above, the aluminum rims make a significant difference.
One of my first jobs was on a Ford dealership parts counter, and a part that was routinely stocked in great quantities was the plastic cover for the gas filler cap. If you’ll notice, the later Granada in the photos doesn’t have color-keyed trim between the taillights. I have no doubt that because of all the replacements, Ford simplified that trim piece to just be black so parts departments didn’t have to stock an assortment of replacement flaps in different colors.
One of the ironies was that the lower trim Granadas didn’t have the cover, but a simple, exposed, twist-off chrome cap, similar to the first era Mustangs. No one ever needed a replacement for one of those.
By the early ’80s most Granadas and Monarchs I saw were missing the plastic flaps. This was particularly noticeable on Monarchs because they had widely spaced M O N A R C H badging across the trim, with N-A-R on the flap that inevitably went missing after a few years. That left the car calling out M O _____ C H to all the world.
When I was a kid, our next-door neighbors, the “R.” family, had a Granada 4-door. Not sure what year it was but I’ll guess it was a 78 as it had the square headlights. It was a vast improvement over the car it had replaced, a Hornet Sportabout wagon in Velveeta yellow/orange with fake wood appliqué!
Despite its origin as a fleet car from the company owned by Mrs. R.’s wealthy parents, it was fully loaded. Jade green metallic over emerald green cloth, with power windows and locks. IIRC, the power locks were similar to some of those in ChryCo cars, in that there was no switch to hit to lock/unlock the doors, instead you’d lift up/push down on one of the front door buttons, which would actuate the locks on all of the doors. As a kid, I thought that was pretty neat.
Anyway, I rode in the R.’s Granada countless times. The R. kids were roughly the same ages as my sister and me, so there were always trips to the community pool, soccer games, fast-food restaurants, “let’s go get ice cream” etc., etc. All the places suburban kids go.
I always liked the R.’s Granada and enjoyed riding in it. It was a smooth, comfortable ride, the A/C always blasted well, and it seemed like a “real car” to me; that is, sturdy and substantial. When you slammed the doors, there was something of a solid feeling.
I remember when the new, Fox Grenada came out, my Dad and I went to the dealer to check them out. What a disappointment. Even as an 11 year-old at the time I could tell how cheap it seemed. And it felt like a tin can in comparison to its predecessor.
Unfortunately, the R.’s Granada met its end after a few years when T., the older daughter of the family, somehow managed to ram it into the side of the local 7-11 store! T. emerged unscathed, but the 7-11 had a giant hole in the brick wall that faced its side-parking area and the Grenada was a total loss.
It was replaced by a ’79 Sedan de Ville, dove gray over dove gray leather, another hand-me-down from Mrs. R.’s parents. I’ve always loved Cadillacs, which Mrs. R. knew, so she kindly left it open with the hood up one day so I could check it out. Sadly, I never got to ride in it though. By that time, we were all a little older and didn’t share many common activities anymore.
Even though it’s the most Malaise car ever, I understand why these sold so well. They were well-sized, relatively comfortable, and seemed to be fairly solid, a decent appliance for the time.
Here’s what I most miss about old cars (at least old American cars): check out the factory options. Can you imagine having this sort of choice in equipment and colors today? And this was one of Ford’s more basic models, considered “small” or “compact” at the time; big and mid-sized cars had even more options.
Wow, ten years before the Aerostar, the Granada offered an Aeronutronic radio??!!? That sounds more like 1950’s language frankly.
You’re not wrong. Aeronutronic was a 50s era defense contractor that was bought by Ford.
Actually it was always a part of Ford Aerospace. My mistake.
But the option packages, restrictive as they are, keep prices from climbing even higher due to lower assembly line costs.
The cheapskate in me loathes being forced to upgrade to a higher trim with options I neither desire or use just to get the one or two options I do use. The most common offender for me is cruise control, as it’s an uncommon option in base models, yet I’d use it on every trip. The next is a sunroof, which I do like as it allows the car to cool much faster, yet it is only offered in the highest or next to highest trim level.
I’d love to have ala-carte ordering again.
It’s worth remembering that the Fairmont was in production before Lido was fired by Henry Ford II, and the third-generation Mustang and Panther-body LTD/Marquis were only a few months away from dealers at the time. Same with the LH cars being launched under Lido’s auspices before his retirement from Chrysler.
Still, the second generation 1981 Ford Granada is another classic Iacocca-style brougham. Let’s take a Fairmont, give it a formal roofline and stand-up grille, and charge more money for it. What could go wrong?
Who can forget when George Costanza parked Frank’s light blue Granada in the handicapped spot and the outcome of that debacle?
It was a monarch as Frank said” beautiful mercury , I special ordered that car “
I knew Ford was selling a completely different car called the Granada in Europe, but I just learned that Europeans could also buy a U.S.-style Granada too! They couldn’t call it Granada without causing confusion, so they sold it as the Ford Monarch, complete with the handful of Mercury-specific trim parts save for the Mercury badging. Aside from standard bucket seats, there doesn’t seem to be any obvious differences from the US-market versions. Oh, and they actually use the word “muscle” to describe the power from the 4.1L inline six….
So, what car gets parked in between these Granadas? The Versailles, to prevent door dings?
Looking at this Granada station wagon sketch from the web, I would say Ford made a big mistake in not offering a Granada/Monarch wagon from the beginning. It would have sold very well. In fact, I predict that like the Volare/Aspen wagons, it would have been one of the most popular body styles. Possibly matching or surpassing the four door sedan in volume. It certainly left a small luxury wagon market niche that Chrysler and GM filled with the Lebaron/Diplomat and the ’78 A body wagons. And Ford somewhat made up for, with the Fairmont.
I had never screen the Granada wagon sketch before. Great find 😊😊😊😊
I guess they were afraid it take sales away from the Country Squire or Montego wagon.
I thought about that, but the larger wagons offered considerably more space as well for those people that needed it. Not everyone wanted the size though. It would have ate some sales of the larger wagons. But the markup and volume on a small luxury wagon would have been significant.
They would have taken sales away from the GM Colonnade wagons and even the GM B Body wagons.
It’s not like there wasn’t enough room between the dinky Pinto/Bobcat wagon and the massive “mid-size” Torino/LTD II/Montego/Cougar wagon.
The wagon versions of the Pinto and the full-size Ford were very popular in the early and mid-1970s. Most likely Ford felt that a Granada wagon was unnecessary, particularly since the Fairmont wagon was scheduled to debut in the fall of 1977.
The only domestic compact wagon on the market when the Granada debuted was the AMC Sportabout. The wagon versions of the Aspen and Volare, which debuted a year later, were hugely popular, which pointed to a missed opportunity for Ford. But the Fairmont was only two years away by that point.
Ford does this to everything everywhere, Aussie Falcond could be bare bones 200 six tree shift or fully equipped with in the options range 351 V8 4 speed floorshift all in the same body back in the day or you could step up to the high zoot badge and get everything without ticking all the boxes, Oddly enough they were still at it not long ago my brother has a XR8 FG Falcon it has basically everything performance V8 all the creature features its a nice car but being a Ford fanatic he researched the VIN and discovered he has one of one built rare certainly valuable who knows his has something added or deleted one of the two, the car is a 2011 Lido lived on.
These have disappeared from the road here in Michigan.
A friend owned a Granada coupe in the mid-70’s or so, white, with a 6-cylinder/3-speed manual transmission. I think he kept it for about a year before he got tired of it and traded it for something else.
Like several others above, I like “Loan Me a Dime” Perhaps that covers Iacocca’s early days at Chrysler? 😉
I never liked these cars. Sorry.
But they are a perfect 70s-mobile, all style and very little substance, like most Fords of the era. Sold like hotcakes.
“Lido Shuffle” – one of Rolling Stone’s “best drug songs ever” – was a perfect AM Top 40 radio record in the Spring of 1977. It was uptempo, it drew you in, and it built to a perfect hook complete with horns.
However, I find the album version of “Breakdown Dead Ahead” to be the definitive one thanks to the added, well, breakdown in the hook at 3:32, edited from the single. It makes the entire record and this was the version I played at several Pop radio stations back in the day.
Boz dropped out of the music scene to run his restaurant, then after a seven year hiatus, he returned with an album of original music “Dig”. “Payday” jumped out and grabbed me. just as Lowdown had done back in ’76! 🙂
I love Boz Scaggs
His backing band always featured members of Toto (one of my favorite rock bands)
Occasionally you will hear Miss Sun and Heart of Mine on the radio. I have his albums on the flash drive i use in my car.
As for the Granada. What miserable piece of crap that car was. I may have been lucky being born in 1977 as I don’t remember any part of the 1970’s. However I had to suffer for 9 years riding in a F$%king Granada!!
If the Granada was so bad , you should have walked