CC For Sale: 1981 Ford Granada – Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, Here I Am In My New Granada

When was the last time you saw a second-generation Ford Granada that looked this good? Hell, when was the last time you saw a second-generation Ford Granada, period? For $2900, you can get your hands on what is easily one of the most forgotten Fords of the past few decades.

Ford had a huge hit on their hands with the first-generation Granada, launched in 1975. Despite its ageing, Falcon-derived mechanicals, its posh styling inside and out got people’s attention. Plus, the fuel crisis had helped encourage North American buyers to buy smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Granada sales would decline over the first-generation model’s run, in part due to the introduction of the compact ’78 Fairmont. Almost 500,000 units were sold in 1976 but by 1979, sales didn’t crack 200,000 units.

With the Big 3 downsizing their line-ups, there was a shifting concept of what was compact, what was intermediate and what was full-size. The Fairmont was only around four inches shorter than the Granada and three inches narrower, hardly a huge drop size in size from the Granada. It had a lower price, too.

Though the Granada was shedding volume, Ford still saw a place for a mid-size model after the retirement of the “mid-size” LTD II in 1979 (for its last year, it was sold alongside the similarly-sized, full-size LTD). The Falcon-based Granada had one last season in 1980 and was replaced by a new model in 1981, using the same Fox platform as the Mustang and Fairmont.

Unlike the first-generation model, the new Granada was no wider than the Fairmont and shared its 105.5-inch wheelbase. Mercury once again had a twin, though it now wore the Cougar name instead of Monarch.

Sales were up modestly in its freshman year, from which this example is from. The range comprised L, GL and GLX models in two- and four-door sedan body styles, with the same engine range as the cheaper Fairmont: a 2.3-liter four-cylinder, a 3.3-liter six, and Ford’s downsized 255 cubic-inch V8.

The color-keyed wheel covers and upright grille of this mid-range GL are reminiscent of the first-generation model but the Fox Granada is even more boxy and upright. It looks somewhat like a more starchy Fairmont, which is exactly what it is.

The typeface used on the trunk lid was perhaps the most stylish part of it.

The range-topping GLX had stylish turbine wheels, while all Granadas had a slightly nicer interior than the Fairmont. Still, this was a pretty forgettable Ford.

The company agreed. Though the Fairmont wagon received a nose job and joined the Granada line for 1982 – remaining Fairmonts using the Fairmont Futura nameplate – the Granada’s sophomore season would be its last.

Despite the introduction of a wagon to the line, sales actually decreased by around 1000 units to 120,323 units. The Granada also lost its V8 option that year.

Ford’s replacement for the Granada was simply a restyled Granada. What a difference the restyle made, though. Adopting the LTD name (the full-size model was renamed LTD Crown Victoria), the new car had a more modern, aerodynamic look. A V8 was available again (in the LX) and sales were up by around 30,000 units.

Ford clearly didn’t do enough to make the Granada a worthwhile step-up from the Fairmont. Sure, its styling was fresher, but it didn’t necessarily look better. It wasn’t bigger, nor was it more powerful.

Its truncated two-year run makes the car a real rarity. But for a damaged taillight, this example is lovely and mint. It was unloved then, but can you love it now?

Related Reading:

The listing  (Update: It looks like it’s been sold! You snooze, you lose…)

Curbside Classic: 1981 Ford Granada – The Fox In The Fairmont’s Henhouse

Automotive History/Vintage Review: 1975 Ford Granada Wins The Most Malaise Car Ever Award – A Triumph of (Imitative) Style Over Substance

Curbside Classic: 1981 Mercury Cougar –The Only Two Door Sedan Cougar