Gorfe’s Granadas:1996 Scorpio 2.3 Ultima

The Granada name retired but its spirit lived on in Ford’s stunning Scorpio, writes executive classics editor, Myles Gorfe.

1996 Ford Scorpio 2.3 Ultima: autotrader.co.uk
1996 Ford Scorpio 2.3 Ultima: autotrader.co.uk

Quite why the Blue Oval decided to put the Granada name out to pasture is a much discussed point in Ford circles. Whatever the reason, the car that replaced it was every bit as good as its predecessors. In 1994 Ford ended a long run for the Granada and renamed its top-line executive cruiser the Scorpio. Self-levelling suspension came in for the estates and the hatchback was canned – not a problem as the style didn’t suit Granny’s exclusive image.

1996 Ford Scorpio 2.3 Ultima: autotrader. co.uk
1996 Ford Scorpio 2.3 Ultima: autotrader. co.uk

The 1994 Scorpio took all the best features of the 1986 car such as its floorpan, major bits and pieces and all the engines but wrapped them in more up-to-date body with curvaceous panels and a striking chrome grille. At the back a swathe of chrome was lavished across the tail-lamps which were full width. Inside was the most spacious interior or any car in the class, showing Mercedes and BMW how to do it properly. As ever, the Ford was popular with fleet and private buyers and for good reason: it was fast, comfortable and rear-drive unlike fragile tat from Citroen, Alfa and Peugeot.

This one, with a powerful but economical 2.3 V6 petrol is for sale for a reasonable £895 with a long MOT, a car guaranteed to give miles more driving excitement. The cabin has super comfy seats, lashings of wood-effect trim and all the mod-cons you could ask for. While similarly equipped Bimmers cost hundreds more, they don’t deliver the goods like the Scorpio can which is why these cars have a firm following. The over-rated E34 Bimmer is bland and costly to repair, the E-class drives like a supertanker in cold tar and Audi’s 100 is a front-drive jelly mould. Only Ford could rival and beat these cars at their own game. Drive one and see.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

7 thoughts on “Gorfe’s Granadas:1996 Scorpio 2.3 Ultima”

  1. A Reader Writes.

    Hey, Gorfey. It’s been a while. I’ve been wintering with the old lady in Spain. The Ventoras running a treat as per usual. I see the ‘running’ (ho, ho) reports of your own Grannie have been missing recently. Did you go out one morning and find that the Autumn winds had blown it all a way?? Anyway. On the subject of the booted Scorpio I’ll have to admit we’re in agreement for once. Not that it’s really a looker but if you remember all the fuss made about how awful it looked at the time you wonder what the fuss was all about. I mean compared with your average modern Merc it’s the bloomin Mona Lisa. Obviously Fords designers were on to something only 20 years too soon. Never pays to be ahead of the curb!!!!! See ya!!!!!!!!!

  2. Ford design was in a very strange place by the time the Scorpio came along. The ovoid theme was in full swing, as evidenced by the 1991 Mondeo, 1995 Fiesta and the 1996 Taurus, the latter proving so controversial that sales of the model declined markedly. For my money, the Scorpio was a reasonably convincing redesign of the Granada. The interior was reasonable (although a delete wood option would have been wise) and the seats were majestic. Externally, everything aft of the A-pillar was nice enough. But that face, oh God, that face!

    1. It´s the centre section that kills the car. Ford carefully showed it so that you did not get confronted by the angular shape of the glasshouse. This was the worst cost-cutting. The boot and bonnet are quite bulbous and full while the glasshouse is rather thin and frail-looking. I can see why people don´t like the front graphics but they, for me, are not where the failure lies. The interior was very appealing. Personally, I like the fake wood (my inner Gorfe). It was all designed in Germany by Germans and was not at all Bauhaus or austere. Was that because non-German senior managers pushed for a certain plush-look?

    2. You can’t sell me that face. It is quite dire. Ford were getting quite bold at slapping bulbous styling over unreceptive previous models. The 1995 Fiesta was quite dire in five door form. Fortunately the car was small and much better to drive than the previous model, so the design crime could mostly be overlooked.

    3. I won´t try to sell you the face. It´s …distinctive. I feel it distracts from the other aspect of the car´s graceless form, the mismatched centre. I´m pretty sure another set of designers could have re-skinned the Scorpio/Granada to be in keeping with Ford´s main style in a way that avoided such a gross mismatch of shapes.

    4. Ford Australia had the opposite problem – how to facelift the bulbous AU Falcon, which had been a sales disaster, into something more suitable for local consumption. The BA Falcon had to keep the AU’s centre section but they were able to flatten the roof and change the shape of the front and rear screen apertures to better match the more conservative front and rear ends. But the doors give the game away.

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