Under the Knife – Taking Care of the Pennies

A smart re-skin and an even smarter nip-and-tuck kept the 1972 Ford Granada at the top of its game for thirteen years.

1973 Ford Granada Ghia (c) aronline.co.uk

In the 1960’s and 70’s Ford of Europe was the master of value engineering, designing cars that were highly attractive to potential buyers, but engineered to be little if at all better than they strictly needed to be. The 1962 Ford Cortina Mk1 was just such a car. It was a simple, light and efficient design and it effectively killed off the cumbersome, complex and heavy 1961 Consul Classic after just two years on the market(1).

The Cortina’s winning formula was reprised in 1968 with the Escort, another light and efficient design that was simple to build and was tailored to appeal to a wide range of customers via an extensive range hierarchy comprising basic, luxury and sporting variants. Likewise, the 1969 Capri, which easily shrugged off the Cortina in a party frock jibes because it looked great and gave customers exactly what they wanted.

There were missteps too, notably the 1966 Mk4 Zephyr / Zodiac. The lower-line versions were fitted with a new V4 engine, but the designers wanted a long bonnet as they believed that this was a signifier of power and prestige. Harley F. Copp, an American Ford design engineer on secondment to Brentwood to set up a new UK design studio, came up with the idea of placing the spare wheel diagonally ahead of the engine, displacing the radiator downward to behind the front valance.

This was also done in the V6 powered versions, so the car ended up with an almost comically long nose, spoiling its proportions. The odd looks, a rough and unrefined V4 engine and early reports of unstable handling caused by a sophisticated but underdeveloped new coil-spring independent rear suspension layout, undoubtedly hurt sales.

1966 Ford Zodiac Mk4 (c) honestjohn.co.uk

When time came to replace the Zephyr / Zodiac, Ford returned to the principles that had served it well on the company’s smaller cars. The 1972 Consul / Granada was a resolutely conventional and contemporary large saloon. Lower-line versions were sold under the Consul moniker until 1975, when they too became Granadas.

This followed the dismissal of a legal challenge for trademark infringement brought by the eponymous UK media, TV rental and catering services conglomerate. The Granada was a pan-European model, also replacing Ford Germany’s P7 Series, the 17M, 20M and 26M saloons.

Unlike its predecessor, the Granada was offered in saloon, estate(2) and coupé variants. It was well received and sold strongly on the traditional Ford virtues of keen pricing, reliability and a wide range of trim variants. However, the launch of the Mk4 Cortina in 1976 cast a shadow over its prospects.

The new Cortina, overseen by Ford Europe’s Vice President of Design, Uwe Bahnsen, replaced the coke-bottle styling of its predecessor with a much cleaner and more geometric style that had become the norm for European designs. Suddenly, the larger Granada looked rather dated, and even a little gaudy.

1973 Ford Granada Estate (c) ford.co.uk

Ford’s solution was to order an extensive reskin of the Granada, which was launched in 1978 as the Mk2. This took the rectilinear style of the Mk4 Cortina even further, replacing the gentle wave that ran from nose to tail along the Cortina’s waistline (a vestige of the Mk3’s coke-bottle style) with an arrow-straight lower DLO line that curved down gently towards the front and rear extremities of the car.

The new sloping front end comprised rectangular headlamps with outboard triangular indicators sandwiching a simple black grille with aerofoil shaped slats. The slim, close-fitting bumper wrapped around the corners to align with the trailing edges of the indicators. At the rear, simple rectangular tail lights sandwiched the number plate and wrapped around the corners of the car, again aligning neatly with the ends of the bumper.

The reskin was so effective that there was virtually no evidence of the earlier car to be seen, apart from at the trailing edge of the rear door quarter lights. The inner door pressings of the earlier car had been retained and the uptick to the window line was still there, albeit now disguised with black paint behind the horizontal chrome trim strip on the saloon.

1978 Ford Granada Mk2 (c) aronline.co.uk

To save money, Ford simply retained the body of the Mk1 estate aft of the A-pillars, including the visible uptick to the waistline at the C-pillar, and simply gave it the new front end(3). Sadly, the coupé died at this point, although we will be returning to it later.

While the Mk2 Granada was undoubtedly handsome and bang up to date, it was perhaps rather too similar in appearance to the Cortina, especially the low-line versions, which looked rather plain. A well-judged facelift in September 1981 improved matters considerably. Although this involved no sheet-metal changes, so was not expensive, the facelift transformed the car’s appearance.

1984 Ford Granada Mk2 (c) carandclassic.co.uk

New and more substantial chrome or body-coloured bumpers now wrapped around to the wheel arches and were visually connected by a broader rubbing strip with a bright metal insert along the lower flanks. A new three-bar body-coloured grille was given a chrome surround. At the rear, new deeper ribbed tail lights were fitted.

The drip-rail chrome trim on the C-pillar was made wider and rounded off at the lower end to meet the trim on the door sill more neatly. These changes individually sound trivial, but collectively they gave the car an altogether more substantial and prestigious appearance. Along with some mechanical and interior upgrades, they maintained the car’s popularity as the UK’s best-selling large saloon and estate until it was replaced by the all-new Scorpio / Granada Mk3 in 1985.

There is also a facelift story to tell about the Granada Mk1 coupé. The original production version of this model had distinctive coke-bottle haunches over the rear wheels. Ford decided pretty much immediately that this feature dated the coupé and robbed it of the prestige it needed to sell at the top of the range. A hasty redesign was ordered and a new version with a  straight waistline was launched in 1974 after just two years on the market.

Ford Granada Ghia Coupé. Image: classiccars4sale.net

The swiftly corrected misstep with the coupé should not detract from the fact that Ford demonstrated its mastery of the reskin and facelift with the Granada and extracted thirteen years of market leading sales from its large saloon and estate.

(1) Strictly speaking, it was the 1963 Corsair that replaced the Consul Classic, but this was merely a rebodied Cortina with a 3” (75mm) stretch in the wheelbase.
(2) There was an estate version of the Zephyr / Zodiac, but this was built by independent coachbuilder E. D. Abbot, with Ford’s approval.
(3) This was a trick Ford had employed previously and even more blatantly on the Mk2 Escort estate and van versions, simply tacking on a new front end to the old bodies in each case. Because the body of the Mk2 Escort was completely different to the Mk1, the ‘new’ front end parts were unique to the estate and van, and not interchangeable with the saloon’s even though they looked superficially identical.

Author: Daniel O'Callaghan

Shut-line obsessive...Hates rudeness, loves biscuits.

83 thoughts on “Under the Knife – Taking Care of the Pennies”

  1. I find it freaky that you should be running this piece today, Daniel, because I spent some time last night looking up photos of the MkI and MkII Granada door skins! What prompted it was my reading Patrick le Quement’s “Design between the lines”, in which he claims the door skins were unchanged between the two versions. I don’t think that’s literally true, because the inset for the door handle must have changed a little, but it might be more correct than I thought. My memory had the lower feature line as a simple change in panel orientation, but looking at it again I see the rubbing strip is concealing a kink very similar, if not the same, as the MkI has. (Sorry, don’t know the correct terms to describe those feature line characteristics, perhaps Richard or yourself might be able to enlighten me!)
    The other interesting claim le Quement makes is that the MkII was inspired by the Fiat 130 coupe. It wouldn’t have occurred to me, but I find it quite convincing, especially when I look around the tail…

    1. Good morning Michael. I believe Patrick le Quement and you are both correct: the prominent lower feature line on the Mk1 is cleverly concealed by the rubbing strip on the Mk2 and, yes, there would have been a minor change in the skin, to accommodate the different door handle and depress the uptick so the chrome strip could run over it. Here’s a close-up photo that shows how the uptick in the rear quarter window was disguised:

      I’m fascinated by clever facelifts like this, where a lot is achieved for a relatively small expenditure.

  2. Here’s an illustration of Ford’s much more blatant recycling of the Mk1 Escort estate body for the Mk2, compared with the Mk2 saloon:

    You can see that everything aft of the nose is completely different. I wonder if buyers of the Mk2 estate felt a bit cheated by Ford’s expediency?

    1. Even Escort Mk1 and Mk2 saloon bodies were so closely related that the Mk2 didn’t get a new motorsport homologation but was registered as a facelift.
      If you had a race ready Mk1 and a bare Mk2 bodyshell you could transfer all sports parts in one weekend to create a new car.

    2. The higher spec models tend to survive a bit better though I expect in the late 70s there were fewer sold. As I wrote elsewhere here, even the higher spec ones get baggy on the inside and rust was a perennial killer of cars from the pre-zinc days. It must have been painful to see red splotches expanding from the sills and seems after the fourth year of ownership and realise by years 8 the car was a banger. The Mk2 Granada is one of Ford´s “high concept” cars like the Mk1 and Mk2 Focus: very simple and pure. It has aged well as a design. The Mk1 is more of a period piece, extravagant and pleasing in a direct way.

    3. It’s even less of a facelift than grafting the new nose on; the wing line and wheel arches are still Mk.1, just finished off at the front with the Mk.2 grille and bumpers. They did the same on the van too. The van had already recycled the 1961 Anglia van rear doors anyway; those lasted 20 years.
      The Granada door trick was clever, though it’s very obvious if you see a Mk.2 with part of the lower trim missing because of the concave pressing. I’m not 100% sure, but I think the Granada coupe may have been the first Ford in the UK with the Ghia moniker. The early type wasn’t officially sold as far as I remember.

    4. I don’t remember Escort estates being very popular anyway – maybe because they were 2-door only.

    5. I think the Mk4 Cortina estate shared a lot with the Mk3 estate and certainly the Mk3 Granada (Scorpio) estate when it eventually arrived used the rear lights from the Sierra estate, albeit with different colour reversing light covers.

    6. Hi John. Regarding the Cortina estate, I wonder if you mean the Mk5 and Mk4 sharing a great deal? The Mk4 had a completely different body to the Mk3, losing the latter’s pronounced coke-bottle waistline.

      When Ford updated the Mk4 saloon to create the Mk5, the car was given a flatter roof and deeper side windows. The Mk5 estate, however retained the Mk4’s roof and side glazing. This is another example of Ford’s expediency, the estate only gaining the new front end and no other updates.

      It’s subtle, but I think you can see it in these two Mk5 models that the door windows are shallower on the estate:

    7. I’m baffled! I always thought it was a straight plug and play between the Mk I Escort van bodyshell and the Mk II front end, but now I see it really is just the new front clip being grafted on. Now I’m curious to know if the wing is identical to the Mk I or if they payed for new pressings.

    8. @Daniel: The German Taunus never had the Coke bottle design. I suspect the Mk V Cortina Estate is identical to the Taunus Estate that was contemporary to the Mk III Cortina, ur it’s the same bodyshell all along.

    9. The Cortina Mk4 was derived from the non-UK Taunus TC ‘Knudsen’ which had a far less pronounced coke bottle line

    10. Hi Ingvar, the Mk2 Escort estate and van’s front wings would have been identical to the Mk1’s, apart from an altered leading edge to accommodate the new front clip. Hence, they would have been completely different to the Mk2 saloons (apart from the leading edge, of course!)

      I wonder how many repairers ordered replacement Mk2 front wings for one or the other, then were perplexed by the replacement having a completely different profile to the original? 😨

    11. Dave, I think you’ve cracked it: the Taunus TC was largely recycled to become the Mk4 Cortina. That means the same estate body was used on the Taunus TC, Cortina Mk4 and Cortina Mk5*. Clever old Ford! (And clever old DTW readership for working it all out!)

      Here’s the Taunus TC estate:

      * This was a retrospective moniker. At the time, it was simply known as the Cortina ’80.

  3. It is a great pity that these cars have probably literally melted away. You might see them at the odd meeting of classic cars or if you deliberately trawl around used car websites. You can see a touch of austerity reflected in the 1978 car compared to the lushness of the 1973; by the time 1984 rolls around the de luxe is back with the rising demand for large cars. To some extent, the spare simplicity of the 1978 is a reflection of the tough economic conditions of the mid 1970s.

    1. That’s an interesting point that hadn’t occurred to me, Richard.ford did, of course, offer low-line versions of the facelifted Mk2, but they still managed to look less stark than the pre-facelift version, thsnks to the more substantial bumpers and DLO brightwork. Here’s a 2.0 litre L model:

    2. Ford also offered a Taxi variant, with various beefed-up components. The Mk3 Granada/Scorpio was initially offered in the UK with GL as the entry-level trim variant. Later on it gained L and Taxi too.

  4. Of course, Ford performed the same trick later on in the 80’s with the Mk2 Fiesta (and, arguably, has done so again with the current version too), and, as you pointed out previously, VW with the Golf VI and now Golf VIII. I have to say, though, I would never have guessed about the Mk2 Granada if you hadn’t pointed it out in this article, so different is the overall look of the Mk2.

    1. It is the case that the current Fiesta is a thorough re-skin of the last one? And the same goes for the S-Max and Galaxy as far as I can tell. And the Mondeo.

    2. Hi S.V. Yes, that’s what makes the Mk2 so impressive, the fact that it looked completely unrelated to the Mk1. That said, the Escort Mk2 is a similar achievement, as Dave points out above (although it reused none of its predecessor’s exterior panels).

      The various Fiesta facelifts (Mk2 from Mk1, Mk4 from Mk3, Mk7 from Mk6) were clearly derived from their predecessors. Likewise the later Escort iterations (Mk4 from Mk3, Mk6 from Mk5) were readily recognisable as facelifts.

    3. Toyota achieve their impressive reliability by retaining a lot of the content from one generation of model to the next. I believe the formula was to keep mechanicals over two generations. They don´t get much stick for this whereas if a European maker does it it´s seen as a cheat, often.

  5. I look at the first image of this article and immediately think of “The Sweeney.” Jack Reagan and George Carter – You’re nicked! – My apologies…

    1. Good morning Mike. No apology needed, your comment actually raise an interesting issue: Reagan’s car was a 3.0GT, but badged Consul rather than a Granada. If the Consul sat below the Granada in the hierarchy, then why was this model a Consul? Presumably, it had a lower level of standard equipment than the Granada, but it still seems like an odd overlap. In any event, it was all resolved when the Consul name was dropped after three years.

      Here’s the car in question:

    2. Thanks for that Daniel. I always liked that model although the gold colour was not to my liking. I preferred dark blue.
      I wonder how the size of one compares to a current Mondeo? Time for a dimensional check I think…

  6. Here’s how they promoted the Ghia version.

    Worth watching for the chap’s jacket and ‘digital clock’ alone. Offering air conditioning as an option was very advanced.

    The body and door changes are amazing, given how little really changed. Opel / Vauxhall’s Corsa employed a similar trick with the rear window line, but in reverse – they added some metal, which you could see from the inside.

    It’s interesting to hear of the Fiat 130’s influence – I was reminded of Maserati, initially.

    1. A great video apart from the pronunciation of “Grenada.” I had a jacket like that once so be careful Charles…

    2. Getting the four cars to the top of the mountain was some feat. The interior looks delighttul and I especially like the upholstery. Alas it did not look like that for long as Mercedes Benz had exclusive access to the world´s reserves of infinite Martindale fabric. One thing I didn´t like was the gravelly voice of the narrator – not the accent but the rasping.

    3. Hello Mike, you should see some of my family’s photos from the ‘70s (although many have been banned under the Geneva Convention, by the Fashion Police, come to think of it). There’s a particularly good one of me and my dad, both apparently dressed as Jack Regan, standing in front of an orange Austin Allegro. It’s quite a feat to wear two types of check in one outfit. Needless to say, it was one of my mother’s favourite photos.

      For some reason this sprang to mind, from one of my favourite films, ‘High Anxiety’

    4. Hello Charles
      I never worried much about the fashion police but I understand your point entirely. Two types of check is some feat!
      The matching leather suit and car body in the video made me smile. that must have taken a lot of work to find.

    5. Great video, thanks for posting, Charles. Loving the ‘Love Boat’ theme music!

      Richard, you’re right, the upholstery looks lovely, but Ford (and BL) cloth upholstery of that era used to get saggy, baggy and creased in about five minutes.

      Why does the digital clock (at 1:24 in the video) have three digits after the hour to minute colon???

      The less said about 1970’s fashion the better. The more mature of use here all have incriminating photos from that era!

    6. I’ve just taken a proper look at the ‘High Anxiety’ movie clip. I don’t suppose Cadillac offered a Louis Vuitton pattern paint option on the Seville!

    7. That would explain why the handling was always a bit baggy.

      I’ll get my coat…😁

    8. Re the digital clock, the furthest right digit reel is for seconds. The digits stuck to it are quite a lot smaller than the ones showing minutes to the left and there must have been two digits printed on the one rotating reel after the number 9. Very distracting with that zooming round and pretty pointless, too..

    9. Big wheel too, with space for sixty numbers around its circumference!

    10. For the Cadillac prop car in “High Anxiety” they simply printed out Louis Vuitton printed wallpaper and plastered the car all over it. It looks good on a distance, it was never a gag that was supposed to be in close up. Matching car and handkerchief indeed….

  7. I think I prefer the Mk2 before the chunky refresh additions. The overriders and Chrome grille always seems a little gauche to me. The original Mk2 bumper / valance/ wing intersection is really satisfyingly resolved and the whole car is so minimal – everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t.

    I actually had no idea it was a reskin and always thought it was a new model. The way European cars pivoted from Curvy to boxy in such a short space of time is quite a remarkable change in fashion. It always amuses me to think of the Avenger hiding under the Sunbeam’s angular body, or a Marina underneath the lovely Hyundai Pony body.

    It’s sort of amazing they didn’t do a 5 door escort with the new mk2 body. I recall at the time my friend’s dad had a brown mk2 escort estate and even then I thought it was a cheap bit of cloak and mirrrors to just change the grille and front wings and expect us to believe it was a new model. I can still smell the cheap hardy vinyl interior of that car, mixed with wet dog smell :¬)

    It’s a shame they never made a Mk2 Granada Coupe. (They did do a 2 door but not quite the same thing).
    With the minimal angular shape it would probably have rivalled the Audi 100 Avant or even been like a proto Coupe/Quattro.

    Et la:

    1. Hi Huw. If you prefer the pre-facelift Mk2, then this image should appeal to you, a low-spec two door:

      No side rubbing strip, ultra clean.

      Regarding the coupé, someone did actually put a Mk2 front end onto a Mk1 coupé (for real, not photoshopped!) I can’t find the image at the moment, but I’ll take another look. Your Photoshop creation reminds me of the contemporary Opel Monza.

    2. That’s a beauty in Red.
      Whatever happened to the manager class barge?
      Only the ‘lux’ market make them now but at one time you had big Renaults, Peugeots, Opels, Rovers, Triumphs, Talbots, etc etc etc. Who was buying them? (Fleets?)

    3. Sorry Huw. Fixed now. I wanted to display your image directly, but messed it up!

    4. Here’s that Granada Mk1 coupé with a Mk2 front end I mentioned earlier:

    5. Hello Huw, your comment re the original Hyundai Pony made me look up its background – it’s a fascinating story. I can’t recall if it’s been covered here.

    6. Hi Charles. DTW be covering the Hyundai Pony (and its BL progenitor) in a piece coming up in the near future. Stay tuned!

    7. Ford did not really look at a 3/5-door Escort mk2 variant, they did however (as mentioned in Steve Saxty’s Secret Fords) look at a mk2 Escort saloon a more slopped rear bootlid that could have worked as a fastback hatchback as well as a mk2 Escort saloon-based coupe proposals sort of resembling a Kadett C Coupe/City hatchback composite meets shrunken mk2 Ford Capri.

  8. Great post Daniel about a car that I know very little about. I mean, I’ve read a lot about all the different Cortinas, especially my favourite, the Coke bottle Mk3, and watched countless videos on YouTube, but not so much on the Granada. The rear of the Mk2 Granada resembles a kind of squished Mercedes S-Class W116. The tail lamps have a similar shape and colour distribution to a 70s Mercedes and even their louvered surfaces resemble the Mercedes grooves.

    By the way, the story about the Escort Mk2 Estate front end is fascinating. I love those kinds of wacky engineering solutions. Speaking of the Mk2 Escort, those must be the weakest-looking bumpers I’ve ever seen. They look like you could dent them with your knee and they’re so tiny and close to the bodywork I wonder if they can provide any sort of protection at all.

    1. Hi Cesar, you’re right about the bumpers, they were hopeless, mainly just bolted straight onto the bodywork with virtually no strength, so any little tap on the corner would see them buckle and be pushed back into the wing, doing more damage in the process than if they hadn’t been there in the first place!

      At the risk of seeming to be obsessed with the Escort’s front end, it would, of course, have been possible to give your Mk1 saloon a Mk2 front end simply by using the bonnet, wings and valance from either the Mk2 van or estate. I wonder if anyone bothered to do so?

  9. The Mk1 is a bit baroque isn’t it? The mkll’s are all about giving more by taking away visually, more obvious with the pre facelift mkll. Incidentally if you think about the front of a car as a face then the original mkll is a bit lacking, the only way I can describe it is that it looks like it missing it’s mouth. This is an example of where a bit of aspirational 1980’s embellishment works really well.

    The Mkl non-coke bottle coupe is a visually gorgeous car, if I’d been motoring in that era I think I’d have taken the Ford over the Alfetta GT. I saw own in the metal a couple of years ago, spme cars are born to wear vinyl roofs.

  10. ‘Baroque’ is a rather good descriptor, Richard. That bring us nicely to the question for today’s DTW heated debate: ignoring the shift in contemporary fashions that caused Ford to revise the design, which version of the coupé is the better looking, ‘Coke-Bottle’ or ‘Straight’?

    1. Coke bottle, I would say but there is an undeniable mystique and Dubonnet glamour to the revision. Either would be ideal for a leisurely trans-European tour to a holiday home in St Raphael, where chilled Babycham awaits in the fridge and the evening is a haze of menthol cigarette smoke and Henri Wintermanns´ aromas.

    2. Hi Charles. It is attractive, but I think it is Photoshopped, not real. If you scroll back to page 1 on the Top Gear website another ‘photo’ of the same prototype shows it having a door mirror, and there’s some odd angles at the base of the rear windscreen. The tiny blue triangle in the lower front corner of the door window looks implausible too.

  11. @Daniel – thanks for posting the mk1 Granny with the mk2.5 front. It works quite well. If they’d managed to get some brightwork onto the windscreen rubbers, and blacked out the window-chrome (but not the rain-gutters) it would be more balanced and almost look like a legit mk 2.

    (quick fix with these quibbles attended to):

    It’s funny – the non-coke bottle Mk1 looks a lot bigger than the earlier version – the roof is a tiny bit longer so I guess it’s mainly that. My preference is actually for the curvier one. It’s more committed to the musclecar look 🙂

    1. And while we’re at it – what a Mk2 Escort estate nee brake might have been like:

    2. Hi Huw. The Mk2.5 coupé is certainly improved and your ‘proper’ Mk2 estate is much nicer than the outdated production car. It might look even better as a five door .

  12. Isn´t it interesting how much regard there is for these cars compared to, say, offerings from Opel or Renault. The Citroens have appeal which is independent of their period associations. The Ford (in a lovely way) suggests so much of the saturated-printed colour world of the 1970s. I suppose that´s my age speaking: the Ford conjours up the gin-soaked world I saw through a wobbly childhood lens. This would be summer holidays in the 1970s with dads painting and barbecuing and bikini´d mothers slapping on olive oil while chain smoking through the day with pulp novels on the sun deck. The fact there wasn´t one single Granada coupé in this memoir is not relevant. There could have been. I am not a novelist but if I was I´d have a go at writing a story in that setting. John Banville´s The Sea comes close to the seaside setting but is definitely not nostalgiac (nor anti-nostalgiac).

    1. Hello Richard, yes, you’re right, and I think the reasons are many, and complex. Firstly, Ford was a design leader and ‘designed for the times’, referencing design, material and colour trends much more freely than other manufacturers. They evoked ‘fun’ and affordable glamour, put more simply.

      And then there was the exposure to them – in media and on the streets. They were a big part of society and our lives.

    2. Could you also say Opel did a similar job of providing the car for the moment?
      Today´s manufacturers don´t seem to offer such immediately gratifying cars. Is this perception aslso a function of the disappearance of pop colours from the manufacturer´s palettes? If we go back to the Ghia Granada in the advert – what is like this today? Look at the airy comfort of the cabin and what we have today is really, really dismal. It does last as long time though. The dreary coal-black of my 406 is as dull/acceptable as it was in 2002.

    3. You’re right about the level of interest in and affection for Ford cars. When DTW publishes a piece on Ford, it always attracts strong readership and lots of comments. Even the piece on almost forgotten Classic did well a few days ago

    4. Hello Richard, I think Opel / Vauxhall were nearly there, but usually played second fiddle to Ford, somewhat. I think they were innately more conservative, but also had smaller budgets.

      Everything really started to change after the 1970s, when company cars really got going. Cars simultaneously became better equipped, but also more conservative. Then the user-chooser was born and given access to more than just mass-market makes. BMW & Co decided they wanted a piece of the action and we end up where we are today – mass-market, premium brands, which are well-equipped (over-equipped) and safer, showily-styled to get buyers’ attention, while having fewer colour and trim choices, to keep costs down through efficient manufacturing.

      Coming back to the Consul Classic, the stakes (investment) are too high to risk that sort of thing, today.

  13. I’ve seen a couple of Mk1 Granadas in Australia (at least one with a V8 swapped in), but I can’t recall seeing a Mk2.

    There is of course the infamous visual similarity to the 1979 XD Falcon, which actually only shares the front lights. With the Granada at least; the wagon tailgate was taken from the 1978 US Fairmont! Otherwise it is an Escort Mk1-Mk2 type transformation, with the basic platform unchanged.

    A key difference is the door window sill line was lower than the tops of the wings, which was very controversial at the design stage. The designers pushed for it to make the car look visually lighter, an effect that is more evident in full scale than in photographs, in response to the fuel crises. This, along with actual weight saving measures, proved important when the car had to compete with the smaller Holden Commodore.

    1. Hello John, I wonder if the XD Falcon is the same as the LTD we were offered in the UK in the early ‘80s.

      1982 Ford LTD (UK) 1

    2. The LTD is really rather poor. Most of the Australian versions of American and European cars seem really botched. I wonder why they had to change the car.

    3. Hi Richard. In fairness, the contemporary XD and XE Falcon and Fairmont were rather more neatly resolved and European looking, although that low waistline is a bit unusual. Here’s the Falcon XE:

    4. Charles – yes exactly the same. My Dad had one of those with the 5.8 V8, great car but a bit (!) thirsty. There are a couple of interesting points in that photo; no bonnet mascot, and the door mirrors are a later type – hard to know what’s going on there!

      Richard, that’s an unflattering photo of the car. They changed the car to fit a different luxury segment, and also had to cater for the local market that was a mix of European & American tastes, on a shoestring due to lack of volume. There was a comment on the flickr page linked about not lengthening the doors – that is more expensive, they didn’t sell enough to justify it. The previous generation had longer doors plus a stretch behind over the lwb Fairlane (Falcon 111″ WB, Fairlane 116″, LTD 121″) but sold just over 2000 per year on average.

    5. Hi John. Gosh, I now see what you mean about not having the budget to lengthen the rear doors. The trailing edge shutline is artfully lost in the advertisement photo above, but much more obvious in this photo:

      The expanse of metal between the trailing edge of the rear door and the rear wheel arch is very awkward looking and emphasises the shortness of the door compared to the front one.

  14. Not connected with the Fords of the seventies and early eighties, but sort of related none the less: I’ve just read an obituary for Richard Parry-Jones, who appears to have been killed in an accident. He had a very successful career at Ford…

    1. Indeed, a sad and untimely loss. Richard Parry-Jones was also the brains behind the 1993 Mondeo Mk1’s superb handling and ride combination.

    2. It´s worth pointing out that his contribution to Ford Europe didn´t stop when he retired. Fords today are still known for attributes Parry-Jones would recognise and which other marques can´t quite match. When I think of Ford I think of driving quality which is nicely not solely the preserve of their higher output models.

  15. When contemplating introducing a smaller car to their lineup, Lincoln built (in connection with Ghia) the 1973 Mark 1 Concept, which was clearly based on the MK1 Granada but -it seems to have existed in two guises- with a very Mercedes-like or traditional Lincoln “tombstone” grille. Lincoln did bring a smaller vehicle to market in 1977, the Versailles, but that was based on the US Granada.

    1. The US Ford Granada was pretty spectacular; it had a 4.2 litre V6 engine which produced 70 horsepower and it did 0-60 mph in 23 seconds. It was relatively cheap, though.

    2. Apologies – an in-line 6 cylinder engine, not a V6 (I don’t know why I wrote that). Three speed transmission, though (manual or automatic).

    3. Wow, that would made more of a statement as the European Mk1 Granada Ghia than the rather apologetic production model!

    4. Well, Charles, you did rather cherry pick the worst year of the US Granada (1975) for the six, when Ford was floundering at emissions conrol, some say on purpose politically. The ’76 gained 16 bhp from 72 to 88, the latter at a heady 2900 rpm. Most people just bought the 302 V8 instead.

      The Cologne 2.8l V6 which went into the Mustang II as well as imported Capris was also a shocking asthmatic wheezer at that time. It made 105 bhp, very, very grudgingly at 4600 rpm, and was winded from about 1500 rpm on up. Throttle response was like putting a marshmallow between foot and accelerator pedal. My friend’s 1975 with four speed manual was a tiring car to drive because of that engine tune. A lot of roaring and not much else.

      My 1982 5 cylinder fuel injected 2144cc Audi engine made an even 100 bhp. The European version had 136, indeed 6 bhp more than the first Audi turbo engine in the 200 here, which mustered 130. So even VW had trouble finding horsepower with all mod cons until the later 1980s.

      Looking on the bright side, all the Malaise Era emissions-strangled engines in the USA at least provided the basis as time went on for what worked and what didn’t. As I’ve said here many times before to a dull thud of utter incomprehension, essentially the North American experience gave European manufacturers a free look at how to do things properly when the EU finally got around to lead-free petrol and feedback fuel injection for all. So I’d say leave the harty-har-hars for another audience that doesn’t have readers with a bit of a clue.

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