Thursday August 30, 2018
Our main illustrations, as any classic enthusiast will tell you, are of a Dove Grey 1982-model Ford Granada 2.3 GL which is owned by Thomas Jenkins of South Wales. When he first came by the car eight years ago the bodywork was in a ‘rusty state – the mechanical parts are easier to work on. It has a manual gearbox and I think the 2.3 litre engine version is underrated compared with the 2.8; I find it a smoother unit’.
The Granada range is one of the prime examples of the right car being launched at the right time for the right market - and so it is a pleasure to pay tribute to the Mk. I and Mk. II versions. In March 1972, most Briton’s idea of a “Big British Ford” was the Anglo-American style Zephyr/Zodiac range, but the Granada marked a major change of direction.
Ford of Europe required a flagship for Cologne as well as Dagenham. Bench front seats and the option of a steering column gearchange now belonged to the past, and in appearance, their latest model was a Euro-executive car - one to rival the Mercedes-Benz W114/W115 as well as the Rover P6B and the Triumph 2000/2500.
The engine choices for the Granada were the familiar “Essex” plants – a 2.0 litre V4 and the 2.5 litre and 3-litre V6s. Ford revived the Consul for the base and L-spec versions, the latter giving you a clock, reversing lamps, halogen headlights and a dipping rear view mirror, while the Granada name was reserved for the two more expensive trim levels.
The GXL was the ultimate version, and as you can see from this wonderful launch film Two at the Top it really was a car ‘to take on the best in Europe’ – ‘for the man or woman who likes to be seen in a crisp and chic car, with comfort to match its style’ -
‘As wistful as the autumn. As compelling as the English countryside’ extolls the narrator, who clearly needs to go and lie down at this point, such is the excitement of a Granada GXL.
For those motorists who craved the 2,994cc V6 without incurring the expense of a Granada GXL – or the standard PAS and automatic transmission - the Consul GT featured the L-spec interior with additional of extra instruments, weighed around 100lbs less.
It also boasted driving lamps and modified suspension as befitting “GT” identity and Motor Sport thought it was ‘a match for the best Europe (and for that matter, Japan) has to offer’. Meanwhile, a Copper Bronze coloured Ford PR car featured in a new Euston Films crime drama -
1974 saw the debut of the Granada that was the car of choice of all aspirational professionals – the Ghia:
which even came with an electric digital clock. For the previous nine years, Dagenham had used the “Executive” name for their top-billed cars, but their acquisition of the famous design studio resulted in the shield badge, and although the Granada Ghia cost over £300 more than a GXL, this was a very reasonable sum for such prestige.
Some previous Fords had revelled in their flamboyance – think of a duo-tone Zephyr-Zodiac Mk. I – but the ‘last word in luxury’ was decidedly understated. The Granada was available in a two-door saloon and fastback forms in Europe, but only the latter was sold in the UK as a Ghia.
It was as ideal for the property developer whose need for comfort had outgrown a Capri as its four-door counterpart was for Reagan and Carter to pursue Renault 16-driving hoods -
The Consul name was dropped in 1975 when the line-up received a facelift -
– and British production ceased in late 1976. By the time the Mk. II replaced Mk. I in August 1977, the Granada name stood for value, comfort and style, with a model for virtually every pocket.
The 2000 was ideal for the fleet market, the 3000L was an affordable towing car, and the 3000S was a very worthy replacement for the Consul GT, only with power steering as standard equipment. As for the Ghia, it was proof that you were a business executive to be reckoned with in any branch of the Berni Inn.
Updating the Granada’s bodywork was always going to be a challenge, but the second-generation version managed to refine the overall concept for the late 1970s. If the first version belonged to the era of flared trousers and Chicory Tip records, the Mk. II fitted an era of skinny ties and Atari TV Tennis. Here is Patrick Allen is at his most dramatic -
Power was now from the “Cologne” V6 engine in 2.0, 2.3, and 2.8-litre forms.
There was also a Diesel engine model for the Taxi market with ‘heavy duty interior trim’ and a ‘reinforced rear seat’ while five versions really caught the eye of my younger self. There was the 1979 special edition Ghia Sapphire saloon was Yuppie-dom on wheels, with its duo-tone paint finish. For 1981 there was the Injection with its Michelin TRX tyres and Recaro seats while the “Ghia X” and “Ghia X Executive” were not so much luxurious as decadent.
And then was the Ghia Mk. II Estate and when I saw the Apollo Green model in Ford PR shots in the summer of 1979 I instantly knew that this was one of the most desirable cars on the road.
The very different Mk. III succeeded the Mk. II in April 1985 and today the Jenkins Granada attracts attention ‘wherever I go’; its proud owner is now used to being approached by passers- by uttering either ‘I like Cortinas!’ or ‘Is that a Ghia?’. And as for a very obvious question, Thomas does admit to having enjoyed The Sweeney in the past – indeed, the fourth season boasted a new title sequence…