Friday October 26, 2018
In March 1974 Ford unveiled their latest flagship – and their first car to bear the Ghia badge. For the past nine years the E for “Executive” logo was the goal of all go-getting corporate types - but now there was the Granada that was ‘a luxury car in a class of its own’.
It may have cost £2,891, some £332 more than the GXL, but, as this PR film makes very clear, it was worth every penny -
‘This car offers unsurpassed smoothness and quietness’ while that elegant cabin also helps to distract from the driver’s taste in sports jackets.
Virtually every detail of the Ghia, from the automatic transmission and the seats upholstered in Beaumont cloth which had ‘the appearance and feel of the traditional coachbuilder’s broadcloth’ to the ‘Belgian wood’ door cappings and the ‘electronic digital clock, were designed to appeal to a BMW, Volvo or Mercedes-Benz owner.
The new Granada would also inspire any sales rep driving a boot load of samples in his (which was usually the case in the early 1970s) company Cortina 1600L to Scunthorpe to aspire to a seat in the director’s dining room.
Ford had owned Carrozzeria Ghia since 1970 and when Car tested the new Granada they grumbled (as was often their want) that it offered few advantages over the GXL asides from the extra equipment - ‘dress-up gear’. However, they still concluded that the Ghia was ‘a comfortable and well-balanced saloon with svelte looks. It rides and handles well and conducts itself with a good deal of silence and relaxation’.
For many owners, the additional trim was the essential selling point for so many customers, as the ultimate Granada had an identity that set it apart from the remainder of the range. The clever detailing, such as the new radiator grille and the stylish hubcaps combined with the genuinely tasteful cabin all combined to create extremely desirable executive transport.
There was also the fact that compared with previous generations of Anglo-American style Fords, the Ghia was also quite low-key in appearance. In Germany, it competed against the Audi 100 C1 and the Opel Commodore B while in the UK its lack of ostentation appealed to drivers who were otherwise considering a Rover P6B 3500 or even a Jaguar Xj6 3.4.
For anyone who wanted modern Grand Tourer, the Granada Coupe was only available in Ghia trim in the UK; Autocar thought that buyers ‘who reject it out of hand “because it is a Ford” could be making a big mistake’.
By the time the crisp-cut Granada Mk. II succeeded the Mk. I in 1977, the shield badge adorned the most expensive version of the Fiesta, Escort, Cortina and Capri. The Ghia name denoted someone of “Continental” tastes, the sort of person who ordered Cinzano on a fairly regular basis and who could make a fair attempt at pronouncing ‘Cappuccino’; remember that in the late 1970s pizza was still regarded as exotic in many parts of the country.
And ‘the last word in luxury’ also starred in a certain Euston Films television series -