Monday March 4, 2019
‘I tend to go for the rare’ observes Alan Drake but if anything, he is understating the exclusiveness of his 1979 Ford Granada. Any example of the pre-1980 facelift model with the original black grille is now a rare sight, but this GLS with the 2.8-litre V6 fuel injected engine and a manual gearbox is the only Mk. II of this type believed to be on the road.
The second-generation Granada made its debut in September 1977 and to say its range was elaborate is on a par with suggesting that the plot of your average Hitchcock film could be rather complex. Briefly, in 1979 the sporting “iS” (which famously starred in Season Four of The Sweeney) and “iGL” versions were succeeded by the 2.8i GLS, which combined GL trim with the Bosch-injected engine and the “S pack” Michelin TRX wheels, uprated suspension with variable rate rear springs and a front anti-roll bar.
The result was a car that was widely regarded as desirable, yet affordable grand touring saloon. In 1978 Motor Sport tested the iS and concluded ‘this fine new Granada as a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW eater so much as a most acceptable luxury car in its own right’.
Alan is the Granada’s third owner, and when he acquired it from East Lancashire Classics, there were just 30,176 miles on the clock. The GLS joined the Drake motor fleet ‘approximately three years ago’ and at that time ‘it was probably 90% immaculate. There were two little scratches on the front plastic bumper, and I needed to replace the small chrome strip on the rear passenger window as it had a tiny dent’.
The Lucas driving lamps and the decals were specified by the first owner, and the GLS is so original that up until 2018 it as fitted with the original factory seat covers, but these had become very brittle over the years. Alan points out that ‘its two previous owners were elderly, so it has not been thrashed about’.
Every detail of the Drake Ford, from the tan coloured “Beta Cloth” upholstery to the coachwork, transports you back to the days when all ambitious Fiesta L drivers aspired to one day take the wheel of a GLS. With hard work and dedication, they too would be given the keys to a company car with a ‘P21 push button radio’, ‘simulated wood grain instrument panel’ and ‘Sports gearshift knob’ as standard.
Today, Alan finds BEW 107 T to be a ‘comfortable car, and it certainly has the power’ although the Granada tends to be reserved for journeys to car shows and the Granada naturally causes a stir at such events. Asides from its better-than-showroom condition, one major talking point is that it is a GLS rather than a Ghia, for mid-range versions of once familiar cars so often have a very poor survival rate.
As Autocar noted in their 1980 test of a 2.8 GL, the Granada was ‘the large family or business car to which most others are compared’. When the Mk. III replaced the Mk. II in May 1985, the brand had come to define a market sector – and that is why Alan’s car is so historically important.
WITH THANKS TO:
EAST LANCASHIRE CLASSICS - http://www.eastlancashireclassics.com/index.php