When you're talking about Malaise Era Fords, you might choose the Maverick we saw on DOTS as a good example of the Early Malaise period, and the Fox-bodied Fairmont as the archetypal Late Malaise Dearborn machine. But what about the Middle Malaise period? Why, the Granada is the obvious choice- they sold in huge numbers, yet featured the hallmarks of Detroit Malaise: miserable engine power and cruddy build qualiity. Still, the Granada (and its Mercury sibling, the Monarch) got the job done, and- as is the case with the Maverick- it's a bit sad that such a once-common car is now such a rare sight.
Ford marketed the Granada as being like a Mercedes-Benz SLC, only cheaper, but it was really the last of the line of leaf-springed RWD sedans that stretched back to the old 60s Fairlanes. My parents had a 6-cylinder '78 Granada when I was in high school, and it was so sluggish as to be dangerous; freeway onramps were to be avoided whenever possible.
The Mustang guys grab the disc-brake setup off these cars the moment they hit the junkyard; Granada brakes are a bolt-on for drum-brake Mustangs and Cougars.
This 2-door example is still in pretty good shape; it parks on the same block as a house with four long-dead Pintos in the driveway, so the whole neighborhood has a Malaise Ford air.