Ford used to advertise that their Granda line was nearly indistinguishable from the far more expensive Mercedes S-Class. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe coupé proves that was a lie, but with a V8 and a four-speed stick, could its price turn you into a believer?
Basketball season starts today, but we already saw a slam dunk with yesterday’s 1997 BMW 318Ti M-Sport. That, at least, was the opinion of the 67 percent of you who awarded its $4,800 asking with a Nice Price win. There were naysayers to this conclusion—contrarians keep us from making too many bad decisions—but in the end, the majority ruled.
When I tell you that today’s candidate is a 1977 Ford Granada your reaction will likely be different depending on where you grew up. If your formative years were mostly on the European continent then thoughts of this model year Granada probably meander to a taut-lined executive car with an engaging 2.8-litre V6 available as top mill under the hood. If, however, you grew up in the States where you dreamed of either being Bruce Springsteen or dating him, the mention of a 1977 Ford Granada will conjure up a very different image.
In fact, it will likely manifest something like this red and black vinyl landau coupé. What you might not imagine though, is this Granada’s mechanicals.
The Granda was introduced in 1975 as a premium compact—yes, this was the 1970s idea of a compact—and was based on the platform of the four-door Maverick, sharing that car’s 110-inch wheelbase and much of its suspension. The unit-body design broke with the Maverick’s Coke bottle styling, favoring instead a much more rectilinear design that took some of its cues from *giggles* the contemporary Mercedes sedans.
Ford used this implied mimicry in the Granada ads, including video confessions by incredulous car buyers who had remarkably confused the two brands. I guess people were a lot dumber back then.
With its baroque detailing, gaping wheel arches, and copious brushed metal trim, this Granada coupé is certainly unlike anything coming out of either Ford or Mercedes today. That makes it the perfect hipster car, or it would except for one little problem.
I mentioned that you might find this car’s mechanicals a bit surprising. Well, what’s surprising is that it sports both a V8 engine and four-speed stick. That makes this Granada interesting, and perhaps not the right ride for the skinny jeans and avocado toast crowd. I don’t think hipsters know how to drive stick.
The V8 here is Ford’s long-serving 302 Windsor. That engine debuted in 1967, amazingly to meet a homologation requirement for the GT40. The 302 supplanted the 289 and became Ford’s de facto small small-block for decades to follow. Here it produces 122 horsepower.
Pairing the ‘70s weaksauce V8 with a manual obviously helps get the Granada’s 3,450 pounds moving, but you might want to delve into the 302’s deep, deep performance parts catalog to eke out a few more ponies that likely lie in reserve.
The rest of the car looks like hipster heaven. The red paint is a bit beat up, and there is some mid-west road rot in the lower bodywork. That’s nothing to worry about, however, as the car looks otherwise sound. One of the most amazing aspects of this coupé is the plastic trim piece that bridges the tail lights beneath the trunk lid. In the center of that is a spring-loaded flap capped with Granada script which serves to cover the fuel filler door.
We won’t get into the fact that it was rear-center fuel filler that caused the early Pintos to leak gas in an accident and potentially go up in flames. No, I’m more fascinated by the fact that the door is still there on this car. My recollection is that these fragile flaps usually snapped off after just a few years on the road.
Of course, a fuel door flap isn’t reason enough to buy a car—there’s also the radio to consider. This one has its original Ford Philco dash unit with both AM and FM from which to choose! That’s set into one of the most blatantly fake wood dash panels money can buy and sits behind a rusty three-spoke sport steering wheel. The dash cap is cracked and good luck finding another one of those. The upholstery, on the other hand, looks to be in fine shape and stands out as such from the faded carpet below.
There are a mere 67,929 miles on the clock and while the emissions controls on the late ‘70s 302 can cause headaches from vacuum leaks there’s not much else that can go wrong here. The seller says the car runs strong and while it could use new floor pan steel in back, that the front—where you get stuff done—shows no signs of break-through. The other noted problem is something up with the diff. This is a common piece across many of Ford cars well into the ‘80s so that shouldn’t be too hard to tackle.
The title is clean and the car is offered by one of those small dealers that always make you wonder how they stay in business. That dealer is asking $2,995 for the Granada, and I defy you to find another one kitted like this for any amount. That being said, there’s plenty of other places to drop $2,995 so we now need to decide whether this old Ford is worthy of so much.
What do you think, could this oddly optioned and old school Granada ask that much? Or, is this a Ford that’s just too flaky to afford?
H/T to Peter McCarthy for the hookup!
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