Designed in Germany, the first-generation Ford Granada makes a great starter classic...

In the 1970s, when CAR could list the entire South African car market on just one page, Ford Motor Company had a formidable range of vehicles: Escort, Cortina, Capri, Granada and Fairlane. These were joined by a number of Perana models, tuned by Basil Green Motors. Unlike today’s extensive model ranges that resemble each other as well as those of their competitors, each Ford had very different styling.

Packaging

Although there was a 2,5-litre V6 in the line-up, CAR didn't ever assess one. We tested a pair of 2,0-litre models, 12 with 3,0-litre V6s and the very first prototype Granada V8 developed for Ford by Basil Green with a 5,0-litre Mustang engine under the bonnet.

Power steering was optional and the suspension used independent coil springs front and rear for a cosseting ride. Boot capacity for many of these classic cars was usually way larger than the ones we are supplied with today; the Granada’s was measured at 425 litres.

Powertrain

The 3,0-litre powertrains were known as “Essex engines” because the main factory was located in Dagenham, Essex. They were also built locally. The 2,5-litre was known as the “Cologne engine” because of its wide use in Germany (first in Taunus and 20M models) as well as the rest of Europe.

The 2,0-, 2,5- and 3,0-litre units were all fed by a dual-barrel Weber and the V8 was fed from a four-barrel Holley. Power outputs for the 2,5-, 3,0- and 5,0-litre engines were 88 kW, 102 kW and 161 kW, respectively. With the second generation, a 2,0-litre was introduced with 73 kW.

The V6 engines were steadily improved over the years to reduce oil consumption and leaks, while the fibre camshaft gear was switched to a much more robust cast-iron unit. At the end of 1974, a C3 auto transmission replaced the previous C2. Both had just three forward ratios.

Which one to get

The Coupé would be the first choice and a 3,0-litre engine is better than a 2,0-litre. A 2,5 V6 would make for a special classic but engine parts might be rarer and pricier.

What to watch out for

The V6 engines need some care, so check for signs of smoke and perform a compression test before you assume all is well. The pressure should be 1 100 kPa for both the 1,5- and 3,0-litre. The 2,0-litre has a slightly higher compression ratio and its reading should be 1 100 to 1 200 kPa. Check for oil leaks and propshaft vibrations due to play in the centre bearing and universal joints. Ensure the carburettors are properly tuned to confine fuel consumption.

The V6 engines were so popular that parts are readily available and inexpensive.

Availability and prices

Being a larger, more expensive car, you would expect lower sales numbers. But back in the 1970s, larger cars were all the rage and the sales were surprisingly healthy. In fact, more than 7 000 units were retailed in 1973 and ‘74, after which numbers began to decline. The 2,5 V6 was sold from 1973 to ‘75, the 3,0 V6 from 1972 to ‘82 and the 2,0-litre four-cylinder from 1978 to ‘80.

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