Taking its name from the flagship product line of Ford of Europe, the American Ford Granada was produced in two distinct generations. Initially sold alongside the Mercury Monarch and Lincoln Versailles, the Ford Granada would become sold with the Mercury Cougar. During its production, the Granada was sold as a two-door coupe and sedan, four-door sedan, and a five-door station wagon.
Following an extensive revision of the Ford product range for the 1983 model year, the Ford Granada was updated and reintroduced as a downsized Ford LTD, ultimately replaced by the Ford Taurus for 1986.
The first generation Ford Granada was assembled by Mahwah Assembly and the Michigan Assembly Plant; the second generation was produced by Atlanta Assembly and Chicago Assembly. In total, 2,066,336 examples were produced.
The Ford Granada was released for the 1975 model year. Beginning life as the intended successor for the Ford Maverick, the Granada took on a new role as the Maverick remained popular through the 1973 energy crisis. Much as the original Ford LTD became a high-content version of the Ford Galaxie, the Granada survived to create an all-new niche: “one of the most luxurious compacts on the market”. As buyers shifted away from larger sedans, Ford kept sought to repackage the comfort and convenience features of the (Gran) Torino and LTD into a smaller package. To market the higher content of the compact sedan, at its introduction, Ford marketed the Granada as a rival to the similarly-sized Mercedes-Benz 280 of the time. Ford Motor Company’s design chief at the time, Stephen Estrada, would later mention: “The Granada was my favorite design and the one that I’m most proud of”.
With a 109.9 inch wheelbase for both two-door coupe and four-door sedans, the Ford Granada shared the chassis of the four-door Ford Maverick. Through the commonality of chassis underpinnings, the Granada marked the fifth and final generation of compacts derived from the original 1960 Ford Falcon in America. For 1978, the Granada outlived the Maverick (replaced by the Fairmont) and saw a minor restyling. To match the design theme of the Ford LTD II, the front fascia was given rectangular headlamps, revised parking lamps, and a new grille design. In addition, the taillamps saw revisions along with the redesign of the sideview mirrors.
Lincoln-Mercury sold the Granada as the Mercury Monarch and the Lincoln Versailles. Introduced in 1977 as a Lincoln competitor for the Cadillac Seville, the Versailles sold far below its sales projections, becoming an ill-fated example of automotive rebadging. Powertrain options included the base 200 cu in (3.3 L) Thriftpower Six, a 250 cu in (4.1 L) Thriftpower Six, and 302 cu in (4.9 L) and 351 cu in (5.8 L) “Windsor” V8s. Available transmissions included a standard three-speed manual, a four-speed manual with overdrive, and a three-speed automatic (standard on 302/255-powered cars).
Ghia versions of both the Granada and Monarch included higher-level interior and exterior trims and added sound insulation. The 1975-76 Grand Monarch Ghia was a top-of-the-line version. The Granada Sports Coupe was produced in 1976-1977; Mercury offered a similar treatment with its 1976-77 Monarch S. A 1977–1/2 variation on the Granada Sports Coupe, produced from May ’77 through the end of the model year, featured blacked-out molding, modified trim, taillights, and color selections. Documentation of this half-year model exists in Ford advertising from spring 1977. This car is perhaps the “rarest” of Granada production.
The 1976–77 Sports Coupe and S packages included standard heavy-duty suspension, styled-steel wheels, striping unique to this option, and unique interior trim with standard bucket seats. The Granada’s front spindles interchanged with the Pinto (and the badge-engineered Mercury Bobcat) and Mustang II, but the rotors were larger, at 11 in (280 mm) compared to 9.5 in (240 mm), and used a “5 on 4½” (five-lug, 4.500 in (114.3 mm) bolt circle) pattern.
ESS (European Sport Sedan)
The 1978-80 ESS replaced the Sports Coupe and S models. Distinguished by its blacked-out exterior trim, the Granada/Monarch ESS featured bucket seats with a floor-mounted shifter as standard equipment (though a bench seat was optional). The ESS option included standard color-keyed wheelcovers (styled-steel wheels were optional) and unique opera-window louvres for coupes.