The Consul & Granada large car range was introduced in 1972 as the replacement for the Zephyr & Zodiac. Both Consul and Granada shared the same modern bodyshell providing a more efficient, roomy saloon and estate car line-up. Production started in December 1971 and was originally carried out at both Ford Werke in Cologne, Germany and at Dagenham in Essex, UK. This continued until 1976 when assembly was switched entirely to Cologne.
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Ford in Germany were responsible for the rakish 2 door Granada Ghia Coupe shown above right, introduced in July 1974. It did not sell in great numbers, and has since become a highly desirable collectors car.
The Consul / Granada range was announced to the public in April 1972 and was well received by the motoring press and public alike. Saloons and estate cars offered initially a choice of 2.5 & 3.0 litre V6 Dagenham built engines. The 2.5 litre engine was confined to the Consul model from September 1972. From April 1973 all models in the Consul / Granada range were fitted with power steering as standard. Top speed ranged from 92mph (150kmh) to 113mph (180kmh) with the 3.0 litre models capable of 0-60 mph in 9 seconds. In 1975, the Consul name was dropped in favour of Granada.
The Consul/Granada range was available in 8 flat colours, 6 metallic colours and black.
The Consul badge was given to less expensive, lower specification variants and although the bodyshell was basically the same, trim details such as headlamps, radiator grille, boot and side panel trims, bumper styling and, of course, badging helped to differentiate the models.
The Consul was equipted as standard with front bucket seats, and a well contoured rear seat. The Consul featured a central floor mounted remote control gear shift. The speedometer, fuel and temperature gauges had black non reflecting dials.
The dashboard contained an open shelf on the passenger side with a lockable glove box underneath - the whole dashboard, instrument panel and bulkhead area ahead of the driver and passenger being cushioned for safety.
The 'L' pack available on the Consul offered special seats, loop pile carpet colour keyed to the interior, vanity mirror, heated rear screen, clock and trip mileage recorder. A 'GT' or 'Rallye' pack option was also available. This included a larger engine, uprated suspension, sports road wheels and steering wheel, black grille and halogen driving lamps.
The Granada received more expensive and luxurious interior refinements and was more comprehensively equipped. It was also the first European Ford production car to carry the Turin coachbuilders luxury specification 'Ghia' badge. Extra sound deadening material was built into the Granada providing even greater insulation from extraneous noise.
Instrumentation included a rev counter, oil pressure gauge and ammeter in addition to the standard instrumentation found on the Consul. A larger central console incorporated a glove compartment with padded lid and rear passengers had their own ventilation system. The 'GXL' incorporated many additional refinements - including tinted glass throughout and a steel sliding sunroof.
A major refinement of both Consul and Granada was the multi-purpose switch on the steering column, which gave fingertip control for the main and dipped headlight beam, flasher, direction indicatores and two spped wipers. A foot button controlled the wipers and washers for intermittent action.
A new 2.0 litre overhead camshaft engine was added to the range in April 1975 and in October of that year, the Granada 'Base' and 'L' and 'S' models replaced the Consul range. A special economy 'sonic idle' 2.0 litre engine replaced the previous version in February 1976 followed by th 3.0 litre 'L' saloon variant in September.
Despite the World Oil Crisis in 1973/74, the Granada's appeal took it to peak production in 1976 by which time it had achieved over 850,000 sales in Europe.
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In September 1977, Ford announced its new Granada with cleaner, more elegant body style and featuring German built 2.3, 2.8 and 2.8 litre fuel injection engines. In response to company fleet needs a 2.1 litre diesel engine option was also offered for the first time on a Ford car.
By continuously upgrading Granada's competitive specification, subtley improving interior and exterior design details, Granada went on to become the industry's benchmark for large car style, comfort and driver appeal. Its excellent overall package and value for money also helped it to maintain high retained values in the used car market against a backdrop of continuing oil crises and fuel price increases.
From September 1978 all 'GL' and 'Ghia' models were fitted with central locking as standard. The 'Ghia' also offered electric windows, halogen fog lamps and headlamp washers.
To ensure Granada was kept as high as possible on the fleet customers shortlists, special editions were offered almost on an annual basis. Their excellent value added packages helped each to regain market share for the design to a point where it regularly appeared in the British Top Ten sales charts in spite of the general 'buying down' to the increasingly competitive and more fuel efficient medium car ranges on offer.
Special edition Granada's included the Sapphire 2.8 litre (May 1979); Talisman 2.0 and 2.3 litre models (November 1980); Consort 2.0 and 2.3 litre (June 1981); and the Chasseur estate which came complete with tailor made luggage.
All models were revised in October 1981 to incorporate long life exhaust, improved power steering and brakes, restyled grille and tail lamp clusters, new bumpers and new style facia. In April 1982, Ford improved the specification across the range with central locking and remote door mirrors from the 2000L upwards. The 2.3 litre 'GL' acquired tinted glass, electric front windows and power operated drivers seat and the new 'Ghia X' was introduced with heated front seats and metallic paint as standard.
In October 1982, the new 5 speed manual gearbox was introduced and fitted as standard on all 2.8 litre petrol engine models and the newly increased 2.5 litre diesel engine. This new transmission was also offered as an option on the 2.0 and 2.3 litre models.
By September 1983, the 5 speed transmission was standard on all models and a higher specification of audio equipment was introduced across the range.
As Ford prepared for the launch of its new, aerodynamic Granada hatchback, code named DE-1, it announced in April 1984, the final Mk11 special edition - the superbly equipped Granada 'Ghia X' which helped to carry the range through until May 1985 when the sleek new model went on sale.
(The above history is an extract from the Ford publication 'Information from Ford - Ford Models No:17')