RPF701R is a Strato Silver, with black vinyl roof, 3 litre, automatic Ford Granada GL saloon, first registered on April 7th 1977. The car started life as an ESSO company car, driven by Brian John Marshall in and around the Southampton area.
On 1st November 1979, Mr. Marshall bought the car from ESSO for use by members of his family, one of whom was his son Owen. Owen was a friend of some friends of mine and after I had chauffeured Owen and our mutual friends to a party and back, he asked me if I had enjoyed driving the Granada. I said I had, he told me it was for sale and a deal was struck. I became the Granadaís new owner on 11th February 1983.
The car was my everyday transport until January 1986 when I became the proud owner of a company car. During this time the Granada never let me down but was stolen twice and broken into countless times. It was brought back into regular service for about six months in 1987/8 and then retired fully into my newly acquired garage.
In the summer of 1992 I had the car restored to something like the condition it is in today. This involved a bare metal re-spray with two pack paint and a new vinyl roof. All four doors, the bonnet and the off side front wing were replaced with new panels sourced from around the country. The front doors came from Derbyshire, the back doors from Dorset, the bonnet from Essex and the front wing came all the way from County Antrim.
After that, I took the car to a few local shows and a club meet in Germany when it became apparent that the heater wasnít working and that the Eifel mountains are cold! Other than that, the car performed faultlessly including a rather brisk run from Luxembourg to Oostende to catch the ferry home. It was then laid up for some years while I moved house but this time it was in a dehumidified bubble in the garage.
A few years ago I decided it was time to bring the car out of hibernation and start showing it again. Because I hadnít drained the cooling system when I laid the car up, it had been rotting the core plugs from the inside and the cooling system was leaky and inefficient. This necessitated taking the engine out, new core plugs, new radiator core and a good clean up inside and out. While the engine was out, some detailing in the engine bay was done too. The heater still doesnít work properly though so thereís still more work required.
I have recently had both rear wheel arches repaired and re-sprayed as well as a new stainless steel exhaust and replacing a number of minor items. I use the car most weekends now, though I avoid the salty winter roads and it attends many classic car shows and charity runs in and around Sussex where it attracts more attention that the other love of my life, an Aston Martin DB7.
My niece has asked me to chauffeur her to her wedding in the Granada. She thinks itís really cool. If only she knew about the lack of a working heater. Her wedding isnít until July 2013 so Iíve got plenty of time to sort out the interior before her big day.