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Adventures of a 1978 Ford Granada

Updated on September 7, 2014

1978 Ford Granada: My First Car

Around 1989, my mom gave me my first car. It was the car I learned to drive in as she had owned it for about six or seven years before I did. It had a lot of problems, but most of them were because of the bad design of the carburetor it had. The car had a straight six cylinder, 250ci, with a one barrel carburetor. Most large Ford vehicles had the 302ci V8 at that time. But, once I took a few do-it-yourself car repair classes, I got that car running really well and took it all over the southwest United States in the early 1990s.

At first, the car didn't have a good paint job and most of the original paint was faded away. I put some primer on other parts and even had a new fender put on one side after a carport accident before I owned it. Later, I had it painted all over and it looked great for a couple of years. Then, I had engine problems and had the engine rebuilt. But, the rebuilt engine only lasted a couple of years and, eventually, I had to trade it in for another car in 1995. The paint job also began to look bad, too.

Unfortunately, I misplaced a lot of my photos of this car and had to re-download them off another site I posted them on. So, some of my photos may be a little on the small side. I will try to find the originals, later. But, all of the photos on this lens were taken by me, mostly using 35mm film. I didn't get my first digital camera until much later.

The photo in the module is of the car in Snow Canyon State Park in southern Utah.

Items to help restore your car and about Ford Granadas

One of the things I was trying to do was restore this old car and keep it until it was worth some money. Unfortunately, it was not practical to do so, especially living in an apartment where I can't work on my own vehicles. But, if you can work on your own car, you might find these items useful.

I also thew in a few interesting items about Ford Granadas, too.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Restoring Collector Cars
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Restoring Collector Cars

An easy to understand guide for the first-time car restorer or for people who want to find how to keep their car in as original condition as possible.

 
Chilton's Repair and Tune-Up Guide Granada Monarch 1975-82: Ford Granada 1975-82-Mercury Monarch 1975-80 (Chilton's Repair Manual)
Chilton's Repair and Tune-Up Guide Granada Monarch 1975-82: Ford Granada 1975-82-Mercury Monarch 1975-80 (Chilton's Repair Manual)

I had one of these. You definitely need it if you own one of these cars. A shop manual is even better. I like Chilton's guides because they have great step-by-step instructions and illustrations.

 

I went on many trips

Granada at trailhead
Granada at trailhead

I went on many trips with my Ford Granada, but mostly out exploring in our local Anza Borrego Desert. I even drove it on dirt. For some reason, it was fairly good on dirt roads, except when there was a lot of sand. One time, I got the car stuck in the sand and had to get someone in Borrego Springs to tow me out. But, it was a long trip back into town. So, I was very careful not to get stuck in the sand again (and I never did).

1979 79 Ford GRANADA BROCHURE Ghia Sedan ESS 4dr 2dr
1979 79 Ford GRANADA BROCHURE Ghia Sedan ESS 4dr 2dr

I thought this was cute to throw in. It's the brochure that dealerships used to promote the Granada in 1979. The Ghia was a special edition, sometimes painted in two-toned colors.

 

Near the Grand Canyon

Car outside flagstaff
Car outside flagstaff

Here is a picture of my car before I got it painted. I took this photo outside of Flagstaff. I drove all over the Navajo reservation in that car and even visited the Grand Canyon. The car did absolutely great the whole trip and I never had any problems with it. I even got good gas mileage on that car through constant diligence and tuning. My highway mileage was about 30 mpg and my city was about 22-25 mpg. I could swear that I even got higher mileage on the highway sometimes. Most people didn't believe me when I said I got that good of mileage on it because it was such a heavy car. Much of the car was solid steel and iron.

Out in the desert again

Car in the desert
Car in the desert

Here is my car at Yaqui Pass in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. I have a bug net over the grill because sometimes I would get so many bugs in there at certain times of the year and they would plug the radiator. The car had a large cooling and electrical system because it had the police chassis on it. It also had A/C, too, but it didn't work half the time I had that car.

My car in a drawing

Car Camping Drawing
Car Camping Drawing

Here is a drawing I did of my car near my tent while camping. It is based on an actual photo I took. I think this was in the southern area of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Early print ad for the Ford Granada

When the Ford Granada came out, it was touted as a more affordable version of a luxury car, usually a cheaper Mercedes or Cadillac. Indeed, when this car was new, it was seen as a little bit classy.

I think I saved a few of these ads, myself, and even had a couple framed.

More photos of the car - Photos of engine, exterior, etc

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here is a shot of the interior dashboard with fake plastic wood paneling.  The car also had a split bench seat, but I put bucket seats in, later.Here's a photo of the engine compartment.  It was very simple, except for the emission vacuum hoses, which were part of what caused problems with the car.  This car had to pass the same emissions that modern cars did, so it was really hard to get it Here's a photo my mom took of me standing near the car after it got painted.Here's another photo of my car supporting a tarp tent out in the desert.Here's the car the day before it got painted.  One thing I wanted to point out is the square headlights.  That distinguished the 1978 and 1979 models from earlier models.  I tried to sort this photo up higher, but the module wouldn't let me do it.Another shot of the car out in the desert before it got painted.This is when I stopped using traditional white-walled tires and went with the sport-type white walls.  I thought it made the care look extra cool!I think this was taken in the Otay Lakes area around Chula Vista.  That whole area is now built up, but used to be open pasture land.
Here is a shot of the interior dashboard with fake plastic wood paneling.  The car also had a split bench seat, but I put bucket seats in, later.
Here is a shot of the interior dashboard with fake plastic wood paneling. The car also had a split bench seat, but I put bucket seats in, later.
Here's a photo of the engine compartment.  It was very simple, except for the emission vacuum hoses, which were part of what caused problems with the car.  This car had to pass the same emissions that modern cars did, so it was really hard to get it
Here's a photo of the engine compartment. It was very simple, except for the emission vacuum hoses, which were part of what caused problems with the car. This car had to pass the same emissions that modern cars did, so it was really hard to get it
Here's a photo my mom took of me standing near the car after it got painted.
Here's a photo my mom took of me standing near the car after it got painted.
Here's another photo of my car supporting a tarp tent out in the desert.
Here's another photo of my car supporting a tarp tent out in the desert.
Here's the car the day before it got painted.  One thing I wanted to point out is the square headlights.  That distinguished the 1978 and 1979 models from earlier models.  I tried to sort this photo up higher, but the module wouldn't let me do it.
Here's the car the day before it got painted. One thing I wanted to point out is the square headlights. That distinguished the 1978 and 1979 models from earlier models. I tried to sort this photo up higher, but the module wouldn't let me do it.
Another shot of the car out in the desert before it got painted.
Another shot of the car out in the desert before it got painted.
This is when I stopped using traditional white-walled tires and went with the sport-type white walls.  I thought it made the care look extra cool!
This is when I stopped using traditional white-walled tires and went with the sport-type white walls. I thought it made the care look extra cool!
I think this was taken in the Otay Lakes area around Chula Vista.  That whole area is now built up, but used to be open pasture land.
I think this was taken in the Otay Lakes area around Chula Vista. That whole area is now built up, but used to be open pasture land.

Print ad for the 1981 Granada

In 1981, Ford completely changed the Ford Granada to what I believe was the same body and chassis as the Ford Fairmont, a smaller, more lightweight vehicle. This revision only lasted until 1982 when the Granada was discontinued.

1981 Ford Granada new vehicle brochure
1981 Ford Granada new vehicle brochure

Vehicle brochure for the 1981 Ford Granada. The brochure is only available used.

 

Some links on car camping and the Ford Granada

Here are some links about either the Ford Granada, itself, or about traveling and camping by car.

If you search for "Ford Granada", you will find several links to the British version of the car. It is not the same car as was sold here.

As I track down more photos, I will post them here. Especially those from the trips that I took.

Comments welcome!

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    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I love old cars and applaud you for learning how to work on yours! I took auto shop in high school instead of home economics because I figured that would be more beneficial to me in life. I have been to all of the places you mentioned so it was a nice walk down memory lane....Thanks! Sadly with all of the emissions that California has it has ruined the older cars. Gratz on your purple star too!

    • Shorebirdie profile image
      Author

      Shorebirdie 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

      @IMKZRNU2: Thanks! Yeah, it was extremely hard to pass emissions the last few years I had it. Luckily, I had access to an exhaust analyzer so I could tune my car up. But, then, the emissions got even more strict with other gasses, etc. And, it began smoking. So, I had to get a new car.

    • KimDaphne LM profile image

      KimDaphne LM 4 years ago

      Thank you for the adventure you shared here with your car. I love old cars, particularly I love the old VW Beetle because of its design and durability. But the great thing I love here in yours is the experiences you made with your Granada. It reminded me of our family's plan of doing camping and road trips when time permits.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Wow! Your car is amazing! I don't have my own car :)

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      It's nice to have a companion like a Granada on an adventures like yours. It looks like you had a lot of fun and made some memorable times.

    • x10dit lm profile image

      x10dit lm 4 years ago

      I lie car lenses, it's always interesting to see the difference between American Ford models and their European namesakes... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Granada_(Europe)

    • Shorebirdie profile image
      Author

      Shorebirdie 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

      @x10dit lm: Yeah, the European Granada is a totally different car.

    • Sir Daniel UK profile image

      Danny Gibson 3 years ago from Northampton

      "Yeah, the European Granada is a totally different car.".

      And better one, by the sound of things! :-)

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