The Noble Art of Keeping Things Going

My manager summoned me away from my desk. The day hadn’t been going brilliantly, to be honest, there were numbers that needed to be balanced and accounts that were on the frightening side of gnarly, and it was the last day of the month. The pressure was on.
I duly dropped everything and headed outside, ready for the shouting to commence, wherupon my manager said “take a look at this”.
It was a 1986 Ford Granada 2.3 LX estate. I had never been happier to see one.

It’s a little on the world-weary side, but so would you be after being a beast of burden for four hundred thousand miles.
I chatted with the owner briefly, who has owned this fine machine for twenty five years. He has other cars as well, including a far more recent Mercedes E-Class, but he claims that, for a long journey, his Granada keys are probably the ones he’d reach for first.
It has the 2.3 litre cologne V6, mounted to a manual gearbox. The “baby” cologne was a very sweet little unit (a 2.0 version of the V6 was available in some markets, but gave less power than the 2.0 “pinto” four cylinder), but it never received the fuel injection that its 2.8 sister was allowed. You got 114hp; not muscular but delivered in a creamy, sonorous fashion.
Looking around the car there IS rust, and there have been a number of “keep it going” type repairs, but honestly it would be unnecessarily cruel to hold any of this against a car which, lets face it, has been pretty heroic over the years.
Four hundred thousand miles, one owner since 1990.
Glasses need to be raised. This was one of the last of the square-rigged, MKII Granadas, 1986 marked the debut of the jellybean styled MK3 Granada, AKA Scorpio which wouldn’t be offered as a station wagon until 1992. And even that wouldn’t be anywhere near as capacious as this one. For a European car it seems absolutely vast. It’s hardly surprising that these things were so popular as a basis for hearse conversions.
It never ceases to amaze me when a modern car sidles up to something this age and you realise (yet again) how overwrought the styling of so many modern cars has become. And how colossal today’s wheels have to be. The Granada Estate was somewhat more utilitarian than the saloon, with a real North American family truckster feel to it. But the underlying car was a wonderfully balanced piece of styling that many people rank among the most elegant cars to bear the blue oval. To successfully carry the same proportions today would require a car about nineteen feet long.
It drove off, smoothly, and refreshed by this little blip of joy I went back to my workaday doldrums.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse)

About RoadworkUK

RoadworkUK is the online persona of Gianni Hirsch, a tall, awkward gentleman with a home office full of gently decomposing paper and a garage full of worthless scrap metal. He lives in the village of Moistly, which is a safe distance from London and is surrounded by enough water and scenery to be interesting. In another life, he has designed, sold, worked on and written about cars in exchange for small quantities of money.


  1. Cool, especially the ’80s aero wheelcovers. Is that 400,000 miles without a rebuild?

  2. On the ‘keeping things going’ tip I’ve just taken a trip to the supermarket and back, during which I was passed by a VW Scirocco and later passed a VW Synchro.
    Any fool can keep a Ford on the road, just change the oil. I had to wonder at how many hunderds of hours of maintenance and unobtanium parts sourcing I witnessed in those two notorious VeeDubs.

  3. Raising glasses is appropriate. I wonder if it really is a smart thing to carry a car over the not-so-triumphant phases of used => beater => classic. Applauding it? Definitely!

    1. Somebody gotta do that job, or else we’d have only ‘instant classics’ classics.
      E-Types are fine, but I like to see an occasional Landcrab, W123, or any 30yo car that regular people used to use as regular car.

      1. I totally agree, and I respect the staying power of the people making this transition. Just pointing out that the financial wisdom behind it is doubtful…and I’d be in the dangerous zone to make such bad decisions, or else I wouldn’t be here.

  4. Those hedlights got used on the other side of the world with Ford Australia’s 1979 XD model Falcon.The lights(and not the adjacent indicators) were about the only thing shared between the two cars despite their similar appearance.The Falcon was also available as an even bigger wagon, ute and panel-van but not as a two door which the Euro was. A 5.8 l (351ci) V8 was available though for, as it turned out, the last time, in a Falcon

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