Ziebart’d from New: 1978 Ford Granada ESS

A few days ago, we posted a low-mileage Ford Granada coupe that garnered quite a reaction. Some liked it, most didn’t, and almost all of our readers were in agreement that it was overpriced. Well, this 1978 Ford Granada ESS here on eBay is considerably more affordable and remains in half-decent condition, with some interesting enhancements included in the sale. 

You’ll notice the aftermarket wheels, spoiler and racing stripes without trying too hard. You may also notice that this Granada doesn’t have the blacked-out trim that was standard on the ESS. There are some other details that don’t add up to this being a genuine ESS, but we’ll get to that later. That’s also quite a raspberry on the chrome rear bumper you’ll have to get straightened.

This Granada is said to have received the Ziebart rust prevention treatment from new, which helps explain its preserved condition. While it may be as rust-free as the day it left the dealer, the seller has made some enhancements under the hood which includes a new two barrel carb, an aluminum high-flow water pump, and a 3-row radiator, among other tweaks, including a dual-outlet exhaust.

Now here’s where the ESS designation trips me up again: I believe the “European Sport Sedan” should have bucket seats and a floor-shift automatic. Combined with the lack of blacked-out trim, I’m inclined to think this is an ordinary Granada, but that’s not a bad thing – it looks like a fun cruiser with some added growl thanks to those dual exhausts. And, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than the last one we featured!

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  1. Blyndgesser

    This is a waste of perfectly good rustproofing. And no, it’s not an ESS.

  2. Ck

    It looks like a fun cruiser?Funny cruiser is more of a description. Cuz if ya drove this Grenade into your local cruise nite with that wing hangin off the back ,it would be hilarious…For everyone but you!!

  3. Flmikey

    …the circus called…they want their clown car back….

  4. Bingo

    I threw up a little in my mouth. Yep. And most BF readers love 4 doors. It wouldn’t look as lame if it was a 2 door, but still pretty damn lame.

  5. Johnni B

    Lipstick on a pig.

  6. JW454

    I like the 8 track. Otherwise, it’s not too bad. I’d have to lose the wheels, stripes, “SS” badges, 4X4 head lamp protectors, hood tack, chrome “go fasters” under the hood, tail pipe extensions, and rear wing. At that point , it’d make a decent DD.

  7. racer99

    Sorry, but I can’t find a good answer to the question “Why?”. Lots of weird cosmetics and money spent on a car that’s never going to be worth much. Somehow if it’s been repainted and all that mechanical work done then I have to wonder what it looked like when they started and, BTW, if all that selling pitch is correct about the undercoating there’s not one picture of the chassis. If all the seller’s info is correct and the chassis is solid you still have to find someone who’s tastes match the owners for it to be worth anything close to what he’s asking — good luck with that.

  8. Anthony Rodrigues

    Would have been a much better car without the “improvements” the second owner made

  9. jcs

    Three questions (and answers):
    1. One owner car? Unless the seller bought it new, it ain’t!
    2. Is body protected forever against rust by Ziebart? It ain’t!
    3. Is ’79 Granada a “classic car” (“low cost entry into classic car hobby”)? It ain’t!

  10. Ed P

    The boy racer treatment looks rediculous on this car.

  11. Keith

    Step 1: Inherit a Granada
    Step 2: Kiddie it out
    Step 3: ???
    Step 4: Profit!

  12. David H

    People are being harsh. I’m not a fan of the customization, but it looks like work went into the car, the seller does say that original wheel covers come with the car and that the stripes are removable. (Still a lot to undo!)

  13. JW

    I could see Cheech & Chong cruising the highway in this while smoke poured from the open windows and Low Rider blasting on the stereo.

    • Gary

      Me too,,,,

    • JRATT1956

      If I lived close enough, I’d make an offer and then add a Low Rider Hydraulics Kit to complete the package. ROFLMAO.

  14. Bob C.

    Lose the spoiler!

  15. Jeff DeWitt

    I kind of like it, but would definitely have to get rid of the cosmetic “upgrades”.

  16. Joe Muzy

    In 94 I bought a 4 door Granda for 3700 and it only had 35000 miles on it. Used it as a carpool car

  17. Steven Visek

    Same year my wife was born. Happily she looks a lot better than this car(she was never even Ziebart’d!).

    Probably not relevant though, as I admit I didn’t find her in a barn. A Great Find, not a Barn Find. 🙂

    • John B

      If you have diddled her in a barn, that counts!

  18. Rustytech

    Yea the cosmetic upgrades would have to go. Otherwise this isn’t a bad car. Though much maligned these cars were quite dependable, and fairly roomy. If it’s truly rust free, what better family cruiser are ya gonna buy for $4000?

    • grant

      What better family cruiser are you gonna buy for 4k? Any minivan on Craigslist for 4k or less. This car was a POS on its best day, and it’s best days are far behind it.

      • Jeff DeWitt

        I had a 78 Granada, 2nd best car I ever had. They are comfortable, nice driving cars, and a lot more fun than a minivan.

      • Ralph Robichaud

        Not so, Grant+

        There are probably a greater percentage of the Granada/Monarch made still in use than any other North American made cars in the same price range. You don’t have to like ’em, but not POS;

      • grant

        @ Ralph: I respectfully disagree. While it would be interesting to know how many of these are still registered for road use compared to how many were produced, I haven’t seen one on the road in years. And my comment was in reply to someone asking what better “family cruiser” you would find for 4k. He didnt ask what fun car you could find. And I stand my my answer. A 4k used minivan will be way better equipped to keep a few rug rats quiet and comfortable, and they won’t be (as) embarrassed to be seen in it.

  19. Bill

    Ok now this is definitely NOT a barn find. come on guys really?

  20. scottymac

    Since these were introduced before the Fox bodies, can one assume that under the skin one would find Falcon, Mustang, Maverick underpinnings?

    • Blyndgesser


    • Greg Stegall


  21. Ralph Robichaud

    The only ESS is the tags on the front fenders;;; does not make it an ESS/

  22. Kevin

    Did anybody notice it says SS on the front fender, not ESS??? I liked these old Granada’s with the 302. These were fairly new when I started driving and a friend of mine had one he bought from his fathers company. He drove the crap out of it and it took everything he gave it. Several collisions later and still going till the final major collision took it out. It was a salesman’s car to begin with and had lots of kms on it for being 2 years old (112000 kms) and he wrapped it twice more with very few issues. It was the same color as this one but a 2 door. Nice looking car, very reliable. Kev

  23. Mike Reese

    The striping and spoiler made a tolerably good looking Ford sedan look worse than it did stock … color’s ok. I recall a previous Grenada being discussed with comments about the BHP. Just jumping around a city, I don’t think I’d care .. and now in need of a basic get-around, I’d consider one at a reasonable price. Living in Salt Belt Chicago, I ain’t holding my breath, though!

  24. Bob S

    Anyone up in the far North, where they use salt on roads knows that Ziebart is the kiss of death for any car you want to keep nice long term. Once it dries out, the moisture gets underneath and they rust faster. Surprised Americans don’t have and use Canadian rust proofing methods like Rust Check or Krown rust proofing. Light oily mist applied yearly is the only thing that works. You think they ever Ziebart an air frame?? This ain’t no air frame. Other than that, this car is one of the most beautiful and coveted designs of all time. The closest domestic car of it’s era to a true Euro SS experience. Ha!

  25. Bryan

    Detroit produced lots of interesting cars in the seventies; I don’t count the Granada (or twin Monarch) as one of them.

    Nonetheless, Ford sold millions (almost 700,000 in 1976 alone) of this humble though reliable car. The Granada’s popularity always mystified me….it just wasn’t very good looking or interesting (the audacity to compare a Mercedes and an ESS side by side….in printed ads no less!). It was marketed as an economical alternative to larger cars but it got dismal gas milage. Ford execs testified before Congress that the 302 powered Granada returned the same mpg as a full sized LTD!

    But Ford knows how to market cars…and a smaller post-oil embargo luxury car was a winning formula at the time; consumers flocked to similarly sized Seville’s and Cordobas…but not to the too similar Versailles (nice try Ford)!

    This specific Granada isn’t anything special…a green 4 door sedan. However, it would probably make a decent daily driver. Gas is cheap and cars of this era are easy to own and maintain.

  26. Keith

    Yep not an ESS. First of all the ESS’s were all 2 doors as far as I know.
    Little tired of the Granada bashing. Yes the 6cyl ones sucked (we had one when I was a kid). The 2 door V8’s were not bad especially considering the period in which they were built. Very easy to liven one up, just as I did a couple years ago: remove the smog junk, slap on a four barrel and intake manifold, dual exhaust, and MSD ignition set up. Is it burning tires with 300hp at that point? no. But not everything has to. I did the above to my 76 2 door with bucket seats and console, and had spent a total of about $2500.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      Keith, I had a battleship gray, 2 door, six cylinder 4 speed 78 Granada. Second best car I ever had. It was comfortable, peppey enough, I really like the 70’s baroque styling and it was almost as reliable as a cement block.

      I paid $1100 for it with 100,000 miles, drove it another 100,000 miles, and got $1200 in trade when I sold it. The only thing that really went wrong is I had to replace the water pump for $18, never even had to adjust the clutch.

      • Ralph Robichaud

        Indeed, they were solidly built and durable.

    • Ralph Robichaud

      Agree with you on the Granada bashing!

      But yes indeed, there were 4 door ESS- but it begs the question, if a buyer wants the ESS options would he want a 4 door?

      The Ghia trim looked a lot better on a 4dr.

      • Keith

        Hi Ralph! I could be wrong (it actually happens more often than I’d like) but I had thought the ESS was only available on the coupes. Learn something new each day. The Ghia trim definitely looked better on the 4 doors in my opinion.

  27. rando

    This may not be special to most people. But it’s a 37 year old car. But really, what makes a 1942 car special? The engine? The styling? What? If it speaks to someone,, they should buy it. I could have fun with this as goofy as it is. And yes it’s a bit too weird for even me. Get rid of the stripes. New wheels of some sort. It could be a fun car. Got lots of new stuff added. Should be reliable as an anvil. If not, sort things as they break to a better condition. Still fun car for someone.

    • Steven Visek

      It WAS a 37 year old car….two years ago! Now it’s a 39 year old car.
      Sorry, couldn’t resist. 🙂
      Good point you made though. No car is innately special; it is special due to how it makes us feel, the memories it invokes, the pleasure it brings.

  28. Fiete T.

    Nope. Not interested

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