Last Gasp: 1982 Ford Granada GL Manual

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

This 1982 Ford Granada was the last gasp for this model. I think that it’s a pretty elegant, formal design. This one is on Craigslist with an asking price of $2,500, about 50% more than NADA’s “high retail” price. But, this one has a surprise inside. It’s located in the Old Bridge, New Jersey area.

Talk about a total redesign! This car looks nothing like the former Granada, it looks more Lincoln/Mercury to me than Ford. It’s, as most of you know, based on the Fox platform which the Ford Fairmont was also based on. In 1983 the Granada was restyled and renamed the LTD.

This car appears to be in great condition and the seller says that it has 42,000 miles on it. For an east coast car that has lived through 35 winters, but presumably not having been driven through too many of them, that’s pretty amazing. There is a bit of rust lurking on the bottoms of the fenders and I would guess under some of that trim on the bottom.

This is probably about as “base model” of a car as it got, with no power windows, vinyl seats, and even no AC. But, as far as condition goes, this one looks like a winner. The backseat looks perfect as does the headliner. You can see the surprise in there, this one has a 4-speed manual transmission! I love a big sedan with a manual transmission, it just feels.. different, fun, cool, strange, unusual. Nobody expects to see a car like this, especially a four-door sedan, with a manual. But, it was only available with the 2.3L inline-four.

And, there it is, in all of its 86-hp glory. It looks a little rusty under there on some of the fasteners and crevasses, but hopefully it’s just surface rust, and the rest of the engine looks great. The seller says that it “runs and drives like new” and I don’t doubt that claim one bit. It sure would be fun to have a car like this with a factory 4-speed, but if you’re going to use it in the summer to keep the rust at bay, you’ll have to roll down all four windows to keep the air moving. Have any of you owned this last-generation of Granada? What do you think about the 4-speed?

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Comments

  1. Chris

    This kind of posting is the reason I enjoy BF. Thanks for digging this up. Maybe the last car of its kind in the world?

    5+
  2. Rock On

    👍

    1+
  3. Rich Tague

    Things DID change A lot for Granada after 1980! lot more square & more Blending in than before ……….Probably the DOWNFALL …….but this ….this was DEFINITELY a last ditch effort . So basic but so RARE!!! AMAZINGLY WELL kept after all these years !!!! A great conversation starter @ a car show!!!

    1+
  4. Bob C.

    Not to sound negative, but I truly believe this car at least needs the lowly 255 v8 along with the automatic transmission to make it an enjoyable driver. Ac? That’s up to personal preference. Again, my own opinion.

    2+
    • Stephen Taylor

      Actually, the four isn’t that bad with a manual. Less weight on the front end gives it pretty lively handling for the period.

      0
  5. JamestownMike

    A 4 speed manual trans in a Granda? Cool!
    ……..mated to a 4 cylinder engine? Not cool!

    1+
    • scottymac

      Although you might call this a four speed, I think Ford called it a 3 speed with overdrive. The original Granada had an iron case toploader where third gear took the place of fourth, and third became an overdrive gear.

      http://www.davidkeetoploaders.com/imposters.htm

      Sometime in 1979(?), Ford switched to an aluminum case with a longer input shaft. The spacing between gears to accommodate the overdrive “fourth” are awful long. Can’t imagine it would be much fun with a 2.3, but maybe better than a C-3 or C-4. Got mine from a 250ci Zephyr.

      1+
  6. Stephen Taylor

    Probably the only one made with this equipment combination. Is there a Marti report? 🙂

    0
  7. Jay M

    A turbo coupe swap would make this a fun little sleeper.

    4+
  8. OJM

    The lines on this big box don’t do anything for me

    0
  9. Mark Member

    My ex girlfriends parents had a red one like this with white Vinyl Top and I believe hubcaps that matched, 4 cylinder Auto, Ac blew so cold and car still went ok. But horn was on left blinker control not on steering wheel, you pushed blinker like tap tap tap to blow the horn! Very weird, any other car have a horn not on steering wheel?

    0
    • Friar Tuck

      1983 Ford Ranger… we have one with under 55,000 miles.

      0
  10. Pat Housel

    Swap in turbo 2.3l with inter cooler…

    1+
    • tirefriar

      +1 on the 2.3 turbo

      I wonder if the 5.0/5 speed from fox body mustang would fit? either way cool quaint little ride. this is probably as close to the european feel american version of Grenada ever felt. dig those vent window knobs. my 1602 had them, tre cool.

      0
  11. jwinters

    what are those big round knobs on the door panels for?

    0
    • tirefriar

      I would imagine them to be for operating vent windows on the front doors.

      0
    • MrBlueOval 57

      Those would be to open the door vent windows. You turn them to open or close the vents. Ford got rid of the vent window knobs in 1986 and went back to the old style latches but this was the way they opened on all the Fords, Lincolns and Mercury’s during the early 80’s.

      0
  12. rmward194

    Interesting find, but it’s definitely not a “big sedan” with a wheelbase of 105.5″ and an overall length of 196.5. The last Crown Vic’s were 114.7″/212″ respectively.

    At least the original buyer invested in two-tone paint!

    0
  13. Rob

    My Aunt and Uncle had the Mercury Cougar variant of this. Until they hit a deer head on. Thank goodness for crumple zones. The car was totalled the hood buckled like it was supposed to and launched the deer up over the car.

    0
  14. Woodie Man

    Too weird.What kind of ” older” buyer would have bought this and ordered the 4 cyl 4 speed? Talk about unicorns..but a seriously ugly unicorn. Still.very .ah.unique.

    0
  15. Benjamin

    I oddly enough, like this. Granted, the 4 cylinders of fury would have to go, in its place would have to live a 302, or better yet, a turboed 6. Keep it quiet, keep the outside the same. Just enough to scare the kids in the riced out civics.

    1+
  16. Howard A Member

    I agree, this is an odd combination. I bet it all sounded great sitting in the sales persons office, until they actually took it home. I mean, you know this car was meant to carry 5 people, and grandma took up 2 seats by herself, so yes, this car is horribly under powered. I disagree on the “base model”. I think this car has a lot of options, stuff we take for granted today. I bet in ’82, you could still get a bare bones Granada. Should, at least have a 5 speed, but a V6 or 8, automatic, would transform this car into something usable.

    0
  17. angliagt

    I think it’s cool with the 4 speed.
    I’d buy it,& drive it as is.

    2+
  18. bob S

    Please leave this rarity alone. I’d like to meet the owner. I’d imagine this person has some other peculiar traits that would prove to be entertaining.

    4+
  19. Paul Hudson

    My Dad has a 1980 Ford Fairmont wagon with this combination including lack of A/C and no power windows or locks etc.. The 4Cyl 4Speed was fun to drive and he loved that car. It was always under powered but got 25-30 MPG and had great space inside. It was a good highway car. It felt large but also very light. It brought a lot of enjoyment to him. I think he really enjoyed shifting again.

    4+
  20. Ralph Terhune

    Needs a 5.0 Mustang engine with a 5 speed. That’s what I would do with it.

    1+
  21. Nova Scotian

    This is decent👌. Buy, swap in a v8. Upgrade the drive line as needed. You best plan on new meats in her but, I’d fry those skinnies to oblivion…in like the first day. lol!
    This has the exact same steering wheel as my old 1986 mercury marquis…which drove very well. Kinda gives me a love ❤️ for this “little” car. Thanks barn finds!

    0
  22. CCFisher

    What an oddball. No A/C, powertrain options, or luxury options, yet it’s a mid-level GL with two-tone paint and color-keyed wheel covers. The optional vent windows were probably specified in lieu of A/C.

    1+
  23. geolemon

    It’s a car that’s fun, mainly because it is the most horrible thing ever. Cars have improved so much, you’d laugh at the body roll, the lack of power and acceleration, the lack of convenience, the lack of seat support, the lack of MPG (especially with this over-stressed 4 cylinder that you’d surely need to have floored nearly continuously).

    There’s zero pretentions of performance, just pure simplicity. It’s not a sleeper – it’s EXACTLY the total turd that people expect it to be, to the extreme end of the spectrum.

    That’s exactly why it could be A GREAT sleeper for someone with above average mechanical skills. What fun.

    0
  24. rando

    I don’t have a comment, but would give a THUMBS UP to EVERY post on this one. What a weird combination. I wouldn’t want it at all. But it is intesting to see it, just to see the weird things people ordered up. Have to be a special order with two tone paint yet no other options seemingly. 4 cyl, manual trans on a Granada… just too weird.

    2+
  25. Paul Hudson

    I once saw a pre 1980 Granada with a 6 Cylinder 4 Speed Setup very rare.

    0
  26. Car Nut Tacoma

    I’ve seen plenty of Ford Granadas over the year, but never seen one with manual shifting transmission. I don’t see anyone making off with this gem, since most people today don’t know how to drive a car that requires use of the clutch.

    1+
  27. RichS

    I learned to drive on my parent’s ’81 Fairmont wagon with 2.3 – 4 speed. I’d totally rock this thing.

    1+
  28. Larry

    I love manuals in cars you wouldn’t expect to see them in. My friend (a former car salesman) told me he once stumbled upon a Pontiac 6000 wagon, 3 speed, DIESEL. He swears it’s true. I’m not sure I can believe him, as I said, he was a car salesman. This nice old ford may be just as scarce.

    0
  29. Sam

    Henry Ford would be proud….a “modern” Model T for the masses.

    Maybe this is a long lost Ford CAFE test car given lack of ac, stick and a 4 banger?

    0
  30. MrBlueOval 57

    Ford was trying to emulate the Rolls Royce front end with this “last ditch” Granada. I really like the frontend but cars needs at least a V-6 but preferably a V-8 and an automatic.

    0
  31. David H.

    The original buyer was likely going for a comfortable car with good fuel economy — the oil price shocks of 1979 were still fairly recent, and this was a comfortable way to get around. (I believe that the trim levels were base level L, mid level GL like this car, and top level GLX, which could be optioned with the TRX tire/handling package.) I did drive my roommates ’86 Mustang with the 2.3 and the 4 speed, and it was enjoyable and responsive, though certainly not fast. This Granada would of course be heavier, but it shared the Fox platform and probably drives similarly.

    I don’t see the point in putting a V8 into this — it should be appreciated as is. There are plenty of V8 Fox body cars around — look for the ’85 LTD LX, another Fox-platform car but with the factory 5.0.

    1+
  32. Jubjub

    The temptation of the available Fox body performance options is hard to ignore. Basically find a wrecked Mustang GT. 5.0, T-5, appropriate rear end, sway bars, dampers and a set of those repro “16 TRX wheels would be splendid.

    0
  33. angliagt

    My Wife totaled her ’07 Fusion.It had a 4cylinder/5 spd manual.
    She replaced it with a ’10 Fusion,with a 4 cylinder/6 speed manual.
    I was surprised to find that they sold them through 2014,
    with manual transmissions (4 cylinder only).

    0
  34. Melvin Burwell

    This is a good buy. Gas mileage etc. Only thing no air. I live in a hot climate.

    0
  35. Duane Boda

    Hmm….every time I think of Ford Fairmont the obvious jumps out. Thrifty

    📦 Granny grocery getter like the Dodge Swingers (72 & 73) but Ford should

    of kept it going. Though cumbersome in design and sound of tweeting birds

    when one stepped on the gas they were memorable. K cars yes but not these.

    0

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