To replace the well-known Zephyr and Zodiac—large cars well suited to Ford’s universal V6 power unit but perhaps not as successful as Dagenham had hoped, Ford of Britain introduced the new Consul and Granada models. at the Geneva Show. In contrast to Vauxhall’s “Trans-Continental” theme, Ford are catering for European conditions, claiming that their new cars are “as happy on an Italian autostrada as in the London rush hour”, to quote their Engineering Director Alan Aitken. They claim that the Consul and Granada have been designed to cope easily with 1,000 kilometres of motorway in a day, while being compactly suited to town conditions.
Both share the same four-door five-seater body shell, using panels designed to withstand 240 hours’ attack by salt at 320°C. Compared to the Mk. IV the new Fords arc 5″ shorter, an inch narrower, and more than 2 1/2″ lower, yet the interior is 2 1/2″ broader, with a wide track for stability, and a wheelbase of 109″. The well-tried European Ford engines are used, the Consul having the 2-litre V4 with the option of the 2 1/2-litre V6 and the 3-litre V6 in the Consul GT, the Granada the 2 1/2-litre V6, with the option of the 3-litre V6. Rack-and-pinion steering is used for the first time on a top-range Ford, geared 4.4 turns lock-to-lock, or 3.6 turns in power form. A new layout of i.r.s. is used incorporating coil springs and semi-trailing arms. Cross-ply 14′ tyres are normal, with radials as an option, but radial tyres are standard on the 3-litre cars. Final drive ratios of 3.89, 3.64 and 3.45 to 1 are used, according to engine size, with floor controlled four-speed gearboxes, and automatic transmission as an option. Ford also offer the usual option-packs, which include a sliding roof, standard on the Granada GXL. Disc/drum brakes are used, with ventilated discs on the 3-litre cars. The fuel tanks hold 65-litres (14.3 gallons).
The new Fords look good and by mid-March I was invited down to the Bournemouth area to drive them over an RAC signposted route to Castle Combe and back. However, we were asked not to publish driving impressions until the cars are available to the customers., on April 6th. So all I can say at this stage of the story, is that the new cars are said to have been through the most extensive development programme in Ford’s history, at a cost of over £50-million, starting as an advance design study at Dunton and Cologne, over four years ago. Ford tested their successors to the big Zephyrs and Zodiacs on the Lommel proving-ground in Belgium, across Europe, in the Arctic Circle and in tropical Africa, apart from mountain driving and motorway work in Italy, Germany and Belgium, as befits cars intended to excel in the emerging pattern of European motoring.
The Consul GT, in which Motor Sport readers will be especially interested, has uprated suspension, 6J sports wheels with 185 radial-ply tyres, the usual sports embellishments and equipment and halogen lamps, etc. For it Ford claim 113 m.p.h. and to 60 m.p.h. in nine seconds.
At the time of writing, before tomorrow’s test drive, a High Court Judge has decided that in naming the larger-engined luxury models “Granada” the Ford Motor Co. Ltd., are not infringing the title of Granada TV—so the name of ”Granada” stands.—W. B.