Get out there and tune a three-box Granny! Here’s how...
Words Jon Hill
Granadas have a reputation for two things — fast transport in TV Plod shows and banger racing, which kind of means they have a trait hinting at the performance saloon. Why else would Regan and Cowley choose them to blow the doors off villains’ Mk2 Jags? So with a touch of Classic Ford know-how, you can add to the mystique by using Ford’s big saloon as a building block to greater things.
And it’s pretty easy — for a start, you have a whopping engine bay housing a tuneable V6 or enough room to swap in virtually what you like without resorting to masses of angle grinding. The suspension’s tuneable too and if you’re careful with the styling, a whole new avenue awaits... Banger racing’s wiped out a lot but Granadas were made in their hundreds of thousands so there’s still plenty left to play with.
A big car needs big brakes and the Mk2 was blessed with a decent set of stoppers in the first place. The bare minimum is to fit better linings and new discs — preferably uprated — coupled with braided hoses. But there are also plenty of brake kits available too. These cars have more uses than you think — especially in the kit-car world as donors. That maybe seen as a negative as far as car survival is concerned, but it can be turned to a positive as it means there are plenty of brake kits readily available, too.
Rally Design lists a new billet six-pot kit, while Hi-Spec have a catalogue that equals their disc and calliper range in size — whopping! Stopping your performance Granada then shouldn’t be a problem.
Spax PSX Adjustable suspension kit — £449.99 (Spax Direct)
Quick Silver Stainless Exhaust — £696.97 (Burton Power)
Willwood six-pot brake kit — £819.50 (Rally Design)
Trailing arm poly bush kit — £124.52 (Burton Power)
Kent VT12 Fast Road cam — £145.94 (Burton Power)
Granadas are one of the few classic Fords with double wishbone suspension all round — they have the room to fit the geometrically superior system in place and still retain areas for big engines. But it means a touch of searching to seek out the usual sea of kits for MacPherson strut-based cars.
The usual lowering route is 30-35 mm dropped springs — these are available from Spax and AVO, while both companies produce complete spring and damper kits to both lower and uprate. Many favour dropping lower than this — to 50 mm is favourite, which can be done too — AVO produce a fully adjustable coil-over kit. Don’t go too mad though, the back can suffer from excessive camber — remember you might get passengers!
It’s wise to completely rebuild the suspension at the same time — poly bushes are available as replacements for originals, and a comprehensive range is available from Superflex, including a replacement for the tie-bar.
We’re going to be honest here — Mk2 Granadas aren’t blessed with the best version of the Cologne V6. Because it is coupled with an early version of fuel injection that mixes basically mechanical parts, it’s quite tricky to get it to meter fuel smoothly.
In the majority of cases, the 2.8 also features valve seats meant for leaded fuel, meaning a conversion’s necessary via a specialist — they don’t use normal seats. The fibre timing gear’s a known Achilles’ heel to the engine’s performance potential, along with the Siamese ported heads — not a great picture so far, is it?
But power is there if you are prepared to dig deep to find it — a range of Kent cams are available for the Cologne and with a touch of porting in the right places, it can be done. As mentioned earlier, fuel metering can be a problem — however the swapping in of BMW components is a popular solution to this particular issue.
However, having said this, plenty discard the whole lot in favour of a 2.3 carb manifold and downdraught, while alternative, bigger carb manifolds are also available. Or there is always the option of an engine swap...
This is deemed the more cost-effective route as the later 2.9 Cologne engine is a straightforward bolt-in, and this unit is more conventional than the earlier one. A smaller range of cams is available though, but, as the unit uses EEC IV-controlled fuel injection, uprating the fuel to cope is far easier. The next logical step is to a Cosworth 24-valve V6, which again virtually bolts in — the higher cost of the engine in the first place greatly outweighs the cost of tuning any other version. The only real point of note is the Scorpio donor car was almost wholly automatic, meaning a hybrid MT75 ’box is necessary to cope with the power.
The bay’s massive so it’ll also swallow a V8 too — with the right combination of standard-ish parts, a Ford small-block’s dead easy...
Wheels and tyres
Wheels obviously dictate the style of your car and we have to say that in the past, the Granada’s suffered from being a bit ’80s — the range back then obviously reflected the era and we reckon it needs a touch of moving on because there’s some great wheels that truly could transform the car.
Recently we’ve seen Rich Carver’s Mk2 in Highland Green sitting on 7x16 Mk3 Granada RS accessory rims — the German look really suits the boxy lines coupled with a healthy dose with the lowering stick. You do need to watch the rear back spacing though if you want to avoid rim contact. Firm budget favourites though are Granada Scorpio Cosworth 24-Valve 16-inch alloys, which bolt straight on coupled with 205/55R16 tyres. However if you’re prepared to do some research we’re sure there are numerous options to match various looks — we’d really like to see something ground-breaking!
Several forms of gearbox were fitted to the Mk2 Granada — both auto and manual, four and five-speed. The latter will be the heavier-duty version of the Type-9, with slightly stronger bearings. A well-rebuilt ’box is fine for reasonably mild engines but it hasn’t a great reputation for coping with lots of torque. If you’re swapping to the 2.9 ’box though, 12 or 24-valve, then it may be wise to fit an MT75 unit. This will be a hybrid of a 4x4 V6 front casing and a rear-drive, four-cylinder rear casing with internals fitted appropriately. It’s fairly common so plenty of specialists exist.
Autobox uprating is again achieved via a specialist — the C3 was the standard ’box although there’s a bigger version available, the C4. You could use the whole 24-valve Cosworth and auto four-speed; it has been done but it needs the majority of the ECU system connected up...
Granadas are basically about comfort — a big fast saloon with plenty of cruising power meaning you’ll want to relax rather than be forced against the doors in a sharp corner. Let’s face it, Granadas aren’t really about roll cages and stripped out interiors... But the very ’80s seats and upholstery are probably now tired — although the specialist trimming companies out there now mean you’ll have an easier job of restoring it.
One of the most popular routes though is to replace the lot with that of the same source as the 24-valve engine — the Scorpio. These may well be a touch lardy in anything other than a whopping saloon but in the Granada, they add more than a touch of class because the car simply swallows them. Leather and electric too; shop around and a good-looking cost-effective interior can be had for very reasonable money.
CLUBS & FORUMS
Ford Granada Club UK
Granada Mk1 & Mk2 Drivers’ Guild
Granada 1-2-3-4 Club
Granada & Scorpio Online
Bath Side Garage
Essex-based Granada specialist with a good stock of parts.
Germany-based parts suppliers with a great range of new-old stock and replacement items.
Ric Wood Motorsport
Plenty of tuning products for all types of V6 and solutions to problems available off the shelf.
A classic Ford engine builder for donkeys’ years.
Specialist in Cosworth BOA/BOB 24-valve conversions.