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08/03/2005

  Buying the Mk3

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 I had just bought my fourth 2.9 Granada when I heard about the 24V Cosworth. By then I had owned a 2L Ghia and three other 2.9s.

Up until then, I bought my Grannies with about 75,000 to 85,000 miles on the clock. I checked the auto box fluid for the proper colour, (if its a dirty red or brown colour walk away!) and immediately changed all four CV joints on the rear drive shafts, which always quietened the rear axle nicely. I often changed the front roll-bar bushes as well, because they tightened up the steering response.

The first, a metallic silver C reg 2.0L Ghia used an injected SOHC Pinto engine. It was underpowered, but our overriding impression when we took a test drive in it was how quiet it was, and how solid, and the sound system was really good. Then moving up our next was an F-Reg 2.9 Ghia hatchback. Again the same quietness, but this time the wonderful grunt from the lazy V6 engine that spoiled me from that first day I will never own an economy-engined car again.

My favourite was the next  Granada, a black G-reg 2.9 Ghia X four door saloon, which had been a chauffeur car. It had been thoroughly maintained and still retained the original exhaust, but the interior was filthy. It took me ten hours of labour with a Vax to get the cloth clean. It was the quietest of them all, and the air con (ah yes, air-con at last) was powerful enough to deep-freeze a rhino.

None of my Granadas were any trouble; they tore up and down between Newcastle and London a dozen times a year, and across Europe to Germany, cruising all day at about the 100 mark. Between these long trips they were used on my commute every day fifteen miles into inner London and back again. I would run them up to about 140-160K and then chop them in for another. None of them ever used any oil and they never let me down. They are quiet, comfortable high speed tourers, ideal for endless miles on a motorway, and I used them hard with tons of luggage, booze cruises to France and holidays in Germany. They are great cars and I loved them.

But once I heard about them, I just had to have a Cosworth.

My last Granada was an M-reg 2.9 Scorpio 12V (practically the last of the Granadas), with all the bits except leather (velour was a no-cost option) and it was great - except .. well, I always thought that there was a prop shaft vibration. I took it back to Curry's Motors (Nice people to do business with) twice, and I think they must have balanced the shaft with jubilee clips, like the old days, because it was a bit better - but still, I could feel a definite heavy vibration which peaked at 45mph and then faded away. At speed it was fine, but at 45 I thought it was noisier than my old lamented Ghia X. But I had paid more for it than I had ever forked out for a car and I felt it should be better.

But then - catastrophe! The autobox packed up, quite suddenly on a roundabout. My wife braked down to a stop, pressed the accelerator and the engine stalled. The engine would run in Park or Neutral, but as soon as she engaged Drive the engine died, so it was either the torque converter or the autobox. Those other Very Nice Men in the RAC brought it home, and then followed a 6 week wrangle with Curry's, who suddenly couldn't find the Warranty documents! I finally wrote a very stroppy letter to the Managing Director and they took the car in and repaired it. Yes - a new A4LD gearbox.

But it shakes your confidence a bit. When that has happened somehow you can never feel the same about a car. Ironically, all the Granadas I'd run up to and sometimes past 150,000 miles (at least officially, because they had probably been clocked at some stage before I bought them) I'd never had trouble with an autobox. One old Granada (the F-Reg hatchback) used to take about a minute to shift into reverse, but still never let me down.

So, then I saw the Scorpio Cosworth Estate. Could I part with this expensive Granada, the best I had ever had?

Like a shot!

 

 

 

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