1981 Ford Granada Consort Mk2
When Gav Smith stumbled across this Granada Consort, he knew he had to do the right thing and give it the regal rebuild it deserved — along with a few choice mods, naturally.
Words and Photos Jon Cass
Gav Smith has been surrounded by cars as long as he can remember and by the age of just 10, he’d already become involved in oval motorsport. “I started racing Minis, but by the time I was in my late teens, I joined a local banger racing team,” Gav remembers, “and much of my spare time was spent building cars to race around the country.” His team, The Blooz Boyz were, and still are, well-known and respected amongst the banger racing community and although Gav enjoyed his time spent racing, he remained a true petrolhead at heart.
“Most of the cars we raced were well beyond saving,” Gav tells us. “If I was offered a car that was worth restoring, there was no point in sending it to the track just for the sake of it.” Typically, the Mk2 Granada had always been one of Gav’s favoured cars for racing, though the chosen candidates were always beyond saving. “You wouldn’t believe how much eff ort goes into building a banger just to make it safe to race,” Gav explains. “The difference is you don’t need to carry out the task as neatly as if you were restoring a car and there’s no issues with needing to source rare parts.” Unfortunately, it’s a common myth that every banger driver wants to smash up any classic they can get their hands on — like the rest of us they’d often prefer to see an old classic preserved and Gav is no exception.
Not every car Gav has owned has met its fate in his hands and it seems his affiliation with the blue oval extends to his road cars too. Numerous Cortinas, a Mk1 Fiesta XR2 along with a Series 2 Escort RS Turbo and a Capri 2.8 Injection Special have all provided fond memories.
As Gav’s banger racing days drew to a close, he soon discovered he now had some useful space in his unit as well as more spare time on his hands. “I’ve always been a fan of old American cars,” Gav explains, “and I started building up a small collection of old Fords and a Cadillac to work on.” While his F100 panel van and Edsel may have begun their days in Detroit, Gav still remained a stalwart fan of the classics bearing the same badge built closer to home.
Running his own recovery business meant that Gav was often out on the road, a perfect position to spot those hidden gems sat in fi elds or on driveways. Yet, breaking his usual trend, Gav didn’t find this 1981 Mk2 Granada Consort — you could say it found him. “I was working in my truck one morning and bumped into a chap I knew,” Gav recalls. “He mentioned he had a car in his barn that I might be interested in and invited me to take a look.”
As you might expect, Gav was hardly likely to turn down such an opportunity and once the barn doors were opened, we’re sure his face must have lit up. Nestled inside was this rare Granada Consort saloon fitted with a 2-litre Pinto and just 55,000 miles on the clock — the manual gearbox was just the icing on the cake! “I had a good look around the car and was amazed how solid it was,” Gav smiles, “it appeared to be totally complete too with no parts missing.” Incredibly, fresh fuel and a clean of the points was all that was needed to hear the engine run.
A deal was soon struck and already armed with his recovery truck, transporting the car back to Gav’s workshop couldn’t have been more straightforward. “Once on my ramp, I was able to look underneath and couldn’t find any rot anywhere,” Gav tells us. “The paintwork had suffered over the years, but I was pretty pleased with what I’d bought.”
“BEING A RARE CONSORT, GAV HAD NO INTENTION OF CHANGING THE TWO TONE GREEN PAINT”
That 2-litre Pinto engine was a different matter and Gav deemed it necessary to conduct a full rebuild. “This was done by Chris at Walkers in Rochdale,” Gav adds.
“It was fully stripped to a bare block, honed then fitted with new rings, shells and mains.” In addition to replacing the essentials, Gav couldn’t resist adding a few tweaks which included a fast road cam and four-branch manifold along with refurbishing the 38DGAS Weber carb. Along with a new 2.25 inch custom exhaust by Rochdale based, TG Silencers, this Mk2 sounds the part too and mated to a four-speed manual gearbox, this Pinto is surprisingly nippy.
This being a rare Consort model, Gav had no intentions of changing the colour from the recognisable two-tone green. “I was keen for the paintwork to be finished to a high standard,“ Gav smiles, “so I had the full shell resprayed by my friend Kenny and he did a great job.” Complete with the correct badges, the eye-catching two-tone paintwork looks stunning once again, especially when basked in sunlight.
Gav could so easily have left things there, but ideas of adding a slight twist to the car’s appearance soon sprung to mind. “I prefer my cars to sit low and look mean,” he smiles, “I fitted Spax 40 mm lowering springs to reduce the ride height then looked at possibilities for wheels.”
Options for aftermarket wheels on Mk1 and Mk2 Granadas have always been quite limited and Gav’s plan to have the original 14 inch Sport steels banded seemed a sensible one to take. “After some careful measuring, I had them banded by 2 inches,” Gav points out, “and they now sit perfectly within the arches.”
Back in 1981, the almost limousine-like Consort interior complete with its standard array of creature comforts would have been a nice place to be, and we guess it still is. The wood eff ect trim on the modern dashboard and the club-like ambience of those plush green two-tone cloth seats would have had the neighbours’ tongues wagging for sure. Arriving in such good condition, it’s no surprise Gav hasn’t made any changes here and the full interior remains just as it left the factory. The whole project took Gav just 12 months to complete and compared to some of his classics from over the pond which demand a wealth of time and patience, the rebuild of this Mk2 proved to be relatively straightforward.
“I’ve had loads of help from my partner, Hollie along with my mates,” Gav smiles, “whether it be weekends or late nights, they’ve always kept the project progressing.” Mk2 Granadas are becoming a rare sight on our roads and the limited edition prefacelift Consort model is even more scarce. Fortunately, Gav’s decision to restore this example and add a few of his own reversible mods has ensured this lucky survivor will live on for some time yet.
“WEEKENDS OR LATE NIGHTS, MY MATES HAVE ALWAYS HELPED KEEP THE PROJECT PROGRESSING”
One of Gav’s first jobs after bringing the car home was to get the engine rebuilt to Fast Road spec.Colour-coded and banded steels are a great touch.
- Body 1981 Ford Granada Consort Mk2, twin driving lamps, tilt and slide sunroof
- Paint: Forest Green over Crystal Green
- Engine 2.0-litre Pinto, reworked head, fast road cam, custom made 2.25 inch in system by TG Silencers, Weber 38DGAS carb
- Transmission Four-speed manual
- Suspension Front: standard dampers, Spax -40 mm springs. Rear: standard dampers,
- Spax -40 mm springs
- Brakes Standard front discs and rear drums
- Wheels and tyres
- Banded 7x14 inch S steel wheels, 205/60R14 tyres
- Interior Standard Consort two-tone York velour/ cloth seats and trim, woodgrain dash
- Thanks Hollie Cooke, all my mates, TG Silencers (www.tgsilencers.co.uk), Chris at Walkers
Of Rochdale (walkersofrochdale.co.uk) for the engine rebuild and Kenny for the paint
SPECIAL EDITION THE GRANADA CONSORT
The 1981 pre-facelift Consort edition was only available with a 2-litre Pinto or 2.3-litre V6, though it did come with a vast range of creature comforts to make up for that lack of a larger and more powerful flagship V6 as an option. Effectively, the plush and well-equipped Consort was aimed at motorists wishing to keep their fuel bills down while still enjoying the benefits of a big car with impressive amounts of interior space. Gav’s clever choice to fit 40 mm lowering springs along with breathing a little more power into that 2-litre Pinto, thanks to the race cam and four-branch manifold have managed to improve both the performance and handling without detracting from the car’s originality. Banding the original steel wheels by 2 inches was another wise decision and this has resulted in a killer ride height on an already cool car, many could only wish for.
Below: even now the Mk2 has covered a low mileage. Gav’s really enjoying smoking around in the Consort, with that York interior (right) super-comfortable.