Because it's Monday: Let's See How Close a Ford Granada Really Was to a Mercedes 300SEL

A lot of people malign American cars from the ’70s, and for good reason. What most people might not realize however is that this was the decade when it hit the Big Three that the concept of both luxury and performance was being redefined by European and Japanese manufacturers.
Ships of industry are hard to turn and so small measures were put in place to make the America products more palatable to this new breed of car buyer, who expected tauter handling, less ostentation, and more compact dimensions. The result were a series of “Euro” models from both Ford and GM. These featured black trim in place of bright work, black sidewall tires and maybe even alloy wheels in front of their “heavy duty”suspensions. In case that was all too subtle, they even took the step to literally name them Euro models.
Here we see the Ford Granada ESS or Euro Sport Sedan being compared to a far more expensive but according to Ford almost indistinguishable Mercedes. Tell the truth, can you see the difference? What’s even goofier, Ford had a Granada on sale at the time that actually was a Euro model, and a car that likely could have been compared favorably to one of the smaller Mercedes models.
Since it’s Monday, lets look back on what’s now a very silly-seeming ad and wonder what might have happened if the reversed had occurred. Could you picture a European car with an ALS (American Luxury Sedan) package?
Source: YouTube

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25 responses to “Because it's Monday: Let's See How Close a Ford Granada Really Was to a Mercedes 300SEL”

  1. Kiefmo Avatar

    Yes, yes I can tell the difference.
    The difference, in part, is that the Merc is probably on the road somewhere with somewhere between a quarter- and a half-million miles, while that pile of dust over there is doing a perfect stand-in for the current state of the Granada.
    Mercedes used to engineer cars that could be heirlooms, before they engineered BMW-competitors.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      The Granada could be anything or anywhere now, its steel shredded and recycled.

    2. cap'n fast Avatar
      cap’n fast

      which side of the road is the benz parked on waiting for warranty service? priced parts for a benz lately? labor?
      benzes are no longer engineered as a design. stylists no longer style them. design and style is driven by the corporate sales division. giving the customer what they want until they choke on it.

      1. Kiefmo Avatar

        I agree with you, hence my parting shot. But we aren’t talking about current Benzes, we are talking about the W116. They are tanks, and can last many decades with regular service. On such a long-lived vehicle, some items that normally last the life of the car become wear items, so prices of those bits might be elevated. But if you note my avatar, you’ll be able to extrapolate that yeah, I have priced Mercedes parts recently. And frequently. I have found maintaining my W126 to be downright economical, compared to its family truckster Honda stablemates. Brakes? Half the cost of Honda’s. Tires? Also half. Oil change? Er… about 50% more, but at least it’s a 5k interval. Mileage? Better than 20 in town, and it isn’t in perfect health either.
        I’m about to change out the front wheel bearings. $30/side for a kit that includes the exact amount of grease and a new grease cap. The AC compressor I added (came without) is the most expensive part I’ve put on it. And even that wasn’t bad at $250 new because it’s the same as an old GM unit, so it’s produced in mass quantities.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          It uses an A-6 compressor?

          1. Kiefmo Avatar

            No, the other common one — R4.

        2. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          I’ve found the same thing with my W124s. A new grille was NZ$ 35.00, and other than distributor caps($300 !!) parts are cheap.

  2. Toaster Avatar

    Heh, I parked next to a Grenada(late euro model wagon, bright red) today, was the first time in ages I saw one. Rust and a severe lack of parts claimed most of these.
    Didn’t mistake it for a W116 either esp. the interior on the Benzes of that era sits head and shoulders above almost anything else that was mass produced at that time.
    The real question is, how long and vigorous did Mercedes laugh when a competitor pays prime time money just to call their car “impressive” and presents it essentially as the benchmark to aspire to.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Euro Granada is pretty cool (brown manual wagon!), our village smith (yes, you read correctly – he specialized into heating and plumbing later in the 80ies) had one because he fit (2.08m tall). He bought a Sharan for the same reason after that.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        And not called Granada but sharing the exact same headlights, and nothing else at all, but in the same market position, Australia’s Ford Falcon.

        1. nanoop Avatar

          Really, nothing else in common? Impressive, in a certain way. I’d called it badge engineering, but not everyone is GM.

          1. Rover 1 Avatar
            Rover 1

            Maybe the grille badge?… but different body panels, electrics, steering, floorpan, gearbox, engine, glass, interior, wheels, brakes, suspension front and rear and all interior trim.

          2. Krautwursten Avatar

            Australia’s got a history of getting their own models that are very similar to European ones but completely different. Same story with the Holden Commodore in fact. It was very exactly based on the Opel Rekord/Commodore/Senator in the beginning but with Holden engines and drivetrains, and then both continents made small changes here and there over the years and eventually they still looked similar but absolutely nothing really swapped over. It got the worst when they switched to the Opel Omega platform, at which point they were sorta based on similar underpinnings and vaguely similar looking but otherwise completely different. The Holden was a bit longer, a bit wider, a bit differently shaped, had a different interior and of course was powered by completely different engines (ironically including a V8 that Opel thought to be too powerful for the Omega platform).

          3. nanoop Avatar

            So there is a show case for evolution right here! All Fords stem from the Ur-Ford that was roaming on Gondwana, and when the continents fell apart they developed further, along the local conditions.

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    I thought at the time that it should be called the Granada ASS, for American Sport Sedan. IMHO, the 5″ x 7″ rectangular headlights ruined the front styling.

  4. Alff Avatar

    IIRC, there was another Ford ad from this era which featured a guy building his own car including sail power (economical to operate) and his living room recliner (comfortable).

    1. Victor Avatar

      Buy the Ford, put the other 20 Grand in the bank. Both depreciate,both rust and one of them can be worked on by everybody.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      Exactly what I thought about, too. It is interesting how the TV ad mentions “the price of a Grenada” as opposed to 20000$ for the Mercedes…yet no specific number is uttered.

      1. Jeff M Avatar
        Jeff M

        Grenada’s an island.

  5. alex Avatar

    A bit of a story. Tasca Ford by this time was already one of Ford’s #1 retailers, so they created something called the 250LM. They took the Mercury equivalent, and put MB type badging on the back of the trunk lid. Vinyl roof and opera lights completed the stunning package. Moved tonnage. Laughed every time I saw one, it was so absurd, but Bob Tasca was a Car God around here, and to Ford.
    Bob was so important to Ford, that when he passed, Bill Ford, Alan Mullaley, Mark Fields, and one of Ford’s sisters attended his funeral. So did Carroll Shelby AND John Force.

  6. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    while i share the sentiment that rust never sleeps, cars built in the 70’s had rust on meth. i think GM used bleach to clean the sheet metal before painting to help it along. it also helps to have everyone in Illinois complain about rusted hulks while out of the other side of their mouth they complain about not enough salt on the winter roads. chicago has its own salt mine under the city for pete’s sake.

  7. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    the ford has four wheels, so does the benz. the ford has a windshield so does the benz. the ford has paint, so does the benz.
    i see no problem with the comparison.

  8. Krautwursten Avatar

    “Could you picture a European car with an ALS (American Luxury Sedan) package?”
    So it’s got wallowing suspension and overstuffed velour grandparent sofas and chrome in unnecessary places?

  9. m/ MayheM m/ Avatar
    m/ MayheM m/

    My 1st car was a ’77 Granada sedan, black with red vinyl top and interior, and the 302. I loved it, because it was so much nicer than all the old jap and US economy cars most of my friends drove. Even the guys with “cooler cars” liked mine. They all called it “Granny Granada” because it was kind of a sleeper.