Home » Sometimes, It’s Ok Just To Be: Cold Start

Sometimes, It’s Ok Just To Be: Cold Start

Ford Grenada 2

I think most people have a sense of being a part of history. The past may seem more romantic. The future, depending on your perspective, may feel hopeful or foreboding. The present, though, will always feel more vivid. Good or bad, it’s being lived now. I feel especially like a witness to history, jumping from one life-altering event (9/11, Great Recession, Pandemic, Insurrection) to another, like a frog leaping across a rocky pond. At some level these probably are historic times, but maybe it’s just the solipsism of the now. People in the mid 1970s probably felt the same way, at least as witnessed by the brochure for the 1975 Ford Granada posted by the Ford Heritage Vault.

Tensions with Russia, fruitless war abroad, crazy fuel prices, and impeachment define the mid-’70s as much as they define our era. If you’d made it to 1975 you probably had to accept that this was life and trudge forward as best you could. As Winston Churchill famously said: If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Ford Grenada

And what better car to traverse hell than a Ford Granada? Not to be confused with the European model of the same name, the Falcon-derived American Granada was a mid-size sedan for everyone afraid of the future who wanted to downsize from their excessive landbarge… just to be safe. You can see it on the faces of the models. They’re not particularly happy. The exuberance of the late ’60s is gone. They seem, if anything, tranquilized to match the times. Even the tagline, Elegance in a new, efficient size, drips with compromise.

The brochure is full of features you can spec on top of the rather plain base car (opera windows, vinyl trim, plush leather seating) depending on your hopes for a Gerald Ford-run economy.

Ford Grenada 3

It’s not all bad, though. Look at this lady. She’s having fun. Is this the blithe optimism of the foolish or the zen-like awareness that this has all happened before and will all happen again?

Images: Ford Heritage Vault

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40 Responses

  1. Of course those two models don’t look happy. Check their postures. Neither has a functioning pelvis. They’re crushed by Ford telling them that this car looks just like a Mercedes.

  2. It’s disturbing somehow that I instantly recognized the car just from the header pic, which contains the most anonymous snip of the most anonymous car imaginable. The information to piece that together is taking up space in my brain.

    1. To me the epitome of malaise cars were Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth and to a lesser extent GM. Other than the embarrassing Mustang, I feel ford retained a modicum of dignity the others lost.

  3. In some ways this was Iacocca’s greatest hit. Really. Hear me out.

    Most Iacocca-mobiles were either aimed squarely at his own cohort (’65 Galaxie 500 LTD, Lincoln Mark II, both 1981 and 1990 Chrysler Imperial revivals) or to intersect the leading edge of the Baby Boom (Mustangs and minivans). The Granada alone appealed to both – it was something somebody pushing 30 and trading out of a very used ‘stang or VW bus could feel like a real grownup driving, and something their parents who no longer needed a huge family car could downsize to without feeling they’d gone down in the world.

    Sure, the GM offerings were objectively better but they didn’t have the right *style*.

      1. First, I had no idea he had passed away a few years ago. Second, based on his filmography those are likely his two best known roles. Finally, in the spirit of the season he did play Scrooge’s nephew Fred in the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol so some may know him from that.

      2. I’m a member of the cult following that enjoyed that movie, but even I would conder his role on one of the most popular TV shows of all time as a more recognizable entry on his resume.

  4. The top two pics show how depressed the models got being photographed for a Granada ad. Really, how low can you sink? The model in the last pic is happy to have found the escape hatch in that POS, and will soon be free.

      1. Agreed. My first thought while glancing at the top photo was, “Why didn’t someone on the photo team shooting this scene yell, ‘POSTURE, PEOPLE!'” The woman in the pink dress couldn’t be more filled with ennui and despair if she tried.

  5. The mid 70’s were a weird time. We had all been long haired dope smoking hippies and living The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamlined Life, Baby. Money was in the air in the 60’s – all you had to do was reach out and grab some when you felt like it. But was a very much Fin de Siècle, Fin du Monde? feeling in the air. If you didn’t get killed in Vietnam, some of your friends did, and anyhow, surviving that were just putting off the inevitable: the nukes were going to get us all. Remember the hippies were the generation that were told to hide under their school desks for protection from nuclear attack. Yeah, seriously. No way we were gonna live to get old. Some fool was gonna push the Red Button. So, We burned the candle at both ends, knowing it would not last the night… but neither would we so F it.

    And then: first Richard Nixon. American politicians had been old, and slow, and perhaps a little corrupt but nothing like Tricky Dick. It was like finding out your shady old uncle whom you didn’t like much anyhow was actually a serial child molester. It was a ugly shock… Then came the real shock: the oil shock. We were Americans! The richest country on the whole planet by a comfortable margin, and suddenly they came around and took out half the light bulbs in all the offices (you can look it up), they turned off the A/C, and the ultimate humiliation, to save energy they shut off the hot water in all public rest rooms. Third world, man, third world.

    Coincidentally, all our beautiful 60’s muscle cars, Chariots of The Gods, started running like shit due to poorly designed pollution controls, and grew the equivalent of braces on their faces. It’s hard to drive to a glorious death in Bruce Springsteen’s suicide machine if the damn thing won’t start or go over 85 mph if it does.

    The economy had crashed, and all money in the air evaporated: the dream was over. Even the expectation of a quick death via an atomic explosion vanished when we started détente with the Ruskies… damn.

    Suddenly the realization hit: we were all going to have to get jobs, and become workadaddies like our fathers had. We were gonna have to freaking work every single day until we were old, real old.

    So we all had to cut our hair and get jobs. That pretty boy in the brochure? You think he wanted to be a model? Hell no! But his rock band folded, he had too much pride to play that funky disco stuff, and well, ya gotta eat so you sell what ya got that sells. Wasn’t any better for the woman in that picture either. Tall, beautiful, and a real blonde (see: eyebrows)? Okay but you can’t be taller than hero-boy in this picture so you have to kinda slump over to be shorter. It was the same humiliation we all, former long-haired free-spirits faced. My friend was driving a dump truck, with his college diploma scotch-taped to the cab window. Me? I don’t wanna talk about it.

    But the Granada: it was the new reality. IF you found a job, and worked really, really hard, and were successful, you could get a 15 percent loan over 5 years to buy a 63 Falcon in a cheap suit with a 6 cylinder engine that put out 75 horsepower (you can look it up). The new American dream,buddy, livin’ the dream.

    So you think everybody in these pictures looks depressed? Well, yeah?

      1. And we found out they built public schools and a big neighborhood on top of a rock waste dump, even though the company that put the waste there specifically told everyone not to do that

  6. I remember an old neighbour I grew up with had a 4 door silver Granada right up until he was too old to drive.

    It was silver on the outside and a luxurious red velour interior on the inside. I’m not sure what engine it had, but it was automatic.

    The car was in mint condition and couldn’t have been too bad for it to have lasted well over a decade. It seemed to have much better quality than the Chevy Vega and Chevy Celebrity his son owned around that time.

  7. “It’s not all bad, though. Look at this lady. She’s having fun. Is this the blithe optimism of the foolish or the zen-like awareness that this has all happened before and will all happen again?”

    Nope. It’s ‘shrooms.

  8. My grandma had a ’76 two door, blue exterior and blue interior. The main thing I remember about that car was that in the summer the dark blue vinyl seats would damn near remove your skin if you didn’t have a towel down.

  9. The top two pics, that guy thinks he is getting some. She looks like she is ready to call the cops and get a restraining order.
    And “Glamour Paints”??? Like Glamour Shots but for vehicles?

    1. ’75 was my end of High School in Haslett Michigan. These turds were thick on Meridian Blvd. Horrid, hateful POS though they were, the worked for alot of folks. Until they didn’t. Best to be on a first name basis with the old hand at the dealer. Who drove a Toyota! (Made that last part up. He had a ’70 Boss 302)

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