First generation (1975–1980)
Introduced in 1975, the Granada was meant as the successor to the Ford Maverick (although the Maverick stayed in production until 1977). Conveniently appearing a year after the 1973 energy crisis the Granada found its niche as “one of the most luxurious compacts on the market” appealing directly to people looking to move out of full-size cars. As such the Maverick stayed in production through 1977 when they were replaced with Ford Fairmont and the Mercury Zephyr for the 1978 model year. They were assembled in Wayne, Michigan and Mahwah, New Jersey, and also overlapped with the Maverick/Comet's ultimate successors, the Ford Fairmont and the Mercury Zephyr, which were released in 1978. The first-generation Granada and Monarch were based on the platform of the Maverick/Comet four-door. It shared much of its design with earlier Ford compacts and intermediates, dating back to the 1960 Ford Falcon. Powertrain options included the base 200 CID six-cylinder, a 250 CID six, a 302 CID and 351 CID V8 "Windsor" V8. Available transmissions included a standard three-speed manual, a four-speed manual with overdrive, and a three-speed automatic (standard on 302/255-powered cars). The 1981 model year added a 49-state optional 255 CID V8, which was the only V8 offered in California-spec cars that year.
The 1978 model year brought a minor restyling including rectangular headlamps and revised taillights, as well as more aerodynamic "bullet" style side mirrors, features which continued through the end of first-generation Granada/Monarch production in 1980.
Ghia versions of both the Granada and Monarch included higher-level interior and exterior trim and added sound insulation. The 1975-76 Grand Monarch Ghia was a top-of-the line version. The Granada Sports Coupe was produced in 1976-1977; Mercury offered a similar treatment with its 1976-77 Monarch S. A 1977–1/2 variation on the Granada Sports Coupe, produced from May '77 through the end of the model year, featured blacked-out molding, modified trim, taillights, and color selections. Documentation of this half-year model exists in Ford advertising from spring 1977. This car is perhaps the "rarest" of Granada production.
The 1976–77 Sports Coupe and S packages included standard heavy-duty suspension, styled steel wheels, striping unique to this option and unique interior trim with standard bucket seats. The Granada's front spindles interchanged with the Pinto (and the badge engineered Mercury Bobcat) and Mustang II, but the rotors were larger, at 11 in (280 mm) compared to 9.5 in (240 mm), and used a "5 on 4½" (five lug, 4.5 in (110 mm) bolt circle) pattern. The 1978-80 ESS (European Sport Sedan) replaced the Sports Coupe and S models. Sports Coupes, and ESS models equipped with bucket seats, can be identified by trim codes beginning with "P" on the car's data sticker on the edge of the driver's door. The Granada and Monarch ESS models featured "blacked-out" chrome, and a standard-equipment bucket seat interior with a floor-mounted shifter, although a bench seat was optional. Ford Motor Company's design chief at the time, Stephen Estrada, mentioned later that "The Granada was my favorite design and the one that I'm most proud of". The ESS option included standard color-keyed wheelcovers (styled-steel wheels were optional) and unique opera-window louvres.
Second generation (1981–1982)
The range was moved to the newer Ford Fox platform (introduced as the 1978 Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr) for the 1981 model year and was sold through the 1982 model year. The Granada name was retained, but Ford retired the Monarch name for its Mercury brand as Ford began using a stretched Fox platform to underpin the next-generation Mercury Cougar sedan. Styling of these cars resembled a slightly bigger and more formal version of the Fairmont, with upgraded interior trim. Base power for the Fox-body Granada was a 2.3 L Lima I4, with an optional 200 cid I6 and 255 CID V8.
A wagon joined the line-up for the 1982 model year, replacing the Fairmont and Zephyr wagons, available in "L" and "GL" forms. The Granada became the first Ford available with the Ford Essex V6. The 1982 model also saw the return of the Blue Oval logo on the exterior of a Ford vehicle for the first time since the Great Depression (the logo was however clearly stamped on an interior aluminum trim piece attached to the door threshold of the first generation Granada, both two- and four-door models). Although most other Ford models saw the logo arrive in 1983 (except for the Fairmont, which was about to be replaced with the Ford Tempo for 1984, and the Ford Thunderbird, which rarely had any mention of Ford on the vehicle itself for most of its existence), the Granada saw it arrive a year early, largely as a test. While Ford had quit using the logo on its vehicles during the Depression, it had remained over the years as its logo in all other uses (corporate logo, sales literature, advertisements, owner manuals, dealership signs, etc.) and decided to use it again on its vehicles.
For 1983 the Granada name and styling was retired in the North American market, but the model was replaced by a similar Fox-platform-derived model that used the traditional big-car name LTD. Ford also offered a Mercury twin as the Marquis.
The Granada has been parodied as the Marbelle in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, but, however, with a 4.0L V8 (evidenced by the "GT 40" badge) instead of the ones listed above.
The Granada was president Barack Obama's first car.