Whilst the past few FFFAs have featured exciting videos, hot hatches or worthy saloons today’s picture is none of them. In fact it’s a badly painted Mk3 Ford Granada:
Not just badly painted, but also broken down at the side of the M2 in Kent. 2007 was the year EngageSportMode attempted the Crumball Rally “Italian Job” an event intended to run from Reims in France, to Turin and then down to Nice. We didn’t even make it to the ferry to get to France.In hindsight, perhaps a £50 Ford Granada 2.9 V6, fitted with an automatic gearbox, was always doomed to be problematic. We should have probably guessed from the fact it started leaking fuel on the way to the MOT testing centre that it was a bad idea. But it lured us into a false sense of security with its six-cylinder smoothness and luxurious beige interior.
Perhaps it was because we’d put so much time and effort into the paintwork – B&Q Rocking Red, sealed with yacht varnish – or the external decals, that we refused to believe it would let us down. But it did, whilst your author was driving, with a cloud of quite spectacular smoke as the transmission fluid departed the gearbox, and made contact with the exhaust pipe. I hold my hands up and admit I probably didn’t give the old granddad enough mechanical sympathy, and trying to keep up with a Mercedes-Benz SLK was a bad idea.
If the disappointment of not even making the start of the Rally wasn’t crushing enough, the ten hours it took to get back from Kent to Stockton-on-Tees by recovery truck, were the nail in the coffin. The Granada went off to the great scrap-heap in the sky, leaving us with a hole in our wallets and little else.
EngageSportMode would definitely attempt it again; the passage of time has probably cured the hurt enough. Just not in a Ford Granada with an automatic gearbox…