The mighty Mk1 Granada Estate is a seriously-rare beast, so when Wayne Burnham came across this one, he knew he had to give it the rebuild — and stance — it deserved.
Being brought up in the oval racing scene brings with it some huge advantages. Firstly, you have the opportunity to drive and race cars quickly from a young age and chances are you’ll know your way around a kitted-out workshop by the time you’ve left school.
For Wayne Burnham, this was a dream start in life. “My Dad, Tony was racing back in the ’70s and myself and my brother, Warren used to watch and help him out when we could.” By his late teens, Wayne was regularly borrowing his Dad’s Transit to drive around in then was politely asked to buy his own car by Dad who was no doubt getting fed up of seeing a vacant driveway and a missing set of keys.
“I bought a Mk2 Escort and did the usual, adding RS four-spokes and a bigger exhaust then looked at a Mk3 I’d been told about,” Wayne recalls, “I dismissed that one and stuck to my Mk2s, eventually buying a beige 1.3GL with vinyl roof as a replacement.”
By 18 Wayne began to follow his Dad and brother’s footsteps also racing. “Like many drivers I’ve raced quite a few cars that would now be considered classics, but if they’re too good to race then I usually sell them on.” Incidentally, Wayne points out that many of the usable spares he removes from cars while he’s stripping them are sold on to enthusiasts keeping other similar cars on the road.
“A lot of drivers like to use the Essex V6 in their race cars, but I’ve always preferred the 2-litre Pinto as it’s easier to keep cool,” Wayne explains, “and when a mate of mine mentioned this Mk1 Granada Estate had been taken in part exchange at a local dealer, obviously I was interested straight away!” Incredibly, the 1976 Mk1 had been traded in for a Smart Car of all things. “It belonged to a gent named Malc Robuck who’d owned it since 1979,” Wayne continues. “He’d looked after it well, it seems he just wanted a smaller car!”
Last sold by Darnells of Rotherham, the underseal applied from new had done its job and preserved the metalwork, though there were a few dodgy cream-tinted touch ups scattered here and there, as to be expected!
The 2-litre L Granada Estate came with an MoT so Wayne took advantage and smoked around for a while in its traded-in condition. “I pondered over what I could do next as I really didn’t want to let this one go,” Wayne recalls. Inspiration from a few other old Fords seen at shows directed any modifications to be kept to a minimum, keeping the shell itself clean and standard, but still wanting the car to stand out from a totally-stock Mk1. “I decided to restrict the mods to the chassis so that it’d still look cool but could easily be returned back to factory guise if necessary,” Wayne recalls.
The first task was to strip down the shell and remove a decade’s worth of underseal. New wings were sourced, new wing rails fitted along with a fresh front valance to rid the Granny of tin worm. The door bottoms had suffered so these also had to be reskinned by a local bodyshop.
“I had some issues at the first place I took it to so it ended up being transported to a second bodyshop to be resprayed in Old English White while still part-stripped,” Wayne explains. The chromework somehow had remained in excellent shape, so this could all be refitted without receiving any major attention, saving Wayne any major headaches.
Malc, the previous owner had brought the mileage up to just 78,000 in the three decades he’d owned the car so the tan interior was still in good order. “The trim was still like new, I just had the cloth seats retrimmed by Andy at Ballam and Thurlow to freshen them up,” Wayne recalls. “We couldn’t source any of the original trim but managed to locate a similar style which is an excellent match.”
The 2-litre engine and four-speed ’box are also original, and even the exhaust remains as it was when Wayne bought the car. “The rocker cover has been repainted, plus I’ve swapped on new water pipes, water pump, HT leads and a battery along with new nuts on the manifold. The only major change under the bonnet I really wanted to make was to swap to electronic ignition.”
The brakes too are to the original specification but renewed with new callipers, linings, pads, discs to the front and drums to the rear. “I’ve not added any power to the engine so I didn’t see the point in upgrading the brakes, “Wayne smiles, “it’d be easier to convert back to standard spec that way, too.”
All Mk1 Granadas are rare now and those perfectly proportioned lines and curves make them a desirable car to be seen in today and the same applies to the even rarer Estate version. Ford must have known they’d hit the mark with the Mk1 Estate too, as they carried over the design, other than the front end onto the Mk2 which continued in production until 1985.
What really caught our eye with Wayne’s example other than the obvious fact it was a rare 2-litre Estate in incredibly good nick was that killer stance combined with banded steel wheels. “I’d seen another Mk1 at a show which inspired me to take that route,” Wayne remembers, “mine was rolling on standard steel wheels with hub caps, but I knew a set of banded Sport steel wheels would really set the car off.”
Once a set of suitable early Granada Sport rims had been sourced, these were despatched to Jo Riley at Doncaster-based Fab Lab to work his magic. Jo is well known for his years of experience in the trade and some amazing conversions such as the smooth targa top bay window camper and TVR-engined, wide-body Mk1 Golf so he was the right man for the job in Wayne’s eyes. Once shotblasted, powdercoated, painted with inserts now black and fully lacquered, the 2 inch wider Sport wheels were back on the Granada, but not before the suspension had been dropped 40 mm thanks to a set of Spax lowering springs.
Pass it on
The whole resto process took three years, but for Wayne it’s been well worth the wait as his Granada Estate receives admiring glances wherever he takes it. He has no plans to sell either. “It’s for my son, Alfie for when he goes to college,” Wayne smiles. Though if he takes after his Dad, there’s every chance Alfie won’t want to sell it either!
Words and Photos Jon Cass
See more photos and get the full spec on Wayne’s Granada Estate in the August issue
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