American auto manufacturers went through a design flaw phase starting in the mid-seventies. Plastic parts where steel should have been, smog controls that gave you acceleration that could measured with a sundial, and reliability issues that defy belief.
My dad had been a Ford man. Fords as far back as I can remember, and Fords before that in pictures that I have seen. I remember a Galaxy with a 351, a '69 XL fastback with a 390 (0-60 in 9.7 sec), a station wagon that probably got 9 miles to the gallon, a gigantic LTD that must have weighed a couple of tons. Those cars all had something in common. They ran. They were running when he traded them.
I think it was the LTD he traded for the Grenada. Gas prices were up, we were in the first belt tightening as the USA headed into decline. He bought a brand new 1975 Grenada, six cylinder, smog control. It had 75 horsepower. When it ran.
It wouldn't start, I think from the first week we had it. It spent more time behind the tow truck than it did moving on it's own. And it accelerated faster while being towed. My girlfriend at the time had a Chevy Vega, It would do 0-60 in about 15 seconds , the Grenada took 21. (I looked all the numbers up)
I drove this car. It was so slow it was scary. Highway ramps were a challenge because you needed to be going merge speed at the bottom of the ramp, you were not speeding up later. Pressing the pedal down made things noisier, it did not influence your velocity in real time.
It drove like a pick-up, noisy and mushy, transmitting the road to the steering wheel like a feature.
The front end wouldn't stay true, so it pulled, and wore the tires.
I was in school so sometimes I would go with the tow truck to the dealer. The dealer would get it started, replace some part, tinker with the carburetor, and give it back. After the first dozen times, no one thought it was fixed, just that it was running. Once while I was sitting around the shop waiting, I went out and looked at used cars. I tried to talk my dad into trading it for a 5 year old Torino. I still believe to this day he'd have been much happier.
In the end, it broke him on Fords. He traded it for a Chevy Monza, which was worse on the front end and tires, but better because it started reliably in the morning and it would do 0-60 in 12 sec (he bought the V-8).
My first car was Japanese.
I thought of this car as I looked at the comments on the previous post, and began to think about what I would say about them. There were things about that Grenada that were design flaws, the lack of power, the front end issues, the way it drove. There was something extra wrong with that particular car, the underlying problem was that kept it from starting, and it ruined the car completely.