I drive a... Ford Granada

For the past 23 years I have been the proud owner of a 1975 Mark One Series One Ford Granada GXL three-litre automatic.

My father bought the car new to use while driving around Bristol and the south west of England for his job with NatWest Bank. In 1984, when I was having trouble with a clapped out Morris Marina, I persuaded him to replace it and pass it on to me.

Since then, the 'Grannie' has taken the James family on many thousands of miles of luxury motoring all over the country. I have lost count of the number of consultations that begin with 'How is the Grannie doing, Dr James?' Being probably the last surviving Mark One Granada in Bolton, it really doesn't need a flashing green light for urgent visits.

Maintaining the Grannie involves a continuous programme of welding, mechanical and body part replacement and periodical resprays. I maintain a selection of essential spares in my large garage including a set of front wings, headlights and rear lens clusters. I have a found a local supplier who specialises in old Fords, and most mechanical parts can still be obtained locally.

Running a car of this vintage does require some back-up, especially for a non-mechanic such as myself. Fortunately I have two excellent back-street mechanics near my practice - one for mechanics and the other for bodywork.

Cruising at 80mph is effortless, and the ride is extremely smooth with sprung suspension at the rear.

A reserve vehicle is necessary in the James household and, to date, Grannie has outlived three, with a Honda Civic 1.6 Executive having the back-up role at present.

The three-litre engine only does 18-20 mines to the gallon, but that extra cost pales into insignificance when compared to the depreciation costs I have missed by not buying and trading in vehicles for the past 23 years.

Dr Ian James is a GP in Bolton, Lancashire

For more information on Granadas, go to www.ford-granadaguild.org.uk and www.granadazone.com.

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