Long before the gallop of Equus, Granada was Korea’s luxury car
BLAST FROM THE PAST– 10
|Ko Seok-yong, an antique car collector, poses with his 1984 Hyundai Granada, made a year before the model was retired.By Kyon Hyuk-jae|
The history of Hyundai Motor as we know it today began with the introduction of the Pony subcompact - not exactly a trophy car. But at the same time, Korean demand for luxury vehicles also started to blossom as the rapidly growing economy thickened consumers’ wallets.
To meet that demand, Hyundai Motor looked to the Ford Motor Company, importing the design the executive car Ford had been selling in Europe, the Granada.
The Korean-made version was introduced to local consumers in October 1978, three years after the Pony.
The Granada manufactured in Korea was a European-style luxury sedan with a platform based on Ford’s Lincoln Versailles.
The vehicle was 4.8 meters (16 feet) long, 1.8 meters wide and 1.4 meters tall, and it featured some of the most outstanding performance figures of any cars manufactured in Korea at the time.
With a six-cylinder engine, the Granada had an engine displacement of 1,993 cubic centimeters and 102 horsepower. The maximum speed of the vehicle was 165 kilometers per hour (103 miles per hour).
With outstanding fuel economy for its era, the Granada weighed 1,560 kilograms (3,440 pounds) and traveled 10 kilometers on a liter of gas (24 miles per gallon).
Not only did it have better steering than the competition, its brakes were also more reliable, with a four-wheel independent suspension to provide extra power under special conditions.
Eventually, the Korean luxury sedan market turned into a battlefield between Hyundai’s Granada; the Rekord made by Saehan, which later became Daewoo Motor; and the Peugeot 604, which was imported by Kia Motors.
Hyundai Motor in 1980 added a Granada with a four-cylinder engine to the lineup to provide a wider variety and save on fuel. The move came after the government revised the local tax system to charge higher fees for vehicles with larger engine capacities.
The Granada even played a part in the tragic history of Hyundai Group, with the conglomerate’s founder and Chairman Chung Ju-yung losing his eldest son Chung Mong-pil in a car accident. Mong-pil was driving a Granada at the time.
Over the years preferences changed and demand grew. To meet it, Hyundai Motor cooperated with the Japanese automaker Mitsubishi to create the Grandeur in July 1985. A year later the first Grandeur rolled off the production line, the country’s first luxury sedan with front-wheel drive. The Granada-era formally ended in December 1985. Throughout its run Hyundai sold 4,743 of the vehicles.
By Lee Ho-jeong [email@example.com]