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[NEWS] From the archive: on this day in 1972

From the archive: on this day in 1972

99 ford granada

We travel back to the early 70s to remember Ford and Vauxhall's fierce rivalry

1972 was to be a memorable year for the British automotive industry, as it produced 1.97 million cars – a record that still stands today – and hit a new sales peak of 1.7 million.

Many significant new models were launched, too, and among the first to arrive were the Ford Granada and Vauxhall Victor.

Replacing Britain’s Zephyr and Germany’s Taunus, the Granada promised great improvements. The pioneering independent suspension was improved on, as were the 2.0-litre V4 and 2.5-litre V6 engines (joined by a 3.0 V6).

Ford also promised a better ride and handling, which had been an issue on the Zephyr, and sung the benefits of a more compact body.

While Dagenham’s latest was aimed at executives, Luton’s fifth Victor was intended for families.

The FD Victor had broken away from the FC, but the FE came as more a progressive development.

The main focus was on making a roomier cabin in a same-size body, making it more restful to drive while retaining the good handling, and boosting the performance.

Some 504k Granadas were built to ’77 and 191k Victors to ’78. More significantly, the FE would be the last Vauxhall designed free of Opel.

Excellent coupé from Audi

The 100 saloon was the first all-new Audi since the brand’s 1965 revival, and it spawned the “elegant” 100 Coupé S, which “greatly impressed” us on its UK arrival.

We explained: “It offers a high degree of comfort and is unusually quiet. Handling is safe and predictable and the brakes are superb. Economy is excellent and performance brisk. Last but not least, it’s solidly built and superbly finished.”

Jensen reveals new Healey

As production of the Austin-Healey 3000 ended in 1967, Healey struck a deal with Jensen for a successor. The Jensen-Healey came five years later with a Lotus 2.0-litre four-pot, Vauxhall suspension and steering, a Sunbeam gearbox and a chassis setup erring towards comfort.

It was well received but lasted only until 1976 as Jensen was forced into liquidation.

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