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1970s Lincoln Versailles/Ford Granada 9-inch Rearend Swap
Is The Most Popular Rearend Swap All It's Cracked Up To Be?
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Mustang buffs have been undertaking popular swaps for ages. Some of the more legendary swaps are the 351W into a classic Mustang, five-speed or AOD, four-speed, 9-inch rearend upgrades, front disc brakes, 289 Hi-Po or 351W heads, heavy-duty suspensions, and a host of others. Among the others is the popular '70s Lincoln Versailles/Ford Granada 9-inch rearend flanked with factory disc brakes. This has long been a quick and dirty rearend swap for Mustang enthusiasts. Yank it out of the crusher special, swap the yoke, and bolt it into your classic Mustang. Easy, right? But what benefits are gained from installing a Lincoln Versailles or Ford Granada disc brake rearend in your vintage steed?
Despite all the uproar over having rear disc brakes, rear drum brakes actually work better than discs. Why? Because rear drum brakes afford us more brake-friction surface area than rear disc brakes. We'll get arguments on this one, but large drum brakes tend to work better out back.
The appeal of the super-tough 9-inch differential encompasses the rest of the Versailles rearend appeal. You can't argue there. The 9-inch Ford differential is legendary for its brute strength, even with the Chevy boys who run them in circle-track competition. The Versailles/Granada 9-inch rearend is a bolt-in swap for certain, but it's not a performance rearend by any means. Three axle ratios were used in the Granada 9-inch during the pre-Overdrive, fuel-stingy '70s--2.48:1, 2.58:1, and 2.75:1. If you understand axle ratio, then you know from these numbers that this rearend won't get you out of the hole at wide-open throttle for an hour or two. These are cruising gears, which are great for the interstate if you're running a vintage automatic or manual shift transmission. If you've upgraded to a five-speed or AOD transmission, then you'll need to swap up to 3.25:1 or 3.50:1 rearend gears in the Versailles/Granada pumpkin--which adds to your replacement costs.
The Versailles rearend has become a more costly rearend to service in recent times. Parts for this rearend are no longer available from Ford, which leaves the aftermarket and your local salvage yard as sources. Because Mustangs Plus caters to the needs of enthusiasts, we contacted the folks there for answers on the Versailles rearend. We learned that you can still build a reliable Versailles rearend, but reliability doesn't come cheap.
Hard parts, such as brackets and dust shields, are only available used. Brake calipers are only available rebuilt with an exchange, and there's a hefty core charge if you don't have a rebuildable piece. Two types of brake pads are available--organic (street) and carbon-fiber (racing). Rotors and brake hoses are also available new from Mustangs Plus. Hard steel lines are available from Classic Tube. So, do we think you should grub up a Versailles rear end for your steed? To see the answer to that qustion look to the bottom of this page. To see what makes the Versailles so appealing to the masses, take a peek at the rest of the article, including the sidebars below.