The nomination fight between Ford and Reagan was the last time that a nomination for either major party was still undecided at the outset of the convention, and both campaigns spent the early days of the convention working hard to woo the still-undeclared delegates.
Gerald Ford was a decent and reasonable man, and loyal to his country and his party (in that order, I suspect). Had Reagan pulled off the nomination, Ford would have accepted defeat gracefully, and wouldn’t have supported any attempt to contest the result. Similarly, even if the GOP establishment preferred Ford over Reagan, they would have immediately closed ranks behind Reagan once he had the nomination.
The nomination of Trump in 2016 was an even more extreme case of a nominee that the party leaders generally disliked and did not favor for their nominee, and yet, save for a relatively small proportion of “Never Trumpers” who refused (and many of whom still refuse) to fall in line, the party, as a whole, still supported him.