Ford Galaxie: Wikis


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For the 1995-present MPV, see Ford Galaxy. For other uses, see Galaxie (disambiguation).
Ford Galaxie
1966 Ford Galaxie 7 Litre
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1959-1974
Assembly Chicago, Illinois
Predecessor 1960 Ford
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout

The Ford Galaxie was a full-size car built in the United States by the Ford Motor Company for model years 1959 through 1974. The name was used for the top models in Ford’s full-size range from 1959 until 1961. In 1962, all full-size Fords wore the Galaxie badge, with "500" and "500/XL" denoting the higher series. 1965 saw the introduction of the Galaxie 500/LTD, followed by Galaxie 500 7-Litre in 1966. The Galaxie 500 part was dropped from the LTD in 1966, and from the XL in 1967, however the basic series structuring levels were maintained. The "regular" Galaxie 500 continued below the LTD as Ford’s mid-level full-size model from 1965 until its demise at the end of the 1974 model year.[1]

The Galaxie was the high volume counterpart to the Chevrolet Impala. Some Galaxies were high-performance, racing specification machines, a larger forebear to the muscle car era. Others were plain family sedans.

A version of the car was also produced in Brazil under the names Galaxie 500, LTD and Landau from 1967 to 1983.

The similarly named Ford Galaxy is a large car/minivan available in the European market. The vehicle's name is taken from the original Ford Galaxie.



First generation
1959 Galaxie
Production 1959
Body style(s) 2-door sedan
4-door sedan
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
2-door convertible [2]
Engine(s) 223 cu in (3.7 L) OHV I6
272 cu in (4.5 L) Y-block V8
292 cu in (4.8 L) Y-block V8
352 cu in (5.8 L) FE series V8
Transmission(s) 2-speed automatic
3-speed automatic
3-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,997 mm (118.0 in)
See also 1959 Ford

1959 saw the introduction of the Galaxie name in Ford's model lineup at mid-year. That year, the Galaxie range of six models were simply upscale versions of Ford's long-running Ford Fairlane with a revised rear roofline that mimicked the concurrent Thunderbird. In keeping with the era, the 1959 Galaxie was a chrome and stainless steel-bedecked, two-tone colored vehicle. It was the very image of late-1950s American automobile excess, albeit somewhat tamer than its Chevrolet and Plymouth competitors.

Among the models was the Skyliner, featuring a retractable hardtop that folded down into the trunk space; this feature, impressive but complicated, expensive and leaving very little trunk room when folded down, did not last long, being produced from 1957 through 1959. Power retractable hardtops have since been used by luxury manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Cadillac, but in all these cases the vehicle was a two-seater, allowing a much smaller top mechanism than the Skyliner's. Not until 2006, when the Pontiac G6 convertible appeared, did another mass-market model with a rear seat appear in this category.

Factory-built cars underwent their first major restyle for 1959. A fixture also was the previous year's 352 V8, still developing 300 horsepower.


Second generation
1964 Galaxie
Production 1960-1964
Body style(s) 2-door sedan
4-door sedan
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
2-door convertible [3]
Engine(s) 223 cu in (3.7 L) OHV I6
289 cu in (4.7 L) Windsor V8
292 cu in (4.8 L) Y-block V8
352 cu in (5.8 L) FE series V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) FE series V8
406 cu in (6.6 L) FE series V8
427 cu in (7.0 L) FE series V8
Wheelbase 3,023 mm (119.0 in)
Related Mercury Meteor
Mercury Monterey
Lincoln Continental
See also 1960 Ford

The 1960 Galaxie was all-new in style, abandoning the ostentatious ornamentation of the 1950s for a futuristic, sleek look. A new body style this year was the Starliner, featuring a huge, curving rear observation window on a pillarless, hardtop bodyshell. The formal roofed 2-door hardtop was not available this year. It had been the most popular body style in the line in 1959, and sales dropped off sharply. Contrary to Ford's tradition of pie-plate round taillghts, the '60 featured "half-moon" lenses turned downward. The "A" pillar now swept forward instead of backward, making entering and exiting the car, more convenient.

For 1961, the bodywork was redone again, although the underpinnings were the same as 1960. This time, the tailfins were almost gone; the small blade-like fins capped smaller versions of 1959's "pie-plate" round taillamps once again. Performance was beginning to be a selling point, and the 1961 Galaxie offered a new 390 CID (6.4 L) version of Ford's FE series pushrod V8, which was available with either a four-barrel carburetor or, for serious performance, three two-barrel carburetors. The latter was rated at 401 hp (298 kW), making even such a heavy car quite fast indeed. The 352 was downgraded in favor of the 390; it was equipped with a 2-barrel carburetor and single exhaust. The Starliner was again offered this year, and Ford promoted this model with lots of luxury and power equipment, but it was dropped at the end of the year, as the re-introduced square-roof hardtop coupe took the bulk of sales.

For 1962, the Galaxie name was applied to all of Ford's full size models, as Fairlane moved to a new intermediate and Custom was temporarily retired. New top-line Galaxie 500 (two-door hardtop, four-door sedan and hardtop, and "Sunliner" convertible) and Galaxie 500/XL (two-door hardtop and convertible) models were also introduced; the 292 V8 was standard on the 500/XL. Performance was not ignored either, with an even larger 406 CID (6.7 L) engine being available, again in single four-barrel or triple-carbureted "six-barrel" form. At the other end of the spectrum, of course, the 223 cubic-inch "Mileage Maker" 6-cylinder engine was still available for the more budget-minded driver. Tailfins were gone, giving the '62s a more rounded, softer rear end look. Taillights were set lower into the rear panel, and were partially sunken into the newly-sculped rear bumper.

1963 Galaxie

For 1963, Ford saw no reason to radically change a good thing, and the 1963 model was essentially unchanged save for some freshening and added trim; a four-door hardtop 500/XL was added. A lower, fastback roofline was added mid year to improve looks and make the big cars more competitive on the NASCAR tracks with the added downforce. This 1963½ model was called the "Sports Roof" or "Fastback". Galaxie buyers showed their preference as the new SportsRoof models handily outsold the "boxtop" square-roof models. The SportsRoof was available in both Galaxie 500, and Galaxie 500/XL trim. As to be expected, sister Mercury also received the SportsRoof in Monterey, Montclair, and Park Lane models. A base-model Galaxie was offered for 1963-only, badged as the Ford 300.

While not much changed for the everyday buyer, for the performance oriented, things were a little different; for partway through this year and in limited quantities there became available Ford's new racing secret weapon, the 427, replacing the 406. This engine was rated at a conservative 425 hp with 2 x 4 barrel carburetors and a solid lifter camshaft. Ford also made available aluminum cylinder heads as a dealer option. To be competitive in drag racing Ford produced 212 lightweight versions of the "R" code 427. These cars had a fiberglass hood, trunk, and fenders, and aluminum bumpers and mounting brackets, transmission cases and bellhousing. Hood springs were removed to reduce weight. The first 20 cars had fiberglass doors but these were deleted because of Ford's concern for safety if used on the highway. The cars had all sound deadening removed, lightweight seats and floormats and no options. Some of these cars competed in England, Australia and South Africa after being modified by Holman and Moody who fitted them with disc brakes and other circuit racing components. Jack Sears won the British Touring Championship in 1963 and the racing Galaxies were also driven by Sir Jack Brabham, David Hill and other notable drivers of the period. The heavy Galaxies suffered from persistent brake failure that led to a number of crashes, and in late 1963 started using the 12" disc brakes off the Ford GT40 program. By this time the Lotus Cortinas were being developed and the big Galaxie became uncompetitive. Some of these race cars survive in England and in Australia where they compete in Historic Touring Car racing. A new 289 cubic-inch V8, derived from the 1962 Fairlane's V8 engine, replaced the Y-block 292 as the entry level V8.

1964 was the fourth and final year of this body style. Interior trim was much altered, and the exterior featured a more sculpted look which was actually designed to make the car more aerodynamic for NASCAR. The formal-roof "boxtop" style was replaced by the slanted-roof design for all non-wagon or convertible models, including sedans. Ford's quality control, spotty when the first Galaxie was introduced, was now as good as it ever was, and many '64 Fords passed the 100,000 mile mark intact. The '64s gained an enviable reputation as durable, comfortable cars that offered decent handling and roadability at a reasonable price, so it is no wonder they sold so well. Of the XL models, the '64 hardtop coupe takes the prize for the most produced. The base Ford 300 model was replaced by a line of Custom and Custom 500 models.

Under the hood, the 427 CID (7.0 L) engine carried on the high performance duties. Ford again took the 427-equipped Galaxie to the racetracks in serious fashion in 1964, building 50 lightweight, fiberglass equipped cars just for the purpose of drag racing. These competed with success in North America but were still too heavy and Ford introduced the lightweight Fairlane Thunderbolt which used the 427 engine and was immediately competitive. The 427 was the powerplant of the dominant Ford GT40 Mk II.

Late in the year Ford introduced their new engine challenger, the SOHC 427 Cammer, Though not documented, it is believed a few may have found their way onto the street (this engine was only available to racers through the dealer network or from the manufacturer; none were ever factory installed). Rated at over 600 hp (447 kW), this is possibly the most powerful engine ever fitted to a production car by an American manufacturer. NASCAR changed the rules, however, requiring thousands (rather than hundreds) of production examples in service to qualify for the next season, and Ford decided against producing the Cammer in that quantity. Fears of liability concerns and the bad publicity possibilities in giving the public a car that dangerously powerful are often cited as reasons, but it might simply have been that Ford doubted that an engine so unsuited to street use could sell in such numbers.


Third generation
1965 Galaxie 500 2-door hardtop
Production 1965-1968
Body style(s) 4-door sedan
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
2-door convertible [4]
Engine(s) 240 cu in (3.9 L) Thriftpower I6
289 cu in (4.7 L) Windsor V8
302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
352 cu in (5.8 L) FE V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8
428 cu in (7.0 L) FE V8
Related Mercury S-55

The 1965 Galaxie was an all-new design, featuring vertically stacked dual headlights in what was becoming the fashionable style in a car somewhat taller and bulkier than the previous year's. The new top-of-the-line designation this year was the Galaxie 500 LTD. Engine choices were the same as 1964 except for an all-new 240 cu in (3.9 L) six-cylinder and 1965 289 cu in (4.7 L) engine replacing the 50s-era 223 "Mileage-Maker" six and the 352 being equipped with dual exhausts and a four-barrel carburetor.

Suspension on the '65s was dramatically redesigned. Replacing the former leaf-spring rear suspension was a new four-link system, featuring all coils. Not only did the ride improve, but handling also got a boost, and this system was used for NASCAR in the full-size class. Interiors were like the '64s, but a new instrument panel and two-way key system were introduced.

1966 saw a new model, the Galaxie 500 7 Litre, fitted with a new engine, the 428 cu in (7.0 L) Thunderbird V8. As the name suggests, this engine was also available on the Ford Thunderbird and was a response to a demand for a more docile, tractable engine than the racing-built 427. The 1966 bodystyle was introduced in Brazil (Ford do Brasil) as a 1967 model; it had the same external dimensions throughout its lifetime until Brazilian production ceased in 1983. In response to safety concerns, U.S. Government regulations for 1966 required seat belts front and rear to be fitted to all new cars sold domestically.

In 1967, the 7 Litre model no longer carried the Galaxie name; it was to be the last year of it being separately identified. That identification was mainly trim such as horn ring and dashboard markings as well as the "Q" in the VIN number. The 7 Litre in '67 was basically a trim and performance option on the XL model. Little else changed except for trim and the styling; the same engine range, from the 240 six-cylinder to the 428 V8. Modifications to the styling included adding a major bend in the center of the grille, and making the model less "boxy" than the 1966 model. The 1967 LTD dropped the Galaxie name, a harbinger of changes to come. [5]

Safety again took a forefront for 1967, resulting in a number of occupant-protection and accident-avoidance features, including an energy-absorbing steering column, safety steering wheel, shoulder belt anchors, lane-change turn signals, and soft interior parts. All Fords, including the Galaxie, featured a large, padded hub in the center of the plastic steering wheel.

The 1968 model had a new grille with headlights arranged horizontally, although the body was essentially the same car from the windshield back. The 'long hood, short deck' style was followed too, as was the new trend for concealed headlights on the XL and LTD. Added safety features included side marker lights and shoulder belts on cars built after December 1, 1967. The '67's large steering wheel hub was replaced by a soft "bar" spoke that ran though the diameter of the wheel. A plastic horn ring was also featured. One other change for 1968 was that the base V8 engine increased from 289 to 302 cubic inches.


Fourth generation
1970 Ford Galaxie XL convertible
Production 1969-1974
Body style(s) 4-door sedan
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
5-door station wagon
2-door convertible [6]
Engine(s) 302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Cleveland V8
429 cu in (7 L) "385" V8

The 1969 model was built on a new platform. It was the end for the 427 and 428 engines. Replacing the FE series-based 427 and 428 engines was the new 429 cubic-inch "ThunderJet" that was introduced in the 1968 Ford Thunderbird; it was part of the new Ford 385 engine series. Power, at 360 horsepower (HP) for the dual-exhaust 4-barrel version, was higher than the 428's 345 HP and lower than the racing-bred 427's final rating of 390 HP; there was also a single-exhaust 2-barrel version with 320 HP available. The dashboard was built as a pod around the driver rather than traditionally extending across both sides. The XL and Galaxie 500 Sportsroof had rear sail panels to simulate a fastback roofline. The rear trim panel below the tail lights was used to distinguish the different trim levels. The Country Squire was perhaps the pinnacle of design for that wagon with the concealed headlights.

1969 models featured headrests on cars build after January 1, 1968. It was not until 1969 that a station wagon was actually marketed under the Galaxie name. From 1955 to 1968 full-size Ford wagons were treated as a separate model series and were listed as Ranch Wagon, Country Sedan, and Country Squire. For the 1969 model year the Ranch Wagon became the Custom Ranch Wagon, the Country Sedan the Galaxie Country Sedan and the Country Squire was marketed as the LTD Country Squire.[7]

1970 Galaxies were pretty much the same as the '69s, except for minor trim changes. A new Government-required ignition lock was located on the right side of the steering column. 1970 was the last year for the XL, but Galaxie 500 hardtop coupes were also available in both formal-roof and SportsRoof body styles.

1971 was a complete redesign, with a horizontal wrap around front bumper; it had a massive vertical center section much in the vein of concurrent Pontiacs. Taillights lost the traditional "rocket" exhaust theme in favor of horizontal lights and trimmed center section. Rooflines were squared off and had a "formal" air. The XL was dropped, as were concealed headlight covers for the LTD. The convertible was moved to the LTD series in 1971 and lasted through 1972. 1972 was similar but the lower bumper continued across the center grille section and the rear bumper was enlarged with inset taillamps. 1972 was also the final year for the 240 cubic-inch six cylinder engine.

The 1973 model was marginally shorter than previous models, but had a heavier, bulker appearance. 1974 was essentially a repeat of 1973, but it was the last year for the Galaxie 500 name, as Ford elected to consolidate most of its full-size models under the popular LTD name for 1975.

The LTD stayed on as the top full-size model. This was the model produced in Brazil with minor modifications until 1982, including an ethanol-fueled version, typical of that country.

See also


  1. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, 2002, pages 401 to 442
  2. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, 2002, page 402
  3. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, 2002, pages 403 to 414
  4. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, 2002, pages 416 to 423
  5. ^ Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, 2002, page 423
  6. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, 2002, pages 425 to 442
  7. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, 2002, pages 394 to 429


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