1961 - 1964
|390ci / 6.4 liter
|3 spd. auto
1959 saw the introduction of the Galaxie name in Ford's
model lineup. That year, the Galaxie range of six models
were simply upscale versions of Ford's long-running Ford
In keeping with the era, the '59 Galaxie was
a chrome- and stainless-bedecked, two-tone glitzy beauty
of a vehicle, the very image of late-50s American automobile
The sleek models of the 1960's presented an all-new style,
abandoning the ostentatious ornamentation of the 50s for
a futuristic, sleek look.
There were tailfins still, but
smaller ones (the focus of Ford's stylists abandoning,
as did the rest of the industry, the aviation influences
of the previous decade and instead capturing the new obsession
- the space race).
The Galaxie name was particularly appealing to this trend,
it seems. Hot body style this year was the Starliner,
featuring a huge, curving rear observation window on a
pillarless, hardtop bodyshell. The '60 Galaxie was still
accompanied by a Fairlane model, but this was its last
The 1961 Ford Galaxie was, for the first time, the only
full-size car in the Ford lineup. The bodywork was redone
again, although the underpinnings were the same as the
This time, the tailfins were almost gone; replacing them,
two giant circular taillights at each rear corner (see
image), glowing like a starship's engines. Ford were definitely
going with the space and science-fiction theme, and with
successful results; this style of Galaxie is widely regarded
as a classic.
Performance was beginning to be a selling point, and the
61 Galaxie offered a new 390 cubic inch (6.4 liter) version
of Ford's FE series pushrod V8, available with either
a four-barrel carburetor or, for serious performance,
three twin-barrel units. The latter was rated at 400 brake
horsepower, making even such a heavy car quite fast indeed.
1962 saw the same body style continue unchanged but for
the front grille. A luxury version, the Galaxie 500XL
was introduced; performance wasn't ignored either, with
an even larger 406 cubic inch (6.7 liter) engine being
available, again in triple-carburetted 'six-barrel' form.
At the other end of the spectrum, of course, a 'Mileage
Maker' 6-cylinder engine was available for the more
budget-minded driver. Ford saw no reason to unduly
change a good thing, and the 1963 model was essentially
identical in broad detail. There were now three trim
levels; plain Galaxie, plusher Galaxie 500 and luxurious
While not much changed for the everyday buyer, for
the performance oriented things were a little different
- for partway through this year and in very limited
quantities there became available Ford's new racing
secret weapon, the 427. This new 7-liter powerplant,
designed for performance rather than refinement, was
offered to the public simply because racing rules required
the use of only engines sold in sufficient numbers
in production vehicles. Rated conservatively at 425
horsepower, this engine also featured in Carroll Shelby's
final incarnation of the AC Cobra.
1964 was the fourth and final year of this body style.
Interior trim was much altered, but externally things
stayed the same. Under the hood, one could no longer fit
a 406, the 427 engine totally replacing it in the lineup.
Ford took the 427-equipped Galaxie to the racetrack in
serious fashion in '64, building a number of lightweight,
fiberglass-bodied cars just for that purpose.
The 1965 Galaxie was an all-new car, featuring vertically
stacked dual headlights in what was becoming the fashionable
style in a car somewhat taller and bulkier than the
previous year's. As the style became more mainstream,
the Galaxie lost most of its appeal and models from
1965 onward are not seen as collectable nor desirable.