Every car comes with a history, a story even. And often leaves behind a legacy for other nameplates to take over. They are all works of art by the designers and engineers who made them and are introduced to assuage a demand of the public. Of course, the nameplates of now differ from the nameplates of yore, in that the earlier nameplates still hold a ton of value in emotion and classical car value.
This holds for the Ford Galaxie as well, a car that was first introduced in 1959 in the US, and stayed till the 1970s. This very nameplate was then used in Australia and Brazil as well – so here are ten things you may not have known about the Ford Galaxie.
10 Galaxie Edged Out The Ford Fairlane
The 1959 Ford range was introduced with the Ford Fairlane being the highest trim available in late 1958. But by 1959, they had introduced the Galaxie as the highest trim and the Fairlane 500 became a step down from the top. That said; the Galaxie carried both its and Fairlane’s badging for the first year.
One rather expensive but beautiful option was the Ford Galaxie Skyliner with a retractable hardtop that was a rather pricey affair – but pretty hi-tech for 1959. Of course, when the hardtop folded, it killed the boot space but that’s the pricey you pay for beauty.
9 The Nameplate Was Space Race Inspired
In 1959, the US and USSR were the two big players in the space market. Each tried to outdo the other by sending bigger and better things to space – like dogs and chimps. Everyone was gearing up to be the first man on the moon, and the space race was on. So the Ford Galaxie utilized these sentiments and turned the eventual need for space (not speed at the time) into a nameplate with rather patriotic fervor.
Of course, till Neil Armstrong finally happened, USSR was winning hands down in the Space Race, despite not having a Ford Galaxie. In 1969, with Apollo 11, the US upped the game for USSR.
8 No More Ostentatiousness For the Galaxie
In just a year, the design of the Galaxie was turned around from being an ostentatious model to a far sleeker one. In 1961, the Galaxie Starliner convertible model became the standard body, though with the Sunliner hardtop being taken off the roster, sales dropped sharply. So they brought it back in 1962 with a 6.4-liter V8 power mill that jetted 400 horses.
The muscle car race hadn’t officially been flagged off yet but the 60s was where all the action was happening – so the Ford Galaxie joined in the power race with its Ford FE engine.
7 Too Heavy For Racing
The one persistent problem that the Galaxie faced, especially with the full-size models, was that it was one very heavy car. Ford tried repeatedly to lighten the weight using fiberglass panels, but the efforts were few and far between – by the time they managed to lighten one year's model, it was time for the next year's model to be launched. The Chevrolet Impala was the main competitor, and its lighter weight and sleeker body shape made its way faster than the Galaxie.
While the Galaxie was raced in specialized avatars, the heavy curb weight often led to brake failures and eventual crashes.
6 The 1965 Third Generation
The 1962-64 models remained almost the same, with a few engine options like the 3.7-liter six-cylinder Mileage Maker also made available. The Galaxie debuted its third generation in 1965, with the cars getting bigger and taller than the previous years.
With Ford launching the Mustang in 1964, the Galaxie was free to become as full size as it wanted. A 3.9-liter six-cylinder engine replaced the earlier 3.7-liter one, now equipped with dual exhausts and a four-barrel carburetor. The suspension was bettered as was a two-key entry system – one round key could open the trunk and the glove compartment while a square key opened the door and the ignition, coming rather useful for valet parking.
5 The Galaxie 500 7 Litre
This model has to be to the Galaxie, what the Boss is to the Mustang. With a 345-horsepower jetting 7.0-liter V8 engine, this was one bossy vehicle indeed. A police interceptor version was also made available, this one with 360 horses with the same engine option for extra police power to support the long arm of the law.
For 1966, the Galaxie became the third best-selling convertible, bested by the Mustang at number one and the Chevrolet Impala at number two. Further improvements in the form of seat belts et all were also made, in line with the safety regulations prevalent at the time.
4 It Can Now Cost You $100k
At the time, no one noticed the 7-Liter, and only 11,000 of these were ever made. Of course, some went with the Galaxie nameplate, and some went without, for the year 1967. Despite the utter awesomeness of the car, seeing that it was almost a family muscle car, the 7-Litre was not hugely popular for its time.
This, even though the price difference between a Galaxie and a Galaxie 7-Litre wasn’t something immensely great. Of course, coming across a 7-Litre now is pretty rare, and chances are that even if you do, they might be beyond affordable ranges. Depending on year and usage, a ballpark figure of $80-100k is a good approximation.
3 The Ford LTD Emerges
Though the Ford LTD had till now always carried the Galaxie badging, in 1966 it finally split and became a separate line. The LTD may traditionally be short for Limited, but the Ford LTD was pronounced differently, like el-tee-dee.
The one reason why the LTD was gaining in popularity was that it was almost a luxury trim over and above all the top trims of Ford models offering features usually seen in the Lincoln or Mercury. The front grille remained similar to the Galaxie with that iconic triangular jut in the center. Ultimately, the Ford LTD is what was turned into the Ford Taurus.
2 That One Racer Galaxie
As we stated earlier, the Ford Galaxie was one very heavy car – prone to brake failures and related crashes when used in racing. That said, there was one model of the Galaxie that Ford developed, deemed so powerful that even NASCAR banned it. The largest engine that Ford ever managed to put into the Galaxie was the most powerful engine Detroit had seen at the time – the Cammer 427.
A 7.0-liter engine, this went all the way up to 650 horses and was installed in very few Galaxies. It made the car so powerful that driving on the streets with it was inviting a crash, and even NASCAR banned later – so Ford stopped production.
1 Killed By The Oil Embargo
By the 1970s, the trend of the big car and the muscle car was winding down to an end – mostly because oil was at a premium and fiercely restricted to a limited amount per person. Consequentially, all oil guzzling cars, like the Galaxie and many others were not selling well at all.
Demand had peaked in 1963, with almost 650,000 Ford Galaxies having been produced but 1974 saw just 110,000 of these made. The Galaxie had now come to be replaced by the Ford LTD in totality and this remained in production till 1986. Post this, the full-size LTD, which was what the Galaxie was, went on to be the Crown Victoria – Ford’s much-loved panda car.