The Ford Galaxie entered the scene in 1959 and was offered in various configurations. The model line consisted of a Club Victoria, Town Victoria, Club Sedan, Town Sedan, Sunliner Convertible, and Skyliner Retractable. Similar to the Fairlane, they were distinguished by differed ornamentation.
The highlight of the 1959 model line was the Skyliner Retractable that had an all-steel hardtop that could be moved via electrical mechanics into the trunk transforming the hardtop vehicle into a convertible in just sixty seconds.
The Galaxie was offered with optional equipment, transmissions, and engine sizes. Air conditioning, Sunray multi-colored wheel covers, power front seats, power steering, power windows, and power brakes, were just a few of the options presented to satisfy the demands of the customers. The engines ranged from a 292 cubic-inch 8-cylinder producing 200 horsepower to a 352 cubic-inch power-plant that produced 300 horsepower. Transmission options were a three-speed with overdrive, Ford-O-Matic Drive two speed automatic, and a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic drive automatic.
In 1960 Ford added the Starliner body style to the Galaxie model line-up. The Starliner was void of doorposts that accented the open-air effect. A Country Squire wagon with wood-grain body trim was now offered. All of the series received new body-lines giving the vehicles a more modern and stylish appearance, again, sharing a similar body design with the Fairlane.
There were five engine options to chose from, ranging from the 223 cubic-inch Mileage Maker Six-Cylinder to a 352 cubic-inch V8 complete with a four-barrel carburetor and 360 horsepower. The three-speed manual transmission came as standard equipment; optional were the Fordomatic Drive two-speed auto, and three-speed Cruise-O-Matic Drive.
For 1961, Ford redesigned the Galaxie which resulted in awards from the international fashion authority, Centro per L'Alta Moda Italiana, meaning 'functional expression of classic beauty'. Thirteen exterior colors were available to choose from, along with various sedan and wagon body styles. With multiple engines, transmission, available options, and body styles, the Ford Galaxie could be customized to suit any customer's demands and wishes. The self-adjusting brakes and galvanized rust-protection body panels were standard, as was the Mileage Maker six-cylinder engine. The top-engine option was the 390 cubic-inch High-Performance 8-cylinder engine with three-carburetors and 400 horsepower. A Thunderbird 352 cubic-inch engine was available and could be modified to produce more than the base 220 horsepower.
In 1962 the biggest aesthetic difference over the 1961 model was the modifications that were done to the grill. The interior was adorned in more luxurious items and this was evident in the 500 XL models. In total, there were 14 different body-styles to select that ranged from sedans and convertibles to wagons. Five engines were available with the 406 cubic-inch Super High-Performance 8-cylinder power-plant producing 405 horsepower. If that wasn't enough, there were over 45 color-keyed interior trims to select from. The Galaxie was becoming a customizable, luxurious, performance machine.
For 1963 the horsepower increased to an astonishing 425. Transmission options were a Synchro-Smooth column-shift, 4-speed manual Fordomatic Drive automatic, and Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic. Ford continued to offer a multitude of options and body styles. The Galaxie 500XL was still the most luxurious offering that could be had in two or four doors. The Galaxie was given a sportier roofline and various aesthetic enhancements.
In 1964, there were sixteen body styles to choose from that again ranged from sedans to wagons, and hardtop to convertibles. The interior received the most attention with its new trim but the exterior did receive a new grill and panel design. There were a limited number of Galaxies fitted with the 427 cubic-inch engine and given fiberglass race equipment to help reduce the overall weight of the vehicle. These lightweight machines are legendary both in design and their accomplishments on the racing circuit.
In 1965, Ford redesigned the Galaxie, giving it a wider stance, and dual vertical stacked headlights. The base engine was the six-cylinder 240 cubic-inch engine. The top-of-the-line engine was the 427 with 425 horsepower.
In 1966 Ford introduced the 428 cubic-inch engine which came standard on the Galaxie 7 Liter model. The LTD model had a unique appearance, ornamentation, and trim. The Galaxie 500XL, Galaxie 500, and Custom 500 made up the Ford Galaxie model offerings. Again, these could be ordered in various sedans, wagons, hardtop, convertible, four or two-door configurations. Multiple options were still available, including engine, transmission, power disc brakes, power windows, power seats, vinyl room, power steering, air conditioning, and more.
For 1967 Ford kept the appearance of the Galaxie similar to the prior model year. The turn signals were moved from the grill to the bumper. Ford offered 52 upholstery choices, 25 two-tone combinations, and 15 Diamond Luster Enamel paint colors. The muscle-car era was in full swing and the Ford Galaxie was a formidable contender with its powerful engines and performance products. Its only drawbacks were its slightly larger size and luxurious amenities which were not as pure as other muscle-car offerings and added to the overall weight of the vehicle. Still, it was a high-performance, customizable, and sporty machine.
In 1968 the Galaxie was redesigned. The base model was the Ford Custom 500, available in two or four-door variations. The XL was void of the Galaxie name, available in convertible or fastback configuration. The dual headlamps could be concealed when not in use in the XL, LTD, and Country Squire models. Six engine options were available. Transmission options were a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic, floor-shift four-speed manual, and a three-speed manual.
In 1969 Ford moved the Galaxie higher into the luxury car segment, making it larger, heavier, and wider. The result was more room for the passengers. This trend continued into 1970 when the vehicle grew even larger. The focus was a large but quiet automobile. In total, there were 21 new models to select from ranging from three LTD Broughams, two XL models, six Galaxie 500 models, and five LTD models. The models ranged in body styles that consisted of two and four-door configuration, hardtop, convertible, and sports-roof. Due to rising government safety and emission concerns, the horsepower rating on the engines was decreasing. The base engine was the 240 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine while the four-barrel carburetor 429 cubic-inch engine produced 360 horsepower. There were three transmissions available including the three-speed manual, four-speed floor shift, and the three-speed Select Shift Cruise-O-Matic.
The goal of large, quiet, and comfortable continued in 1971 and on through 1972. Safety and comfort were big concerns for many people and the Galaxie was poised to address those concerns. It featured spacious interiors and more steel than most automobiles. Rising emission and safety concerns continued to deteriorate the horsepower. There were still multiple engines to choose from and plenty of optional equipment to satisfy all demands.By Daniel Vaughan | May 2009