Leaping forward with new improvements in both styling and handling, the Envelope Fords of 1949 were more than just an update in design technique; it was a completely different vehicle. The ‘49 Ford showed the world what a modern mass-produced vehicle could be. The design stayed much the same for 1950, and the new 'Crestliner' two-door sedan was introduced. Considered to be the most collectible of all Fords built during the early 1950's, the Skyliner is still a highly collectible vehicle today.
In 1952 the Crestline convertible earned the name 'Sunliner'. The Ford Crestline Sunliner was selected as the Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500 race in 1953. In 1954, the major update to the Crestline Skyliner was the two-door hardtop which featured a glass roof. In 1955, a new body arrived on the scene, while the wheelbase grew to 115.5 inches. The 1955 Ford line continued to remain suitably large. The plexiglass roof was still offered for the Skyliner, but only on the Crown Victoria model. In 1957, the Crown Victoria Skyliner was replaced by the retracting-roof hardtop Skyliner.
Characterized as having 'Thunderbird elegance', the Fords of 1959 were introduced with a whole new ideal of style. An incredible amount of stainless steel and chrome body trim, these vehicles also had exquisite three tone cloth pattern interior trim.
True customizing began in the 1950's, and it was an art in which individual touch shone through the design. The aviation influence of the previous decade was utilized by Ford, and the appealing trend moved towards the new obsession, the Space Race. Throughout the years of Galaxie evolution, the 1959 Galaxie was a well-received vehicle from the start. Though it wasn't chosen as often as the early post-war Fords, the 1952 Ford Crestline Sunliner had a body shape very similar to the new-for-'49 model. The Sunliner, at over 79 inches wide, topped the 1960's Galaxie range, which was now larger and all-encompassing. New development ideas were being inspired during NASCAR racing that would transform from the handling and suspension of the vehicle. A concave grille and a single side crease were updated on the Sunliner, which eventually morphed into horizontal fins at the rear of the vehicle. The option of a detachable hardtop roof was also available, though most buyers opted for the electric folding top.
Another available option was the Police Interceptor tune, which had 401 bhp, while the base form model had a 300 bhp V8. The ever-changing world of motor design was moving quickly during the early 1960's, and the Ford Sunliner only debuted a year before getting a total redesign and update.
Able to achieve a top speed of 122 mph, the Ford Galaxie Sunliner could reach 0-60 mph in 9.5 seconds. Weighing a total of 3,792 lbs, the Sunliner utilized a 3-speed auto transmission with a displacement rate of 390 ci (6,930 cc). The Galaxie range consisted of 6 models during its introductory year, the Galaxie Club Sedan, Galaxie Town Victoria, Sunliner Convertible, Skyliner Retractable, Town Sedan and Club Sedan. All six models showcased their own range of ornamentation, trim and tractable tops that folded into the trunk.
Various available options on the 1950 Galaxie range included power windows, brakes, steering, front seat, Flying Eclipse Hood Ornament, Sunray multi-colored wheel covers, deluxe rear deck antenna, visored spotlight mirror, and air conditioning. Engine sizes were offered in a variety for the Galaxie range that included the 292 V-8 with 200 horsepower, 332 Thunderbird, the 352 Thunderbird Special (at an astounding 300 horsepower), and the 223 Mileage Maker Six Cylinder at 145 horsepower. The available transmission options were also all-encompassing, including a three speed convention drive (with an overdrive option), three speed Cruise-O-Matic Drive automatic, Formomatic Drive two speed automatic and overdrive.
Updated in 1960, the Galaxie now featured completely new body lines, the same body design as the 1960 Fairlane. The exterior ornamentation and interior trim offerings were the main differences between these models. These new design enhancements were marketed by Ford as having increased stability, due to the added five feet apart between the wheels for better cornering. In this year, the Galaxie was available in 5 various engine options that ranged from the 223 cubic inch Mileage Maker Six Cylinder to the 352 Super V-8 with four barrel carburetor (rated at 360 horsepower). Three speed manual transmissions, optional Fordomatic Drive two speed automatic, and the three speed automatic were available as transmission options for 1960 Galaxies. The Galaxie was available in 13 Diamond Lustre Finish paint colors.
The following year showcased a brand new sculptured award-winning design on the 1961 Galaxie lineup. Centro per L'Alta Moda Italiana, for 'functional _expression of classic beauty' was awarded by the International Fashion Authority for the 1961's stunning bulleted grill and rear panel design. Besides having several station wagon models, the range included the Sunliner Convertible, Starliner Hardtop, Club Sedan, Town Sedan, Town Victoria and the Club Victoria. 1961 Galaxie models were available with a plethora of available options and features. In 1961, the scalloped hood was removed, and the sheet metal was updated for a cleaner look. Two giant circular taillights were placed at each rear corner replacing the tailfins. With an amazing 400 hp (298 kW) gross output in triple-two-barrel carburetor form, a new 390 in³ (6.4 L) FE V8 was added to the 1961 Sunliner model. Bucket seats were added to both the Sunliner convertible and hardtop coupe in the 1962 model year. With familiar body lines, yet new trim, ornamentation, and a distinctive new grill, the 1962 Ford Galaxie was stunning to look at. For this year only, stunning gold and chrome plated fender top ornaments were produced exclusively. Even more luxurious than before, the new Galaxies were offered in a range of 14 models that included wagons, convertibles, sedans and hardtops. The first floor console was ever offered in a Galaxie in 1962. The Starlift removable roof on the Sunliner replaced the slow-selling Starliner semi-hardtop coupe. A classic from the moment it was rolled off the showroom floor, the 1963 Galaxie carried distinctive lines and styling that made it the legend it is today. A large and varying range was available almost immediately. The 1963 model showcased a smooth cloth and vinyl interior trim package and an attractive full length upper and lower body side molding.
In 1964 the Galaxie was described by Ford as 'a car bred in open competition and built for total performance'. A range of 16 models were available to choose from that featured new trim moldings, grill, interior trim styling, and rear panel design. A variety of six engine options were available for the 1964 model, all with amazing performance. The Thunderbird 390 V-8 with 300 horsepower was the most impressive, following close behind were two versions of the all powerful 427 power plant. In the 1964 model year, Ford replaced the 407 engine and discontinued the 406. Numerous 427 Fiberglass race equipped Galaxies were also constructed by Ford for this year. This model year has been considered the most attractive of models by enthusiasts, and the racing history of their factory lightweight vehicles legendary.
A whole new design update was inundated for the 1965 Ford Galaxie that included a wider design, and the new dual vertical stacked headlight design. Enhanced and designed for total performance, these new models featured a large array of performance options. The Galaxie was offered in 19 available models, spanning seven different series of body designations in 1966. This year the range was known for clean lines and various performance options. The look continued virtually the same in 1967, with the main update being new molding, ornamentation, and the turn signal lamps relocating from the grill to the bumper. The 1968 range is best identifiable by the hideaway concealed dual headlamps found on the XL, LTD and Country Squire models. The Galaxie is best known for becoming 'bigger, wider, longer, and quieter' in 1969 as it grew in size, and if possible, became even more luxurious. One year later, the Ford Galaxie now offered 21 new models, various body style choices in a varying range of engine choices. In 1971, Ford engineered a body style that would be considered the strongest and most durable ever built. Vehicles in the market were growing larger and luxury was an important feature, and Ford's Galaxie line was no exception. The 1972 models utilized more steel than previous models, and continued to offer quiet, effective, strong safety.By Jessica Donaldson