1959 Ford Galaxie

A full-size vehicle built in the U.S. by the Ford Motor Company, the Ford Galaxie was sold from 1959 until 1974. The name was used for only the top models in the Ford's full-size range from 1959 until 1961. By 1962 the Galaxie name was assigned to the lowest-priced full-size Ford. The Galaxie was introduced in 1959 and this was the first initial for the Galaxie model line. The six Galaxie models included the Galaxie Club Victoria, Galaxie Town Sedan, Galaxie Town Victoria, Galaxie Club Sedan, Galaxie Sunliner Convertible and the Galaxie Sunliner Retractable. Each of these models came with their very own features that ranged from trim all the way to ornamentation and to their retractable top that folded into the Galaxie's trunk.

'59 Fords were advertised as having 'Thunderbird elegance' and they featured all new styling. Basically the same vehicle, the '59 Galaxie and Fairlane were virtually impossible to tell apart other than the ornamentation and model name designation. Both vehicles featured a mass amount of stainless steel and chrome body trim and exquisite three-tone cloth interior trim. The Skyliner Retractable was probably the best remembered with its all-steel hardtop that effortlessly moved into the trunk to transform it to a convertible in just 60 seconds.

Options that were available on the '59 Galaxie included AC, deluxe rear deck antenna, visored spotlight mirror, flying elipse hood ornament, sunray multi-colored wheel covers, power front seats, steering, windows and 'swift sure' power brakes. Engines available for the 1959 model year were the 292-V8 with 200 horsepower, 223 Mileage Maker six cylinder at 145 hp, 332 Thunderbird Special and 353 Thunderbird Special at 300 hp. Options for transmission include a three speed conventional drive with an overdrive option, Fordomatic Drive two speed automatic, overdrive, and three speed Cruise-O-Matic Drive automatic. Very well liked, the '59 Galaxie continued to be so for many years of Galaxie evolution.

For the 1960 year, the very popular Starliner body style was featured as an addition to the lineup. The Starliner was a dashing sports car sedan that came with a ‘rakish roofline' with no door post that featured an open air effect throughout the car. The most unique and considered to be the ‘raciest' of Ford's larger-than-normal ‘60's vehicles, the Ford Galaxie Starliner and Sunliner were unveiled and were now nearly six inches longer in length, almost 200 lbs heavier and nearly five inches wider. The styling was sleek and graceful and helped to hide some of the weight and was also aided with a sloped hood, simple grille, chrome-edged fender-lines, straight A-pillars and horizontal tailfins. The Starliner has always been noted for its elegant hardtop that featured very narrow B-pillars.

The Sunliner led the top-line Galaxie lineup in 1960, but the Starliner was unique with a pillar-less semi-fastback two-door hardtop that replaced the ‘59's ultra popular square-roof version. Selling really competitively, the Starliner was unfortunately not keeping up to Ford's standards, and for 1961 a conventional hardtop coupe was reinstated this year. Starliner sales plummeted, and the model didn't return to the lineup. For 1961 the Starliner featured a bullet-embellished front bumper and afterburner taillights. Customers could choose over a dozen interior color options, meanwhile the interiors varied from model to model.

For '61, the basic Fords were lighter and mildly shorter, the hood was reshaped, and nicely made over with a concave grille, the body-sides were more rounded and the large round tail lamps were returned. Ford gravitated toward 'Total Performance' in these years including the 1960 'Interceptor 360' version of the 352 V8 and then the following year with enlarged 390 big-block offering up to 401 bhp. Both of these options were low-volume options and today these are quite desirable options. The same is said of the '60 and '61 Ford Galaxie Starliner and Sunliner which are also desirable options.

Some of the selling points of the '60 and '61 Galaxie Starliner and Sunliner was the plush ride, the room and spaciousness of the cabin, the ample club support and the fact that its ‘moving up strongly in value'. Other pluses were the smooth V8 power-teams, the swooping styling and that fact that it is still quite affordable to own. The downsides of both of these cars are the fact that it's quite difficult to find originals still in good condition and the also that trim and body parts are hard to find.

A total of 68,461 Starliner hardtop convertible were produced while 44,762 Sunliner convertibles were produced in 1960. A total of 29,669 Starliner hardtop coupes were produced and 44,614 Sunliner convertibles were produced the following year. Priced brand new, the 1960 and 1961 cost from $2,599 and $2,960.

By Jessica Donaldson

Vehicle Profiles

V8 Skyliner Convertible

Chassis Num: B9KW107468

The Ford Skyliner was an innovative full-size automobile with a retractable hardtop produced by the Ford Motor Company in the late 1950's. Based on the North American Ford Fairlane, the Skyliner had a complex mechanism which folded the front of the r....[continue reading]

V8 Club Victoria

Chassis Num: B9RS194896

Ford introduced the Galaxie in 1959 in the midst of the space race era. The Galaxie was the company's top-of-the-line offering and featured a V-8 engine, an abundance of chrome, updated trim and Thunderbird-inspired design elements. ....[continue reading]

V8 Town Victoria

The Ford Galaxie was produced from 1959 until 1974 and was a success from the beginning. With its understated elegance the Galaxie earned the reputation of being one of the most beautiful cars to come off the Dearborn assembly lines.....[continue reading]

V8 Club Victoria

Chassis Num: C9FS266208

By 1959 Ford was nearing the production of their 50 millionth vehicle. This occurred on April 29th of 1959 and was a Galaxie 500 four-door sedan. To celebrate this accomplishment, the Ford Motor Company aided in the re-creation of the first transco....[continue reading]

V8 Club Victoria

The Skyliner Retractable Top Convertible was introduced in 1957 as a companion model to Ford's conventional Sunliner convertible. The Skyliner was the first mass-produced car of its kind and was considered an engineering marvel. At the push of a bu....[continue reading]

V8 Sunliner Convertible

The 1959 Fords are considered by many people to be the most beautifully-styled Fords ever built. While other automobile makers were producing futuristic designs, Ford exercised restraint and the result was a line-up that earned the Gold Medal for Ex....[continue reading]

V8 Club Victoria

The Retractable was produced for 3 years: 1957, 1958, and 1959, during that time there were 50,412 units produced. There are about a 1,000 cars left.....[continue reading]

V8 Club Sedan

This 1959 Ford Galaxie is finished in the correct factory original color of Cameo Ivory (code E) with three tone (red/white/black) interior (code 56). Currently it has 36,000 miles from new. The engine is a 292 cubic-inch V8 fitted with 2 barrel carb....[continue reading]

V8 Skyliner Convertible

This 1959 Ford Fairlane Skyliner Retractable Hardtop is fitted with 650 feet of electrical cables and four motors to serve the retractable hard top.....[continue reading]

V8 Skyliner Convertible
Chassis #: B9KW107468 
V8 Club Victoria
Chassis #: B9RS194896 
V8 Town Victoria
V8 Club Victoria
Chassis #: C9FS266208 
V8 Club Victoria
V8 Sunliner Convertible
V8 Club Victoria
V8 Club Sedan
V8 Skyliner Convertible


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 door posts which 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 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 chose from, along with various sedan and wagon body styles. With multiple engine, transmission, available options, and body styles, the Ford Galaxie could be customized to suite any customers 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-inc 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 bodystyles. The Galaxie 500XL was still the most luxurious offering that could be had in two or four doors. The Galaxie was given a sportier roof line and various aesthetic enhancements.

In 1964, there were sixteen bodystyles 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 it 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 bodystyles 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 were 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
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