From the beltline down, the 1961 Ford models were completely new. The upper portion of the cars did not change. This was the third major re-styling of the full-size Ford line is as many years.
In the front was a full-width concave grille with a large horizontal dividing bar in the middle. Large round taillights were once again a feature in the back. The horizontal full-length fin from the 1960 model year was replaced with a smaller canted fin, which was nearly identical in size, shape and design of the one seen on the 1957-58 Custom series cars. A horizontal chrome stripe and ribbed aluminum stone guard, similar to the one used on the 1960 models, ran the entire length of the car.
The Galaxie came equipped with either a Six or Eight-cylinder engine. The 223 cubic-inch Six with a Holley one-barrel carburetor offered 135 BHP. A 292 CID V8 brought horsepower to 175 BHP. Other V8s in Ford's arsenal included the 352 CID and 90 CID, offering a range of horsepower from 220 to over 400 BHP depending on configuration.
Body styles included 2- and 4-door sedans, and a Sunliner Convertible. Ford called them a 4-door Town Sedan, a 2-door Club Sedan, a 2-door Club Victoria, 2-door Starliner hardtop, and a 4-door Town Victoria. Base pricing began at $2,540 for the six-cylinder 2-door Club Sedan and rose to nearly $3,000 for the V8-powered Sunliner Convertible.
In total, Ford produced 349,665 examples of the 1961 Ford Galaxie.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2013
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