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The Ford Galaxie I wanted vs. the Galaxy we got.

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One of my favourite topics to belly-ache about is how unremittingly grey the motoring scene was in Britain for most during the ’60s. You might catch the occasional flash of Rosso Ferrari or Racing Green E-Type every now and again, but the majority of road traffic was of the everyday, everyman variety. 60’s Britain could only dream of long, powerful cars on wide open roads, roof down, heading for the sunset.

Of course, it was inevitable that Ford’s celestially named car for Europe (Orion notwithstanding) would be not only spelled differently, but would satisfy only fantasies that involved practicality, a high driving position and re-configurable seating. The Galaxy we ended up with in ’95 was a box on wheels. The one you got in the ’60s wasn’t. Let’s, then, take a look at the far sexier ’63 Galaxie, an example of which I recently admired at one of our few non wash-out car shows.

In 1963 your choice of Ford in Britain went thus; Anglia, Cortina, Corsair, Zephyr, Zodiac. Each of these familiar names seemed to have a preselected audience, the small family Anglia, the businessman’s Cortina and Corsair (with a much needed injection of US-influenced style, which Ford had hitherto not been renown for) and the Zephyr / Zodiac at the top, for Bank Managers, Regional directors, the kind of people who needed you to know about the successes of their life (and didn’t like to mention that they couldn’t afford a Jag)

In 1963 America, by contrast, the smallest ’63 Ford was the Falcon, roughly the same size as our Zephyr, and with six-cylinders minimum. You had to go a few steps up the ladder before you arrived in Galaxie country, and there was a fair bit of box-ticking required to become custodian of a whip like this. And even then there was still the LTD and the Thunderbird higher up the range.

I mention ’63 as that’s what the A- Prefix registration on this example signifies. The styling language is similar to that of the Mercury Comet we saw here, right down to the circular taillamps and the grid pattern between them. The trim is somewhat more ostentatious on this upscale machine, though.

I’d be more than happy to take advice on exactly what is non-original here. The chrome, the leather, those spats over the rear wheels, I can’t vouch for the originality of anything. Similarly, the fender badge reckons it’s rocking a 390, which sounds like a very good idea to me. Troublingly though, the DVLA lookup tells us that there’s a mere five litres under that pink-bronze bonnet.

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This is all unimportant, though, compared to the big gripe that runs through this topic, which is that Ford chose to bring us a VW based minivan in 1995 with the name Galaxy on its rump. How disappointing. We never did get that big flamboyant convertible. In fact, I believe that, (aside from the StreetKa) the only convertible car to be built and sold by Ford in Europe since the late ‘fifties was based on the MK3 Escort; not an especially glamourous car to start with.

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This or a seven-seat turbodiesel?

[Photos Copyright 2014 Redusernab/Chris Haining]

  • OA5599

    The interior looks correct, though I assume it is vinyl and not leather. The fender skirts and exhaust tips are likely aftermarket.

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  • I think you do Ford Britain a disservice, Chris. You neglected to mention a '63 Ford that this yank would gladly trade a Galaxie 500 for.

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    • OA5599

      This 1963 Ford has British origins.

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    • But the roof doesn't come down. That's no good.

    • crank_case

      Each to their own, but this Paddy would have one of the more potent Galaxie variants over an anemic Consul Capri any day. The odd thing is that Ford raced Galaxies and Falcons in the British Touring car championship back in the 60s, even though they were not part of your local Ford dealers range. It's an awesome sight to see modern historic recreations (I don't think originals factory race cars survived) racing at Goodwood and must have been brilliantly surreal to see them dicing with Jaguars and Minis, the Minis scooting by cheekily in the corners, the 7 litre Galaxies hammering back in the lead up the straight! Seriously racing is so much less diverse now.

      <img src="; width="600">

      Eventually Ford of Britain did come up with the goods and gave us some cars that I'd lust after in equal measure to the Galaxies, perhaps more, they're more suited to our rural roads and rally culture anyway..

      The Lotus Cortina, as campainged by Jim Clark (my all time favorite driver)

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      and Mk1 escorts

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  • "The one you got in the ’60s…."

    My Galaxie is a '59, but I'm fond of it anyway.

  • MrDPR

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    I've always preferred the looks of the '64

  • Joe Dunlap

    Love me some 63 Galaxie!. Just one word comes to mind when I think of them. Thunderbolt! :-).

    • stigshift

      The Thunderbolt was a Fairlane, not a Galaxie.

      • SteveLevin

        Actually, Thunderbolts were Falcons… that's what makes them awesome… tiny little car (for the era) and BIG HONKING ENGINE! 🙂

        • Joe Dunlap

          Actually, I have to beg to differ. I had a good friend who had a 427 Lightweight Galaxie, Like this one. 🙂 …

          • Joe Dunlap

            More like this one actually.

          • OA5599

            Thunderbolts came after the Lightweight Galaxies, and weighed about 300 pounds less. They were indeed Fairlanes. The trunk emblem is visible around 59 seconds into this video.

            [youtube zCH2JAYXGsA youtube]

          • stigshift

            A 427 Lightweight Galaxie is not a Thunderbolt. …

        • stigshift

          No, Steve. The Thunderbolt was a specially modified series of 1964 Fairlanes. There were 100 built. …

  • jno

    Brings back a memory. My Grandfather worked for Ford Motor Co. at the Dallas Tx. plant. He got a new one about every two years. Not a two door but a FOUR! Once my little brother and I accompanied him to a barbershop on his regular visit, but we stayed outside in the car, with the keys in it. My little 6 year old brother with a quick turn of the key and a yank on the gearshift and Behold! We were in the barbershop too! Certainly was a heck of a suprise to those barbers and the other old men. But I'd bet Grandfather was suprised the most.

  • Scoutdude

    In 1963 the top model of Full Size Ford was this, the Galaxie 500 XL, the LTD was still a couple of years away.

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