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.
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.
This or a seven-seat turbodiesel?
[Photos Copyright 2014 Redusernab/Chris Haining]