The 55th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Chicago World of Wheels at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, on March 3-5, 2017, featured an amazing automotive display of top-notch muscle cars, street rods, customs, lowriders, restorations, and more. And with a Pinup Girl contest and rockabilly bands as part of the scene, the place was looking good and rocking hard all weekend long.
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The Galaxie was the full size model offering from 1959 until 1974; the entry level carried the “Galaxie” badge with”500” the next step and “500 XL” denoting the top of the line. In 1965 the LTD was introduced and the ”XL” name dropped but it is a name change only with the car keeping the same full size structure in the series and though demoted to the mid-price range In 1967 with the LTD as the top of the line. The Galaxie nameplate was on a full size Ford model until 1974. In 1962 the overweight Galaxie will go on a diet as Ford experiments with aluminum bumpers, brackets, fenders, and body panels just to keep up with the leaner and meaner competition. Ford had light weight experimental models made for racing in ’62 and ’63 – when about 200 units of the “R” code Galaxie were produced but only for racing and not for retail sales. These experimental cars had all the unneeded equipment removed as well as light weight seats with as many aluminum parts as possible at the time including door panels made of fiberglass – at least in the first 20 units, but concern for safety the steel doors were replaced on the later test vehicles.
The 1959 Galaxie in keeping with the time has two toned paint with lots of chrome and stainless steel used for trim with large chromed bumpers. There are a few new items on the car such as a foot operated emergency brake, lap seat belts, padded dash, and a deep dish steering wheel. Standard equipment as well is a double door lock system with child proof rear door locks offered as an option. This first Galaxie was the last of three years the full size Ford offered the “skyliner option” - an impressive retractable hard top – this is a rigid steel roof that folds into the trunk. The power engine is the 352 cu in V8 putting out 300 horse power (220 kW).
A new decade sees an all new Ford Galaxie as well; gone are the glitzy ornaments from previous years the tail lights are now a half moon shape pointing downward on the sleeker body. The big news this year is the Galaxie has another body style offering to replace the hard top coupe is the Starliner pillarless hardtop coupe with a huge curved rear observation window. The two door pillared sedan was the biggest selling version in previous years but the Starliner takes the honors in 1960. The 1961 Galaxie has more body changes but the basic design stays the same with the emphasis this year on the power options.
The basic entry level engine is the 352 with a two barrel carburetor and a single exhaust pipe. The big engine is an all new 390 CDI (6.4 L) V8 with the basic two barrel, with a four barrel, or if you want to get there faster the three to barrel carburetors would be the top choice putting out 401 hp (298 kW) which does make this heavy car move quickly. The Starliner is a one hit wonder and is dropped from the line up after this, its second year with the hard top coupe back in the line up to replace it for ’62.
A story by Steve Fowler:
One day a Dentist walks in and says he'd like to buy a 427 Cobra, once my Dad established his seriousness and ability to pay, he talks to him for several minutes gauging his driving experience and suggests the 289 would be a better option for the good doctor, but the Dentist is adamant that he wants the 427. My Dad asks him to wait a few minutes while he pulls one out front for a test drive. My Dad does the driving and after returning from a spirited test drive, the Dentist, who is white as a ghost, offers that perhaps my Dad is right, he should consider a 289...to which my Dad replies...that WAS the 289!!