The body styles offered in the 1962 Galaxie were the Sunliner convertible, two-door sedan, and two-door hardtop, the latter two models available with four doors, as well. The buzzwords that year were “The Lively One,” an option that meant buckets seats and a console if you chose it for your 500 or 500XL Galaxie. This option was a good fit on the XL because it enhanced its sporty look both inside and out. The budget-minded customers could order the 223-cubic-inch, six-cylinder engine, but the basic motor was the 292-cubic-inch (4.1L) V8. The 390 with the power options was still around, but the large engine offering for ’62 was a 406-cubic-inch (7.0L) V8 engine offering two carburetor options, a four-barrel or the “six-barrel” with three two-barrel carbs.
Ford’s Galaxie was a nice looking car so there were no major body changes in 1963, but the rear end looks different without tail fins and a newly styled bumper; the taillights are recessed, giving the car a rounded look. Some minor trim changes and a new reshaped windshield are the only visible alterations. A new style swing-away steering wheel was an available option.
Halfway through the year, Ford lowered the rear of the roof, which gave the car a fastback look. The company made this change to make the car more competitive at NASCAR, giving it more down force and better traction, as well as making it more competitive in the showroom because the sales went up. Ford called the ’63½ model change a sports hardtop, which the Galaxie shared with the Falcon.
Some engine changes also showed up for the ’63½. Ford dropped the 292 and replaced it with two choices of either the 260-cubic-inch V8 or the 289-cubic-inch V8 small-block motors. These smaller engines came with the two-speed Ford-o-Matic automatic mostly but could be ordered with a three-speed standard transmission. The FE series 352-cubic-inch and the 390-cubic-inch still came with the three-speed Cruis-o-Matic unless you ordered an optional standard transmission.
Ford replaced the 406 with the 427-cubic-inch V8 engine and, when ordered equipped with the solid lifter camshaft and two Holley four barrels, it put out a conservatively rated 425 hp (317 kW) and came with the Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed transmission. This power engine was also available with optional aluminum heads, which cut down on the weight but the ’63½ still needed to reduce some more. The 427 also came with 4.11:1 rear axle, heavy-duty suspension, and heavy-duty brakes. With five transmissions, eight engines, and many rearend gear ratio offerings, the ’63 Fords had a huge number of drive chain combinations available, although the Cruis-o-Matic three-speed with the highway-friendly 3.0 rearend gears was the most common combination sold.
The full-size Fords had a lot of power available, but they were still having a weight problem. In January 1963, two lightweight Galaxies equipped with the new 289 competed against the Chevy, but the much heavier Ford couldn’t keep up. It was partially to do with the weight, but the Galaxie also has a problem with brake failure on other tracks, which led to many crashes throughout the remainder of the 1963 season.