Pop quiz! What is the best summer car? Now, keep in mind that a summer car does not need to be practical, nor a daily driver. Rather, it is something out of the norm and fun, and never mind the MPGs! So here is my vote: A big, plush full-size convertible, with hidden headlights, V8, automatic transmission and lots and lots of style. With criteria like that, what could be better than a 1969 Ford XL?
Especially with a white “Comfortweave” breathable vinyl interior and center console with “stirrup” shifter! It is no secret that I love white interiors–why would you get a drop-top with black vinyl, unless you like flash-frying the backs of your legs. The 1969-70 full-size Fords featured an instrument panel that was centered around the driver, with the passenger-side sharply cut away. It was called Ford’s “front room.” And best of all, the radio was on the left side of the steering column. No nervy passenger will be changing the station when your favorite song is playing!
The XL, formerly the Galaxie 500XL, was on the way out by 1969; 1970 would be the final year. Only 7,402 convertibles and 54,557 hardtop coupes were made in the next-to-last model year. Sporty full-sizers were giving way to Broughams, and the XL’s time was just about up. But what a nice way to go!
Photos courtesy of my uncle, who spotted this beauty at the 2012 Nauvoo Grape Fest car show!