I recently finished John Toland’s excellent biography of Adolf Hitler. Going into scorching detail on many things, one of the statements about Neville Chamberlain’s negotiations with Hitler struck a highly identifiable chord: Chamberlain was polite and willing to overlook things to a point. But when that point had been reached, the story quickly changed.
For me and my Ford, that point has been reached.
My father acquired the Galaxie from his uncle’s widow on December 26, 1986; it’s had the same name on the title since roughly 1964. While that might seem like reason to keep it, it isn’t.
It’s carried a tremendous number of people over time, from the grandfather I never knew and his four younger brothers to numerous CC contributors and readers. A cousin of mine has told me stories of his taking it out for illicit joyrides. I’ve had it up to 92 mph – in 2015.
But it’s time for it to have adventures with someone new.
Upon it’s acquisition in 1986, my father and I updated the brakes, gave it a tune-up, and got it running again. It’s 352 (5.8 liter) V8 does not make for a fast car but it does make for a powerful car. The three-speed manual transmission with overdrive helps provide for surprisingly good fuel economy for a car this size and age. I drove it to Tupelo, Mississippi, in 2015 and achieved 21 miles per gallon on two-lane highways. The following summer, on my way to the CC Meetup in Nashville, Tennessee, it returned a solid 19 mpg at a steady 70 to 75 mph on various interstates.
The car sat in my father’s pole barn for many years. If memory serves, it was last started in 1996 before I had the engine remanufactured in 2013. It has been in my possession since 2008, when I hauled it from my parent’s home in Alto Pass, Illinois, to my then home in Hannibal, Missouri. Except for a brief period in 1994, the car has been stored inside since 1986.
The body is in good shape with the exterior having been repainted its original shade of champagne in 1990. The interior is completely original, which is both good and bad. The headliner is still there but it is torn above the front seat where I’ve pinned it to the cross ribs. The tops of the rear seats are split from age and ultraviolet light plus I’ve had to add stuffing to the drivers side of the front seat. The front upholstery is torn on the drivers side, which prompted me to install a seat cover.
Underneath there are no real concerns. The shocks, radiator, clutch, exhaust, and fuel tank were replaced in 2013. I rebuilt the entire brake system between 2008 and 2011, with only the brake pedal not being touched. The brake drums are what had been on the car but they were turned and have presented no problems whatsoever, stopping the car quite well.
All brake hardware, including the master cylinder, was replaced and I repacked new grease into the front wheel bearings. I also placed new fluid in the differential.
The engine was reinvigorated by Jasper Corporation, the company that overhauls engines for a living. Mechanically it has been great; the ancillary components, particularly the water pump, have been the issue. The water pump was replaced with a new, not remanufactured, one in June of this year.
The water pump is where I reached my limit. Yes, it is now new, but enough is enough. The spark is gone, the car is becoming a hassle, and there are lots of other cars in this world. I love the car dearly but there are times when if you love something you must set it free.
Since the water pump has been replaced I have driven it approximately sixty miles. That is all it’s been driven in 2018 due to another issue cropping up after replacement of the water pump, an issue I will fix prior to sale. These Ford FE engines have a tank between the engine and radiator; this tank is where coolant is added. Where the tank bends down to connect to the engine, I discovered a few pinholes on the bottom about a week after replacing the water pump.
That is where my threshold was crossed. This tank is only three years old, replaced soon after the last water pump crapped out in 2015. This happened in late June and I have not yet been in the mood to address it. Perhaps that is childish or perhaps that is being reasonable, but I’ve just not felt like touching it yet. Again, it will be fixed prior to a sale.
While it may appear I am dwelling on the bad about this car, I’m not. Rather, I’m trying to paint a picture of what it is and to illustrate how this fifty-five year old car isn’t cosmetically perfect.
There are indeed a lot of positives about this old Galaxie and there are additional items included with this sale.
For a vintage road car, this Galaxie is hard to beat. With the overdrive and 3.55:1 rear gears, it is turning over right at 2,000 rpm at 70 miles per hour. It has very long legs for cruising whatever type of highway you choose. While two-lane roads are it’s favorite, interstates don’t even work up a sweat for it.
I have twice driven this car on a multi-state trip covering over 1,100 miles and up to six states each time. How many vintage cars can lay claim to taking their owners on such journeys?
In my decades owning this car, I’ve accumulated a fair number of parts for it, all of which are included with the sale. Sitting here thinking about it, I’ve got:
- a hood
- a front bumper
- extra tail lights
- extra trim for both a rocker panel and a front door
- a horn ring (mounted on the steering wheel)
- a new distributor
- a new fuel filter
- at least one “Galaxie” name plate that mounts on the front fender
- extra door hinges for the rear doors
While there is a lot of my family’s history in this car, I’m not a sentimental person. I am a realist. And the reality is my Galaxie will be better off with a new owner who has the enthusiasm.
If interested, please don’t hesitate to contact me at: jason.shafer(at)ymail.com
Related reading to give you a more comprehensive history:
CC Driving Impression: Simplicity Is Its Virtue by JP Cavanaugh