Here’s another variation of the CC Effect™: I do a post on a ’65 Biscayne four door sedan posted at the Cohort, and then the companion ’65 Ford Custom sedan appears, posted by Tim Finn, and just in the nick of time.
Wow; so what did the Ford execs think when they first saw the voluptuous ’65 Chevy and other big GM cars? And here they went all straight edge, after having had a rather rounded body for the previous few years. Of course it was their take on the ’63 Pontiac, except they ignored its budding hips, which was just a foreshadowing of what was to come when the hormones hit full tilt boogie for ’65.
But the Ford’s estrogen deficiency didn’t hurt it all that much, but didn’t exactly help either. Sales increased 6% over ’64, which under-performed a hot market that year. But then Chevy’s hips didn’t do any better, also yielding a 6% increase. The Mustang was red hot, and so were the mid-sized cars and imports. That’s where the real action was.
It would be interesting to know if this was a six; if so, it would the first year for Ford’s new 240 “Big Six”, which was noticeably peppier than its predecessor. For some reason, it seems like sixes were less common in big Fords than in big Chevys; the force of tradition, presumably.
Chevy wins the low budget taillight treatment award. The Biscayne arguably looks as finished as the Impala in its own distinctive way by subtracting the inner two lights and eliminating the lower trim. Ford simply used the old round lenses in square openings in very DIY looking fashion
I can’t understand why Ford went with the round lights on the Custom instead of the standard lenses on the other trim levels. It must have cost something to have the chrome bezels for the round lenses. An internet search showed 233,00 Customs produced vs. 536,000 Galaxies. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to use just one taillight assembly? Or maybe they had round units left over from previous years to use up?
I positive the round taillights were deliberately used on low spec custom trim to shame buyers into moving up to a Galaxie. The added cost is just a minor marketing expense.
Ah…. taillight shaming! 🙂
You are looking at it backwards, It was the Glaxie that was more expensive but also more profitable as they charged more for it than it cost to upgrade. Compare Ford’s solution to that of GM and their additional lights on their upper models, not only do you have the extra light assemblies, you have more bulbs and different wiring harness, not to mention the additional tooling for stamping the alternate trunk lid.
The actual difference in manufacturing cost between the Galaxie and Custom tail light can’t be more than pennies in either direction.
Cool this got posted – I was thinking about the ‘65 Custom 300 & Fury I while looking at the Biscayne.
I think the taillight treatment on this model makes sense and serves as a nice transition. My favorite big Ford of the sixties is the 1966 model (it was the best selling big Ford of the sixties too). Ford gave the ‘66 the beginnings of a coke bottle shape, which was achieved in 1967. I also prefer the ‘67 & ‘68 Ford fastbacks over GM’s ‘65 & ‘67 designs.
The Chevrolet is beautifully styled, except for the chromed hips. The Ford looks severe. I’m actually not a fan of the 65 or 66 style, but I am a fan of the softer 67. The tail lights on the cheaper Custom do look odd, but I never thought that the tail lights were left overs. Ford tried to differentiate their Custom from their Galaxie or LTD visually, and putting a round peg in a hexagonal hole was the prescription for 65.
I don’t know about that Pontiac effect. The Pontiac to me looks very different, except for the vertical headlights. The Pontiac looks low, while the Ford looks origami and taller.
I like the looks of the Mercury for these years too.
I wonder what the model mix was for Ford vs Chevy full-sizers. I get the impression that despite the buying public’s preference for Chevy and GM they were a distant third in police and taxi fleet sales and the Fourteenth Floor was inclined not to rock that boat because their overall market share crossed 50% at some points in that era and they feared being trustbusted.
I think it was Aaron Severson who uncovered why the ’65 Fairlane and fullsize Fords were just flat-out BUTT UGLY.
THE ENGINEERS WERE GIVEN THE FINAL SAY OVER THE BODY, AND THEY MADE COST CONTAINMENT THEIR CHIEF CONCERN. So lines that might otherwise have some shape to them were left flat, as they would be easier and less expensive to produce.
IIRC that’s the story.
And all you have to do is park a ’66 next to a ’65 – especially the fullsize Ford, and you’ll see. FoMoCo had to have figured out quite early in the model year – or, given the lead times of that day, simply saw the finished ’65s, and anticipating the drubbing they would take in the showroom, set about making the ’66s look better from every angle.
I think the Galaxie 500 2-door HT is the most obvious example. From the headlight bezels to the taillight bezels, the ’66 looked like how the ’65 should have.
The Fairlane, even more so, having become a baby Galaxie again for 1966 after the “one-off” year of ’65.
It could be interesting to compare the 1965 full-size Ford with the 1965 full-size Plymouth who shared some designs elements with the Ford which might not be a coincidence with Elwood Engel, a former Ford designer at the head of design at Chrysler after the “plucked chicken” fiasco.
In the fall of 1962 the hottest standard size car in America was Pontiac.
For 65, Ford and Plymouth copied the 63 Pontiac. For 65, GM took the Pontiac to a new level, then used those bones for a new Chevy.
After all these years, it’s hard to accurately remember how I actually felt about these cars when they were new. Is that what I thought then, or has the passage of time (and Internet commentary) shifted my memories? But I really liked both the ‘65 Ford’s and Chevies, as they were huge improvements over the dull (and in the case of Ford, pudgy) 1964’s. However, I thought the ‘66 Chevy’s subtle changes made it even nicer, whereas I felt the Ford declined until the all-new 1968 style. And after 50+ years, count me in as one who is still a fan of the ‘65 Ford’s sharp edges and crisp proportions.
The big ’65 Pontiacs are the best-looking cars ever made. The Grand Prix for ’65 is my Holy Grail.
I wish I could say I found the ’65 Fords more attractive . . . but I don’t fancy lying. I wouldn’t trade my ’64 Falcon for a ’65 FORD anything (and that includes ’65 Falcons — the chrome cross-hair ‘accents’ inside the round taillights do not look as appealing to me as the simple round tails on the ’64).
But, hey, I hope whoever owns this Custom finds a place to park it that’s safer from the elements. It doesn’t take very long for these FORDS to go to Rust City, USA. And that trunk lid is gettin’ pretty rusty!
I don’t think that’s rust(yet!) the color looks more like the red oxide colored epoxy sealer ford applied at the time. The sun seems to have just burned off the color topcoat and primer layer.
It seems like Ford and Plymouth really started taking over the police market around this time.
I liked these – they looked like what a modern car was supposed to look like in 1965, at least to someone raised on the angular GM cars of 1962-64. But then what did I know, I was five years old when these came out.
It is funny looking back – 1973 had been a record sales year, but I knew almost nobody with a 73 model, everyone I knew who got a new car got a 72. It was the same with 1965 – almost everyone we knew who got a new car got a 66, not a 65 – despite 65 being a record-setting year.
I knew precisely two people with 65 Fords – a realtor down the street drove a new white Country Squire for a year or two (which I did not like as well as my father’s 66) and my 7th grade math teacher had a Rangoon Red Galaxie 500 2 door hardtop. This last one was around 1973 and the paint had turned to a dull dark pink from oxidation.
Had I been in the market for a full-size sedan in 1965, I would have had a hard time deciding between an Impala and Galaxie 500. The Chevy was clearly the shape of the moment and wins on style points, but the Ford’s conservative lines seem to have aged better, as viewed from 55 years out. If I wanted a hardtop, the nod would go to the Chevy, especially in fully-optioned Impala trim. If I wanted a pillared sedan, or any wagon, the Ford would be favored. Lower end Fords look less obviously cheap than bottom of the line Chevies. Ford’s interiors are generally nicer, especially when the LTD package is ordered. Both cars are clean-sheet efforts leagues ahead of their 1964 predecessors, which featured a mishmash of end-of-generation styling cues grafted onto what had been reasonably coherent shapes in their first model year. In contrast, the 1965 models seemed to project a far more confident demeanor, fully realized in their design, and expressive of the upbeat, optimistic mood prevailing in mid-Sixties America.
If your decision came down to Ford or Chevy for 65, you never visited the right store. Mother Mopar pointed to the outfield bleachers for 65 and mashed a ‘tater with the Fury.
Since this is about a Ford from his era, RIP Lido.
A woman who worked at my dad’s store in the 60’s had a dark blue ’65 Custom. If memory serves me, it DID have the 240 inch 6 in it. It also had a white top.
They kept it until about 1975-6 or so, when they traded it for a Pacer station wagon.
Ford ran popular “White Sales” taking a clue from houseware retailers who ran bed sheet special sales at bargain prices. The cars were basic white Custom 300 sedans, stick shift, black walls, dog-dish hubcaps. Our area was lousy with them, always driven by the skinflints or as utility company fleet cars.
As kids, we thought those round taillights in a squared frame were dorky, still think so.
Where the love? When these were new, the ’65 Ford exuded a solidity that raised expectations for all cars in its price range. With the well sorted 289, Ford was finally competitive with Chevy’s 283. The 390 wasn’t a powerhouse, but I don’t think there was a smoother idling engine than a well tuned 390. Cruiseomatic was a true 3-speed auto. Smooth shifting and reliable. It couldn’t touch the Torqueflite for performance but it sure beat the Powerglide. The ’65 Ford brought new luxury into the low price full size field. Trim levels like the XL, LTD & later the Caprice totally undercut the reason for the existence of mid price full sizers. The trend they started ultimately killed long established brands like Pontiac, Oldsmobile & Mercury. The spread between the low level Custom trim and top trim levels changed ideas on how much differentiation was really needed between the cheapskate and tuxedo park versions of the same car.
The ’65 Ford may have lacked the sexy curves of the ’65 Chevy, but in terms of pointing to the future, it was the much more significant car.
As an owner of a 1965 Galaxie I am obviously biased. I like the 2dr hardtop styling, but even I will admit that the 1965 Chevy is a better looking car, as are the Pontiacs that Ford was trying to copy. What I found is that the very straight lines of the Ford look particularly bad at the high ride height and reverse rake that they had from the factory. They also suffered from a narrower track than the body. By changing the ride height and making the front slightly lower than the rear and then upsizing the tire widths, I think that it makes the shape come alive.
To me this more-formal look (compared to ’63-’64 Fords, which I love) is inseparable from the arrival of the top-line LTD, the “quieter than a Rolls-Royce” ads, and so on–I think Paul or another here has called it proto-Brougham.
The Custom taillights do indeed tell everyone what a cheapskate you are, but then you got a full-size sedan for not much. 58L8134, thanks for reminding me about the February-March “White Sale” promotions:
Interesting, $2546 in 1965 would cost $20,702 today.