If you’ve got a thing for big tail ends, this Galaxie should get your juices flowing. Wow; we’ve all become so used to the short, tall stubby ends of modern cars, this is a bit of an eye opener if you really look at it. What were we all thinking in 1964?
No wonder everyone want gaga over the Mustang in the spring of 1964; it was a paradigm shift, of the cab to the rear. And a stubby tail.
Sure, some other cars, including the ’55-’57 Thunderbird, the ’56 Mark II and some others had long hoods, and the cab set back somewhat, but they all still had substantial rear overhang. Not the Mustang. Sure looks more athletic and lithe and ready to giddyup compared to the Galaxie, which looks like its dragging its butt, literally. The low rear wheel opening doesn’t help either. It’s still channeling lead sleds and show cars from the fifties.
I don’t mean to rag on this big Ford; it’s just that ever since I encountered my first Studebaker Lark and realized that it was just a ’58 Studebaker with the excess cut from its front and rear ends, I’ve never been able to look at big cars with massive overhangs quite the same.
But then I’m weird and drive a tall, short box with next to zero overhangs, so it’s ok if you love all that wonderful dead air enclosed in those long front and rear ends. It’s what kept Detroit humming for so long.
There’s a “Thunderbird” 390 V8 rated at 300 hp residing under this front end, if the badge on the fender is to be believed. Well, theoretically it could be a 427 badge, but the odds of that are off the scale. If it was, it wouldn’t be sitting out here in the rain.
It reminds me how relatively infrequently one encountered sixes in these big Fords once the Falcon and Fairlane came out to sop up the sales for the thrifty Ford buyers. Yet they were still fairly common in big Chevys. I’d like to run the numbers on that sometime, but I’d bet money on the take rate for sixes being higher for the Chevy. Makes sense; Ford buyers were trained to buy V8s by old Henry, when he gave them nothing but eights for some years. Meanwhile Chevy was all sixes from 1929 through 1954. Traditions die hard.
The ’64 big Ford had its best year since 1960, when it entered its drought years. Sales were up to 923k, still way down compared to the ’64 Chevy, with 1574k. What’s a bit surprising is that the all-new ’65 big Ford didn’t really get much of a lift; up to 979k. Meanwhile, the new ’65 Chevy was up 100k over ’64. It would be a few more years before big Fords really started to stand up the the big Chevys.
The ’65s may have been heavily Pontiac-inspired, but they were also significantly lighter and looked lighter too. That’s a quality nobody is going to accuse this ’64 of having. Heavy metal.
In 1964, I was in high school and thinking about big cars like this. For the most part bigger is better was pretty much the rule for American autos. Don’t recall when rear ends were shortened. But do recall a 72 Ford LTD convert I once owned. Big, comfortable, beautiful heavy weight with Windsor engine giving more than ample power! 🏆. These cars make me ask What brought us to the crappy vehicles of Today? 🤔.
I don’t know but the cars of today are boring, soulless, ugly soup cans on wheels. The cars of the 50’s, 60’s are rolling pieces of art. They were also easy to maintain and repair.
I’ve got 3 ’64 Galaxies 500 XL’s.
A 289 auto & a shell…2 for 1 special.$1K
My “hotrod” a 390 4speed
Very nice. Where are you located? Any 4 speeds? I had one that I sold and miss.
Where are you located?
1963 & 64 galaxies were my favorite big ford’s ! Oh…with out forgetting…1956 vicky also.
I have been noticing lately how proportions I considered normal for most of my life look odd to me now. Those long, long tail ends are so strange. This is one more area where Virgil Exner was first to the party. The 1962 Plymouth/Dodge had decidedly Mustang-like proportions with their long hoods and short decks. Unfortunately, they were very un-Mustang-like in most other ways. Even earlier, the first Valiant introduced that stubby tail end to the Big 3. Maybe this is why I find those Valiants much better looking now than I did in the 70s, when old long-tail cars were still everywhere.
As for the 1965 models, I think the fact that the big Galaxie/LTD got a significant bump at all was a big win in the year the Mustang hit. The Mustang appealed to virtually every income and social class, and almost certainly stole its share of would-be buyers of big Fords. Also, for Fords to do so well when the full-sized competition was brand new as well was another accomplishment. Especially when Plymouth was not longer repelling buyers with unusual styling.
But I do like these 64s.
My (unoriginal) theory is that every car has an angle from which it looks misproportioned to the eye, camera, or both. Today’s snapshot is startling, but somehow the brochure photos don’t seem so overhangy…go figure?
I sure agree with JPC’s comment about midcentury proportions and our 2023 eyes…beyond the front-back overhang, there’s the (visually) too-narrow track and tires that I want to upsize just a bit.
The 1964 Ford reminds me that it was at the end of a succession that really looked different every year, 1957-’58-’59-’60-’61-’62-’63-’64; and then beginning with the boxy-formal 1965, not so much.
I love that black over red Ford coupe! My favorite Ford of the early ’60’s. It filled out the earlier designs and still had the nifty round tail lights. I’ve got an old magazine with the ad, the formal dressed up couple drops by the firehouse on the way to their event.
In college I earned a few bucks on the side doing minor work on family friends’ and neighbors’ cars; oil changes, tuneups (remember those). Mostly on the Volvo’s I was familiar with, but occasionally other stuff. I picked up a seventies 4 door Valiant from my Mom’s friend’s house to bring it home to work on. It was parked right up against a fence on the passenger side. I got in, put it in Drive and cranked the wheel hard left to pull away. The rear overhang on the Valiant, much longer than what I was used to but far less than this Ford, swung out and snagged the fence with an audible scrape. Fortunately it buffed right out 😀.
Long front end providing easy access to maintain the engine, long rear end to store items out of sunlight and out of the sight of thieves, divided by a passenger compartment with good visibility? What were they thinking!
Actually, excessively long front ends don’t make access to the engine easier. And shorter but deeper trunks have better space utilization. But to each their own.
Depends on the car admittedly, but in the case of these Galaxies, its bay has generous access. Unibody cars with bulky shock towers like the Mustang can definitely be a bear.
Not looking for a debate, but engine compartments with excessive front overhangs did not make access to the engine actually better.
Give me a Lark any day.
And as to trunks, in the comparison review we had recently with the Buick Special and Volvo 122, the short tall Volvo trunk was much better in actually hauling luggage than the long but shallow trunk of the Buick. That was my point.
And the same applies to loading a long shallow trunk with a high lip; much more difficult than just slipping things into the back of a typical CUV hatchback.
There really a re good reasons long front and rear overhangs are gone. Good riddance. But help yourself.
It isn’t as cut and dry as that, the Monte Carlo is an extreme example, this Galaxie has ample access, when my friend had a 64 4 door I had no problem leaning into the thing with my 5’9” frame to wrench, literally every nut and bolt from the spark plugs up was easily accessed and unimpeded by things like shock towers most shorter nosed compacts of this era excluding the Lark had, not such an issue with an inline 6 but V8s could be tight. I’d much rather lean my body over a full sizers fender than turn a wrench a quarter turn at a time in a cramped engine bay.
I thought it was to each your own with trunks? Now it’s good riddance? I didn’t even say anything!
I know you don’t want to debate, but at least allow me to retort… it once again isn’t that cut and dry, just like there are extremes and outliers in engine compartment access, there was in trunk access as well. Lip height varied all over the place back then, there was no standardization, the 63 lip height was lower than the 64 and the 65 lip height was way lower at bumper height like typical a modern sedan, only with a way larger opening than modern sedans typically have. This isn’t exactly a difficult trunk to manage
And this engine bay of a 64 Galaxie for reference, I don’t think a lark meaningfully advantageous here, at least from the front
I love long overhangs in the rear because that usually means a big trunk. I love the 1961 through 1964 big Fords.
I don’t think that it can be fully understood today, but trunk space was a strong selling point on new cars of that era and beyond.
I once loaded a full size clothes dryer, in box, in the truck of my ’73 Fury.
One of the major car rags was still preaching trunk space well into the 80’s. I remember that some called it the “trunk space monthly.”
I wish I had sales figures to quote in the six vs. eight discussion, but I don’t. Doesn’t stop me from having ideas and thoughts, though.
From ’55ish-’60ish, if you wanted a cheap new car, the go-to was a Ford/Chevy/Plymouth six. But with the introduction of compacts in ’60 and intermediates a few years later, low-end buyers had more choices, and (roughly speaking) the low-end buyer might choose a Falcon or Fairlane with an eight as a better choice than a stripped out full-size six for similar money.
So my thinking is that once smaller/cheaper cars became available, full-size six cylinder car sales fell off a cliff, relegated mostly to (a) folks that valued size over everything else and (b) fleet buyers like taxi and urban police. I’d love to see real sales figures.
They’re readily available for Chevy. In 1964, 22% of full size Chevys came with sixes; 69% of Biscaynes were sixes; 40% of Bel Airs, and 7% of Impalas. No breakout of the Super Sport, but undoubtedly it was very low.
These breakouts are not available for Fords, unfortunately. My assumption is that the percentages for sixes was somewhat lower, for the reason given.
FWIW, Falcon V8s were quite rare, and sixes were quite common on the Fairlane in early years. Thrifty buyers also wanted good fuel economy, so they were not likely to get a V8 in their Falcon or Fairlane either.
The big reason for the growing share of V8s was the dropping cost of gas (in real adjusted dollars) and rising incomes (also in real adjusted dollars). Same goes for the buyers picking higher trim versions.
Very interesting stats. Thank you! I also think that six-cylinder power was likely more prevalent with Chevy’s than Fords. I suppose some families were just accustomed to six-cylinder power or just didn’t care. The fuel savings wasn’t large.
The parents of several friends of mine in the 1960’s had full size Chevy’s or Ford’s with sixes. I believe they were all manual trans as well. I was amazed as teenager in how fluidly adroit those parents were with the three on a tree. Including left hand reach-overs to shift while using their right for something else.
This two-door hardtop with its radical roof slope strikes me as a bizarre and ill-considered outlier in the ’64 Ford lineup. I wonder if there were voices of objection inside the company?
The four-door models look much more normal by comparison. Unlike Ford, Chevrolet kept their roof forms quite similar in both two-door and four-door hardtop versions.
Aerodynamics and NASCAR racing often were factors into two door coupe styling during these years.
The brochure for the 64 Rambler Classic made a point of the Classic’s short rear overhang, and how the rear would not scrape the ground when driving up a driveway ramp, with photos of a Ford, Chevy, and Plymouth, all dragging their bumpers, to illustrate the point.
Of course, in the 70s, Ford went in the opposite direction, short deck and long, long, front overhang, so you got the overall length, without the extra trunk room. They weren’t alone. I remember a road test of the 69 Gran Prix, with a comment that there was nearly enough room for two engines under the hood. AMC put the nose on the Matador and Ambassador in 74, as an even cheaper way to make the cars look longer, following Bunkie Knudsen’s noses grafted on to the Thunderbird and Montego in 70.
I have had some familiarity with 64 Galaxies, especially XLs.
I love the 64 Ford Galexie 500!. Gorgous lines. Big tail lights. Beautiful dashboard. Handsome front end. The interrior looks fururistic compared to todays auto interriors. Yawn.
I have always really liked ´64 Ford Galaxies, particularly in four (4) door pillarless hardtop body styles.
Ford Australia imported a small number of export RHD 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 four door sedans and sold them through Australian Ford dealers as Fords the top of the Ford Australia passenger car range. ´64 Galaxie 500 4 door sedans and 4 door hardtops were expensive luxury cars in Australia.
Even more exotic, we’re the small number of export RHD 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 4 door pillarless hardtops that came to Australia as new cars. Seeing one of these unique cars on our roads was and still is, an ´event’.
Convertibles and 2 door pillarless hardtop versions did not even rate a mention and most Australians would not have been aware of the ´XL’ trim option. In more recent times, many ‘64 Galaxie 2 door models have come to Australia as second hand cars, but these are all the more common LHD models.
Give me an Export RHD 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 or 500XL four (4) door pillarless hardtop with a black exterior and a red interior. It does not get much better than that!
Yep the Ford wrecking specialist next door to the caveman’s yard had several galaxies mostly stripped out but one or two complete runners rare car in OZ.
Ive been watching the big Galaxies at Goodwood revival race meetings, very quick cars and with decent tyres and suspension are hard to beat, theres a strong interest in these vast hardtops in NZ judging from the amount of used LHD imports I see at shows they seem to range from restored to patinaed survivor condition all seem to have a bigblock whether original or retrofitted.
Not enough photos and pictures of Ford Galaxy 500 interior, exterior, Trunk and Power
Plant and description of it as well. Of what I would have like to see more of.
I’ve always liked 1964 Fords, but just that first picture taken directly side-on is making it look slightly comical. I think one thing that adds to the appearance of an exaggerated rear overhang is that the front end of the car is more compact than some of the other long butt cars from this era.
Me forming my earliest memories in the early 1980’s, these cars were still around, but most had departed by the time I reached driving age. I do have a bit of experience driving such proportioned cars, and do remember their tendency to “drag ass” when attempting to start up a steeply inclined driveway or into a parking lot that was above street grade… I’d try to approach them early at an angle, then turn sharply uphill once the rear wheels were a few feet up the incline. The shallow trunks were shaped like a big wading pool, and sometimes you’d actually have to crawl in the thing to reach the spare tire or fetch something that ended up close to the rear seat back. And though something like a minivan makes a world more sense in getting maximum passenger and cargo capacity that’s easy to load and unload, there’s something so right about FULL size cars that have a cargo bay that looks to be optimized for hauling Jimmy Hoffas, even though I usually don’t do such things. But lastly and on that note, weight in the trunk of a car like this was a lot more effective at improving poor weather traction than in a short tail car, in that era where a rear wheel drive car was what most people used for everything on and off the highway, in all conditions.
That Galaxie’s trunk looks so drunk
I had a 64 xl convert in high school and college. A girlfriend and I slept in the trunk of it when there was a road closure. Things you do when you are a broke student. Spare out and lid closed( it was raining). It wasn’t that bad.
Man, that rear overhang – is the rear axle really inside the back of the C-pillar? Whoa.
I’ve probably been watching too many old NHRA videos lately, but to me that makes it a lot like an A/FX (altered wheelbase) “funny car” of the period. They were a big deal at the time.
So was this supposed to be sporty-looking? Or imply better weight transfer on the drag strip?
Not sure if I’m kidding.
Could you please send me the location of the 64 Ford
Love it! Over hang is perfect. Probably helped in stock car racing. I went to high school in the 80’s with a girl that had a 500xl. Her Dad restored several of them. The interior was the first time I had been enamored with any car interior I was a motor head but that car felt like perfection on the inside.
I was a devout Ford hater but that car could not be denied. At first I thought this was the car up the street from me but it’s only the doppelganger. Love it.
Big block and 4 speed should be mandatory.