Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 – Bootiful

posted by nifticus

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.