Over this past winter, my family and I were taking a shortcut through the parking lot of an old service station to get to a store across the road and we came across this 1966 Ford Custom sedan. These days it’s pretty rare to see a classic car left out during a harsh Ontario winter, as most survivors are lovingly cared for and tucked away in garages. Even neglected project cars usually find some sort of shelter. It reminded me of my childhood when a car like this ’66 Ford would have just been an old car. At that time, seeing an old deteriorating 1960s car sitting at a service station was not out of the norm.
The ’66 Ford was probably in its best form as the luxurious LTD or the luxury-performance 7-Litre. With the introduction of the new stiff body structure residing on a relatively flexible perimeter chassis with soft springs in the 1965 model year, Ford had become the leader in quiet and isolated rides. Ford had also made an effort to move their interiors and craftsmanship to a new level, in particular for the low-priced market, leading to the great brougham epoch. However, this ’66 Ford Custom is quite the juxtaposition to a luxurious ‘66 LTD.
Like many cars from Canada sold during that era, this Ford Custom is a relatively plain and low option car. Under the hood of this Ford Custom resides the base level 150 hp (gross) 240 six-cylinder engine, which is actually quite fitting for a Canadian stripper. The Canadian market cars had often had slightly different engine availability than the American counterparts. 1966 was the first year that the 289 V8 was offered as the base V8 engine for the Canadian market standard Ford, replacing the 352-2V V8 that was the base V8 in prior years. The 390-2V, and 428-4V were available as optional V8s, along with the almost never seen 427 FE V8.
I suspect that the vast majority of the Ford Customs sold in Canada were equipped with the 240 six-cylinder or the 289 V8. Most of the ’66 Fords that have survived today are the higher-end models with the more desirable body styles and engines, so finding a Custom 4-door sedan with a six cylinder is interesting in my eyes.
This particular ’66 Ford was one that was vaguely familiar with. It was located in the neighborhood of a town that I used to frequent often, as I had family that lived close by. I recall this ’66 Ford about 20 years ago and it looked like it had just rolled off the showroom floor. It was the pride and joy of the owner of the service station. This was the type of service station that was once common. You know the type, a small dingy garage with a set of full service gas pumps. The owner was the mechanic that ran the shop and he usually had a couple of teenage employees to pump gas. I recall seeing this old blue Ford all shined up and parked outside the garage. Every now and then you’d see it raised on a hoist as the owner tended to its maintenance needs. He had invested time in making this old sedan look good.
It’s quite apparent the sands of time haven’t been kind to this old Ford. As I snapped a few shots, I question what happened over these years that made this car move from someone’s pride and joy, to being stored outside in a parking lot alongside modern bland-mobiles. Parked near a busy roadway, it would get splashed with the salty water on wet winter days. The once glossy paint job is starting to peel and has now thinned on the horizontal surfaces to the point that rust is starting to come through the paint. On the lower body, more severe rust has set in, enough that would require some sheet metal surgery. Hopefully the rust prone frame is still solid.
As I walked away from this old Ford, I wonder what lays ahead for it in the future. Will it get restored again? Will it continue to deteriorate and end up in a junkyard? I am not sure, but I can only hope that someone saves it from its current state of purgatory.
Curbside Classic: 1965 Ford Custom – The End Of The Stripper Tudor Era
Cohort Outtake: 1966 Ford Custom 500 2-Door Sedan – White Sale Special, Presumably
Cohort Outtake: 1966 Ford LTD – “Remarkable! I Do Believe Your Ford Is Quieter!”
Curbside Classic: 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 7 Litre – Maybe It Should Have Had 7 Gallons
Car Show Classic: 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 – Look Ma, No Cruise-O-Matic!
That peeling looks like a clearcoat repaint that has failed, so it appears to have gotten a new paint job at least once.
It must be babysitter story day. My sister and I had a babysitter named Barb who lived a couple of blocks down the street. Her father had a thing for 66 Fords in this color, as I recall at least three different ones that he owned over about a ten year span, and all of these had been bought used. When the 66s were new he had a pair of dark blue Ford sedans, a 56 and a 61. Barb told me that her father insisted on blue Fords with overdrive.
My father got a new 66 Country Squire in December of 1965 when I was 6 years old, so the 66 Ford has always been one of my automotive homes.
Good eye Jim. That was exactly what it looked like to me. When I recall seeing this car years ago, it look as if it had fresh paint and some other freshening up performed. Based on the rust I saw on the lower body, I bet it looked like it had some body work when it was painted.
This reminds me of the ’65 Ford Custom that was owned by a woman who worked at my dad’s store. it was dark blue. If I recall correctly, it had the 240 ci 6. She and her husband kept it until they traded it in on a ’77 AMC Pacer wagon.
I always liked stacked headlight years for the big Fords. Hate to see it sitting like that.
Just imagine if that was a 428-powered Police Interceptor…
“I always liked stacked headlight years for the big Fords.”
I agree. I regard the ’65-’67 big Fords as sort of a Tri-Six Ford analogy to the Tri-Five Chevy. The styling and interiors were generally the most desirable big Fords of the ’60s.
My little analogy falls apart a bit as the ’68 is generally considered the same generation – something I did not realize for many years. The ’68, with its horizontal headlights and rather forced looking updates on the ’65 body shell quite lost the plot in my mind.
The ’68 was sort of a Eastern Block interpretation of the 1967 Chevy…..
I agree, Ford should had kept the stacked headlights for the 1968 models just like what Plymouth did with the 1968 Fury as well as Cadillac.
The “Tri-Six Ford” spanned a “Duo-Six” with the 1966-67 Fairlane and they have a second life in Brazil as well where the stacked headlights of the full-size Ford was kept until the mid-1970s.
I agree with both you Dan and Dave. I really like the 65-67 Fords, but don’t care for the ’68. The other thing about the ’68 is they ruined the fastback when they altered the C-pillar rear window shape. The ’67 fastback looks so much more organic compared to the ’68 fastback. For me it’d be a tough call between a ’66 7 Litre or a ’67 500 XL Fastback.
No argument on the fastback.
Below contrasts my personal 1967 (top) with the 1968. I would love to have the car back again for a few summer cruises this year….
Before I started reading CC regularly, I thought the ‘66 Ford was an aesthetic step backwards from the ‘65, though both were far better than the 1964. And I’ve had that opinion since about October, 1965. But I’ve really come to appreciate the refinement of the ‘66 over its predecessor after seeing lots of pictures of them here. And this one looks good too, even in plain clothes.
One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting in dad’s car behind a 66 Ford. I thought the tail light design was very attractive. I still do, and I was amused to see FCA plucked this design virtually intact for their recent Renegades.
A 240 six? I approve! 🙂
The question is as to its transmission. Three speed manual with overdrive? I would approve even more.
Brings me back to my teens. Typical Canada-mobile, I approve too.
One of my students who graduated a couple of years ago has a ’66 Galaxie 500 4-dr. sedan that he drove in all kinds of weather. Neat car, 352-4V automatic, looks very similar to this one but with more paint. Nothing fancy or perfect, just a neat driver. He also has a Bronco II, which you don’t see on the road too much these days in Michigan. He came back to the school to show it off a couple of times and talk cars.
I hope this one can find its way to a young guy who likes old things.
I’ve always liked these big old Fords, and they were a common sight when I was a kid. It looks like it wouldn’t take much to get it looking better, but the owner really needs to store it for the winter and get himself a winter beater to drive until the salt and snow are gone. Our Ontario winters aren’t kind to these old cars, and it would be sad to see it rust away. Even a plain old stripper like this is a treat to see nowadays.
It wasn’t being driven and hadn’t moved in a long time. The damage was just from it sitting outside. I wonder why the owner left it outside when clearly he used to really care for it? I don’t know what the story was, but if he’s lost interest or doesn’t have the ability to look after it anymore, I hope it finds a good home. I actually have a family member that would love to have that car. She owned a ’66 Custom sedan with a 289 back in the early 70s. She said it was the best riding car she every owned. Even with the six, it would still make a decent Sunday cruiser.
Vince, you probably meant to type: “Especially with the six…”
I had a ’65 Galaxie 500 with a 289 which was a small block V8 and not a six. It had plenty of power and got remarkably good highway mileage.
A friend had a 1967 when we were in high school, in the same colour blue. I prefer the slanted taillights of the ’67 to the squared off ones on this otherwise solid looking 1966 example.
The photos present a nice comparison of an every day driver from back in the day to now, with the Chevy, a shorter car, with alloy wheels, and much more aerodynamic design. Great shots.
I’m happy that you clarified that the photos with the snow content were not taken this date, although maybe they could have been here in the Great White North! LOL
That car screams Pennsylvania Electric Company (PENELEC) head offices in Johnstown PA, summers of 1969 and 1970 when I had a “student engineer” job taking television interference readings off the 500 and 345kv transmission lines in the western Pennsylvania area.
Their company cars were almost nothing but 1965 and 1966 Ford Custom sedans (plus one 64 Plymouth Belvedere) that I lived out of five days a week with my work partner. He hated to drive, so I happily did all the driving.
This was the job where a morning coffee break was mandatory, so I learned to drink coffee.
It also scream “A Quinn Martin Production” as we see the “Tri-Six” Custom 500/Galaxie/LTD appearing in the last seasons of The Fugitive, The Invaders, The FBI and to a latter extent, Cannon, Dan August and The Streets of San Francisco like this 1967 convertible. https://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_604628-Ford-Galaxie-500-63B-1967.html
I’d drive that as is and spend every minute loving it. Nice find.
They have their followers…
The ’66 I found could definitely by driven as is with a little bit of work. It sure looks a lot better than the one in this video.
A family of rather backward country folks moved into town a couple doors away in 1964. Although they had lived in a tiny, one-room house there, he always bought the cheapest full-size Ford sedan for a family car which he drove to work. They had a 1960 Fairlane when they arrived, 1966 was the next one, a solid Rangoon Red with red interior, six cylinder, manual shift, dog-dish hubcaps, black-wall tires. By the time to trade came in 1972, it was pretty ragged looking after the ravages of six Western New York winters.