Fieldside Classics & Recycling: 1964 and 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 (Plus Surprise Bonus) – Unraveling, And Finding, A Few Mysteries

It was about three or so years ago when coworker Rand retired and that was the last time I had talked to him.  In a conversation the other day, Rand’s name came up; then, in one of those mysteries of life, he called about ten minutes later.  The last time Rand had called about a car, it was about a 1960 Jaguar XK-150S the owner let me drive.

“Hey, I got these two Galaxies on my property.  You want some parts off them to sell before I send the carcass to the junk yard?”

Well, sure.  Rand and I are both big into recycling so I was all in.  A few days ago I went to Rand’s house and checked out what he had.

Before we go further, and this may be stating the obvious, but both of these Fords are beyond any point of hope.  The floor pans are gone, much of the glass is gone, and they’ve been parked in the woods of Rand’s property for decades.

To make matters more interesting, Rand’s father, Gene, had owned both of them, purchased used at different times, and these were what transported Rand and his siblings in their childhood years.  The property you see had belonged to Rand’s parents before he bought it.  Rand has recently relocated these two Fords to where these pictures were taken.

After each went kaput, particularly the ’64, Gene placed them in a field near a creek and opened the doors so his hogs could sleep inside them.

That explains the bent steering wheel on the ’64.  So let’s start with it.

Ford didn’t do any stupendous amount to differentiate the interior of the 1964 models from the 1963s.  Apart from tweaking the appearance of the gauges and the location of the ignition switch, the dashboard of the ’64 is nearly identical to that of a 1963 Galaxie.  A fair number of parts, such as the hood, interchanged also.  Drivetrains were mostly identical.

This Galaxie was last licensed in 1974.  Rand said it met its demise at the hands of his older sister as she hit something that compromised the oil pan and the engine subsequently seized.  That’s when it entered its retirement career in the swine industry.

Something I found amusing is the dealer tag on the back of this Galaxie.  I asked Rand if the name of “Rudy Fick” rang a bell; it didn’t.  He was amused when I told him how “fick” in German translates to English.  Google did verify this for me.

In my picture taking, I did capture the data plate.  Since we are speaking translation, here’s what I learned about this particular Galaxie…and it uncovered a mystery.

This 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 Town Sedan is painted Vintage Burgundy and had a black interior.  It was built November 8, 1963, at Ford’s Twin Cities, Minnesota, plant.  Equipped with a two-barrel 289 V8, it has a rear axle ratio of 3.00:1 and has a C4 automatic.  It was the 24,365th car off the line.

But then this badge was on the front fender.  Texting Rand later, he said he did remember it to be a 289 car but has no idea for the discrepancy between the 390 fender tag and the engine being a 289.  He and I both concluded it must have been involved in a wreck prior to Gene purchasing it, with the donor fenders being from a 390 car.  That’s the most viable answer to this mystery.

Or, Ford simply made a monumental goof.

The engine certainly looks like a 289.  Ford made just under 197,000 Galaxies in this body style.

When harvesting parts, many were not willing to be removed, particularly the 390 badges.  The chrome rings around the right outside headlight, seen lingering in this picture, also put up a valiant fight.  We then moved to the 1965 Galaxie.

The 1965 Ford was one of the most changed cars in Ford’s history.  Apart from some drivetrains, little to nothing carried over from the 1964 models.  This was obvious in seeing these two together; when comparing them, they don’t feel very related – from the mundane pieces such as door hinges, to the more obvious, such as the interior layout, the differences are immense.

This ’65 is a four-door hardtop, one of almost 50,000 made that year.

Fifty-six years later the differences seem less palpable, but they exist.  For our purposes, the most readily evident difference was how much easier parts came off the ’65.  The intricacy of construction (or, rather, parts removal) was less complex on the ’65.

Let’s consider the tail lights.  On the ’64 the tail lights had a chrome ring screwed into a housing that also had the lens screwed into it.  On the ’65, the whole assembly had just a few screws and it popped right out.  Removal of the grille was also a relatively easier endeavor and the badges came off without much resistance.  We spent far less time getting the same number of items off the ’65.

This ’65 was last licensed in 1979.  Rand has no memory of how it entered retirement.

The ’65 Ford is a car with which I have no experience.  Driving one of these back-to-back with a ’64 could be quite the enlightening experience.  As a child during the mid- to late-1970s, every “old” Ford I saw was a ’66 or ’67.  Rare was the sighting of a 1965 model.

Our Honey Gold Galaxie 500 is equipped with factory air conditioning and what appears to be an 8-Track player mounted beneath the glove compartment.  I am speculating that to be aftermarket.

Here’s the data plate.  What does it tell us?

Built in Chicago on February 2, 1965, this Galaxie four-door hardtop has a four-barrel 390 hooked to a Cruise-O-Matic transmission going to a 3.00:1 rear axle.  It was the 79,365th car down the line and was shipped to the St. Louis sales zone.

Upon removal of various items from both cars, Rand stated there was a third car, a wagon, on the property and asked if I wanted to see it.  Naturally, I did.  So we walked back further onto his property.

It was a 1969 Ford Country Squire.  Buried up to its frame on a creek bank, it had also belonged to Gene.

This Country Squire makes me wonder if data plates might need to be interpreted with a degree of leniency.  How so?

This translates to being a 1969 Ford Country Squire with dual facing rear seats.  It was built in Oakville, Ontario, on December 30, 1968, and shipped to the St. Louis sales zone.  It is powered by a two-barrel 390 V8 and it has a C6 automatic and a 2.75:1 rear axle.  It was number 40,242 down the assembly line.

By all indications this Ford is Aztec Blue – well, it’s at least blue.  Enough is gone from the car to see blue in the normally covered areas, indicating it is indeed a blue car.  However, the data plate has a color of “E”.  According to the same online translation source used throughout, this car is supposedly Medium Beige.

A trim code of “D”, one character removed, is for a bright blue metallic.  Then again, if looking at 1969 Ford paint colors, it appears Aztec Blue has a code of “E”, which makes me suspicious of the data plate decoder.  Oh, the mysteries of life.

Further stimulating my curiosity is the trim.  It says “KAA”.  There is nothing for a “KAA” trim as all of Ford’s trim codes that year used two characters.  However, a trim with a code of “KA” (there is no “AA”) reflects a black interior; Rand said he doesn’t remember the interior to be black.  Me wonders if someone at Ford got a bit clumsy or overzealous in the interim between Christmas and New Year’s.  More mysteries.

This is one of 83,000 ten-passenger Country Squires built; there were another 46,000 six-passenger versions produced.

Regardless, seeing this wagon was the cherry on top of an already good day.

In our conversation while removing parts, Rand said his big motivation was to get some usable parts back into circulation.  I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment.

We will be doing so on the 1964…

As well as the 1965.  All these parts just need a little cleaning to re-enter the mobile automotive world.  Seeing these go to waste would have been a crime.