Over the last several years, I have developed Jason’s Theorem of Automobiles. My theorem states all cars are built to mimic a thirty-five year old human. At 35, one is mature, everything works, nothing sags, and most are free of squeaks, creaks, and rattles.
When one has a car that is nearly fifty-two years old, it is comparable to an 87 year old. A few leaks and ailments are to be expected. You can stave them off, but it’s only a matter of time until something emerges elsewhere.
In the fourteen months since having revived my 1963 Galaxie, it has gone a long way to transition my theorem into something demonstrable.
When the last article about the old Galaxie appeared on October 15, 2013, it was sprinkled with happiness about it again being roadworthy. Yes, we schedule our articles here in advance as on that very day the Galaxie was about to visit the repair shop with what turned out to be a faulty accelerator pump and a few other maladies that promoted severe backfiring through the carburetor. In other words, it was dead in the water.
I should quit swearing; I swore I would never put this car on a trailer again.
The Galaxie was fixed and ready to go shortly before winter arrived. To its credit, the Galaxie sat through a very long and cold winter unscathed. Upon the weather hitting 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it was time to awaken her from her slumber.
On the second twist of the key she sprang to life as if having been ran the previous day.
Driving on old car is only part of the joy of ownership. The conversations and situations your car will prompt complete the experience. Two examples stand out.
When spring finally hit, I took the Galaxie to the Ford dealer for an oil change. Upon arriving I courteously informed the manager the car is equipped with a three-on-the-tree. She suddenly had a deer in the headlights look and three other people emerged from the office. It seems a three-speed was some sort of mythological creature to them, a wild polka-dot unicorn they all wanted to see. One of them believed his uncle may have once had a pickup with one, so apparently my Galaxie is one of a small herd of unicorns. What a relief.
This place has a very strict, no exemptions ever under any circumstance policy that does not allow customers to drive their cars into the service bays. A few minutes later, as I was easing the Galaxie into the service bay and onto the ramp, I heard someone exclaim “That is one big old bitch!” How quaint.
The technician servicing the car quickly became perplexed. He was scouring the interior for the hood release. After letting him sweat for a few moments, I told him to lift the emblem in the center of the grille. He was very appreciative.
Several of the technicians started guessing which was older and heavier – the Galaxie or the mothers of their co-workers.
Later, sometime in July, I stopped to get fuel. As I got out, a lady sitting in an Explorer next to me smiled and asked if the Galaxie was a 1963 model. Upon my confirmation, she smiled and said, “My daddy had a ’63 Galaxie. We drove it all over Europe.”
It seems her father was in the military and was stationed in Turkey. How their Galaxie got to Turkey she did not remember, but upon his being reassigned to Spain they drove their Galaxie to their new home. Somewhere in Spain, as they were away from the car, somebody painted “Yankee Go Home” all down one side. Upon seeing it, her father shrugged and said that was his intention. After his discharge, their Galaxie was sent back to the United States and he drove it, with its unwanted adornment, until around 1990 when it succumbed to an electrical fire.
This first year was nicely bookended with annoying problems in both Octobers. In October of this year, two days after arriving back from the CC Meetup in Auburn, I fired up the Galaxie for my drive to work. As I backed out and stopped to close the door, my right foot went the floor.
Thinking of the encouragement about installing a dual circuit master cylinder in Part 2 of this trilogy, I decided I would indeed install one if the problem was anywhere near there.
Well, the problem was in the rear. Giving the brake system the complete once over, and bolstering my daughters knowledge on how to bleed brakes, the leak was around the distribution block on the rear axle. It was allowing fluid to dribble on the axle side and arc out on the rear of the axle housing. Squatting down to look at it, I had the unsettling realization I had cleaned the distribution block near the front axle, but had not touched this one when I rebuilt the braking system. Soaking this block in parts cleaner for a week and remounting it seems (and I emphasize the word seems) to have remedied the leak.
Another head-scratcher was in May or June.
Jefferson City has deceptive topography. If one were to drive through on US 50, 54, or 63, it would seem the town consists of some combination of flat ground with gently rolling hills. In actuality, there are some annoyingly steep hills one must navigate when traversing on city streets. One Saturday morning, I was pulling a rather long hill of about 7% to 8 % grade in second overdrive. My foot was on the floor and it would not downshift into second direct as it should have. Around this same time it was becoming rather hard to start.
pestering inquiring with aaron65 about fuel experiences in his old cars, I probed the Galaxie a bit further. Pouring a little fuel into the carburetor allowed the old girl to start as quickly as a new fuel-injected engine, thus the problem was receiving fuel. Swapping out the fuel pump restored proper downshifting when in overdrive and starting the engine when cold became much easier.
There are still many things from which the old Galaxie would benefit. This emblem broke during the last washing. The teeth on the distributor are slightly worn, not allowing precise engine timing. The interior is still brittle, torn, and stained. It still needs the chrome strip on the left front door re-installed. The hood is from a ’64 Galaxie and it doesn’t like to close without provocation. I haven’t even put the wheel covers back on it from the brake issue. Weekend projects, all.
In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck described the Jobe Family Truckster as being capable of going to hell and back on its belly. It had lived a hard life, a term that could accurately describe my old Galaxie. Having seen family duty, brief police service, neglect, long-term storage, lack of maintenance, and an ultimate resurrection, this Galaxie has experienced a multitude in her 76,000 miles. I just hope the frequency of events dwindles.
This three-part saga has chronicled a very ordinary 1963 Ford Galaxie from dormancy to vibrancy. Perhaps not so ordinary; I’ve only seen one other ’63 Galaxie with a three-speed and no others with overdrive. At any rate, I’m correlating this series to the number of gears with which Ford granted this Galaxie. If Ford figured three was adequate, I will follow suit. The adventures will undoubtedly continue, but the herculean steps to get there are now over. While an early winter precluded more adventures for 2014, the arrival of spring will certainly contain fodder for new adventures. I’m optimistic spring will arrive early in 2015.
Curbside Classic: 1963 Ford Galaxie Sedan
Good luck on getting/keeping the ’63 on the road. Back in the day a friend’s parents had a 1963 Country Sedan with a three on the tree so there was at least one other one made, although I’m sure most of them were sold with automatics. I have always admired Fords of this vintage for their simple honesty, if nothing else. A small car lot I pass on my way to work has a ’64 Ford for sale. I have been tempted to stop and look but it has aftermarket wheels (and what appears to be an aftermarket paint job) so, so far, I have resisted the temptation.
I had a 63 Galaxie 500 XL in the late 60s. I didn’t have the problems your having since it was a lot newer then. But the one problem I did have with it was that with the 427 in it the thing wouldn’t pass a gas station.
It’s the only car I kick myself for selling.
Thanks for the continuing saga. If I wrote a comparable one about my ’66 F-100 it would be terribly boring. Compared to all the issue you’ve had, I’m almost embarrassed about the lack of ones with my truck. I haven’t had to do a repair in some 10 years. It just starts and does its thing. While sitting outside year round.
Although I did notice the radiator is starting to leak a bit where the top tank joins the main part. It did that about 15 years ago, and I found one in the junkyard for like $35. I don’t think that will be the case this time 🙁
Unlike new cars which have aluminum/plastic rads, your rad should be brass/copper so it can be repaired. Get out the propane torch and solder it back together. I had to do that with one of my Chryslers when the rad started leaking at the tank seam years ago. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, a rad shop should be able to fix it for you.
My 70 C10 had the old style radiator. It got to where the temp gauge started to climb on steep hills towing and I would need to blast the heater to get the gauge back down. When I pulled it out to be recored for the first time ever in 1995, the bottom tank stayed stuck in the truck as I pulled up on the radiator. As I recall it was still repaired for about $75.00 at a local radiator shop through the dealership I was working for at the time. It was trouble free still in 2006 when I sold the truck. I did go through 2 heater cores (in 30years), however.
There are a lot of good things to be said about boring. I suspect your pickup getting regular use has gone a long way toward that and the revitalizing rain you get likely helps, too.
The fuel pump issue was weird. Part of it was likely due to my having replaced it in 2008 when I liberated the car from my father. It had pumped fuel when I tried to start it and it then sat full of fuel until last year.
Be aware that ethanol is/can be detrimental to components, especially when they spend a lot of time sitting! (Ask me how I know!!) 🙂
That thought had crossed my mind with the fuel pump. Since it’s been running, I’ve been using 91 octane which is alcohol free in this state.
As the owner of a later old Ford, a 78 F100, I would have to agree, I just stared mine after it sat for about 2 months, and the damn thing just hummed, needed to air up the tires a little and that’s it.
Glad to hear you and the Galaxie are getting out and hitting the road, even if it’s a work in progress. And it’s something of an inspiration for me, as I have a similar relationship with my ’79 Malibu (in the family since new, my first car, parked since 2001) and hope to bring it back to life once I have the space/resources to do so. Though in the looks department it’s pretty hard to beat a ’63, especially in that oh-so-60’s green color.
If each of the installments corresponded to a speed on the 3 on the tree, will we get an Overdrive installment sometime in the future? I hope so!
You have hit gold in your question.
I am so strongly tempted to drive it to the Ford Galaxie Club national convention next May. It’s in Tupelo, Mississippi. The theory of taking it is very alluring; actually doing so falls somewhere between carefree and masochistic as it’s 490 miles each way.
However, with a spare fuel pump, a new distributor, and checking the u-joints, I think she’s up for the trip.
Do it Jason! Driving the old car will make the journey so much more memorable (hopefully for the right reasons!) and you will be much more a part of things at the convention. After a summer of driving you will know if the car will do the trip on its ear or not.
Go for it!
The corollary to your rule is that hard living will age the car even more. It sounds like your car experienced a bit of that in its younger years.
I really like this car. Just plain joe is right – Fords of this era were simple, direct, honest machines. Nothing fragile about them. But every old car has its issues. I hope you are able to keep getting the old girl into shape. Maybe Santa will be able to find some trim pieces for you . . . . 🙂
This poor car was treated like a rented pack mule at times. My great-uncle literally drove the wheels off it, as this car was once on the side of the road with a wheel missing in action from a failed wheel bearing. My dad came upon him soon after it happened. It would also explain why I can remove the brake drum on the left front without removing a wheel bearing but I have to remove the wheel bearing to remove the brake drum on the right front. It’s full of quirks.
Oh, would you believe I actually have two trim pieces for the driver’s door? Not sure how, but I do. I just need to get the clips for it.
“Oh, would you believe I actually have two trim pieces for the driver’s door? Not sure how, but I do. I just need to get the clips for it.”
Oh, just use some wood screws. Or don’t you live that far out in the country? 🙂
I do have a soldering iron with access to a MIG welder. Something could work to attach it.
Just stick it on with a little body filler (bondo). Use making tape until it sets. Can also do this to the emblem. This method has the official redneck seal of approval.
Redneck seal of approval? I’m there.
With the holes stamped into the door skin, and with the correct clips being reproduced, getting the chrome back on shouldn’t be a big deal. Yet it has been as I believe my clips are in storage and I hate to buy more knowing I already own what I need. The storage thing is a long, relocation related story.
Since you can still get the clips the right way is (normally) the best way. Glad to see the old girl may have a road trip in it’s future, she deserves it.
Great summary, Jason I think you are doing the whole old car thing exactly right. Good balance of enjoyment, work, and frustration.
My 1963 old car update is very brief. Unpacked the VW from the garage in the spring, got busy fixing motorcycles and daily drivers, got busy at work, packed VW into garage in fall.
If I ever get it running (2015 for sure!) we could have a 63 old car summit, but as it turns out half way between our homes is Auburn IN & we’ve already done that..
Thank you. Finding a balance is something I’ve stumbled into as much as anything.
I wish you great success with your VW. And, yes, I would be up for a meet somewhere – other than Auburn! 🙂
Growing up our family had a 1963 Country Sedan with three-on-the-tree so that makes two at least. My favorite early/mid-60s Ford and the All-Time Best Hood Release ever.
Way to bring an old classic back! You have my admiration and envy, kind sir. I have yet to own a classic, but its really high up on list of things to do when I graduate college. Thanks for the post!
What a BEAUTIFUL old Car ! .
I’d like to hear more details about it’s mixed past ~ I assume it was in Police Duty before your Family got it ? .
Many brake drums had screws/pal nuts/rivets holding them to the hub back in the days , once a drum was replaced , few ever bothered to re attach it correctly , O.K. until you loose a wheel and then the drum comes off causing total brake failure .
DO drive it across America ! just do more than grease the U-joints , drain and re fill the tranny , over drive unit and rear end too , top up the steering box with gear oil , change the coolant , oil and filter etc.
Precise ignition timing is dead simple : get the $35 inductive timing light from Kragen’s etc. , the one with the advance dial and use it to set the full advance timing @ 3,000 RPM with the vacuum hose connected .
Should be between 28° ~ 32° , each engine likes a little bit different , test it @ 32° and if no ping , dieseling , you’re good to go .
Test for ping when warm by driving in third gear direct drive @ 35 MPH , stamp the throttle , windows closed , radio off and listen ~ either it’ll ping or not .
If it pings (even once) back the timing off by _one_ degree and try again .
Agreed on the dial-back timing light and setting the “all-in” advance, but usually you disconnect and plug the vacuum port and set the mechanical advance separately from the vacuum advance. Since you’re recommending 28-32* of advance, I assume that you meant to say “with the vacuum hose DISconnected”.
The whole point of ‘ all in ‘ timing is to set it to where it’ll be when you’re cruising down the open road , everything connected .
I realize the older Shop Manuals suggest disconnecting the vacuum advance hose / pipe when setting idle advance but that’s only because sometime the carby has issues and delivers a vacuum signal to the dizzy @ idle when it shouldn’t .
I assume most who tinker know to check for this as vacuum @ idle means you have another problem .
From what I have read, pre-emissions Chevies had constant vacuum at the vac advance, not ported vacuum, so they would NEED to have the vac line disconnected when setting by the idle-speed method. Regardless, if you are setting timing this way with the vacuum advance connected, I think you’re not setting enough advance.
For big block Mopars, you usually want to set 32-34* advance @ 3000 RPM with vacuum advance disconnected (some sources recommend up to 38*). Vacuum advance would be added on top of that, once it is reconnected. If you have adjustable vacuum advance, it would be adjusted separately. Including full vacuum advance, your total could be over 50* BTDC.
If you won’t take my word for it, I found a webpage with a procedure that agrees with my description. Scroll down near the bottom of the page.
Only the big block Heavy Duty ones did this . not applicable to average drivers .
The total amount of all in timing varies from engine to engine and is wildly variable due to swirl design , compression ratio , on and on .
Example : I have matched and polished combustion chambers in my Met’s cylinder head so I can safely run it with more advance than if it was bone stock .
Lower compression ratios also need more timing advance .
This is why the ” Throttle Ping Test ” is critical ~ you should give an engine all the advance it’ll take but be aware of how to test it for ‘ all it’ll take ‘ as a tiny amount of ping will kill it prettydamnquick .
Taking training then paying close attention to it is really important here .
Ugh, I can’t have a civilized conversation with you, Nate. His Ford V8 probably isn’t that much different in specs from a Mopar smallblock V8, and closer than to the 4-pot in your Metropolitan. The recommendations for a smallblock aren’t that much different than a bigblock.
Jason’s engine is probably 9:1, so he could benefit from more timing, as you just stated. If he tunes the timing the way you prescribe, my guess is both loss of power and fuel economy. Naturally you need to listen to it and back it off if there’s any pinging.
Nate, take a look at Parts 1 & 2 and you’ll get the whole story.
I’ve taken care of everything you mentioned in regards to maintenance work except for the u-joints. They are likely the originals!
Okey Doke Jason ;
As you know , I only have and drive , oldies so I’m always doing some thing or another so I can take those wonderful long Road Trips .
Or like this morning , it was pouring rain , trash bins and palm fronds floating in the gutters , I hopped into my trusty ’59 Metro FHC and headed off to work as normal .
Enjoy your trip , we’ll expect stories and photos when you return .
Nate, I will freely admit I am green with envy right now. Getting in your Metro – sounds like a blast. Sure beats dealing with a early winter case of the creeping crud.
It is nice , I had to make a few adjustments to be this way but for me anyway , it’s how I like things .
There were 3 families in my neighborhood growing up that had 1963 Fords. A Galaxie sedan owned by a wealthy older couple, a doctor who had a nice light blue Galaxie 500 sedan, and our next door neighbors with a (white/red) Country Squire. This wagon had a V8 ( but no call out on the front fenders), small hub caps, and a 3 speed manual transmission. The premium model, but they had to row their way around town. I always wondered what engine was in that thing. Definitely a unique car. They finally traded it for an early Capri in 1970.
Thanks for the update! I am very jealous of your (and Ed’s) barn situations, what a luxury to have all that space. I think you should try to drive it to Tupelo, maybe do a few practice runs circling your town using a 10 or 20 mile radius so you are always within easy tow range to find all the issues…Oh, and I see your child made the jump from “spawn” to full-fledged “daughter”, she must be thrilled!
I too am jealous of the extra covered space to work on an extra car, or even to keep it out of the weather. As much as I love big cars, my garage would be a tight fit for the kind of land barges I favor, leading to likely marital dischord should Mrs. JPC’s wheels be banished to the driveway.
Looks like you have the shop I wish I had.
That is just a dream of a barn! I’d love to be able to open all door and not squueeeezzzeee between things to work! Plus I could buy the Sun Distributor machine I’ve always wanted.
Congratulations on getting the car back going again.
As far as timing, that 352 probably has only 9.3:1 compression…you may be able to get away with 34 or 35* of total timing, especially if you run premium fuel in it. Additionally, your vacuum advance canister is probably adjustable with an allen wrench, so if you get any part throttle ping you can back it down a little.
I have a dizzy machine, though not a Sun. It lives in our basement, much to the chagrin of my wife.
I could have had one last month from an auction, but I’m pretty much out of room! I guess I’ll have to keep tuning on the car with my timing light.
Additionally, when I say “total timing,” I mean with the vacuum advance disconnected. You can then typically run another 8-10* of vacuum advance on top of that.
Jim, that’s the rental barn next to the house you heard the soap opera about. I’m trying to not get attached to it, but damn, having the Galaxie, an E-150, an F-150, and a Buick Century all parked inside with loads of room to spare is addictive. While I won’t say how large it is, I have priced what I need to recreate it when the time comes.
I just read her your comment – she really likes you right now.
You know I told you what you need to do…One day I’m going to have to visit you out there and just lay down in the middle of the barn, close my eyes, and imagine it’s all mine. I can already see several lifts to increase the space even more and take in all the strays that catch my fancy on Craigslist…
Love your car and the story about the hood release.
I’ve been hoping for a Shafer Ford update! The bit about the hood latch and the column shift has me wondering if some day soon you’ll have to explain to someone how to roll down the window by spinning the handle in a clockwise direction. It makes me think of how my nephew reacted the first time he encountered a rotary dial phone.
It used to be fun with our Windstar & kids accustomed to Honda minivans. They would just come and stand next to the Ford and look at me expectantly:
Kid, there’s no door on this side!
Kid, you have to open the door yourself!
Kid, you have to close the door yourself!
My Titan pu has hand crank windows. I have been asked more then once how to roll down the window when a switch was not to be found, one time even after I pointed at the winder handle I still got a puzzled look that required a demonstration on my side.
This reminds me….
I took my daughter, a friend, and the friend’s older brother out in the Galaxie one day. The boy, at 15, could not figure out how to open the door from the outside as he had never seen such a door handle. Upon entering, he was quite nervous that he could not find the shoulder belt. I had to break the news to him about one not existing. He was nervous as could be the whole two mile drive. My daughter, on the other hand, thinks riding in the back with no seatbelt is an automotive thrill unlike any other.
However, he’s a good kid. Since I keep him the hell away from my daughter, I had him rotate the tires on my pickup when we got back. I kid you not, he did so and was happy to do it.
I’m picturing Jack Lord doing this, but with a 68 Mercury….
Well, old Jack was able to accomplish some pretty spectacular things when he was so inclined…
This kids father is an over-the-road truck driver, so he’s frequently out of pocket. Since he is always around his mother and sister, I think he’s happy for the reprieve from estrogen. I’ve had him load limbs in the back of the pickup previously and he’s ecstatic to help. One must use what is presented to them.
Wow, a motivated 15 year old. That’s rare today. The kid that did not know how to work the window winder handle was about the same age.
Nice car Jason,the 63 Fords were always a nice looking car.A few were sold in RHD in the UK,I used to see a pale blue 4 door from the USAF base near my Grandparents when I was a kid in the 60s
Gem, you got me curious on right hand drive 63 Fords – the one linked below is in England and for sale. What I do find interesting is the dashboard on this black one is nowhere near the one used in the U.S. for 1963; it’s more like a 1960 or 1961. Even the gear linkage is open whereas Ford finally started covering them in 1963 for the U.S. models.
Could some Aussie parts have been used?I’m sure we got Fords built in Canada due to import tax.
I suspect there were. Also, I’m guessing the dash from the Galaxie in England is from a 1959 as it looks a lot like what I just viewed on oldcarbrochures.com And, if Australia had what was identical to a U.S. 1959 Ford until about 1962, the use of a ’59ish dash on a ’63 wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination.
This is all such a delicious mix of interchangeability.
I don’t think the dash is from a 1959 Ford; the speedometer “hump” on a ’59 Ford is wider and somewhat flatter than what is pictured. I don’t know for sure but it almost looks like the speedo in the picture might be from a Mercury. At one time I could reliably identify most U.S. cars by looking at the dash panel but those days are long gone.
Hey, the dashboard on the RHD car looks like a ’59 Edsel dash. However, as far as I know, Ford never made any RHD Edsels. Maybe they were planning on exporting Edsels to RHD markets, and then changed their minds, and then wound up with a bunch of extra RHD Edsel dashes.
That does make sense. I did just stumble upon this when looking for RHD Edsels. They are saying ’59 Edsel also.
Ugh, why is the quadrant backwards? Its LDNRP?
GM did something similar with RHD – all divisions would get the Chevy dash from the first year of a new body throughout the whole run.
Jason, you have highlighted the fun/frustration of hobby vehicles quite well.
About a month ago, I drove the Isuzu to work. When I came out to use it, I noticed the heat shield on the catalytic converter was hanging loose. I reached under and pulled it off, figuring I was on borrowed time. Borrowed time turned out to be 2 weeks. A plug blew out of the cat and it dumped its contents along the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Annoying, but here’s the cool part- I don’t really need the truck again until I get the annual Christmas tree. I drove it into the garage, ordered a new cat, and replaced it when I had a couple free hours last Saturday.
They may be frustrating at times, but they are “spare vehicles” which are supposed to be enjoyable. I tend to err on the side of “don’t let it bother you”.
By the way, the Ford is very cool; a car most people wouldn’t bother with because it has too many doors. Hang in there!
You are so correct in how these need to be viewed and treated as spare vehicles. My frustration was much higher last year after it threw craps 10 days after writing a hefty check for the engine overhaul and related expenses. I was saying things then that could stunt a persons growth. This year I have been more even tempered about it.
I also know this car is delightfully simple and I have replaced or attended to nearly everything on it.
I have that cars near twin, a 1964 Fairlane. Solid body and mechanicals, really bad paint and interior. I’m working on the interior, but intend to leave the exterior alone, as a “patina” car. Being a 4 door sedan, I’m not going to spend big money restoring it. It was an inexpensive way to own/drive a vintage car. And I just love driving it. I have a 2001 jellybean sitting in the driveway, but only use it when I need A/C, or am taking a long trip.
Jason, great write-up. While reading the three installments, I noticed the you mentioned that you could option for a 427. I wanted to share with you some pictures I took while at the last fling ’til spring car show in West Point Nebraska. It’s a HUGE car show, this year they had over 1,000 cars. I came across this 63 Galaxy 500 4 door hardtop, factory 427, dual quad, bench seat 4 speed barn find. I love crazy, odd cars like this. Good luck on your car, and look forward to your next installment. Cheers.
Holy Schnikey! I knew the 427 had been put in the four-doors, and I have seen advertisements of them for sale, but this exceeds any of those. Thank you for these pictures! If I still lived in St. Joe, it wouldn’t be too far to go; being where I am, it’s over 6 hours. Ugh.
You are right about the tires. I wouldn’t want to roll out of the garage on them, let along hold up a car with this much engine.
That’s a pretty incredible find Troy. There was a similar car raced here in Australia, prepped by Holman & Moody.
One more. Zoom in on the tire. It has huge cracks in it.
I want to burn those tires right of that car….a nice clutch dump to watch them disintegrate.
Who ordered this thing? Gator McKlusky?
SWEET ! a Garage Attendant @ Work found one of these , it’s a ’64 IIRC ~ it was even factory red paint .
Hard to find like Chicken’s Teeth , he’s a die hard Blue Oval guy .
Love that car. Thanks for sharing Jason.
Loved Parts I and II when they were published; PIII’s just as interesting. The trials and tribulations of old cars…and yet we still love ’em for reasons we can’t fully explain. There aren’t many wild polka-dot unicorns out here, so I hope you do give us an Overdrive Edition next year!
Great car, Jason. Since you are obviously capable of working on your car did you take it to Ford, for an oil change, for the fun of it? Your story almost makes me want to do the same thing about my 67 Park Lane which I rescued from a fellow Cougar owner after languishing on Craigslist. His now 30 year old son learned to drive in the car and over the last 11 years I have let him know how the car is doing these years.
It happens to have 153,000 miles on it and I am always debating how far to go. One day I will no longer be around and the car will have to go. My son will have my Cougar, sentimental reasons, and I fear this car will get scrapped 25 years from now since five is too much for him. Do I rebuild the 410? The trans leaks Type F and does need a once through. Do I do the body work on the rear quarters that kissed a few poles slightly? Do I do that and watch it go down the drain in 2040? Yet I so love driving that car despite the gas mileage.
Have fun with it, fix what you feel like, don’t worry about the future. 🙂
Hopefully, if he knows the car meant something to you, it would be sold on to a new owner rather than simply scrapped… Or you could do the work, enjoy it, and then let it go yourself when the time is right. That way you’d know what becomes of it.
Either way, even with a handful of issues, that car looks quite fine for nearly 50 years old and 153,000 miles!
Great to see another 63 Galaxie on the road.
In the mid 80s one of my ex wife’s clients was looking to dispose of their 1963 Galaxie 500XL, which had been in the family since new. Their solution? Sell it to a program Union 76 was running in California at the time, which paid $700 for any old car that could be driven in, to be crushed for energy credits. I really hated that thought, so offered to sell it for them, the only condition was they had to get $700 for it.
This wasn’t just any run of the mill Galaxie. It started life as the car of the wife’s uncle, who was a Ford executive. The Galaxie was fully loaded, 390, Automatic, power windows, power seats, swing away steering wheel, pretty much every option available on a Ford was in that car.
I took the car to several car shows, but couldn’t find a buyer, I was almost resolved to see it go to the crusher, when I msentioned it to my brother in Missouri, and after an exchange of pictures, it went on a truck back east, to a happy new home.
My brother used it for several years in bone stock form, then decided to perk it up a bit.
This is the last picture I have of it, since then it’s had further work, and now has a gorgeous Pearl White paint job with red stripes, much more bodywork, and is one of his ‘babies’ (his 63 Pontiac Catalina HT tops that list tho).
In the small world category, the car came with it’s complete service history, and while going thru the work orders, they found several signed off by his best friends father, who’d worked at the dealership that serviced the car when it was new, back in Illinois.
Might as well show off his Catalina too 🙂
The Galaxie now.
The Galaxie’s engine.
I heard about those programs in California in the 80’s and 90’s, and they seemed like a travesty then, and like a travesty now. So much fuss is made about pollution, but how many of these old cars get driven far enough each year to matter? And, how much energy and how many resources are taken to build a new car? That’s the part of the equation no one thinks of.
Kudos to you for being able to save at least one!
Jason, as I own a 71 Alfa Spider, with all the same needs and desires as your Galaxy ( except multiplied by Italian), you have my empathy. However, I’ve rationalized by deciding that it’s not just a car, it’s a hobby – a mechanical toy full of puzzles (and I mean full ).
For the distributor – just spend the money and have it rebuilt – it’ll just make life better.
You probably already know the married man’s old-car mantra, but just in case:
Yes dear, I’m almost done; just a few hundred more dollars, mostly for safety stuff. Yes dear, I’m almost done; just a few hundred more dollars, mostly for safety stuff. Yes dear, I’m almost done. Just a few hundred more dollars, mostly for safety stuff…..
Repeat as necessary
Thanks for sharing your experiences and pictures. 50 year old memories of seeing these cars EVERYWHERE and pictures of the racing Galaxies of Jim Clark, Dan Gurney and Fred Lorenzen came flooding back. And I guess I feel a little more special having actually driven three-on-the-tree for a summer in a work truck. As well as four-on-the-tree Peugeots and Mercedes. My current Toyota T100 has a column shift automatic and even that seems pretty archaic.
All part of the ‘experience’ of older cars. At the moment, my ’69 Skylark is behaving itself. It’s now at a point where I’d be happy to drive it anywhere in Australia.
That didn’t happen by accident. A lot of work, a fair bit of swearing & a few grands worth of parts.
Of course, this happy state of affairs can’t continue, something will break/fail wear out, although I’ve replaced all the usual things one replaces on old cars.
I had a 1967 Custom 4 door ( the basic fleet / taxi / police stripper model ) that had a 390 and a three speed with overdrive. I miss that car. It wasn’t quick, but on a open road it just wouldn’t stop accelerating. Did I mention that I miss that car?