The Galaxie is one of the most iconic Ford cars produced from 1958 to 1974. There are four generations of the car. Though it has been decades since the last one rolled off the production line, they still command a premium price among car enthusiasts.
It’s difficult to choose the best year for this Ford masterpiece, with many iconic models. For example, the ’59 Ford Skyliner with its retractable hardtop or the V8 500 with the 7.0 Liter engine, or the ‘60s convertibles. Ford has made some model of this car that still make the lover of iconic cars salivate in the 21st century.
With four generations, almost sixteen models, it raises the question what’s the best year Ford Galaxie and why? It’s impossible to pick out a single model, so we’ll make a list of the best Galaxie years.
The Best Galaxie Years
1964 Ford Galaxie 500/XL (Second Generation)
This 2-door piece of history and beauty has to go on the list of best on this list. The 1964 500/XL has a virtually bullet-proof engine, a manual transmission, spacious bucket seats, and a hardtop convertible. Many things make the ’64 500 one of the best.
The 1964 model comfortably seats five people, six if at max. Here are some of the features of the ’64 500.
- V8 7L 195hp engine with 488ftlb of torque.
- It goes from 0-60mph in over 8 seconds
- 11” drum brakes with a power assist option that produces 170.5psi of pressure
- Manual top loader transmission, with a 3-speed automatic transmission also available
- Bucket seats with NOS fabrics.
- Rear-Wheel Drive Drivetrain.
The 1964 model followed the same body style of its former three predecessors (61-63). However, it was more sculpted to be more aerodynamic. The interior has lap-style seat belts, bucket seats with chrome trimmings. This model also marked the change of the position of the car ignition from left to right.
This second-generation Ford car is worth between $10,550 to $45,300, depending on the car’s condition. The convertible has a smaller 5.8L engine coupled with a 3-speed manual transmission.
1963 ½ Ford Galaxie 500 Lightweight (Second Generation)
The Lightweight resulted from Ford Motor Company’s wants to attract drag racers to its top brand. The Lightweight is a more aerodynamic and lighter version of its other siblings. Only an estimated two hundred and twelve 1963 Lightweights were made, matched with an R-code dual quad 427 engine and twin four-barrel carburetor.
All Lightweights came in Corinthian White color, with red interior, and 425 pounds lighter. Here are some of the features of the ’63 Lightweight. The iconic dog-dish bumpers combine with fiberglass front fenders, hood, and inner fender.
- Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual transmission
- V8 427-cu.in engine with producing 425hp of power
- 4 Heavy-Duty Police Interceptor Drum front and rear brakes
- Rear-Wheel Drive Drivetrain
- 4-Speed Borg-Warner T-10 Manual Transmission
Today, the Lightweight is a collector’s item, going from between $150,000-200,000 on the auction floor. The Lightweight doesn’t have an AM radio, heater, or armrest to reduce its weight. Rubber mats replace floor carpets, no dome lights, interior roof supports, or springs to hold up to the hood. The disclaimer in the glove box authenticates the Lightweight, “For Racing Use Only.”
1966 Ford Galaxie 500 (Third Generation)
The ’66 500 responded to the bestselling ’65 Chevrolet Impala that sold more than a million within a year. It has to be said that the car was one of the best 500, quieter, fast, reliable, durable engine, and spacious.
Some of the features of the ’66 500 are:
- 7L V8 Thunderbird engine with 345hp power and 299lbft of torque
- It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 11.3 seconds
- It has an RWD drivetrain
- Four-speed manual transmission
- Power Disc front brakes (on the 7L model only)
- 2 or 4 doors
- 4-barrel carburetor
At the time of its release, the car was $3,231. Now the prices have appreciated to between $7,075 to $31,900. The 1966 Ford model is the bestselling model, selling over one million cars. Its convertible was the third bestselling following the Mustang and Impala.
The 1966 Ford 500 also produced a police version (the Police Interceptor) with a more potent 360hp engine.
Some of the innovations of the ’66 500 are seat belts for both from and rear seats, an optional option for an AM/FM radio, and the parking brake indicator on the dashboard. 1966 was also the year the LTD version dropped the Galaxie name.
1959 Ford Galaxie Fairlane 500 Skyliner (First Generation)
This classic is the only car in the first generation of the brand. It is rare to find one on the market. The Fairlane 500 was the highest trim of the car. The two-door Skyliner had a retractable hardtop that folded into the trunk.
Some of the features of the Skyliner include:
- A 5.8L engine that produces 300hp
- Three different transmissions (two manual and one automatic)
Ford made the car in the flashy 1950s, so it is a given to come adorned with chrome, stainless steel, and an optional two-tone color. There was a safe anchorage for its front seats and introduced a parking brake pedal. Some of the optional features were a padded dashboard and childproof rear door locks.
The rarity of the 1959 Skyliner they can only be bought through auctions; they aren’t any in the open market. A perfectly restored 1959 Skyliner could cost as much as $93,702 on the auction block.
1969 Ford Galaxie 500 (Fourth Generation)
The 1969 Galaxie 500 was a statement to styling and luxury. The first in the fourth and final generation of Ford Galaxies offered a blueprint for the last iteration of the iconic brand. The 1969 Ford Galaxie 500 also provided the previous hardtop Galaxie convertibles. It also marked the end of the 427 and 428 Ford Galaxie engines.
The ’69 Galaxie had five body types, 2-door convertible, 2-door, hardtop coupe, 2-door SportsRoof, 4-door Hardtop Sedan, 4-door Sedan. Its engines vary from 6-cylinder 150hp engines to 8-cylinder 360hp engines.
The interior of the 1969 Ford 500 has a pod-like dash, unlike people’s dashboards. 500s built after New Year’s day of 1969 had headrests.
The ’69 engines are paired with a Two-Wheel Drive or RWD drivetrain and an automatic or manual transmission. A well-restored 1969 Ford could cost about $22,000. When it came out new, the 1969 Galaxie 500 cost $3,087.
Why Did Ford Stop Making Ford Galaxie?
There are several reasons for ending the vehicle, one of them was the increase in the price of crude oil. The car consumes a lot of fuel, as a would expect from a 7-liter engine. Many car companies had to revise their engines to reflect the realities of the times, and this car was no exception.
Another reason was the introduction of the Ford LTD. It started as the highest trim of the 500. Demand for the LTD grew while demand for 500 decreased. By the end, LTD became a standalone Ford model, and the iconic brand was retired.
Another reason was the purpose of the galaxy itself. Ford made the Galaxie at the height of the space race between the US and Russia. Its name was derived from that time. If you look at the taillights, it resembled a rocket exhaust. By the mid-seventies, the world’s obsession with space had waned, so was their interest in space rocket look-alikes.
Is a Ford Galaxie a Muscle Car?
When asked to name a Ford muscle car, many would easily say the Mustang. The 500, especially the 500XL, could be described as a muscle car. The 1963 Ford 500XL, for example, had a V8 engine that produced a whopping 405hp.
For a car made in the early sixties, that’s a lot of power. Most of the cars came with eight or at least six cylinders, six or seven-liter engines that packed a punch. The Galaxie was just a muscle car. It was a muscle car that still managed to remain luxurious.
Be sure to keep track of Ford’s competitors in the muscle car market as well—
Ford Galaxie, no matter the year, is a masterpiece. A combination of innovation, power, luxury, and one of the most successful Ford brands ever. In the fifteen years that Ford produced Galaxies, some models stand out.
The Lightweight, for instance, is in a class of its own, the predecessor of many muscle cars. The 1969 Galaxie 500 marked the beginning of the end of the Galaxie, the first car of the last generation still a sign of power and innovation.
Most of these cars are rare. Some cost a fortune to acquire but cherish it if you are fortunate enough to own one.
Also be sure to stay updated on our latest articles about updated car trends—