Ford Galaxie: The later years 1968 through 1974
The Ford Galaxie was initially designed to be a full-sized car based on performance, but became more of a luxury car in its last years of production. It was a big, solid car that looked very similar to the Ford Fairlane during many of its production years. Below are profiles of the later Galaxie models, beginning in 1968 and ending with the final production year, 1974.
1968: Full-Sized Ford Galaxie gets a new look
For 1968, Ford's full-sized model line, the Galaxie, got a whole new design with hideaway, concealed dual headlights being used on the XL, Country Squire and LTD models. The base Galaxie model was the Custom 500, available as a two- or four-door sedan. Just a step up from the base model, the Galaxie 500 was available as a fastback, hardtop and convertible. The Ford XL was not offered under the Galaxie name this year, but instead was offered as a fastback and convertible. The LTD was available as a two- or four-door sedan and hardtop.
Six engine options were available for 1968, from the 240-cubic-inch big six-cylinder engine for good economy to the 427-cubic-inch Cobra rated at 390 horsepower. The 428-cubic-inch Thunderbird engine with 340 horsepower was also available this year. Due to the car's size, many Galaxie buyers chose the 390-cubic-inch V-8 engine, which had much power but was less expensive than the larger engines. Buyers could also choose from several transmissions: a three-speed manual, a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic, or a four-speed transmission with floor shift.
Color choices included 15 paint colors for the exterior, and more than 30 upholstery styles. The options for this year included whitewall tires, air conditioning, tachometer, power front disc brakes, styled steel wheel covers, remote control mirrors, and limited slip differential.
1969: A bigger Ford Galaxie
For 1969, the Galaxie was bigger, longer, wider and quieter than before. It was also designed for luxury with more passenger room. The LTD and XL models were still available in a number of body styles such as the Sportsroof, hardtop, convertible and even wagon models. On XL models, buyers could choose from bucket seats or bench seats.
The engines available this year were the 240-cubic-inch six-cylinder, the 390-cubic-inch V-8 rated at 265 horsepower, the 429-cubic-inch Thunder Jet V-8 rated at 320 horsepower, the 429-cubic-inch Thunder Jet 4V with 360 horsepower, and the 302-cubic-inch V-8 rated at 220 horsepower.
There were 15 exterior color options and 24 two-tone combinations. Accessories and options included SelectAire air conditioning, six-way power front seat, a rear window defogger, a tilt steering wheel, power windows, and tinted glass.
1970: Galaxie gets even bigger
The 1970 models were built stronger and even bigger than the previous year.
Ford was still focusing on luxury and providing a quiet, comfortable car. There were 21 new models offered, and several body styles including the LTD, XL, and the Galaxie 500. Six engines were available. The economical engine for this year was the 240-cubic-inch six-cylinder. For those who still wanted great performance, the 429-cubic-inch big block engine was available.
It was rated at 320 horsepower with a two-barrel carburetor and 360 horsepower with a four-barrel carburetor.
The number of color choices remained the same this year. The option list consisted of an AM/Tape radio, electric defrost, reclining seats, power disc brakes, high-back bucket seats, cruise control, and many other great items.
1971: Comfort and size remain a focus
For 1971, the Galaxie was still designed based on comfort and luxury, and was bigger in size as well. It was also one of the strongest and most durable Ford cars ever built. A luxury edition LTD Brougham was released as a two- or four-door hardtop, or a LTD convertible. The Galaxie 500 for this year was similar to the LTD, but had a different trim. For the economically-minded, the Ford Custom 500 was available with fewer luxuries than the other models.
There were seven engine options this year, beginning with the 240-cubic-inch engine and going all the way up to a 429-4V engine with 360 horsepower. Though many engine choices were given, there was only one transmission available - the three-speed automatic Select Shift Cruise-O-Matic.
Besides luxury appointments, many options were also available so the buyer could customize his car any way he wanted. Some of these were power door locks, dual rear speakers, AM/FM Stereo, high back bucket seats, air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, power steering, power windows, and a Rim Blow steering wheel.
1972: Engine power drops
This year's models were similar to the previous year except for a drastic drop in available engine power. These were also strong, big, and luxurious. More steel was used to build these to promote safety.
The main focus this year was on the LTD Brougham, with its plush interior and plenty of passenger room. It was offered as a two- or four-door hardtop. The LTD was also offered as a two- or four-door hardtop or convertible. Squire wagons were also offered this year.
The engines weren't as powerful for 1972 due to emissions regulations as well as a change in the horsepower rating system. The engines available were the 351-2V, 400-2V, and the 429-4V.
Galaxie's 1972 models also came with a long list of options, including cruise control, a padded instrument cover, six-way power seat, a high back split bench seat, power disc brakes, a tilt steering wheel, a power sunroof, remote mirrors, and air conditioning.
1973 and 1974: Galaxie's final years
For 1973, the Galaxie was designed to provide the ultimate quiet ride. It was still big and luxurious. The 1973 models were known for being the subject of a song called "Galaxy 500" by Reverend Horton Heat on their seventh album called Lucky 7.
The year 1974 would be the last for the Ford Galaxie 500. This one was more luxurious than the Custom 500 models, but slightly below the LTD. A top-of-the-line LTD Brougham was introduced as well. Due to stricter emissions regulations in the United States, the days of high-performance cars in the full-size range were over. This was also the final year for Ford's full-size pillarless hardtop style.
The Ford Galaxie catered to a variety of auto buyers. Available as a sporty high performance car, a spacious car, and a family sedan, the Galaxie would serve as Ford's full-sized model line for more than a decade. Today, the Ford Galaxy name (with a "y") is used on a modern minivan. Hot rod fans and big car fans today are still fascinated with the size, strength and power of the Ford Galaxie.