Ford's forgotten big car
Here’s a completely forgotten big Ford.
With an all-new body and the fourth major restyle in six years, Ford bid farewell to the Fairlane nameplate for its full-sized cars in 1962.
From then on, all the big Fords became Galaxies.
Except for the wagons and convertible models, all the Galaxies boasted the wide flat “Thunderbird” rear pillar.
This styling theme was used time and time again by most US car makers in the hope that the T-Bird’s sporty/luxury vibe and lustre would rub off on lesser models.
The ’62 Fords were not small cars.
They sat on a 119 inch/3023mm wheelbase, were 79.2 inches/2012mm wide, 209.3 inches/5317mm long and sat just 54.8 inches/1392mm high.
The standard engine was Ford’s Mileage Maker 223 cubic inch/3.7-litre six.
The smallest V8 had 292 cubic inches/4.8 litres of displacement.
Then came the 351 cubic inch/5.8-litre and 390 cubic inch/6.4-litre engines.
All V8s were tagged with the “Thunderbird” label, just to ram home the connection.
A mid-year addition to the options list was a 406 cubic inch/6.7-litre V8.
You could order this in any model, save for the wagon.
Even the bare bones two-door sedan could have it.
This is what it gave you.
Three dual barrel Hollies, 11.4:1 compression ratio and 405bhp/302kW of power.
Zero to 100km/h was achieved in just 6.6 seconds.
That’s quick even 60 years later.
But beware of trying to stop it. It had drum brakes all round.
A three-speed column manual was standard in the lower-level models, including those equipped with the 406.
But hardly anyone ordered it.
Most opted for the two-speed ‘Ford-O-Matic’ automatic or the three-speed ‘Cruise-O-Matic’.
The automatics were not options if you had ordered the 406.
But you could get it with a four-speed manual.
Get this, it came standard as a column shifter.
Why? Because a bench seat was standard.
Having the gear lever on the floor was not an option.
Ford shifted 575,000 1962 Galaxies, making it the company’s third best selling big car of the 1960s and 1970s.
Ford Australia never assembled the ’62 Galaxie, which is why they are so rare here.
They were more focused on the new mid-sized Fairlane — the “compact” Fairlane as it became known — as their largest American offering.
David Burrell is the editor of Retroautos.com.au
CHECKOUT: Brake-through Renault
CHECKOUT: Ford Cortina led from the front