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67 Fairlane

Joined: 31 Jan 2018
Posts: 125
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:39 pm    Post subject: THE GALAXIE THREAD! Reply with quote

Here it is Ford Fans, by request, your brand new shiny clearinghouse of history, info, technical stuff, photos and anything else you like pertaining to Ford Galaxies. Everyone, please jump in with both feet and post your photos contribute your favorite stories, ask questions, clear up any misconceptions and misinformation and just basically have some fun with this stuff.

Context is always good so let me get things going with a little history. Galaxies were “born” in 1959 as a trim option upgrade for the Fairlane. In 1960 an all-new streamlined design was offered and the Galaxie line began to take off in popularity with both the race teams and the general public. This was the start of a fantastic run of wins in the NASCAR Grand National circuit as well as in USAC and ARCA stock car divisions.

Starting in June of 1957 the 2 biggest players in Grand National racing (Ford and Chevy/ GM) decided to comply with the Automobile Manufacturer's Association's (AMA) ban on direct factory involvement in motorsports. There is a whole other story that surrounds this issue, which is way beyond the scope of this narrative, so suffice it to say the factories left the race-teams without any support. Or so it would seem.... turns out that a bit of intrigue and skulduggery was afoot when General Motors switched from overt support to clandestine support. Parts from GM just seemed to “appear” from nowhere or “accidentally” fall off the parts truck on its way past the racing shops. Ford was a bit more honest about respecting the ban, which in turn had a very positive effect on the General Motors teams' win/ loss record. Up until the ban, the Ford teams seemed like an unstoppable force that they couldn't overcome. The AMA ban finally allowed the GM teams to start posting more wins and finally reverse the trend in their favor.

1958 & 1959:
During this time period money for the teams was tight and there continued to be no support for R&D or in the way of physical parts. Teams pulled together all the surplus and spare parts they could find to keep going. Holman-Moody was operating on a virtual shoestring budget once Ford cut them loose. Up until June 1957 H-M had been building a consistent supply of race-winning Fairlanes for the teams. Now they were heavy into grinding cams for anyone they could and setting up “turnkey” race cars based off scrapped or surplussed frames and bodies of the current model Thunderbirds. Thunderbirds were the car of choice for the Ford teams because of their weight advantage over bigger cars fielded by Chevy and Pontiac. One could still see the Fairlanes & a few Galaxies (in 1959 & 60) on track, but most of the teams used the Box-top T-birds where ever possible. Also in 1958 the Ford teams began using the new FE block V-8 which proved to be a very stout motor with lots of untapped potential.

was a fairly good year for Ford teams. A slight improvement over the dismal year they had in 1959. The new streamlined body proved to be very aerodynamic giving the teams a distinct advantage over the bow-tie guys, aided by the now 360HP FE V-8. The new Galaxie didn't post a win though until April 15th at the Hickory Motor Speedway when Joe Weatherly drove across the line in his #12 Holman-Moody Galaxie. The end of the 1960 season also spelled the end of Ford's General Manager Robert McNamara. He departed Detroit for Washington DC to become JFK's “Sec.Def.” This paved the way for some big changes at Ford.

1961 marked the beginning of Lee Iacocca's term as Ford's General Manager. He was a racing fan (not just stock car racing) and was a firm believer in the “win on Sunday sell on Monday” philosophy. He unofficially nudged open the factory door to all the Ford teams and reinstituted factory support on a limited basis. 1961 was also the year Holman-Moody signed independent Ford owner/ driver Fred Lorenzen. He was a young, up and coming driver who had lots of potential as we have all seen looking at his career. The body-style on the Galaxie remained essentially the same for 1961. There were some refinements to the grill area, the tail lights became round, the tail fins were re-designed, re-positioned and reduced in size, but the essential and overall aerodynamics of the car remained the same. The roofline was nearly identical to the previous year. Nice and slippery. Although the first win for Ford in the 1961 season was posted by Joe Weatherly at Charlotte during the first race of the year (Nov. 06, 1960) he drove a 1958 Ford to accomplish this. The first win for the 1961 body was posted on April 9, 1961 by Fred Lorenzen at Martinsville

1962: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly! Let's do “ugly” first. The design team at Ford, a group of highly educated young mechanical engineers and industrial designers all got together with the geniuses taking up space in the marketing department and put their collective fingers on the pulse of the American buying public. “What does America want in a full-sized car?” Well they want horsepower for sure, but they also wanted good looks and a touch of luxury and stylishness. Enter the “box-top roofline” borrowed from the Lincoln/ Mercury Divisions more “luxurious upscale offerings. Everybody raise your hands and shout YAAAAAAY! Nobody gave a thought as to how this would affect the aero on the Galaxie at sustained speeds over 100MPH. Yes, the FE engine was upped from 390 cubic inches to 406, but the increase in horsepower was not enough to counter the additional drag induced by the “stylish” roofline that America wanted. Pontiac especially was kicking Ford's anterior section all over the place with their incredible 421 coupled with their Catalina and its superior aerodynamics!

Is it me or does Fast Freddie look like he's not feelin' so fast in this pic?

The “Bad”. Fireball Roberts driving a 421 powered Pontiac Catalina dominated Daytona's Speedweeks and crushed the Ford teams and everyone else. The Catalina had a similar roofline to the '62 Fords, but their overall slightly better aerodynamics coupled with a stronger engine gave them a distinct advantage. Ford had a car that aerodynamically resembled a lumpy rock with an engine that was being forced to overcome this huge aero deficit and not able to propel the vehicle competitively. What to do, what to do? Well Ford's idea was to come up with the Starlift roof! Here was the plan. Ford designed a one-piece fiberglass roof panel that was to be a drop-in replacement for the ragtop on the Galaxie Sunliner convertible. Now this is not a totally foreign concept as Ford had “convertible hardtops” since 1957 through 1959. Those were powered and stowed in the trunk of the vehicle. This new idea however, was designed to be a removable top (for the consumer) and a bolt-on for racing. There was some back and forth discussions with Big Bill France over this. He finally approved of this design change on a trial basis and allowed the Starlift Galaxies to run at the Atlanta 500. 4 were built. One for Lorenzen, and 1 each for Nelson Stacy, Larry Frank, and Marvin Panch over at Wood Brothers. Photos of any of these cars are very rare indeed. ( I've managed to find photos of the Lorenzen car and a Lorenzen tribute car that was recently built. I also found a photo of the Wood Bros car – looks like a video capture, but the other two cars remain elusive) The happy part of this story is that Lorenzen won the race handily, which everyone regarded as proof-of-concept for the Starlift roofline. The not-so-happy part is that Big Bill immediately banned the roof panel for any future use. Seems that Ford was just a teeny-bit untruthful when they explained to him “oh yeah we have this roof option available to the general public and it's available at all our dealerships!” We all know it's not good to blatantly lie about this stuff especially when it was so easy to verify Ford's claims! The dead giveaway is the rear side windows. They don't fit the slopier roofline. They were still squared off for the box-top roof and it was extremely obvious when they were rolled up. Also Ford made no attempt to fix that issue for the consumer on the alleged consumer-available tops. The NASCAR teams fabricated a plastic insert to close the resulting gap. France put his foot down. Not approved for stock car racing.

Robert's '62 Pontiac

Ford's NASCAR version of the Starlift Galaxie

Ford's advertising for the Starlift

The “Good”. All this led to Henry Ford II (Also a big race fan) to publically announce that FoMoCo would no longer honor the AMA ban and he virtually swung the doors open wide for the teams and laid out the welcome mat. Holman-Moody was no longer an orphan-love child but was re-adopted and made a fully integrated member of the Ford family. Ford only posted 6 wins in Grand National racing in 1962, but things were definitely looking up for next season!

1963: A “Screamin'” good year for Ford! Ford actually continued the box-top roofline for 1963 Galaxies in both 4-door and 2-door versions called the “hardtop” and featured a B-pillar just behind the front seats. But this was also the year they re-introduced the fastback “Sports Roof”. A return to the styling of 1960-61. Called officially the 1963-½ Galaxie it was a marked improvement in aerodynamics, and with the new once-again bored out FE engine (this time to 427 cu.in.) the car was unstoppable on the racetrack. Dan Gurney piloted the Holman-Moody #28 Galaxie to Victory Lane in the first race of the 1963 season; the Motortrend 500 at Riverside on Jan 20. OK, pop-quiz. How was it possible for the Ford teams to be driving 1963-½ Galaxies in January? Place your thumb and forefinger on your chin and go “Hmmmm.” The answer will be at the end of this dissertation.

Here's a "Box-Top '63". Don't know where this was taken but from the "bug screen" looks like Ned's on a dirt track.

Fred's feelin' faster now and happier with his new '63-1/2!

Continuing: Beginning with race number 2 (Daytona) Ford trounced everyone again by winning Daytona with Tiny Lund driving his #21 English Motors Galaxie, followed by four 427 powered Fords driven by Fred Lorenzen, Ned Jarrett, Nelson Stacy and Dan Gurney in that order. 1963 would be the year that Ford came in with a vengeance and not only crushed the other teams but just seemingly punished them without mercy. Fireball Roberts made his comeback in a “Passino Purple” Galaxie for Holman-Moody. He won the Southern 500 that year after setting the fastest lap qualifying speed of 133.648MPH, he set an average track speed of 129.784 MPH during the caution-free event. Making this win even sweeter, Roberts led a pack of hungry Fords and Mercurys across the finish line. In order: 2nd, Panch (Ford), 3rd, Lorenzen (Ford), 4th, Stacy (Ford), 5th, Dieringer (Mercury), 6th, White (Mercury), 7th, Weatherly (Mercury), and 8th, Lund (Ford). Count'em, that's no less than 8 FoMoCo drivers dominating the Darlington Speedway that day! Ford won 23 events in 1963, more than any other single manufacturer.

This was taken at Darlington post-race. Note his "Darlington stripe"!

1964 began with GM pulling out of racing. After having been spanked and humiliated by the Blue Oval the previous year, coupled with some fear of the federal government possibly probing into their behind the scenes violation of the AMA ban they just pulled the plug and dropped out. Ford was hoping for yet another banner year, but things were about to change. Chrysler was seriously in the game now with their new and powerful 426 Hemi. NASCAR had deemed this engine legal for competition even though it would be another 2-years before it would be offered to the public! 1964 was the year Ford would get its reality-check. Even though NASCAR allowed Ford to now use their high rise heads on their 427s, it wasn't quite enough to counter the threat from that Hemi beast. Couple the twin issues of Joe Weatherly getting killed at Riverside, and Fireball Roberts dying when his #22 flipped over and caught fire at the World 600, and you had some pretty demoralized folks in the Ford camp.

1964 also marked the last year for the rounder aero-style Galaxies that began in 1960. Though the body changed a bit, the fast-back style was retained and though a bit heavier than the 63s the 64 held its own against the Chrysler beasties. Richard Petty won the championship in '64 driving his Hemi-powered Plymouth, however the Ford and Mercury teams did manage to rack up 35 wins overall between them. Still pretty respectable




1965 Another banner year for the denizens of Dearborn. In late 64, Ford and Chrysler were in a pissing match over engine design. Ford countered the Hemi threat with a 427 SOHC Tunnel Port hemi that produced gobs of horsepower. Chrysler countered that with a DOHC 426 hemi that was even more powerful! In the end both designs were outlawed, prompting Chrysler to drop out of NASCAR in a snit. Ford was without serious competition that year and racked up some impressive win statistics.

Styling made a major departure from previous years. Gone were the nice roundy-round corners and smooth transition between planes. Now the body had corners and angles. Body panels stopped and abruptly changed direction. Ford kept the nice slopey fastback roofline which still did it's job getting the air over the top of the car with minimal turbulence, but the rest of the car-body practically slammed its way through the atmosphere with all the subtlety of a brick. Not to worry though, without those pesky Hemis around the 427s were more than adequate to propel FoMoCo teams to victory lane.

Here's Ned Jarrett posing in his '65 Galaxie owned by Bondy Long. Ned got his 2nd Championship this year.

An up-and-coming Cale Yarborough.

Parnelli Jones at the Milwaukee Mile in a USAC Galaxie

One significant change in 1965 that set a new standard in NASCAR that had far-reaching effects, was that Holman-Moody had perfected the Ford chassis set-up. It was in 1965 that HM's mods, tweaks and adjustments to the Ford chassis created what was to become the standard chassis for all manufacturers. Even to this day, the same basic Holman-Moody design of the Ford chassis is in use and remains the current standard.

1966 The Galaxie's final official season in Grand National. Actually it was only about half a season. Chrysler had wormed their way back into NASCAR slowly during the latter part of the 1965 season, and Big Bill had given in on some of the concessions they had previously asked for which included running the 426 in smaller bodied Plymouths. Ford tried to counter with a second attempt at getting the SOHC 427 approved but again was shot down. Now it was Ford's turn to go off in a huff and quit.

1966 was not without it's inspiration though. The Ford teams of Junior Johnson, Tom Pistone and Bud Moore continued to keep their hands in the game on a limited basis. Johnson, always the “thinker” built a Galaxie that was so tweaked and twisted that it looked like a banana from the side. Trying to overcome the poor aerodynamics of the car NASCAR allowed Johnson to drive the car in one race, the Dixie 400 in Atlanta. NASCAR decided after seeing this car and a Chevelle tweaked by Smokey Yunick that body templates would be used from then-on to ensure the car bodies matched factory specifications.

Here we see Johnson's "bent" Galaxie and Yunick's Chevelle on pit road prior to the Atlanta race.

Another view of the "Banana" car.

Here we have a "normal" Galaxie driven by Curtis Turner at Riverside

Dan Gurney also at Riverside

1966 also marked the birth of the smaller half-frame “Little Fords”. Actually the first “Little Ford” was a “Little Mercury Cyclone” built by Bud Moore. It combined the uni-bodied Cyclone with the front half of a Galaxie chassis and other Galaxie chassis and suspension components. The attempt was to increase the power-to-weight ratio to remain competetive with the smaller Mopars. The end of the season marked the final official use of the full-sized Fords.

The Bud Moore '66 Cyclone.

1967 & Onward So even though beginning with the 1967 season, the Little Fords and later the Torinos and Cyclone IIs dominated the race tracks, you could still see the occasional Galaxie in Grand National competition though. Owner/ Drivers with smaller budgets soldiered on in their Galaxies up to the end of the decade. Wendell Scott, and Elmo Langley are two drivers who come to mind. I'm certain there are others. Additionally the Galaxies ( and Marauders) found their way into the other NASCAR Divisions and they stayed in USAC and ARCA competition for sometime.

Wendell Scott in his '67 Galaxie with Richard Petty in his 1969 Talladega

Elmo Langley's 1968 Galaxie.

Answer to the Pop-Quiz: How was it possible for the Ford teams to be driving 1963-½ Galaxies in January? Easy, car manufacturers and let's just talk about Ford here, normally begin production of the new model year at the start of the 4th Quarter of the previous year. So production for 1963 actually began in or around October 1962. In those early production months, Ford was only producing the box-top 63s. It wasn't until late December or early January that Ford began producing some of the Fastback Sports Top cars. And they didn't hit the consumer market until early February 1963. So counting the months from the start of the 63 model year until they were sold to the general public, it would be 4 months or so. The “half-year” term is liberally applied to any model produced or introduced after the start of the current year production. Since Ford was already 4 months into the 1963-year production when these started rolling off the assembly lines, they called them 63-½ . For all of the '63 season, you can find regular hard-top/ box top Galaxies sprinkled in the mix however. Short tracks, road courses and dirt tracks where aerodynamics weren't so much an issue is where they were used most.

OK that should get everyone started. I'm certainly not the expert here, just an enthusiastic researcher. Please help improve this thread by posting your favorite pics, telling your stories and most of all correct any errors and omissions you may find. There's more to come, but let's see what you guys have!

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Location: NY State's Hudson Valley

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this!
Forum member since 10/25/2010
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post !!!
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love Neds '65 with the single windshield wiper. Slixx printed a super nice sheet for that car.
life is hard, it's harder when you're stupid. John Wayne
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67 Fairlane

Joined: 31 Jan 2018
Posts: 125
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gang;

First and foremost I'd like to thank the moderator who made this and the Marauder thread stickies. I'm hoping, with the help of the members, to make this a great reference thread.

Got a few more pics to post today. Bill Vaughn has quite a collection of programs and other paraphernalia from this time period, and he was kind enough to let me play with them and post them here. I also dug up some additional pics to show the cars from different angles or in different situations. This is by no mean all that he sent me, so expect more to follow.

Now Bill's kind of favoring '64 Galaxies these days so that is mostly what he sent me. He has Galaxies from all time periods though and I'm sure he'll be sending in some rare and exceptional pics when he gets the chance... hint-hint Laughing Laughing

OK, first off we have USAC driver Augie Pabst at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

(Bill Vaughn Collection)

Next we have Pabst and Lorenzen at IRP fighting for position in the same event.

(Bill Vaughn Collection)
Curtis Turner at IRP prior to a USAC race.

A promotional clipping for Curt Turner

Can't talk about USAC or ARCA racing without talking about Jack Bowsher!

(Bill Vaughn Collection)

...And a couple of different views:

Well that should keep everyone busy for a while. See you next time!

Last edited by 67 Fairlane on Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:16 pm; edited 3 times in total
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67 Fairlane

Joined: 31 Jan 2018
Posts: 125
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Because I hate to hunt unnecessarily for related topics (and I'm sure most of you do too) here are the links I posted in the "Marauder" Thread dealing with the Holman-Moody chassis etc.:

First up we have the reprint of the HM chassis article posted by slidinsideways:

Next, Len Woodruff is working on a Stroppe Merc and has some questions:

Another question regarding shocks from Len:

That's it for now.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad I could help a bit and really appreciate you taking the time & effort to do these along with the others you did. Makes it easier when you need a pix to have a place to begin.
i sent Jerry 62-64 Fords Pix i had. Main sources were Racing Pictorial, race programs and postcards.
will try to look thru the same for the 65-66 Galaxies and the 58-61s and send them to Jerry. I have never set up a hosting site and really appreciate Jerry using his to host.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting lots of great info and pictures for future projects.
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