Jim Smart
February 4, 2010

Back in the '60s, we were hell-bent for wide-open spaces. We liked big cars, enormous houses, vast acreage--even jumbo jets. We also liked our engines huge. Much of it began with the natural excesses of the '50s. We came out winners in World War II in two theaters. The world looked up to us in so many respects. We had a huge ego to feed. Beginning in the late '50s, American automobiles took on steel--lots of steel. They took on iron, too, in a heated quest for cubic inches.

Ford's FE-series big-block, born in 1958 as a modest 332ci mill for those heavier Fords, developed larger bores and greater stroke to become the 428ci big-block of 1966. The 428 had abundant cubic inches under the hood and behind the wheel like we had never seen before from the Ford camp. It was good for America--good for a growing family.

Behold cubic inches for 1966--the luscious Galaxie 500 convertible. Cubic inches behind the wheel and in the backseat because there was so much interior room. Cubic inches under the hood because there was so much bore and stroke. Ford conceived the 428ci big-block using a tried and proven hot-rodding technique--more bore and stroke. Bores grew to 4.13 inches, stroke thrust to 3.98 inches. This gave the FE-series big-block abundant torque--plenty of twist for a large passenger car.

Garnet and Anne Ross of Georgetown, Ontario, enjoy this Emberglo '66 Galaxie 500 7-litre convertible. It is vast, and it certainly is fast. They spotted the Galaxie at a local cruise night in Milton, Ontario, where they learned of its for-sale status. The decision to buy came easily, because the A-body Ford was anything but usual, especially in Canada.

Sold new in Virginia more than 30 years ago, someone had a stunning new ride in the driveway for neighbors to admire. What a dazzling combination--Emberglo outside with more of it inside. Bucket seats, console, the plushness of a loaded Ford droptop. After you've lowered the top, twist the key, grab the shifter, and come along for the ride. A huge C6 transmission channels the torque to a 9-inch rearend with 3.25:1 gears. The new-for-'66 428-4V engine calmly applies torque where it's needed most--down low for smooth luxury-car performance. When brute acceleration is needed for the freeway, the 428 comes alive with peak torque coming in at 2,800 rpm.

Ford's Mahwah, New Jersey, assembly plant produced this ride on a cold February day back in 1966. The Mahwah plant closed a long time ago due to quality issues, but you would never know it by looking at this Galaxie. Those slippery lines wrap themselves around a lot of power and happy campers who understand the beauty of cubes more than three decades later.

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