Gazing upon this beautiful fullsize Ford} from the beginning of the Total Performance era, one can't help but be catapulted back in time to a simpler age, when the emphasis was on space and rockets, reflected in many consumer goods, from automobiles to furniture. Take this gorgeous '64 Galaxie, which has taillights that glow like afterburners in the dark, while the side moldings resemble a missile in flight, complete with vapor trail. One might argue that even the name "Galaxie" fits in nicely with the space-age theme.
Despite these ample embellishments, the '64 Galaxie had an elegant and robust design that turned heads when it was new and has withstood the test of time. In '64, you could purchase your Galaxie as a hardtop, sedan, or convertible, and with two or four doors. It was also offered as a station wagon.
Of all the body styles available, the two-door hardtop strikes a particular chord and is considered a milestone classic design among many enthusiasts. In fact, this body style was so swoopy that it proved highly successful in motorsports, particularly in NASCAR and factory drag racing. Ford built a select number of two-door Galaxies as factory lightweight drag racers featuring FE 427 side-oiler engines and fiberglass body components, while in stock car racing, both Holman Moody and Bill Stroppe had considerable success with the new '64 Galaxie hardtop. As we said, it was a milestone car.
Bucket Seats And A Four-Speed
The striking '64 Galaxie 500 XL shown here belongs to Tony Palazzolo of Clinton Township, Michigan. Tony's car is an XL, which in its day was the top-line "premium" model. The XL package came with bucket seats, a console, special trim, and a standard 289ci V-8 engine. On Tony's XL, the sporty aspect was enhanced even further. Equipped with a Z-code 390ci FE engine rated at 300 hp and a four-speed manual transmission, this thing has some serious muscle to back up those rocket-ship looks. While it didn't get as much attention as either of the optional 427 cube engines available in the Galaxie, the big 390 "Thunderbird Special" still packed more than enough grunt to get a fullsize XL moving quickly.
The story surrounding Tony and this car began one night while attending the '88 Super Ford Show in Columbus, Ohio. When he saw this Guardsmen Blue 500 XL roll into the grounds from the top row of the bleachers, it was love at first sight. Better yet, the car was for sale.
With a little help from his enthusiastic wife, an agreement was reached and Tony and Nina became the third owners of the big hardtop. Nina also happens to be a huge classic Ford fan and high-performance Ford ownership kind of runs in the family. She owns a '70 Cougar Eliminator with a rare Boss 302 engine. Besides this beauty, there's also a '66 Fairlane GT convertible with a 390 engine in the Palazzolo family garage.
No Trailer Queen
When we talked to Tony, he was careful to point out that his Galaxie was for having fun and not for sitting still. It's not a perfect trailer queen, but rather a super-squared-away driver.
Since purchasing the car, Tony, his family, and friends have enjoyed many excellent outings in the big cruiser. He has taken the Galaxie on both the '01 and '07 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tours as well as five visits to the St. Ignace car show all the way at the top of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Even after 20 years, the big Ford hardtop captivates him as much as it ever did and very much remains an ongoing labor of love. In fact, Palazzolo confesses that the Galaxie will never be finished. "There's always something else you can do," he says.
We truly admire his great-looking Galaxie with its terrific original color and classic Torq Thrust D wheels. And from sampling this specimen of Detroit's Golden Age, we can fully understand the way Tony feels about his Galaxie. It's a beautiful piece of history and something we felt the readers of Modified Mustangs & Fords would enjoy.
|Galaxie Engine Availability|
|V Code||223 cubic inch||1V I-6||138 hp (Mileage Maker 6)|
|C Code||289 cubic inch||2V V-8||195 hp (Fairlane V-8)|
|X Code||352 cubic inch||4V V-8||220 hp (FE passenger car)|
|Z Code||390 cubic inch||4V V-8||300 hp (FE Thunderbird V-8)|
|P Code||390 cubic inch||4V V-8||330 hp (FE Police)|
|Q Code||427 cubic inch||4V V-8||410 hp (FE high-performance mechanical tappet)|
|R code||427 cubic inch||8V V-8||425 hp (FE high-performance mechanical tappet)|
From this perspective, the...
From this perspective, the missile-in-flight ornamentation is very apparent as are the "afterburner" taillights. Tu-tone paint jobs were popular during the early '60s, and this car was delivered white over blue. It was lucky for Tony that both the front and rear bumpers were nearly perfect when he got the car. There'd be a hefty bill at the chrome shop should they ever need to be redone. You'll never see them offered as reproduction pieces.
This shot shows the beautiful...
This shot shows the beautiful grillework exclusive to the '64 model year. Many folks contend this is the most beautiful fullsize Ford ever built. Clearly, their argument has a lot of merit as the car does seem to have a sort of timeless beauty.
Tony Palazzolo's '64 Galaxie 500 XL
- Ford FE 390ci "Thunderbird V-8"
- 4.090-inch bore
- 3.78-inch stroke length
- Ford steel crank
- Ford I-beam connecting rods
- Diamond Racing Pistons
- 10.5:1 compression ratio
- Howards Camshafts solid lifter flat-tappet cam
- 586/0.586 lift at the valve, 240-degrees duration at 0.50, 108-degrees lobe separation
- Edelbrock Performer FE aluminum cylinder heads
- 2.15-inch intake valves, 1.60-inch exhaust valves
- Heads polished and port-matched by Advance Flow Performance
- Ford 1.76:1 rocker arms
- Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold
- 750-cfm Holley four-barrel carburetor
- Ford distributor
- Top-Loader four-speed manual
- Hurst Competition Plus shifter
- 9-inch axle
- Traction-Lok differential
- 3.91 gears
- 28-spline axles
- Factory "cast-iron header" exhaust manifolds
- 2 1/2-inch tubing
- DynoMax Ultra Flow mufflers
- Front: Stock coil spring, OE-type shock absorbers, factory antisway bar, manual steering
- Rear: Stock leaf springs, OE-type shock absorbers
- Front: Stock drum
- Rear: Stock drum
- Front: American Racing Torq-Thrust D, 15x7
- Rear: American Racing Torq-Thrust D, 15x8.5
- Front: Cooper Cobra Radial, P215/60R15
- Rear: Cooper Cobra Radial, P275/60R15
- Original interior
- tu-tone vinyl
- factory bucket seats
- Auto Meter instruments
- oil pressure and water temperature
- stock AM radio
- six-disc CD changer in trunk
- speakers in stock locations
- Wimbledon White over Guardsmen Blue
- repainted with two-stage paint system
- sideview mirrors relocated to fender tops
- bumpers feature perfect original chrome