|1960 Ford Galaxie Sunliner|
|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Also called||Ford Custom|
|Engine(s)||223 CID (3.7 L) OHV I6|
272 CID (4.5 L) Y-block V8
292 CID (4.8 L) T-bird V8
312 CID (5.1 L) T-bird V8
|Wheelbase||119 in (3023 mm)|
The mainstream full-sized Ford line of cars from 1960 to 1964 was now complemented by a variety of other Fords, including the Thunderbird and compact Falcon. So the mainline car grew even more, now riding on a 119 in (3023 mm) wheelbase. The engines were carried over from the 1959 Ford, as was the basic chassis design, but the sheetmetal was modern. The retracting Skyliner hardtop was gone, though the Sunliner convertible remained, and the Fairlane name would last only two years before migrating to a new midsize model.
The 1960 Ford looked all-new with twin headlights riding in a scalloped-square front clip. The Fairlane was now the base model in the full-sized lineup, along with the Galaxie and range-topping Galaxie Special. The elegant Galaxie Starliner 2-door hardtop was Ford's choice for NASCAR racing. The 1960 full-size Fords abandoned the ostentatious ornamentation of the 1950s for a futuristic, sleek look. Round taillights were replaced by half-moon shaped taillights for this year only. There were tailfins still, but smaller ones — the focus of Ford's stylists abandoning, as did the rest of the industry, the aviation influences of the previous decade and instead capturing the new obsession — the Space Race. The Galaxie name was particularly appealing to this trend, it seems.
The scalloped hood was gone for 1961, as the sheetmetal was revised for a cleaner look. This time, the tailfins were almost gone; replacing them, two giant circular taillights at each rear corner, glowing like a starship's engines. Ford was definitely going with the space and science-fiction theme, and with successful results; this style of Galaxie is widely regarded as a classic. A new 390 CID (6.4 L) FE V8 was added with a claimed 400 hp (298 kW) gross output in triple-two-barrel carburetor form. The Fairlane 500 name returned as an upscale base model, but both Fairlanes would move to a new intermediate platform for 1962. Custom remained as the base model.
With the Fairlane name shifted to the all-new pioneering intermediate, the full-size Ford lineup consisted solely of the Galaxie and new Galaxie 500 model. Also new was a 406 CID (6.7 L) version of Ford's FE mid-sized V8 rated at 405 hp (302 kW). Bucket seats were everywhere in 1962 — sold as "The Lively Ones", the XL series added buckets to the Sunliner convertible and hardtop coupe. The slow-selling Starliner semi-hardtop coupe was cancelled, leaving Ford no choice than to compete in stock car racing with the Club Victoria, which had a formal roofline. Their top speed was lower than the 1961s because of the inferior aerodynamics. Trying to come up with a quick solution, Ford attempted to enter the Starlift, which was a Sunliner convertible with a removable roof with a curved roofline similar to the 1960-61 Starliner. NASCAR banned the Starlift from competition, and few if any were actually produced. It is said that the windows couldn't be rolled up on the Starlift when the top was on, as the windows were the stock Sunliner windows which didn't fit the roofline.
Ford rolled into 1963 with a NASCAR-winning Galaxie and a 427 CID (7 L) FE V8 sporting either 410 hp (306 kW) or 425 hp (317 kW). A new hardtop coupe body was added to the Galaxie range, and the base model became known as the 300.
The hardtop coupe sported a lower, fastback roofline and was added mid year to improve looks and make the big cars more competitive on the NASCAR tracks. This 63 1/2 model was called the "Sports Roof" hardtop.
Ford took the 427 CID (7.0 L) equipped Galaxie to the dragstrip in serious fashion beginning in 1963, building a number of lightweight cars just for that purpose. They featured fiberglass fenders, doors, trunklid and aluminum bumpers. Rated conservatively at 425 hp (317 kW), this engine also featured in Carroll Shelby's final incarnation of the AC Cobra.
The final year of the 1960 full-size Fords was 1964, with the 300 base model again using the Custom name. A new more-sloped roofline was introduced, outselling the formal square-roofed cars. Interior trim was much altered, but externally things stayed much the same.
Under the hood,the 427 CID (7.0 L) engine carried on the high performance duties. Ford again took the 427-equipped Galaxie to the racetracks in serious fashion in 1964, building a number of lightweight, fiberglass equipped cars just for that purpose. These competed with success not only in North America but also in the United Kingdom. Initial doubts as to their competitiveness in Britain were short-lived; despite their great size and weight compared to the opposition, the Ford 427 engine gave them a competitive power-to-weight ratio and the handling was better than might have been supposed. They were raced in Europe reasonably successfully.
Late in the year Ford introduced their new engine challenger, the SOHC 427 Cammer, Though it's not documented it's believed a few may have found their way onto the street. (This engine was only available to racers through the dealer network or from the manufacturer, none were ever factory installed) Rated at over 600 hp (447 kW), this is possibly the most powerful engine ever fitted to a production car by an American manufacturer. NASCAR changed the rules, however, requiring (instead of hundreds) thousands of production examples in service to qualify for the next season, and Ford decided against producing the Cammer in that quantity. Fears of liability concerns and the bad publicity possibilities in giving the public a car that dangerously powerful are often cited as reasons, but it might simply have been that Ford doubted that an engine so unsuited to street use could sell in such numbers.
- David L. Lewis (2005). 100 Years of Ford. Publications International. pp. 198–219. ISBN 0-7853-7988-6.
- "Generations: Ford Model T to Crown Victoria". http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=93327. Retrieved on August 21.
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