Dave Kyle's
Galaxie 500-XL Convertible

From Strongsville, Ohio

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My Son’s First Time Driving My 1964 Galaxie Convertible
by Dave Kyle

My soon to be 12 year old son, Liam, and I went on a nice drive in the country today with the top down. Figuring this will probably be the last day of top down weather I brought my camera for some nice pics of my 64 Galaxie. We drove for awhile on back country roads and I stopped at an old small town country airport with grass runways. There was about 8 small planes in various conditions. I went into the office to speak with the old timer running the airport about taking some pictures near the hangars or next to the planes. He walked out of his office before he made a decision. Took one look at my 64 Galaxie 500 XL convertible and said, “That sure is a beautiful Ford. Go head and drive it in the back and take pictures anywhere you want”. I took some pics next to some old beat up planes. Then this pilot says he has a reproduction 1911 airplane. He went and got it and pulled it up next to my convertible. More pics. I was B.S.ing with the old timer and asked if my son could drive my car down the runway and back. He obliged.

I asked my son if he wanted to drive the XL. For the first time in his life he heard me the FIRST time I asked him to do something. He said “YEA!” I moved the seat up and let him start it and put it into gear. He drove down the long grass runway. He calmly stuck his left arm on top of the door and his right arm rested on the steering wheel. “Dad this is how you drive”. He made the u-turn and started driving back. I let him gun it a bit on the way back. Big grin on his face and mine. He was ready to drive home if I let him. I made him stop at the end. He then asked if he could drive in reverse. “OK but keep your foot on the brake when you put it in reverse”. He put the Galaxie in R, heard the tranny shift, then drove in reverse. He did very well. I decided to quit while I was ahead and I took over at that point. My son didn’t say much the entire way home. Just had a big smile on his face.

Dave Kyle

Well here's my very long, but interesting Galaxie story...

I remember the night my Dad brought home a '64 Galaxie 500-XL. He sold Fords at a Ford dealership, as I found out years later. Someone was about to buy the last '64 on the lot and my Dad wanted it. He purchased the brand new Galaxie with $5.00 down. I think that was all the money he had in his wallet. We had 8 kids in my family, never had a new car, never had much new clothes for that matter, and my Dad comes home at dusk with a white '64 XL ragtop with the top down. My Mom almost killed him as she wanted a station wagon if anything. But my Dad was way too cool to drive a wagon. (He looked like Guy Williams who played Zorro on Disney) Talk about love at first sight - that Galaxie looked awesome at dusk, white with its blue intererior and that glow of the car lights. I was only 9 years old but knew I was going to have that car or one just like it someday.

I grew up in that car until it started to wear out. It was the first car I drove. My Dad was not very mechanical but he had plans on restoring her someday. He put her away in our family single garage. The garage was not the greatest, it leaked and the floor started to stay damp after heavy rain. Years of sitting ruined the frame and froze up the engine. We still saved the car because the interior was in great shape. As I got older my Dad and I always kept a look out for a '64 Galaxie convertible in the papers. We never saw too many, or when we did we didn't have any money, or they were all rotting away.

One day my Dad found a '64 Galaxie in the paper and it sounded pretty good. We also found out previously from doctors that my Dad had, as he called it, the "Big C", cancer. So at this point, not knowing how long my Dad had to live, I was going to buy the Galaxie convertible no matter its condition. I remember that my Dad was in bed a lot because of the cancer. He did not have much energy and it was hard for him just to sit up in bed. I went to his bedside and said hello, he said hi and asked me if I checked out the '64. I said yes. He asked me how it looked. I said, "Check it out yourself, it's outside" . It was like a miracle. He got right out of bed and headed outside. I had purchased the convertible for $800. It had some rust holes, needed a new top, but the chrome was nice. With a big proud smile on his face he checked her out. He drove our Galaxie a few times with my assistance. When friends came to see him he would show them our car.

Shortly thereafter my Dad passed away. With a limited budget I fixed her up and drove around for years with the feeling my dad was with me.

Three years ago I totally restored my Galaxie with the intention of making her perfect. I re-did or had re-done everything. I wire wheeled and painted every bolt. I took out and painted the dash board, rechromed all the bezels, painted the console and put in new carpeting. I spent so much time on this car that my wife was getting jealous. I would tell Judy "At least you know where I am". At this point I had my family help on occassions. I was worried while restoring the car that when I finished, I would lose that feeling of my Dad being with me. I remember putting the dash back together and seeing how beautiful it looked with everything rechromed and polished. Thinking, "Now I know why my dad bought this car". It looked awesome.

I finally enjoyed my "Baby" last summer after 3 summers without her. It looks better than the night my Dad brought her home. Plus I added a few original options, such as the 390 with 3x2 carburator induction, hood ornament, rear deck antannae, rocker panel mouldings, and original AM-FM radio. I have won three "Best of Shows", two "People's Choice" and one "Dealer's Choice". My favorite is a "Ladies Choice". I have also won a trophy in every show I have entered.

Still, the most gratifying thing to me is just driving around on some back country roads, with the family in the car, the top down, the roar of the engine, and my Dad watching over me with a big proud grin on his face.

I would also especially like to thank my good friends, Lenny, Tom, and Ken, for their great assistance in the restoration of my Galaxie.

Thanks for reading my story,

Dave Kyle
FGCoA #3 - Life Member

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