Steve Mc Clure's
1964 Galaxie 500 Fastback

member profile, September 1997 Issue

My name is Steve McClure. I am 31 years old, so I missed most of the high-performance heyday that the car manufacturers enjoyed in the late fifties and through the sixties. (Unfortunately, I have only heard about what all these great old cars used to do and haven’t had the opportunity to experience it firsthand.) I am widowed, and I don’t have any children.

My Galaxie is a white 1964 2 door hardtop with a red interior, 352/4 barrel, Cruise-O-Matic, power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, AM/FM and swing away steering. My parents bought this car from the local Volkswagen (yes, my Galaxie was traded for a Volkswagen) in April of 1969. My mother drove the Galaxie daily until 1980, at which time it had 180,000 miles and had never given any trouble. Since they had bought a replacement car from an individual, the Galaxie was put into a shed and never sold. In 1981, I started pestering Dad to give me his truck (a 1966 Ford - the year I was born) to drive when I turned sixteen. He finally got tired of this and told me that if I wanted to drive a car to school, I could fix up the Galaxie and drive it. At that time, I did the basics - battery, brakes, exhaust, transmission service and oil change. Now, a sixteen year old is not the best choice to drive a car with 180,000 miles on it but we managed to make it through it all right. Actually, my senior year (1984), the car rolled over 200,000 miles as I was driving home from school.

After graduation, I bought another car to drive and once again the Galaxie went out of regular service. I would drive it on pretty days, and it sure was great to get back into that car (kinda like a pair of comfortable shoes - it just felt so good). I had the engine rebuilt in 1985, with 230,000 miles on it and, surprisingly, showing very little internal wear. In the spring of 1986, I entered it in its first show, and came away with a first place trophy for its class. I didn’t start showing it regularly, but I did drive it - a lot. As a matter of fact, I drove the Galaxie to a Christmas party in 1986, where I met the lady that would become my wife. I’ll never forget her reaction to the car; we had been dating several months when I decided it was time to spring the old car on her. We walked out onto her front porch and she stopped, took one look at the car, turned around and asked if it was mine. I thought she didn’t like it, but she was actually very surprised - she didn’t expect it to look that good. In May of 1988, I drove the Galaxie to our wedding.

After we got married, the Galaxie was driven fairly regularly until 1990, when I began to become concerned about the wear under the front suspension. My wife was taking night classes at the local college, and I really couldn’t afford to do too much with the car, so we dropped the insurance on it and promised that we would fix it up some day. In 1991, I took a part-time evening job to start buying parts to fix the car, and started ordering what I needed to completely rebuild the front suspension. I mentioned several times that we could sell the car and have a pretty good bit of extra money for a while, but she wouldn’t hear of it and told me that one day we would fix the car up “right”. In March of 1992, my wife was involved in a fatal auto accident, and I had to make a decision on the Galaxie.

I bought the balance of parts I needed to complete the front suspension rebuild, borrowed a friends garage and went to work. When I got finished, the car handled really well and was again a lot of fun to drive. But in the appearance area, the years of neglect were very evident. In October of 1992, I took the car off the road with intentions of doing a complete repaint, but I kind of got carried away. New paint let to new weatherstip that let to new chorme that led to polishing the stainless trim that led to a new interior that let to ... basically a total restoration.

After serveral stops and starts and my attending college classes at night and earning the credit for my 2 year degree, the Galaxie is now finished. It has won several awards, including two Best of Show Awards, A Best Interior, and an Antique AACA Senior Award. I still enjoy driving it, although the weather has to be very co-opeative before I consider it. I really enjoy talking with people who remember when these cars were new, and almost everyone either had one or knew someone who had one. I’ve really enjoyed the car, and I hope to continue showing and driving it for several years to come. Who knows, I just might get another 200,000 miles out of it.

(Great story, Steve. While reading it I was reminded of Ted McMurray’s article in last issue where he stated...”Life is too short. Besides, if you really love each other, you both have to give a little. Try to enjoy each others hobbies. You’ll have a richer relationship for it.” I hope that you are fortunate enought to find a wife who will understand your hobby as well as it appears your first did. When we read something like this, we cannot help but feel the loss you must have had. ED)

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