The Galaxie Quest: My Lifelong Obsession With Fords
Like most farm kids, I have lots of great memories growing up in the country. There was always work to do, but I had time for play also. When you live in the country you have to make your own fun at times, and I put lots of miles on my hands and knees with my hot wheels! My Mother was always patching up the holes in my jeans.
As I grew older I quickly started paying attention to what vehicles were in the yard. Ninety nine percent of the time it was a FORD. Whether it was a farm truck or the car we went to town in on a Friday afternoon, those FORD letters were what I saw and they left a lifelong impression on me.
In 1987, the first car I had ever bought was a 1967 Ford Custom 500 4 door. It had the basic 289 and C-4 automatic, and although it may not have been the prettiest car you ever saw, for $500 it was what I could afford. Many miles of trouble free service that old Ford would provide for me and my friends and a lot of good times. If only we could go back!
After my high school days were over I parked the old '67. She was worn out and from then on a Ford truck was my mode of transport for college. Those old Ford cars never left my mind completely. In 1992, I was on a trip to Lethbridge, Alberta and that is when I saw what was to become my first really nice car - a 1968 Ford Torino GT two door hardtop, red with black bucket seats and console shift. Now I was getting somewhere - what a step up in the car hobby it was for me. For 10 years I drove that car as much as nice weather would allow and I have nothing but fantastic memories!
Regretfully, in 2003 I sold the Torino. What a bad choice it was, but as they say, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Very soon afterward, I had the chance to buy my next old Ford, a 1968 Galaxie 500 2 door. The next step in my car crazy obsession was in full swing. When I first hauled the old gal home, she was not without a few chinks in her armor. The engine and rear end were rebuilt and the body was respectable, but the rest of it was a journey in itself to bring back to its former glory . Originally it was a 302 2-barrel and an FMX automatic car, with Sunlit gold paint both in and out along with a black top. When I bought it, she was Ford Probe Purple ! Hmmmm…… Did I mention the engine was rebuilt?
The 302 and FMX transmission were long gone, and in their place was a sweet running 428 F.E. big block, a C-6 automatic and 9 inch rear end with 3.25 gearing. The 428 had cobra jet internals, a higher lift camshaft, 11:1 compression ratio, with a 390 police interceptor 4 barrel intake. The heads were pre-1960 Ford heavy duty truck heads with valve sizes similar to a 428 Cobra Jet head. In 2006-2007, the interior was changed from the ugly gold color to black. I painted the door panels and back seats with black vinyl dye. I located a set of bucket seats from a wrecked 68 XL, had them redone in black and had the headliner replaced.
The Galaxie was slowly starting to look like it had some fit and finish to it. Minor electrical problems were also addressed at this point. It was fun to take her out on the open road when weather permitted and to a few car shows instead of working on it.
Fast forward to 2008 and the biggest and most costly part of my Galaxie project - paint and body work. A good friend of mine suggested a body shop in Lethbridge, Alberta. We headed up there with the Galaxie in tow on yet another journey in its restoration process. The purple would soon be replaced with Mercury Mariner dark green metallic. My wife and I picked it because it is different, and not what you see very often at a car show. Later in the evenings the paint almost looks like gunmetal grey. Three months later we got the car home and the results were well worth the wait. It looked spectacular. In 2011 American Racing wheels and some BF Goodrich tires were put on and they made the car look fantastic.
In February of 2014 the transmission was rebuilt, and we had finally reached the point where our Galaxie project was complete. We were at the crossroads when there was more driving than fixing and that was quite fine by me! Then in September I got a phone call. The beginning of another chapter in my life with old Fords.
A fellow Ford Galaxie enthusiast, and good friend, Robert Cator, phoned me and told me about a 1968 Ford Galaxie XL fastback that he had acquired. It was a 40,000 mile original car, black paint, red bucket seat interior, console shift, and a 302 with a C-4 automatic. It was bought new from Century Motors in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1968 and had three owners previous to him acquiring it. At the time I mentioned to him that if he ever wanted to sell it, I would appreciate him giving me first chance at it. He agreed, and he invited me up to his place to have a look at his Galaxie. We left it at that and I hung up the phone, not really giving the car too much more thought other than wishing it was mine! You can always dream.
On September 30th I phoned Robert back again to see what his schedule was like so that I could run up and have a look at the XL, and the conversation had changed to "If you are serious about the car I will let you have first chance at it". Two days later, I was in his shop with a pair of shop coveralls lying underneath a virtual time capsule of a car. Other than a tune-up on the engine, some new radiator hoses and some new tires, the Galaxie was virtually the way it had rolled out of the showroom.
Try to imagine, if you will, a car of this caliber that is 46 years old, so well taken care of and driven so little by it's previous owners, that it still has the original paint and driveline. A true survivor, to say the least.
At this point, all rational thought went out the window and I knew that I may never come across another opportunity like this one.
Two hours later we shook hands and I paid him for the car. The following day I came back and loaded it up and headed for home with the ultimate 1968 Ford. This is the nicest Ford car that I have ever owned and I have NO intentions of letting it leave my possession. This may not be the rarest Ford out there, but very few original cars, regardless of which automobile company has made them, are left. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to own this incredible piece of Ford history.
I would personally like to thank my good friend Robert Cator for giving me the opportunity to be the next caretaker of this old Ford , and a very special thanks to my wife Dalyce for her devoted support in my car hobby obsession. Without her I would not be where I am today. My wife and I, and our 8 year old son Carson, are planning some great cruising days in 2015. Now we have two Galaxies to drive! Life is good!
That sums up my life to date with the Ford Motor Company…..and the ride is far from over yet!