1966 Ford Galaxie 500 XL
8-cyl. 390cid/315hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The 1965 Ford line was advertised as the “newest since 1949.” They were indeed all-new cars with new bodies, new perimeter frames, new technology (including slightly curved side-glass), new fashionable boxy styling and vertical headlamps, and new small-block 289 V-8 engines available. Big 427 FE blocks maxed out at 425 hp again, and that was considered “enough” for those who wanted to go very fast.
A new luxury (as opposed to sporty) sub-series of Galaxie made its premier: the Galaxie LTD. As for sales, Ford had nearly caught up with Chevy, largely due to the success of the Mustang, and a rising tide lifts all boats. Period advertisements boasted that the Ford Galaxie 500 was quieter than a Rolls-Royce, which was their way of boasting about how well the engineers had done in isolating the new frame from the new body. The reasons for this were practical enough; it was the first year since 1956 that the Ford and Mercury full-sized cars again shared their essential architecture, basic frame and basic body structures (with variations), in a bid to increase profitability. This obviously benefitted the Ford buyer more than the Mercury buyer.
The 1966 cars received a mild face-lift with a new roofline on two-door hardtops and a new two-way tailgate on the highly popular full-sized Ford wagons, none of which carried the Galaxie nomenclature. A new Galaxie 500 “7-Litre” two-door hardtop (with the new roofline) was introduced as a performance version, including a cheaper-to-build 428 FE block with 345 hp. The car featured a sports steering wheel of simulated English walnut, bucket seats, a floor shift, low restriction exhausts and non-silenced air cleaner, as well as new power front disc brakes. 1966 saw the Galaxie line “trident” into three directions; luxury, super luxury and luxury sports.
A 1967 reskin produced new two-door hardtop/fastback rooflines. The LTD variant now shared the two-door roofline, but the rear side glass shape was altered for a more formal appearance, and technically speaking, LTD became a series of its own this year. Chevy wasn’t so far ahead in the sales race that Ford couldn’t see their dust, but Ford lost out once again.
1968 cars received some alterations, mostly centered around the horizontal layout of the headlamps. Galaxie was again the middle-player, with Custom still below and LTD above. The 427 FE engines were dropped and 428 FE engines substituted, reducing maximum power to 360 hp, and an all-new Ford “Thunder-Jet” 429 engine was introduced, also with 360 hp. People who wanted extreme power were now buying mid-sized cars with monster engines, not full-sized cars.