The 1965-66 Ford Galaxie 500: Proof that Size Matters
Try this: close your eyes and picture the first dinosaur that comes to mind. What did you see? I’m willing to bet it wasn’t Nemicolopterus, which was about as big as a modern pigeon. Nor was it Microceratops, which stood about 18 inches high and weighed around five pounds. Chances are it was the king of the ancient lizards, the awe-inspiring Tyrannosaurus Rex, which weighed as much as eight tons and measured 40 feet in length from its head to the tip of its tail. (Stick with me here. I promise this really is an article about cars). Why is it that we tend to picture the biggest, most powerful example of something? Because size and power captures our imagination more often than petite dimensions and agility. This isn’t really fair, as speed, cunning, and nimbleness are fantastic qualities to have. Nonetheless, it’s size and brute force that most often fascinates us.
Hence, the 1965-66 Galaxie 500. It appeared at a point in automotive history when the public was gaining a fancy for smaller, more agile vehicles, like the Mustang and other pony cars. It appeared to people at the time to be something of a dinosaur, with its imposing frame and massive engine. But what it lacked in dexterity, it more than made up for in the one essential quality of a muscle car: sheer, unrestrained power.
Related: See a perfect 1969 Galaxie from a BoldRide.com reader
The 65-66 Galaxie continued the 500 sub-series that Ford first launched in 1960. It differed from its predecessors, however, in having the company’s first coil-spring rear, beefier front suspension components, a Panhard rod, and double control arms that gave it a snugger rear axle. Its body was tank-tough, and the vehicle had a surprisingly quiet ride for one of its mass, thanks to sturdier construction that eliminated many of the older attachment points. A four-speed manual transmission was the choice of serious street racers, though most buyers preferred the three-speed automatic.
A variety of power plants were available for under the hood, but the big daddy of them all was the 427 cubic inch beast that churned out 425 horses. The engine was designed for torque rather than high RPM. That, along with its 4,000-pound weight, gave the 65-66 Galaxie somewhat slower acceleration than its competitors. It went 0-60 in eight seconds with the 427 fed by twin Holley four-barrel carbs, and completed the quarter mile in 16.4 seconds. But, with 480 foot-pounds of torque at 3700 RPMs, towing the family house trailer was no big deal. For that matter, taking the entire family house along on vacation wouldn’t have strained this brute.
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If you’re looking for a great project car, at a price that won’t have the kids eating from dumpsters, then the 65-66 Galaxie is an excellent choice. It has yet to be recognized for what it was in its time: a Tyrannosaurus surrounded by nimble but seriously underpowered competitors. The Ford Galaxie is yet more proof that, like it or not, size really does matter.
Related: Speaking of size, see our favorite huge classic, the Futurliner.