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1968 Galaxie 500 with Few Options


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My neighbor just brought home an interesting  '68 Ford Galaxie 500 fast back coupe. It's a very attractive car, but you have to wonder what the original owner was thinking when he ordered it. With the base 302 V-8, 3 speed column shift, no power steering, no power brakes, no power windows or air conditioning it couldn't have been a very satisfying car to drive. Wasn't it comedian Chevy Chase who used to say "It is better to look good than to feel good" ?

 

 

IMG_0001.thumb.JPG.8f48ef794960a273ca81adbfdab2b4a5.JPG

 

 

Don

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When new it was probably advertised for $$$ dollars so that the dealer would get floor traffic.  In 2008 I bought a new Dodge Caliber like that.  Had AC and auto trans but nothing else, not even cruise control.

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My 1965 Pontiac Bonneville was build in the South Gate California plant in the first week of production. It serial number is 824 so may have been build on the second or third day???? The body number says it is 143rd hardtop sedan body. It would be interesting to know what the through-put rate was early in the run.

 

It has the 'standard' Bonneville features; the high compression, four barrel 389, TH400 trans, power steering and brakes, and little else. I know the new price was $3995, whether that included any taxes etc I don't know.  I have always thought they built 'plain' ones at the beginning to get them on the showroom floor at a low introduction price.

 

Somewhere I have the copy of factory build sheet that I got from PHS many years ago.

 

I made contact with the original owner in the 1970s but have not had further contact. I suspect he is no longer with us. He imported the car to NZ and registered it in late November of 1965.

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2 hours ago, DLynskey said:

My neighbor just brought home an interesting  '68 Ford Galaxie 500 fast back coupe. It's a very attractive car, but you have to wonder what the original owner was thinking when he ordered it. With the base 302 V-8, 3 speed column shift, no power steering, no power brakes, no power windows or air conditioning it couldn't have been a very satisfying car to drive. Wasn't it comedian Chevy Chase who used to say "It is better to look good than to feel good" ?

I remember most late 60's-early '70's Galaxie 500's were similar to this one, with very few options, though most did have power steering and brakes.  The majority who wanted all those comfort & convenience options such as power windows, power seats, and A/C usually opted for the top of the line LTD.

 

Craig

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Right.  In 68 the Custom was still around, so the base Galaxie 500 was mid line. Hey, it has the first engine option, not the base six cylinder.

 

My father bought a new 66 Biscayne, 4 door sedan, with the ONLY option being the 283 V-8. The check he wrote was $2100.00. Wait, so the extra two doors was an option, right?😁

 

In 1974 I followed suit and bought a 66 BIscayne station wagon. Again, only option was the 283 V-8. It had been well used (abused) by Andrews and Parrish Construction Company.  I could tell by looking at the doors sideways and reading the painted over signage. 😄 i could get 21 MPG in that full sized wagon. As a college student that was great! Plus lots of room to haul parts home from "Used Parts Emporiums" for other projects, and laundry back home. Oh, never mind......🤣

 

You must remember, back in the 60s air conditioning was still a rare thing in lower priced cars from the mid-Atlantic up. 

 

I'm sure that Galaxie was very satisfying to drive for the original owner. It was exactly what they wanted! I loved driving the Biscaynes. For a while in the late 70s I had a 65 Bel Air with the 230 six and three on the tree. Not as fast as the 283, and that was the last year for non-synchro first, and the second gear synchro was worn out..... and I still enjoyed driving it too!😉

 

 

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That Galaxie sounds a lot like the way most were ordered around here back then, though most folks went for the AT. Chevrolet and Plymouth about the same.

 

When you got into mid-price territory the options became more common. I don't think either of the three Olds dealers in this area ever ordered a stick shift big Olds after 1955 or so, and every one I remember seeing had the step-up deluxe interior trim. Mercury and Dodge likewise.

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2 hours ago, Frank DuVal said:

Right.  In 68 the Custom was still around, so the base Galaxie 500 was mid line. Hey, it has the first engine option, not the base six cylinder.

 

My father bought a new 66 Biscayne, 4 door sedan, with the ONLY option being the 283 V-8. The check he wrote was $2100.00. Wait, so the extra two doors was an option, right?😁

 

In 1974 I followed suit and bought a 66 BIscayne station wagon. Again, only option was the 283 V-8. It had been well used (abused) by Andrews and Parrish Construction Company.  I could tell by looking at the doors sideways and reading the painted over signage. 😄 i could get 21 MPG in that full sized wagon. As a college student that was great! Plus lots of room to haul parts home from "Used Parts Emporiums" for other projects, and laundry back home. Oh, never mind......🤣

 

 

 

 

 

 

??? Only engine option?

1966_Chevrolet_Full_Size-14-15.jpg

Like the slightly upscale Bel Airs, Biscaynes are easily identified by the use of two taillights per side; the only exceptions to this were in 1959 and 1972. The more expensive Impalas (and later Caprices) have three taillights per side. The Biscayne was largely devoid of exterior chrome trim and was normally fitted with small hubcaps, though several exterior trim pieces and upgraded wheel covers were available at extra cost. Interior trim was spartan, with lower-grade cloth and vinyl or all-vinyl upholstery trim, a standard steering wheel with center horn button, and rubber floor mats. Slight upgrades were made throughout the life of the series — for instance, the 1964 models came standard with deluxe steering wheels with horn rings, deep-twist carpeting and foam-cushioned front seats.

The all-new 1965 Biscayne was larger yet, and offered an even wider range of engines, including a new, larger 250-ci inline-six. For the 1967 model year the smaller 230 was dropped. For 1966 the top engine became the new Big-Block 427 ci V8, available in a high-powered, high-revving 425 hp version with solid lifters.

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5 hours ago, padgett said:

Just a thought but 421 Super Duty Pontiacs of the 60s were invoiced as 389 2bbl, 3 speed manual & 'body in aisle" - the giveaway.

Dealer invoiced? Zone office invoiced?  Where did you get that information?

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When I see a car like that full size Ford with no options, I figure it was bought by an old man who was buying what he was used to - a car with no power options, manual trans, not even a radio - basic reliable transportation. The kind of guy who bought a new car about every 10 years, or maybe had never bought a new car in his life before. Such cars are an especial favorite of farmers.

 

When I see one like that with no options except for the biggest motor they offered, I figure the old man pulled a travel trailer or boat trailer. I have seen a few cars like that and owned one, a 1968 Buick Electra hardtop with no options except the 375HP high compression 430 V8.

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13 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

 

 

When I see one like that with no options except for the biggest motor they offered, I figure the old man pulled a travel trailer or boat trailer. I have seen a few cars like that and owned one, a 1968 Buick Electra hardtop with no options except the 375HP high compression 430 V8.

 

I figure they were going drag racing.

BTW about two years ago I was looking in the Cadillac section of Hemmings when a beautiful 1975 Coupe de Ville showed up with the stock 500" engine without factory A/C. For some reason I thought by that time A/C in a Cad was standard equipment.

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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Plenty of folks in that era wanted a new car but thought that the accessories were a waste of money, or something else to break.   My Father would not have a car with anything but a six three speed. Lots of his friends were the same.  I don't know if it came from living through the Depression or what.

Edited by plymouthcranbrook (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, Pfeil said:

??? Only engine option?

 

Like the slightly upscale Bel Airs, Biscaynes are easily identified by the use of two taillights per side; the only exceptions to this were in 1959 and 1972. The more expensive Impalas (and later Caprices) have three taillights per side.

Not exactly correct.  The 1966 & '67 had one lens, but three different designs in 1966, and two in 1967.  The Impala had two dividers in the lens with an aluminum frame to make it appear as three different lenses, and the Bel Air and Biscaynes had what appeared to be two separate lenses, although they did have holes either in the middle of the inner sections for the clear backup light inserts.  The '66 Caprice was a different lens unto itself.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, Pfeil said:

??? Only engine option?

1966_Chevrolet_Full_Size-14-15.jpg

For 1966 the top engine became the new Big-Block 427 ci V8, available in a high-powered, high-revving 425 hp version with solid lifters.

This is the ultimate Biscayne.

66_Chev_Trooper_2.jpg

66_Chev_Trooper_1.jpg

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My dad had a plain Jane beige 66 Biscayne 4 door, 283 2 barrel three on the tree, no options.  He bought it used from the local Chevy dealer.  The original owner was a local pastor from the glovebox paperwork he found. Made sense, most pastors either can’t afford a well optioned car or don’t want to be seen driving one especially if the congregation is made up of everyday working people as this car would have been.  Today those cheap entry level autos are almost impossible to find on car lots.

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Low or no-option cars were still available and the norm for a significant percentage of the cars sold then.  Remember, many new car buyers had survived the Depression, held to their frugal ways as a hedge against coming bad times.  Now, such cars are anathema to car buyers who have come to expect fully loaded as standard, shun any that aren't.

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This type of car was very common on the East coast of Canada in the 60's. It seems we got the basic "stripper" cars that the local economy could afford. My parents had plain Jane Chevys, inline 6, bolt action 3 speed column standard. The 58 Delray they traded on the 63 Biscayne had only one sunvisor, no carpet. At least the 63 had both visors!

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Frank did not say the 283 was the only 1966 engine option. He said it was the only option that particular car came with. As in nothing else but the one-step-up V8.

 

My dad's 68 ElCamino was a comparative stripper. Malibu trim level with vinyl roof cover, 307, AM radio and factory installed air shocks. Nothing else. The Superlift air shocks may even have been standard on EC; it had steel lines and being standard equipment would have made sense on the trucklet. 

 

At one time my 74 Hurst/Olds was the lowest optioned H/O known to the Hurst/Olds Club. Other than the H/O appearance package, air conditioning and AM/FM mono radio were it. Then another 74 surfaced with nothing but an AM radio. A Hurst/Olds was a car that generally came with a few niceties due to the market it was targeting.

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27 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

The surprising thing is that it hasn't been "restored" yet with every option available in the catalog added to it in the process...

In my experience Fords don't get subjected to that mentality the way GM cars do. 

 

One of those type owner/restorers will invariably say "that's how I'd have ordered it new!"  Hmm... you were probably making minimum wage and adding a grand's worth of options would have doubled your car payment, plus would have added weight and dropped yer performance and fuel mileage...  Yeah, that's exactly the way you'd have ordered it.

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Back in the day, cars were often ordered with a base radio and wheels/tires. The good ones were already under the bed. Wasn't SEMA's first major action about standardizing radios ? My '78 Sunbird was ordered with a Radio Accommodation Package for $26.00. Included windshield antenna and wiring.

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5 hours ago, rocketraider said:

Frank did not say the 283 was the only 1966 engine option. He said it was the only option that particular car came with. As in nothing else but the one-step-up V8.

 

 

 

That's why I showed the Biscayne in two and four door models which could have a 230 Six, a 283, a 327, a 396 and a 427. if so ordered.

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49 minutes ago, Pfeil said:

 

That's why I showed the Biscayne in two and four door models which could have a 230 Six, a 283, a 327 and a 427. if so ordered.

 

I stumbled onto a fairly plain 66 Impala back in the day.

I was a four door hard top with a 427 and three speed on the tree. Radio delete.

The old guy had a matching 66 El Camino 283 auto as well.

I bought the 427 car only to have it be stolen right after I had it painted.

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7 hours ago, padgett said:

Wasn't SEMA's first major action about standardizing radios ? My '78 Sunbird was ordered with a Radio Accommodation Package for $26.00. Included windshield antenna and wiring.

 

Most factory radios were awful—and not just with domestic cars. Many German cars included no radio well into the eighties—the assumption was that buyers who cared about sound would pick something from the aftermarket they liked and order it from folks like Crutchfield. In 1983, the Delco-GM/Bose Music System started to change that view.

 

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I'd disagree. The all transistor Delco radios from the 60s and 70s were very good radios just very expensive options. Just a base AM with no pushbuttons and one speaker (4x10 in dash) was $60 but needed for wiring and manual antenna. By '78 and I think by SEMA efforts, GM offered a $26 "Radio Accomodation Package" (mentioned before).

 

Side note: in the early '70s there was a mono AM/FM radio with a pug in the back. To make stereo you added a second channel in a separate module that plugged into the first. And then there was reverb...

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10 hours ago, padgett said:

Back in the day, cars were often ordered with a base radio and wheels/tires. The good ones were already under the bed. Wasn't SEMA's first major action about standardizing radios ? My '78 Sunbird was ordered with a Radio Accommodation Package for $26.00. Included windshield antenna and wiring.

I believe one was able to order a 'radio-ready' kit prior to 1978.  If I recall correctly, my uncle ordered his 1966 Pontiac with speaker, antenna installed, with wiring, plus the underhood radio suppression components in place.  He loved his three-band portable German SABA 'Transeuropa' which mounted below the dash.  Unfortunately, he is no longer around for me to ask him any info about it.

 

Craig

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10 hours ago, padgett said:

Back in the day, cars were often ordered with a base radio and wheels/tires. The good ones were already under the bed. Wasn't SEMA's first major action about standardizing radios ? My '78 Sunbird was ordered with a Radio Accommodation Package for $26.00. Included windshield antenna and wiring.

 

The Radio Accomodation Package on H body cars (RPO UN9) had nothing to do with SEMA. It meant that the cars were equipped with the windshield antenna, so the dealer could install the radio if the dealer installed option was desired. A radio could not be ordered unless RPO UN9 was ordered as well.  Buick was more specific on the description of that RPO where it was listed as "radio suppression/windshield antenna." Oldsmobile just listed it as "radio suppression." From what I found so far Chevrolet did not even offer it.

 

There is no location to mount a fender antenna. 

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16 minutes ago, John348 said:

 

The Radio Accomodation Package on H body cars (RPO UN9) had nothing to do with SEMA. It meant that the cars were equipped with the windshield antenna, so the dealer could install the radio if the dealer installed option was desired. A radio could not be ordered unless RPO UN9 was ordered as well.  Buick was more specific on the description of that RPO where it was listed as "radio suppression/windshield antenna." Oldsmobile just listed it as "radio suppression." From what I found so far Chevrolet did not even offer it.

 

There is no location to mount a fender antenna. 

 

 

John, I have one of those windshield antennas in my 76 Omega Brougham;

CC170-dR-01.jpg

This 1977 Nova custom below also has the antenna in the glass, and it's on the build sheet.

70912463-770-0@2X.jpg?rev=1

U76 below

70912459-770-0@2X.jpg?rev=1

 

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I see nothing at all lacking in that '68 Galaxie. The OP understandably questions the lack of A/C, but that would be the natural reaction of someone from South Carolina. I think that A/C was fairly common in big cars by 1968, but not necessarily the case if they were sold new in International Falls or Kalispell. It would depend where the car was sold new. Power windows not common on most Fords in '68, though it had been an option for a while. The other options he mentioned were common back then, though.

 

Another perspective is that of someone refurbishing an old car. I'm personally glad that the T-Bird I'm trying to resurrect is one of the few without power seats or power windows. Those options are generally expensive and difficult to repair or replace, so I find it appealing that the Galaxy has no options (though I'm guessing the blocks behind the wheels aren't because the car came from the factory without a parking brake 😄 .)

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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I know I'm late to the party but, my thinking is, maybe whoever bought that Galaxie new, may have been buying their FIRST new car ever. If you can remember that feeling, then you like me wasn't really concerned at the moment about what options came with the car. They were probably just as happy as the other customer who bought the same car with every option available. anyway, I would gladly have that car today.

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I really wish people would read what I say. One thought was "Wasn't SEMA's first major action about standardizing radios ?". The second follow on was the fact that my 78 Sunbird could be ordered with the "Radio Accommodation Package". Do not know when it started just that I had to order the base AM radio on my 72 Pontiac wagon because no such Anetnna and wiring package existed then (wound up with a Caddy Am/FM/8 Track and had to mill and "engine turn" a dash panel to fit the knobs).

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5 hours ago, JamesR said:

Another perspective is that of someone refurbishing an old car. I'm personally glad that the T-Bird I'm trying to resurrect is one of the few without power seats or power windows. 

That is rare opposite from this Galaxie 500.  I've seen about as many non-power window Thunderbirds from that era as I've seen Galaxie 500's with power windows.   

 

One would think it would cost MORE to manufacture the Thunderbird rear window regulators on the '67-'69's with the crank windows, where the window travelled horizontally into the C-pillar.

And I can say, I've only seen one four door Thunderbird with crank windows.

 

Craig 

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1 hour ago, padgett said:

I really wish people would read what I say. One thought was "Wasn't SEMA's first major action about standardizing radios ?". The second follow on was the fact that my 78 Sunbird could be ordered with the "Radio Accommodation Package". Do not know when it started just that I had to order the base AM radio on my 72 Pontiac wagon because no such Anetnna and wiring package existed then (wound up with a Caddy Am/FM/8 Track and had to mill and "engine turn" a dash panel to fit the knobs).

 

And it could have been ordered without a radio but with the radio accomodation package. and the owner (as many did) install their own sound system which was popular then.

This thread is not about YOU or YOUR CARS, but somehow you managed to take the conversation from a car made by a different manufacturer built 10 years prior to your car. Why don't you try to talk about the Galaxy in the thread, and not your cars? It would be a refreshing change

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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On 11/27/2020 at 5:59 PM, DLynskey said:

but you have to wonder what the original owner was thinking when he ordered it.

 

I would bet the sales manager ordered it and could have draw a police sketch of the buyer before he walked in.

 

I'd put up a C-note that the original buyer wore pants with a 26-28" inseam.

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Was in the USAF in the mid-60s and saw many fleet cars with base engines, three speed manual trans, and nothing else (usually had a radio block off plate). Rent-a-car people had already gone to automatics. Guess by then the Galaxy was no longer TOL.

 

Generally try to stick to what I know from personal experience. Guess few understand the value of "being there".

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