Ford folk remember 1964 as being the most pivotal year in the history of the brand. It was the year the Mustang was born, and it created the “pony car” segment and battled the likes of the Firebird and Challenger. These affordable and fast cars were a massive success, but the Blue Oval had other offerings in its ranks at the time that were already setting pulses racing — one of which was the Galaxie. And with the option to choose high-performance engines via the ‘Total Performance’ scheme, buyers could spec up their models into serious powerhouses.
The Galaxie line was totally redesigned for ’64 with the 500XL (a continuation of the sporty 500 sub-series) and the very best you could get your hands on. The high-volume counterpart to the Impala featured a sumptuous cabin with bucket seats, leather trim and thick carpeting, which alone made it an attractive proposition for customers demanding more luxury with the additional power available. Speaking of which, you could have a base six-cylinder with a column-mounted four-speed manual, but the rip-roaring 427 cubic inch (7.0-litre), 425 horsepower Super High Performance V8 was far more desirable.
The beautiful Ford was penned during an era when fascination in space exploration and rocket ships was at its peak, and this was evident in its design. Its taillights glowed like afterburners, the chrome body trim was like a missile in flight (it even had a vapour trail) and the name was in keeping with the space-age theme, too.
The ’64 500XL was an elegant looker that hid some serious firepower. Available as a hard-top saloon or convertible (with two or four doors in both instances) it was the two-door tin-top that struck a chord. The swooping body style would prove successful in Nascar and drag racing, too, with Holman Moody and Bill Stroppe enjoying considerable success with it.
If you want one today, expect to pay around Dh100,000 for the privilege.