1962 Ford Galaxie 500XL Convertible - $39,900
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  • Overview & History
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It pulls hard in any gear and there’s a notable stop in the throttle that tells you when you’re about to tip into the outer carbs and start delivering the goods.

The horsepower wars were already well underway by the time Ford joined the fray in 1962. Sure, they had a 390 and even a 430 that they were stuffing into Thunderbirds and Lincolns, but those were merely big engines and not really built for combat. Enter the 406. Introduced in 1962, it was indeed a purpose-built powerplant far more than just a stroked 390. It was designed to take on the likes of the Chevy 409 and the Chrysler 413 Wedge—over-built, heavy-duty, and much more than simply a lot of displacement. 11.4:1 compression, cast iron headers instead of log manifolds, and a solid lifter camshaft that sounded a little bit nasty. It was only available in the Galaxie, which probably limited performance, but we have to admit that seeing a full-sized car hustle like a pony car remains one of our favorite tricks.

That’s a long introduction to this 1962 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible, which does indeed pack Ford’s nastiest V8—a 406 topped with three 2-barrel Holley carburetors and making a not unexpected 406 horsepower. Those of you who are already trying to find out why such a car is so affordable have already scanned the door tag and have identified this car’s original engine as a 352 V8, but at some point early in its life that FE block was replaced by the current 406 and they did a rather expert job of it. We know it was done long before fakes and “tributes” were popular because this car has been in storage since 1979 and aside from the engine and transmission, remains largely original. That Castillian Gold paint is about 70% original, with some touch-ups here and there but no signs of wholesale panel replacement or repairs, and it all has a very uniform look to it—again, all the work was done quite some time ago. The Galaxie’s clean, uncluttered lines wear the subtle paint well and it shows good panel alignment and uniform gaps, another sign of a car that hasn’t been mistreated. All the stainless trim—and there’s a whole bunch of it—is in excellent condition and they were even thoughtful enough to add correct ‘406’ emblems on the front fenders. The only notable deviation from stock are the heavy-duty GE flamethrower high-beams, but most folks won’t even notice.

We believe the interior is mostly original, too, including the black bucket seats that show the kind of detailing that the repro kits just can’t seem to duplicate. The carpets have surely been replaced simply because they’re much too nice to be nearly 60 years old, but the door panels, dash pad, and other details certainly look right. The factory gauges are set into sporting engine-turned panels and are joined by a full complement of period Stewart-Warner dials in a custom panels to the left of the steering column. Other noteworthy features include a center console with a Hurst 4-speed for the Toploader gearbox underneath, dealer-installed A/C (not functional, but the compressor energizes so the system likely only needs to be charged), and an AM radio in the center of the dash. Someone has changed the interior courtesy lights to red, which is kind of neat in an aircraft sort of way and changing it back to plain white bulbs shouldn’t be difficult. A full-sized car includes full-sized seats, so the rear area is big enough for real adults and it’s so chock full of ‘60s slick features that you’ll enjoy every ride you take—check out the stainless door panel inserts, the “XL” badge o the rear speaker grille, and the dual courtesy lights in each door, one red and one white. Just plan cool. The power convertible top just might be original, too—it’s in good shape, but not quite so gleaming white as you’d expect if it were newer. And, of course, there’s a positively massive trunk with what appears to be the original spare tire and a full jack assembly.

The nice thing about the FE family of engines is that they’re all about the same size, so slotting the 406 into the 352’s spot was easy and gives the car a very OEM look. The finned air cleaner isn’t quite how it would have been when it was new, but the rest is quite accurate. Check out the Ford script hoses, correct hose clamps, and slick fuel rail feeding the three carbs. The overflow tank and radiator shroud have been chromed to add a little flash and there’s a reproduction battery for an authentic period look. The only thing that really stands out is the big, red ignition coil, but we can’t argue with how it works—the big V8 sparks to life easily and idles nicely with a deep rumble that isn’t overly aggressive. It pulls hard in any gear and there’s a notable stop in the throttle that tells you when you’re about to tip into the outer carbs and start delivering the goods. For a big car, it doesn’t mind a little hustle.

The undercarriage is obviously original, but if you look closely you won’t see any rust or rot in the critical areas, floors are excellent, and factory spot welds are still visible in the rockers. The Toploader 4-speed manual transmission shifts cleanly and for a big engine, clutch action is pretty light. We’ll trust the door tag that tells us there are 3.00 gears in the 9-inch rear end, making this big convertible an excellent cruiser that isn’t at all high-strung. The exhaust system uses mufflers and resonators, so it has a nice rumble that might serve as a bit of a warning about the firepower under the hood, but it’s far from overbearing. The suspension is still luxury car soft, even with a set of air shocks in back, and we kind of like the idea of all that horsepower riding around in comfort. Power steering and brakes are part of the package and there’s a new gas tank hanging out back. 14-inch steel wheels with standard hubcaps are the only real indicator that it’s not a real 406 car (15-inch wheels were standard with the big engine) but with 205/75/14 whitewall radials, it looks right and rides well.

Perfect? No. Pedigreed? Also no. But the last 406 Galaxie 500 convertible to change hands at auction was well into the 6-figure range. Add in the entertaining 4-speed manual gearbox, lots of options, a handsome interior, and that full-sized comfort, and you get a car that’s more than just a clone or a tribute and delivers an authentic experience. Lots of originality certainly helps and with a lot of recent service work, it’s ready to have fun. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1962 Ford Galaxie 500XL Convertible
Price: $39,900
Stock Number: 117109
Mileage: 31,030
VIN: 2W69X156521
Engine: 406 cubic inch V8, Tri-Power
Transmission: 4-speed
Gear Ratio: 3
Wheelbase: 119 inches
Wheels: 14-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 205/75/14 whitewall radials
Exterior Color: Castilian Gold
Interior Color: Black vinyl
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