1959 FORD Galaxie 500 FairlaneView vehicle description
The Ford Galaxie (no, not the Galaxy, the Galaxie…) was Ford’s largest model across three decades, spanning the years from 1959 all the way to 1974.
Conventionally built using a separate chassis and body, it competed against cars such as the Chevrolet Impala and Plymouth Belvedere. Obviously heavily influenced by the space-race – an era beautifully captured by Bill Bryson in The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, if you’re interested in exploring that period in more depth - it’s a riot of two-tone paint supplemented by chrome ‘n’ fins ‘n’ rocket-influenced lights on the outside – and it is, if anything, even funkier on the inside.
With a range of engines that started with straight-six of 3.7-litres (223ci, for those of an imperial persuasion), the Galaxie rocked seven different V8s from a 4.3-litre (260ci) all the way to a gloriously absurd seven-litre (427ci). Buyers of the era could mate them to a three- or four-speed manual or a choice of the (wonderfully named) two-speed Ford-O-Matic or the three-speed Cruise-O-Matic.
Almost 18 feet long, owners could also opt for a two- or four-door hardtop or sedan, or a two-door convertible.
You’re in luck because the Ford Galaxie became a little more restrained from 1960 onwards, making this early 1959 THE one to have. A two-door hardtop, the good news continues because it’s a ‘Fairlane 500’ as well, which was the designation Ford used for top-of-the-range model at the time. This makes this magnificent coral pink and white example the pinnacle of style and luxury.
It’s here with us at our HQ and we can confirm the 5.4-litre (332ci) engine starts well, bursting into life with the sort of noise you’d associate with a V8 car of this vintage.
It drives well too, but you need to remember that this is a car for cruising rather than racing – but that just gives passers-by more time to admire it, right?
On the Outside
The coral pink and white coachwork is a real head turner, drawing admiring glances wherever it goes. Part of the draw is, of course, the colour and sheer quantity of chrome and stainless steel that’s on show but make no mistake; its condition plays a part, too.
Because this is a lovely example of a very popular slice of 1950’s Americana. With good panels, respectable shutlines, and straight, ripple-free flanks, the Galaxie presents as well close-up as it does from a distance.
The stamped chassis plate you can see in slide #25 shows it as a 64H body style, which is correct for a two-door Club Sedan. (This plate also shows that the car was originally painted white with a yellow vinyl interior and was built on the 23rd of July 1959. It left the factory with the three-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic gearbox and 4.11 ratio rear axle. Just in case you were wondering what it all means!)
The full-width radiator grille is as impressively wide as it is beautifully designed, reminding me of nothing so much as a mouth full of menacingly straight and sharp teeth. (British car designers of the period had no way of knowing what a mouthful of straight, white teeth looked like, hence the lack of British cars so equipped…)
As you can see, the chrome is all very good including the five-spoke Detata wheels, which are fitted with Goodyear tyres that all look to have plenty of tread left on ‘em.
The rear is dominated by the Fairlane 500 badging on the boot. Dominated, that is, if you can ignore the menace of the four rocket-inspired rear lights. Oh, and all the light lenses look to be in great shape.
In fact, the problems that will need rectifying in the near future are few in number and seem to be limited to a crack in the glass on the rear offside (slide #133), some rust bubbles on the lower edge of the nearside (slide #153) and the offside rain gutter (#204), and some undulating paint on the nearside front wing (slide #86) that would repay further investigation.
We can see that the medium-term will see the new owner touching up the odd stonechip and arresting the few small (and we do mean ‘few’ and ‘small’) spots of rust that are starting to appear here and there.
In the longer-term, the offside door could probably do with repainting where the removal of some stickers has lifted some paint.
On the Inside
The vast steering wheel is made even more impressive because of its pink, white and chrome styling; whereas British period sportscars thought they were being a bit flash if they exhibited a wood rim, the Galaxie’s steering wheel is as ornate as it is delicate in your hand.
And yet, for all its glory the steering wheel is one of the more restrained items in the cockpit: never let it be said that American car stylists of the era lacked confidence. There’s more painted metal in here than on an entire MG Midget, more bling than the state opening of parliament, and more switches, knobs and controls than Concorde.
It’s absolutely mesmerising and is in the sort of condition than makes you want to hunker down in there with a loved one beside you on the bench seat, Duane Eddy playing softly on the Ford twin-spindle radio, and a lifetime of dreams stretched endlessly ahead of you.
The front bench seat is still firm and comfortable, and the backrest on each side tilts to allow access to the back seat. The rear seats are just as good if not better but the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that while the headlining is taut, it is stained and has a few small rips (slides #37and #176, for example).
While we’re being critical, the door cards are impressively designed but a little wobbly along the lower edge and marked (i.e. slide #49 and #150), there’s a small rip on the offside of base of the front seat (#220), and the seat pivots are a little rusty (#149), as is the boot floor (i.e. slide #300).
Then 5.4-litre V8 engine sports plenty of chrome too, plus an Edelbrock pancake air filter on top. It’s an impressive sight and starts and runs well. In fact, the whole car drives exactly as you’d expect of a car of this vintage.
The engine bay is a bit of a disappointment in comparison with the rest of the car, and it would repay a winter’s worth of detailing, scrubbing off the surface rust and dressing it up a little to bring it up to the same high standards as the rest of the vehicle.
No such worries with the underside though, which appears to have been protected with a decent coat of underseal a while ago (rather than great gobs of the cheap stuff applied shortly before selling it…) and it looks like it’s done its job in keeping the underside solid. Large parts of the twin exhaust system look pretty recent, too.
As is common for imported vehicles, little is known about ‘401 XVK’ prior to it arriving in the UK other than the current V5 registration document shows just the one previous owner here, which the vendor thinks was a drive-in cinema/bar who used it as a promotional vehicle.
The current owner has had it in his possession since May 2020.
What We Think
A Hollywood staple in hundreds of films and TV shows including Dr. No, Serpico, American Graffiti, and many, many others, we can’t think of many ways to make a bigger impression for so little money; whether you’re looking for a promotional vehicle for your company or a period American car to cruise around in, few cars are going to tick as many boxes as this.
It looks sensational, is in great shape, and starts and drives well. It offers a few small jobs to help you bond with it this winter too, and should offer a reasonably safe place to keep your money in the long-term.
But how much? we hear you cry. Well, a car like this is sure to draw an awful lot of interest, which necessitates a relatively broad guide price of between £10,000 and £20,000. At the lower end of the range it would be a real bargain, and even if it were to reach the upper end of our estimate (and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if it did…) it would still represent an awful lot of car for the money and solid value for money.
If you like the look of it then why not pop along and see it here at our HQ just outside Abingdon? We’re easy to find and the kettle’s always on and we can’t think of a nicer way to while away an hour or so than confirming that this car is as good as we say!
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions.’
If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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