The 1962 Ford Galaxie 500 two-door
hardtop might just be the most elegantly designed car ever produced by Dearborn.
It has no fins, and like the Parthenon, there is scarcely
a straight line among its powerful, restrained, and graceful curves. Its curves seduce
the eye to follow them from one end to the other, the way a hand likes to run along
the body of a lover . . . .
I owned one in the early 80s. I inherited
it from my grandmother; it was a year older than I am. Some of my earliest
memories are of her and that car. It has been scrapped lo! these twenty years--it
was my fault. I remember that it had
a transister AM radio. You could see one transistor mounted
on the case's exterior. It was the size of a quarter. The radio dial had little
triangle-in-circle symbols marking civil defense frequencies. The (mechanical)
clock spring was kept wound by means of electrical contacts attached to the
spring. When the spring unwound, the contacts would meet, electromagnetically snapping the clock
spring back into tightness. Time in the car was punctuated by its thudding clicks.
The tail lights were crisp round discs with clear centers containing reverse
lights. The roof of the car met the top of the rear window after going through
a wonderful 180-degree curve, forming a soft lip around the window (the design
was bad for racing). On the fenders, on each side of the hood, were
fender ornaments with little orbs at the tip: this car's designer
really did seek to create the apotheosis of the curve. The front of the hood
held the Ford heraldic sign in color, as did
the center of the wheel covers and the center of the steering wheel horn
ring. It bore a black California license plate with gold lettering.
I have saved a copy of the form accompanying
the car from the factory and giving its specifications--it had been
sandwiched behind the rear seat springs. It is in the details that the car lives
again in my mind, and perhaps in some way for the gentle reader, too.
Serial number: 2J63X179412 (number
79,412 built at the Los Angeles plant)
Model: 65A (2-dr. hdtp Club Victoria)
Paint: T ("Sandshell Beige")
Trim: 34 ("Beige crush--all vinyl")
Date of manufacture: 03V (August 3,1962)
Axle ratio: 1 (3.00:1)
Engine: X (8-cylinder 352 cubic inch
Transmission: 4 (Cruise-O-Matic 3-speed)
Overall length: 209.30 inches
Overall width: 79.20 inches
Loaded height: 54.80 inches
Unloaded height: 56.80 inches
Wheelbase: 119.00 inches
Tread (front): 61 inches
Tread (rear): 60 inches
Curb weight: 3807 lbs.
Compression ratio: 8.9:1
Brake horsepower: 220 @ 4300 rpm
Torque: 336 ft-lbs @ 2600 rpm
Bore and stroke: 4.00 X 3.50 inches
Compression pressure: 180 lbs at 20 revolutions/min.
Taxable horsepower: 51.20
Firing order: 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
Valve arrangement: E-I-E-I-I-E-I-E
Engine idle manifold vacuum: 18 inches of mercury at sea level at 450-475
Oil capacity: 5 quarts
Oil pressure (hot): 35-55 psi
See the photos at:
http://www.lovefords.org/62ford/galaxie500clubvictoria.htm (Club Victoria 2-door
http://www.lovefords.org/62ford/colors.htm (1962 color schemes)
Chilton's Auto Repair Manual
1954-1963. 1971. Chilton Book Company, Radnor, PA.
Christ, Steve. 1983. How to Rebuild your Big-Block Ford. H.P. Books,
Ford Motor Company. 1961. 1962 Ford Galaxie Shop Manual. Service Department,
Ford Division, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI.
----------. 1962. 1962 Ford Registered Owners Manual. Ford Motor Company,
Hall, Phil. 1982. Fearsome Fords 1959-73. Motorbooks International,
Huntington, Roger. American Supercar. Development of the Detroit High-Performance
Car. H.P. Books, Tucson, AZ.
Langworth, Richard (and the editors of Consumer Guide). 1982. Great Cars
from Ford. Castle Books, Secaucus, NJ.