The 1965-1966 Ford Galaxie 500XL was a continuation of the sporty Galaxie 500 sub-series in the first new big-Ford generation since 1960. The 1965s boasted more angular styling (announced by stacked quad headlamps), a sturdier new frame derived from stock-car racing experience, Ford's first-ever coil-spring rear suspension, stronger front suspension hardware, and tighter rear-axle location via twin control arms, a single lateral member, and a Panhard rod.

The 1965 Ford Galaxie 500XL convertible, part of the 1965-1966 Ford Galaxie 500XL series
1965 Ford Galaxie 500XL convertible.  See more pictures of classic cars.

The 500XL bodies were stronger, too, and fewer attachment points reduced noise. That led Ford to advertise its 1965s as "quieter than a Rolls-Royce," a claim made mainly for the new limousine-like LTD hardtop sedan. Even so, Ford's big 1965 stockers gave the division its best-ever NASCAR season, winning 48 of the 55 scheduled Grand National events.

The XLs retained a sporty buckets-and-console interior a la 1962-1964, and offered power options up to a 410-horse 427; the new free-revving small-block "Challenger 289" was standard. A manual four-speed was still available with the big mills, but most XLs continued to be built with the trusty 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic. The mildly facelifted 1966’s gained "7-Litre" companions, the name referring to metric displacement of their standard "428" V-8.

This engine was actually closer to 427 cid, but it was designed for low-speed torque, not high-rpm performance, and was thus named to avoid confusion. Despite two-ton heft, these Fords could be quite fast, and were rewarding to drive in most any form. Their declining popularity in these years reflects less on their abilities than the market's growing preference for the even speedier mid-size muscle machines then appearing.

The 1965-1966 Ford Galaxie 500XLs were more long-overlooked Fords that are worthy of collector esteem.

Pluses of the 1965-1966 Ford Galaxie 500XL:

  • Big, smooth, and quiet
  • Go-power ample to astounding
  • Growing club support
  • Handsome
  • Lush, sporty interiors
  • Many parts still in good supply
  • Relatively scarce (esp. with the 427 V-8) yet still cheap

Minuses of the 1965-1966 Ford Galaxie 500XL:

  • Far from agile
  • Not "mature" collectibles yet, though fast becoming so
  • Require plenty of premium petrol

Production of the 1965 Ford Galaxie 500XL:

  • Hardtop coupe: 28,141
  • Convertible: 9,849

Production of the 1966 Ford Galaxie 500XL:

  • Hardtop coupe: 25,715
  • Convertible: 6,360 7-Litre
  • Hardtop coupe: 8,705 7-Litre
  • Convertible: 2,368

Specifications of the 1965-1966 Ford Galaxie 500XL:
Wheelbase, inches: 119.0
Length, inches: 210.0

Weight, pounds: 3497-4059

Price, new
: $3,233-$3,872 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1966 Ford Galaxie 500XL:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohv V-8
289 cid
195/200
1965-1966
ohv V-8
352 cid
250
1965-1966
ohv V-8390 cid
275/300/315
1965-1966
ohv V-8428 cid
345
1966
ohv V-8
427 cid
410/425
1965-1966

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