1959 Ford Galaxie engineering showed good sense, too: a stronger frame with more widely spaced side rails for extra interior room; engines slightly detuned for better economy (a definite selling point after the 1958 recession); a lighter, redesigned two-speed Ford-O-Matic with 105 fewer parts; and a new link-type front stabilizer bar and variable-rate rear springs that did nothing for handling, but softened the ride.
Of greater long-term importance were the adoption of more durable aluminized mufflers, full-flow filters providing 4,000-mile oil-change intervals, and "Diamond Lustre" enamel paint that wasn't supposed to need waxing.
The wisdom of introducing a new top-line standard series with Thunderbird roof styling caused little debate, but there was debate about its name. Ford considered variations on its more popular recent monikers, including Townliner, Crown 500, and even Thunderstar, then chose Galaxie -- incorrectly spelled, but perhaps inspired by the belated success of the U.S. space program.
No matter. The big Ford Galaxie with "the Thunderbird look" sold strongly despite a late, mid-model-year start: better than 464,000 units. That figure is a bit misleading, however, in that the Fairlane 500 Sunliner and Skyliner became Ford Galaxies at the same time through a simple change of rear fender script, though all 1959 Galaxies retained Fairlane 500 rear-deck identification.
Yet even if the two drop-tops are added to the Fairlane 500's total, the 1959 Ford Galaxie still comes out ahead by almost three to one. At over 405,000 units, its four closed models accounted for better than 27 percent of Ford's total 1959 volume.
With this, plus vastly better quality than in 1957-1958, Ford nipped Chevrolet in calendar 1959 sales, though Chevrolet won the model year production race by a bit less than 12,000 units.
But the 1959 Ford Galaxie had made its point, and would remain the top standard Ford for the next decade, always a strong seller. It also prompted a similar roof graft for the 1962 Falcon compact, which proved just as popular. Which only goes to show that even the best steak seems to taste better with the right sizzle.
To see the specifications of the 1959 Ford Galaxie, keep reading.