Lee Iacocca moved fast with the Ford XL. One of his favorite sales tools was -- and still is -- the "fractional" model year ("1962 1/2," "1963 1/2," and so on). This coincides with the traditional spring selling season, when dealers like to have something new to stimulate showroom traffic after the lazy winter selling months.
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This 1963 Galaxie 500/XL Sunliner was the top-of-the-line XL that Ford offered for that year.
Ford's big news for '62 was the Fair-lane, the first of the intermediate cars sized between the compacts and the standards. This year's big Ford was conservatively restyled on the 1960-61 platform, with softer rear-end contours and a more massive overall look. With the Fairlane name shifted to the new mid-size line, the standard lineup was divided into Galaxie and new Galaxie 500 models, plus a corresponding group of station wagons, all on the same 119-inch wheelbase as before, A 223-cid six was standard across the board, with V-8 options ranging from 292- and 352-cid units up to a 375-bhp 390, the most powerful '61 choice.
Then came the fireworks. As part of a spring promotion tied in with a youth-oriented TV show called "The Lively Ones," Ford unveiled bucket-seat offerings in each of its three passenger-car lines, plus two new engines. It also punched up advertising for the nostalgic Thunderbird Sports Roadster, Bowing along with a Sports Coupe version of the Fairlane two-door sedan, available with a new 260-cid small-block V-8, was the Falcon Sports Futura, basically the sporty Falcon two-door introduced at mid-1961 with a squared-up roof à la T-Bird/ Galaxie.
At the top of the line was the Galaxie 500/XL, a two-door twosome of Victoria hardtop coupe and Sun-liner convertible with standard three-speed Cruise-O-Matic transmission and the mild 170-bhp 292 V-8. At the same time, bore on the 390 was punched out .08 inch to produce a 406-cid option available on any big Ford. There were two versions: a 385-bhp unit with single four-barrel carburetor, aimed at NASCAR, and a 405-bhp mill with three two-barrel carbs for drag racing. The latter was more heavily promoted.
Though they were separate items, you could get the XL with the 406, and it's a rare and sought-after combination today. The XL's main purpose, though, was to bring buckets-and-console excitement to the standard Ford line. With all this, the division had jumped into the youth market with both feet.
Continue to the next page to learn about the first in the line, the 1962 Ford XL.
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