Three years ago partner Alfred, on a whim, bought a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 making us a three car household as we already own two Saturns a 2008 Aura and a 1996 SL sedan so adding a third was not necessary. Since money exchanged hands and a contract signed there was nothing more to do then to figure which car would get the proverbial axe so, after some talk we decided to get rid of the 1996 model, keep the 2008 and the Ford. Fortunately, a mutual friend was in need and indeed we signed over the 1996 Saturn sedan.
The Galaxie 500 was manufactured from 1959 thru 1974 going through model changes over this period ours is a black two door hardtop with chrome trim and racing wheels, a re-built V-8, 390 cubic inch, 330hp engine you can actually see, a ferocious appetite for gasoline, and the previous owner added a decal on the back that reads “police interceptor.” Some individuals recognized this as one of those specialty cars but a check online only came up with a picture of a Galaxie 500 used in The Andy Griffith Show. The interior is bench seating, an AM radio replaced by an AM/FM CD stereo, manual windows including those small ones on driver and passenger side that look like cat ears when opened (if anyone knows what they are called let me know) automatic gearshift on the steering column, and extra play in the steering. Oh yes, the car has a sub-woofer which occupies the entire trunk.
Enjoyment came easy to Alfred showing off the car and why not, eh BLASTING the radio/sub-woofer everywhere he went I should not wonder if people heard and felt him coming miles in advance. Then due to circumstances beyond his control Alfred lost his job but the entrepreneur in him seized upon the opportunity to start a business and did so in February 2011. All the money he had went into its startup so costs with Alfred now driving the Aura and I the Ford Galaxie. Uncomfortable driving such a large, older technological car my first month I spent getting used to a heavier car, bigger steering wheel, an accelerator needing force to move, however, though, the stereo is wired to accept an IPOD which makes the transformation back in time easier. The last car I drove similar was a 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88 four door my father gave me in 1977 after he updated. In time the Galaxie became the “I want to drive” car helped along with the admiration from the outside world.
Within a couple of weeks fellow workers figured out the shiny black, chrome object in the parking belong to me and talked of memories of their muscle cars which I never desired to own one but now that is different, maybe due to aging? Nostalgia? Back in high school friends drove Ford Mach 3 Mustangs, ragtop Barracudas, and souped up Plymouth Roadrunners but high-powered cars just did not interest me, the Olds gave me everything needed. Recently, I took the Galaxie on a photo shoot to Fort Vancouver National Park and, after a fortifying, healthy snack, I park near the reconstructed fort shooting various angles with and without flash, stop along the parade grounds and repeat the process snapping many shots so that I am sure to get a few good ones. Nature cooperated blanketing the area with sunny skies, these two some of my favorites,and as I move around recollections of other classic cars and Galaxie 500 owners met over the past two years surfaced.
Once when buying a cell phone battery a woman approached me in the parking lot, maybe sixty she reminded of a smoker, leathery, wrinkled skin and spoke softly with a sad, bittersweet expression. She asked, “What year is the car?” I replied, “1965.” She started the conversation about her convertible Galaxie and the use a rope to keep the doors closed, talked about gas prices, and then she broke in to say, “I just wanted to say you have a nice car,” turned and walked away. While driving home one evening a light blue 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 passes by, I waved to the driver and he back; again this happens on a rainy night on the way home a black Galaxie 500 with two people, we smile and wave.
And the hits just keep coming. While Christmas shopping last year an elderly gentleman (a Chevy man) from Baker City, Oregon approaches and we talk about classic cars and fixing dented fenders and quarter panels as opposed to rusted ones. Same day an elderly couple is out walking their dog and ear-to-ear smiles cover their faces as I slowly drive by. After parking at a local library I meet a gentleman who informs he had a 1966 Galaxie and that the hood paint was notorious for peeling, but had Earl Scheib’s in Southern California repaint it. The other day driving home from the gym I come up on a 1956 Chevy Bel Air white across the top half and creamsicle orange along the bottom half of the car, waves and peace signs flash back and forth.
All of these occurrences although minor shed that “out of place” sensation, I want to drive the Galaxie more but gas prices keep this to a minimal. Yes, I do enjoy driving the Ford Galaxie 500 Police Interceptor and wonder what high school friends might say.