With a lifelong interest in cars sparked by his father Del, Rob McDonald, like most car guys, cannot turn down a good deal when it presents itself. So when this '65 Galaxie 500 became available, it quickly found a home in Rob's garage. How good a deal was it? Well, it was a one-owner car belonging to a friend's grandmother, and had sat at the back of the friend's shop for ten years with just 58,000 miles on the clock. Making the deal even sweeter, Rob didn't pay a cent for the hardtop, merely trading some labor to seal the deal.
However, it was about this time when two years of hard work began. "The '65 Galaxie got left behind by the aftermarket. They don't make anything for it. You're fine up to '64 or from '66 on, but not with the '65, unless you want rubber parts. I had to hunt forever for some wheelwell trim," Rob said. "I've been into cars since I was 16, but I've never seen a '65 Galaxie done. Now I know why! All I could find were the plastic clips for the rocker moldings. But I saw the unique potential in the car, and knew it would be something the family would enjoy."
Not one to be discouraged, Rob stripped and painted the chassis. "It wasn't a body-off job but it looks good up on the rack" is how he describes it. The stock trailing arm rear suspension was retained, the coils were removed to make way for a pair of Air Ride Technologies 'bags. Up front, another pair of airbags was added to the stock suspension, along with disc brakes.
Keeping with the "modified stock" theme, the C4 tranny was deemed to have covered a sufficiently low mileage to negate its removal, though the 289 engine was pulled, rebuilt, and dressed to provide some sparkle in the black engine bay.
Rob handed the Galaxie to Mason Designs, who nosed and decked it, and shaved the handles, badges, antenna, and emblems before applying a topcoat. K Daddyz Kustomz can also take credit for finish work and paint. New glass was installed all around, while Rob took care of the stereo installation, employing Rockford Fosgate amplifiers and speakers coupled to an Alpine head unit. With the installation complete, the Galaxie just required an interior, ably handled by Bakersfield Aircraft and Auto Interiors in leather and suede, employing black loop carpet.
Now that the project is complete, would Rob have tackled it if he'd known how hard it would be to source parts? "No, I'd probably have done something else," was his immediate reply, followed by an admittance that he has his eye on a '63 Lincoln Continental convertible-also a pretty tough one to source parts for. Guess he likes a challenge!
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1965 Ford Galaxie 500
The 289 and C4 are the original pieces that came with the Galaxie back in 1965, though the motor was rebuilt to stock specs with the help of Monte Hammett. Edelbrock supplied the 600 cfm carburetor, Performer intake, and polished water pump, while chromed "cheapie" valve covers, 100 amp alternator, and Chevy power steering pump add some sparkle along with a Billet Specialties air cleaner. Ceramic Sanderson shorty headers feed into MagnaFlow mufflers, with everything kept cool courtesy of a Griffin aluminum radiator.
Air Ride Technologies' Ride Pro E system maintains the desired ride height at each corner, with shocks from the same source providing damping. The stock 9-inch axle remains in service, though an upgrade to Dearborn Classics disc brakes on the front ensures contemporary stopping ability.
Wheels & Tires
A big car needs its wheelwells filled. To that end, 17-inch Dunlop rubber is wrapped around a set of Billet Specialties wheels, measuring 8-inch on the front and 10-inch out back.
Body & Paint
The hardtop roof and vast expanse of sheetmetal make for clean lines from the factory, but Rob had Mason Designs clean them up further by removing the badges, handles, antenna, and unnecessary trim. Steve Mason and Kyle Gann laid down the House of Kolor Sunset Pearl Orange, with white pearl over base white contrasting on the roof. Rodney Bowser of Independent Detail then cut and buffed the clearcoat for a perfect finish. The Bumper Boyz made sure the chrome front and rear were up to standard, while Rob tricked out the stock taillights by adding '59 Cadillac lenses to their centers.
Black leather and suede now cover the bench seats, with matching leather door cards. A white-rimmed Billet Specialties steering wheel is complemented by billet door furniture, with a new dash pad topping the body-color dash. Rob installed an Alpine head unit and filled the interior with Rockford Fosgate Power Series front, rear, and subwoofer speakers. New tinted glass provides some dark sunglasses cool.