Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The Ford Galaxie 500 7-Litre

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Welcome to the Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage, a regular feature which aims to expand the notion of what a muscle car is. It was the Autumn of 1965, and at that time Pontiac’s hot-selling GTO heavily influenced the performance car market. Intermediate-sized cars with big-block power were the hot ticket. Ford was about to introduce the 390 powered Fairlane GT and GTA, which was thoroughly re-designed, to satisfy that slice of the market. However, Ford was also about to introduce a new full-sized bruiser for the 1966 model year. Let’s take a look at the Ford’s full-size muscle, the Galaxie 500 7 Litre.

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People who were buying performance still wanted creature comforts like power steering and air conditioning. Ford’s high performance 427 engine was not available with these conveniences, but the new 428 was. The 428 still developed a respectable 345hp at 4,600 rpm and 462-lbs.ft. of torque at a rather low 2,800 rpm. The engine used a single four-barrel carburetor and 10.5:1 compression ratio, along with hydraulic lifters and the standard FE-series two-bolt-main engine block. When equipped with things like hydraulic lifters, it had better street manners, making it more suitable for everyday driving. Ford’s success in promoting its quiet cars had been very successful and there was no reason to end a good thing.

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The differences between the brutal Ford 427-cu.in. V-8 and the refined Ford 428-cu.in. V-8 are indeed quite remarkable. They are both great Ford engines, but the short-stroke 427 performed near the tachometer’s redline while the long-stroke 428 delivered mountains of torque. The former lived for the competition at the dragstrip and on NASCAR’s tracks while the latter was in its element cruising on the highway.

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Most Ford 7 Litre cars came equipped with the 428. However, a handful of 7-Litre buyers optioned up the 11.1-compression, solid-lifter 427-cu.in. engine: Just 36 hardtops and two convertibles so equipped left Ford’s factories, sans power steering, power brakes or air conditioning. Ford technically made both the W-code 410hp four-barrel and R-code 425hp dual-quad versions of the 427 optional in the 7 Litre, but just one 7 Litre had the R-code version, along with a couple 7 Litres fitted with the 657hp SOHC dual-quad version of the 427, available only as an over-the-counter upgrade.

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The 7 Litre was available as a 2-door hardtop or convertible only. The interior was identical to the XL series except for the 7 Litre badge located on the glove box door. (Some 7 Litre models got the Galaxie 500 nameplate on the glove box door.) The exterior was clean of chrome, adding to the fresh look of the car. 7 Litre nameplates were found on the front fenders, grill, and trunk lid.

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Standard features on 7 Litres included the 428 engine, bucket seats, a console, dual exhaust, power-assisted front disc brakes and the beefy C6 automatic transmission, and a four-speed could replace the C6 at no charge.The only engine option on the 7 Litre was the aforementioned 427. For some reason Ford priced the 7 Litre $500 higher than a comparably equipped XL, which did not help 7 Litre sales.

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The 428 resided on the option sheets of every full-size Ford during this period, and the subtle identifying characteristics of an actual Ford 7 Litre tend to prove too subtle for casual scrutiny. But, armed with the right information, anybody can spot the details that separate a true 7 Litre from any well-optioned full-size Ford.

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The performance market was leaving big-block-powered, full-sized cars behind in favor of the intermediates and at year’s end sales of the 7 Litre totaled a disappointing 11,073 (8705 hardtops and 2368 convertibles). For 1967 Ford built just 855 XL two-door hardtops and a mere 213 XL convertibles with the 7 Litre Sports Package. The 7 Litre name disappeared completely in 1968.

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It’s not like I really need to ask this, but do you think that a Ford Galaxie 500 7 Litre is one of those obscure, full-sized muscle cars that belongs in the Garage, or is it just a cruiser that belongs only at a car show? Remember, 345 HP isn’t all that bad, but if you find one with the 410 HP 427, that’s true muscle. Debate!

[poll id=”153″]

All Images Courtesy of the 7 Litre Website

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27 responses to “Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The Ford Galaxie 500 7-Litre”

  1. muthalovin Avatar

    "Ford technically made both the W-code 410hp four-barrel and R-code 425hp dual-quad versions of the 427 optional in the 7 Litre, but just one 7 Litre had the R-code version, along with a couple 7 Litres fitted with the 657hp SOHC dual-quad version of the 427, available only as an over-the-counter upgrade."
    Wow, those were the days. The only over-the-counter upgrades you can get now is bacon on your cheeseburger.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I don't know. Some of the supercharger kits from Ford Racing and TRD can be bought at the dealer and installed at the dealer and not void the warranty. Not near as cool as a over the counter engine swap, but in the same spirit of things. Didn't the late Neon SRT4 have over the counter upgrades available to nearly double the HP and not void the warranty?

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        True, if I had $4500 +labor, I could have a TRD supercharger put on my Tacoma. There's the supercharger itself, along with the fitting kit, and the labor.

      2. JayP2112 Avatar

        Both Dodge and Chevy offered warrantied upgrades on the turbo-supercharger 4's. But I think they offered another level that wasn't covered.
        When the 1.8T was offered, the Audi guys wanted a Dinan-like aftermarket… like quattro GMBH, Hoppen, anyone chip tuning to get approved through warranties in the US. Boiled down it wasn't worth anyone's time… the cost would be $3k at the dealer on a $400 chip tune.

  2. danleym Avatar

    I'm curious why they used the 7 Litre designation. First, here in 'Merica, we like our liter spelled with the e before the r. Second, almost* all other cars made in the US at the time were advertised in cubic inches- I can imagine at first some people would be like "7 litres, is that big? Small? Middle of the road?"
    *I added the "almost" as an after thought, I was just going to write all other cars but then I quickly realized someone on here would come up with some odd ball example to prove me wrong.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      That's why this engine is so impressive to us here in the Kingdom of Yurp. Many here have a similar problem with inch^3, but it's not that hard to convert (easier than Celsius<->Farenheit).
      I'd think that gallons is a much more appropriate measure for american engines. The europeans usually have something about 2L, in America, it's about 2gal…

      1. Ate Up With Motor Avatar
        Ate Up With Motor

        Interestingly, the 462 in the big Lincolns of this time was just about 2 gallons (7,565 cc)…

        1. nanoop Avatar

          A.S., if that's You: thank you very very very much for your great insights into the american (and european) car industry!
          What I like most is that you just don't list the specs and some anecdotes, but also shine a light on the people and careers on both the engineering and management side. And of course, you're one of the few listing /proper/ sources!
          I learn a lot from you, especially on US industry, but also about european ones.
          (If you're not associated with that web page name and logo you're using: ts ts ts..)

          1. Ate Up With Motor Avatar
            Ate Up With Motor

            Yup, it is me. Thanks for the kind words!

    2. Scott McVicker Avatar
      Scott McVicker

      Some oddball example, like every 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968 GTO had fender emblems that touted "6.5 Litre"; every 1967 Cougar with a 390 had fender emblems that touted "6.5 Litre"; every mighty 1968 Cougar GTE had fender emblems that touted "7.0 Litre". Government studies were done in the Sixties to explore converting the U.S.A. to the metric system. If you ever get into Ford's archives, you'll find Ford had a marketing plan to market a 4.7 Litre Mustang; a 6.5 Litre Fairlane; and the 7.0 Litre Galaxie. Only the big car survived to hit the market.

  3. jeff Avatar

    Book'em danno.

  4. LTDScott Avatar

    Things ain't so bad.

  5. dukeisduke Avatar

    The closest thing I have? A 1/25 AMT model of the '66 hardtop.

  6. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

    Stacked headlight all the things!
    <img src="http://alltheragefaces.com/img/faces/large/misc-all-the-things-l.png&quot; width="400">

  7. stigshift Avatar

    Jay Leno has a very nice '66 hardtop in Burgundy.

    1. failboat Avatar

      of course he does.

  8. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    does the galaxie 500 really count as obscure?
    that question aside, the car has been been prominently featured in achewood, one of my favorite comic strips, as the car that the very depressed cat roast beef drives. here is the first comic in the series in which roast beef's friend ray buys him the car: http://achewood.com/?date=11252002

    1. Alcology Avatar

      Great comic! Burned out so hard at the end here

    2. dead_elvis Avatar

      Thumb'd up for Achewood!

  9. PushrodRWD Avatar

    <img src="http://classicfords.us/images/5_1966_Country_Squire_Front.jpg"&gt;
    The 7 Litre Wagon is awesome! (hope image came through)

    1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      O.o.o…h m.a.n… I just had a shudder sitting here, THANKS!

    2. Shant Jaltorossian Avatar
      Shant Jaltorossian

      It's too bad they were mostly equipped with the 390.

  10. mseoul Avatar

    Ford was of course big in FIA racing in those days, Le Mans, etc. so some management at Ford must have thought the 7 Liter concept was more widely understood than it actually was, is my guess. I drove a nice one from the used car lot in 1978, traded in on a new Ford in the first fuel panic era. That black coupe is still in my car memory for its awesome smoothness and torque delivery. Compared with new 1978 cars it was truly unreal.

  11. jzEllis Avatar

    Nice, Although I've never been a fan of the post 1964 Galaxys; my grandmother exclusively drove Galaxy 500s through the 60s. According to my late grand father, she ALWAYS demanded the highest hp big block, and drove em like she stole it for 2 years, then traded for the latest 500.
    Lots of Tickets, and lots of 'mom scared us to death in that damn 500' stories from my uncles and aunts.

  12. squeakyweal Avatar

    Learned to drive on my dad's 1966 Galaxie 500 convertible. He's gone, but we've kept the car on the road with its 352 truck engine and suspension that's made of butter and rubber bands, but with the top down and a Herb Albert 8 track in the floor mounted tape deck, I'm 10 years old again.

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