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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Auto World 1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL Thunderbolt

Auto World has stayed neutral for 2016 with no new castings, castings from the defunct premium line now join the sole mid-level line, and the two defunct Auto World lines have now morphed into returning Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions Mint lines.  Still, there is room for a few new tricks, and the 1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL has a few of them.  First, it was a coupe and then it was a convertible, and now it takes the reign on the 1/4 mile strip with the Thunderbolt package.

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The 1964 Ford Galaxie is Ford's largest car that is also a winner on NASCAR's oval circuits.  Meanwhile, the mid-size Fairlane was more evident in 1/4 mile tracks across the nation.  This led Ford to develop a special model for the Fairline line called the Thunderbolt.  The Thunderbolt was essentially a stripped-down Fairlane with the 427 CID V8 motor under the hood with high rise intake and two four-barrel carbs from the larger Galaxie.  The V8 produces 425 horsepower, but actual non-insured ratings were close to 600 horsepower.  Transmissions included a 4-speed manual or three-speed automatic.  The high-beam headlights were removed to allow the large dual ducts to feed air to the engine.  The hood has a larger bulge to accomidate the tall motor, which is fiberglass along with the doors, front fenders, and front bumpers (some had aluminum bumpers) to save weight.  There was exhaust headers,  Inside most comfort features, spare and jack in trunk, and outside chrome trim was removed to save weight.  These track-ready machines are rare at 100 made, yet you can get the same power and exterior modifications to any Galaxie or Fairlane model.

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Which brings me to this Auto World version.  It looks like a stock Galaxie 500XL, but look closer and you can see some telltale signs.  The hood has the famed teardrop design to tell you something's different under the hood.  The front fenders have the 427 bird badge, while the steel black wheels on redline tires means this car is meant for business on the track (the white and silver versions use silver aluminum racing wheels on wider tires).  The front has typical Galaxie details with quad headlights, chrome billet and ridged grille, FORD letters on the hood with spears on the front fenders, and a lower bumper with humorous "Why Try" plates.  The sides show off the silver comet trim with lower silver trim, and the roof which is plastic to allow coupe and convertible versions on one casting looks better and uniform in the darker black color (lighter colors tend to give away the plastic top).

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At the rear is one of my favorite: those afterburner round taillights with inner reverse lamps.  Also added is the chrome valence panel, Galaxie 500XL badge, FORD letters, and chrome bumper with that plate again.  I love the red interior that goes along with the black perfectly.  The deep dish steering wheel sits in front of a horizontal speedometer with round gauges to the sides, horizontal dash layout with central radiator, floor-mounted shifter with center console and front bucket seats, detailed rear seats and door panel designs.  The base underneath shows off the curved inner frame, engine, drivetrain, fuel tank, exhaust, and front control arms and rear live axle and leaf springs suspension layout.  Pop the hood to see the radical 427 CID V8 with the high-rise intake, oval air filter cover, dual intake ducts, silver block, front coolant resovoir tank, and even the blue windshield washer bag on the fender.

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I like the clean, track-ready look of the already impressive 1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL and gives this car a unique look and more variants for Auto World to use on the Galaxie casting.

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