Big Convertible Fun: 1968 Ford Galaxie 500 XL!

It seems like finding a 1968 Chevrolet Impala Convertible is fairly easy task, but with 24,600 built that year they’re not exactly rare. Its primary competitor, the Ford Galaxie 500 and the sporty model the XL, one the other hand, are quite rare these days and seldom seen. I came across this nice example of the 1968 Ford Galaxie 500 XL Convertible for sale in Phoenix, AZ and listed here on Autotrader for $6,500.

My research indicates that there was an XL convertible and a Galaxie 500 convertible both offered by Ford in 1968 but not a Galaxie 500 XL. Nevertheless, I’ll go with how the owner has described his car, a Galaxie 500 XL. Apparently there were 6,066 Galaxie 500 XL convertibles made in 1968 so this is not exactly a common automobile; I know I haven’t seen one in a long time. Being a California car and now residing in Arizona has certainly helped it survive for 51 years whereas others that resided in less hospitable climes are long gone.

Under the hood, we find Ford’s 210 HP “Challenger” 302 CI Windsor small block engine, which was brand new for ‘68. The engine has been treated to headers and an open-element air cleaner though the owner makes no mention of the engine other than to state it is a 302 CI with 86,000 miles on its clock. The transmission is listed as a “four” speed automatic but I believe it is really a C4 automatic three-speed unit.

The upholstery of this convertible is recent and looks great! Also included are all of the not installed interior trim pieces along with new carpet and mats and a new white top with rear glass. Apparently, the convertible top mechanism works fine.

While it appears there is some missing exterior trim, the owner says that he has most of it along with new weather stripping. I have to admit that I don’t understand having the missing trim but not installing it – it seems that it would make for an easier and better sale. There is no discussion regarding rust, rot, corrosion, etc. but there is no visual evidence of a problem. That would be in keeping with this example’s state(s) of residency but I would still want to get a look at the underside. All domestic cars of this era, regardless of make, are subject to rust given the right, offending conditions. The owner details all of the new parts that this 500 XL has, it’s a pretty extensive list, and he goes on to say that it runs “good” just needs some TLC.

I think this 500 XL looks like a great entry into classic “Detroit Iron” ownership and wouldn’t take a whole lot of effort to bring it completely up to speed. Worth taking a chance on it?


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  1. Alex

    All it needs is a set of 15×10 TruSpokes and 50-series tires to be done.

  2. MorganW Morgan Winter Member

    Love the car, but better check the frame carefully for rust.

    Like 3
  3. Winfield Wilson

    I always thought the “XL” models came with buckets/center console?

    Like 6
    • Paul Z

      They did, this is not an XL, it’s just a 500.

      Like 5
      • Ron Schweitzer Member

        That’s exactly what I thought. It doesn’t have anything to make you believe that it’s an XL.

    • Jim in AL

      They did.
      Also an XL badge in place of the Galaxie 500 lettering.
      They go for a lot more money

      Like 1
    • Grey

      Bucket seats were optional. Bench seat was standard.

  4. Stevieg

    This is a twin to the car my Mom learned to drive on when I was a little boy, but in way better shape. Hers was in about the same shape as the red Mustang convertible from Burlington Wisconsin.
    Hers was a Galaxy 500 XL, white with blue interior. Wow, does this bring back memories!

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      Stevie, this is another connection we have. I grew up in the back seat of a 1968 Ford Galaxie 500 2 door hardtop.

      I would love a 1968 XL, but it would have to be a fastback. I am not too keen on convertibles.

  5. Butch

    Dad bought one of the XL package two hardtops new in 68. It was dark metallic blue on the bottom with a white top. It had a 390 automatic. The interior was the same color as this one but with a set of big plush bucket seats. Beautiful car and a dream to drive. I always thought these reminded me of a big Torino.

  6. Stevieg

    The XL in 1968 came standard with the bench seat, buckets were optional. The hidden headlights & LTD style tail light lenses, along with the chrome louver trim on the front fenders are all “XL”.
    It also would have had the chrome side spears on it from the factory, along with stripes along the bottom of the car, parallel to the rockers, similar to the Mustang GT. The ones on my Mom’s rusty but original 1968 like this (purchased in 1974 & rusted like swiss cheese already) were black.

    Like 1
  7. Boatman Member

    Nice write up, Jim! Hope to see more from you!

    Like 2
  8. Clay Harvey

    This car has the XL/LTD grill with hidden headlights the regular Galaxy didn’t have and the little spears on the front fenders, but no XL markings on the rear or interior. Looks like front clip might have been changed at some point

    Like 1
  9. Stevieg

    That is very possible, but the tail lights would have been changed @ the same time. I think that since in the actual ad the seller states there is missing trim, it is probably the victim of a cheap paint job with shortcuts.
    I also see shortcuts regarding the reupholstery job on the seats. I believe it is a Galaxie 500 XL, just poorly redone.
    Again, my Mom had the twin to this car back in the mid 1970’s, it was a 500 XL, & it had the bench seats. I never saw a 500XL without the stripes along the rockers, & I believe this was painted poorly.
    Maybe I am wrong…but I doubt it this time.

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      This car is also missing the big tall F O R D letter that are supposed to be on the right side of the trunk.

  10. Miguel

    Just for your information, the VIN says this is a Galaxie 500 convertible, 57F, with a 302, not an XL.

    Some XL Parts have been put on this car, but they failed to change the rear panel that goes between the tail lights. That is definitely a Galaxie panel, not an XL panel.

    I don’t think the 302 was even available in the XL. I believe only the 390 and 428 were available.

    Like 5
  11. pwtiger

    Is that a buckle in the drivers side front fender behind the wheel opening? strange place unless it bottomed out or the wheel went back and kinked it. No door handle on the passenger side?

  12. fleet butterfield

    I Learned how to drive in ’68 plain janes provided by our local car dealer, so that’s my connection. The ’60s cars were my coming of age era, and think the many late 60s cars have some beautiful lines. jmho

    Like 1
  13. Stevieg

    If the vinyl says it is not an XL, then it definitely is not. Someone stripped one down & built this, not unheard of.
    My Mom had the 390 in hers. Meant nothing to her but Dad liked to open it up once in a while.
    Miguel, I assume the one you grew up in still had a body left lol, saying as you are from the south west & Mexico. The one I grew up in I had to ride in the front seat so I wouldn’t fall through the rust holes in the rear floors lol.

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      Yes Stevie, the car was purchased 2 years old off lease as the family car. I remember all the little details of it and when I look at these cars decades later, I look for those, like the tall F O R D letters that are supposed to be on the trunk. If they don’t have it, it is surely a repaint.

      Like 1
  14. Larry McGaw

    This is not an XL. Beginning with the 1967 model, the XL was a stand-alone model. Prior to that it was the Galaxie 500 XL. The 1967-1970 model was simply an XL. This vehicle has Galaxie 500 trim on the rear fender, and does not have the XL trim on the trunk lid. Better shots of the interior would also reveal whether or not it was an XL (it isn’t) as there are XL badges to be found there as well. Someone has attached an XL front clip to this Galaxie 500.

    Those of you that grew up with “Mom’s Galaxy” must have lived in the British Isles. The Ford Galaxy is a minivan they market (still) over there. Rented one last year to tour Ireland in and it was great! Much smaller than the 1969 XL I had back in the 70’s.

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      You had a ’69 XL as well?

      I found a fastback for sale for $250.00. After I started it at the sellers house I heard a piston that had a hole in it or something. I offered the full $250.00 and the seller countered with $200.00 so I agreed.

      I had the engine rebuilt and then I had an almost new looking and running car. I wish it had the buckets and the floor shift, but I was satisfied with my new 429 that moved that car very well.

      By the way I already posted above the VIN says it is a Galaxie convertible.

      Like 1

    😲i have 👍69 (429)500xl vert
    c6 baby crap green,black top,
    tan interior, vin confers
    color’s . a ford person said
    they had never seen color
    combo ? i no i would’nt have
    ordered 3 differant color’s😎

    Like 1
  16. john rice

    I have a 68true XL.convertible., Vin# was run and came back verifying that it came with a 6cyl, It now has a 302 someone made the change. Bucket seats and counsel, automatic trans, needs a new top. One day I will finish it. My age is slowing me down. My research shows the XL did not say galaxie 500, only emblems on the car were XL.

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      John, what is the body number in the VIN of your car? I would like to see the VIN that says it is an XL with a 6. The XL with a 6 should be 61T or something like that.


      Like 1
  17. TimM

    Get in and drive!!

  18. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    I’d give just about anything to have my very first car again. A powder blue ’69 Ford Galaxie Custom 4-door sedan with a 428PI and a C6 trans. For a big car, it really moved! Probably never find one, though. I suppose I could build a ’69 4-door sedan to the same specs but I’m too lazy and too poor. For all it’s faults, this is a nice looking car with potential to be a great cruiser assuming it’s solid underneath.

  19. john rice

    Miguel, I believe it is a canadian car as it has only 11 digits and I live in canada, 10 min’s to Detroit. I will show 1st-9 digits. 8w61f1674xx.

    • Miguel

      John, canada was not a closed market like Mexico was. Mexico required all their cars to be made in country at one time, which is why there are differences in VINs and VIN placement as well as options.

      Your VIN says your car had a 302 V8 2 BBL from the factory.

  20. Little_Cars

    Never heard the Ford 302 labeled as the “challenger?”

    Regards the naming convention mentioned in the write up — I had the Galaxie 500 convertible without the retractible headlamps, and an XL fastback (fastroof?) to use for parts. Both big, lumbering highway crusiers, seating about twenty! When the fastback was written up by the local codes dept for being yard art/inoperable it garnered a pretty good chunk of cash to be hauled off to the crusher.

    • Jim ODonnell

      The ’68 Ford sales brochure refers to the engine as the “Challenger”

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