Big Muscle: 1969 Ford Galaxie Cobra Jet

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From Barn Finds reader Casey D, comes the hot tip on this great big muscle car. It’s a 1969 Ford Galaxie XL fastback, and is said to contain the inimitable 429 Cobra Jet engine under the hood. It’s offered for sale here on craigslist in Des Moines, Iowa.

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This is an intriguing car to be sure. The light powder blue exterior and vinyl top suggest a possible past in cosmetics-running by an elderly female driver, but the choice of drivetrain hints at something else entirely.

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The seller states the car has 108,000 miles. For an Iowa car, the body looks very clean, as so many cars from this era (from all makers) were not known to be very well rust-proofed. It looks both straight and very solid.

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The seller’s description is odd in that he says the car has new parts such as a fuel pump, plugs, points, distributor and cap, but the engine “turns over freely.”  Did he buy all those tune-up parts but then not try and start it? Wasn’t able to get it running? He doesn’t say.

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The description is a little lacking, and the seller is consistent with these photos. But hey, we’ve seen much worse, right? He says the interior is out and “ready for reupholstery”. I’m probably not alone in wishing for one of two things once I read that; the first being that A: I wish he had left the interior the way it was, or B: that he had taken a few good photos of how solid the interior floors (hopefully) are.

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Ford made a lot of models like this in the late sixties and early seventies with hideaway headlights, and I think they are an attractive feature on this era of car. From a manufacturing standpoint, they seem hopelessly impractical today. They would be just one of many features that makes this car worth preserving for future generations to see, experience and appreciate. About 95% of the time, I prefer original colors. This is probably one I would consider doing a color change on. How about you?

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Comments

  1. James

    It was a 429, but highly unlikely it is a Cobra Jet. I’m pretty sure they didn’t offer a CJ option on the LTD.

    Like 1
    • SoCal Car Guy

      You’re right. There were two “normal” 429s offered in 1969, the “Thunder Jet” (2-V carb, 320 hp @ 4500 rpm, engine code “K” in the VIN) and “Thunder Jet Four-Barrel” (4-V carb, 360 hp @4600 rpm, engine code “N” in the VIN). The Boss 429 was only available in the semi-hand-built Boss 429 Mustangs to homologate the engine for NASCAR. The only year Ford offered a Cobra Jet 429 was 1971.

      If anyone is interested in this car, check the VIN to be sure what it really is.

      • St. Ramone de V8

        I agree. It’s a 429, all right, but not a CJ. 429 CJ was ’71. And probably not in a Galaxie. That big Lima block engine was great, and could torque this big car along very well even in 2-V form. But CJ?…nope.

        Like 1
    • BlownCoon

      I know for a fact Ford did put the CJ429 in the LTD Country Squire. Had one that would do 14.9 1/4 all day long, with A/C on.

    • Raj Reddy

      Agreed sir! First year of the 429 Cobra Jet was 1970 exclusively on Torino and Cyclone. Maybe a few were dealer installed in full size Fords?

  2. Mitch

    Never change the factory color. Keep it as original looking as possible no matter what it is. My 70 Coronet was factory FY4 Light Gold Mettalic yet the hillbillies that did paint & body work wanted to change the color to Hemi Orange. I firmly said no & the guy shook his head, & said, “shore is an ugly color.” I thought, too damned bad.

    Like 1
  3. redwagon

    Probably had gallons of hemi orange stored for all manner of cars. Still i think i would change this one as light blue does this car no favors

    • Robert.Walter

      Once the General Lee craze died out, one had to find uses for all that orange!

  4. MH

    I think original color should be kept. But if you were to change it, I would paint it black. Torque monster for sure!!!

  5. Capt Shindig

    There’s a few cars that Ford “didn’t offer” including my late Father In-law’s ’69 LTD Country Squire with a 427 SCJ w/Dual Quads under the hood.
    He used it to tow Tasca’s Mystery 9,8 &7 driven by Billy Lawton up and down the East Coast for weekend drag meets.
    It was the rarest of the rare non production cars Ford had put out back then.
    That car would literally do wheelies off the line. Back in the day, the return vehicles would line up with the drag cars and race to the end of the track to tow the racers back to the pits.
    Larry Metivier’s station wagon was even pictures pulling a wheelie off the line in a ’69 Hot Rod publication.
    Hottest wagon ever built.

    • Al8apex

      and 1967 was the last year for the 427 …

      remember the 68 Mustang 428 CJ’s?

      They weren’t 427’s either

      There were NO 69 Fords with a 427

      Nice tall tale though

      Like 2
    • James

      Virtually every one of those “rare” “One off” 427 cars were never built by the factory and not on the assembly line. Typically Holman and Moody or some other aftermarket tuner would build them for either Ford or the drag teams.

  6. AMC STEVE

    Baby blue with a black vinyl top? Now that’s fricken ugly. I’d have to change that color to black.
    I wish he took interior pics cuz it is a cool ride.

  7. Tom Member

    BUYER BEWARE of the following fact: I am rust and corrosion expert and the WORST thing you could ever park or store a vehicle on is gravel. The lime in gravel, combined with the moisture from the ground that gravel allows to evaporate all gravitate to the unprotected metal on a vehicle. Any vehicle, even daily drivers, parked on gravel, even a driveway at your house, absorb the lime with the moisture and rust, rot and corrode a vehicle quickly and at radically high levels. The underbody of this car, if it has been on that gravel for years probably looks like it has been on the bottom of a lake for decades! That includes the drivetrain, interior body panels, frame inside and out….everything. Stay off gravel !!!! Not good. that picture of the guy looking under the car, I would love to know what he saw!

  8. CJay

    Are those Florida plates and how long has it been in Iowa?

    • Matt B

      I believe the plate is from either Brevard or Broward county. I don’t think it was registered after 2000 based on the font and combination of the plate. My dad’s van had the same font on the plate with optional red letters and I believe Q was near the end of the run before they changed the plates for the new millennium.

      It must have an interesting story behind it though.

      • Mike

        I went and looked at it, and he didn’t seem too crazy about me wanting to “turn it over”!!! He suggested just winching it on my trailer and gittin outta dodge!!! It IS a 429 THUNDER JET. Not cobra jet. All the pieces are there, and it is a solid car, and a great guy selling it, but I didn’t get to raise it up to look underneath! It will need a full quarter panel on drivers side (bout $800), and maybe a patch panel on pass side. He said it was in Florida till 94, then sat in a barn in Iowa till now. Like I said, great guy, but I had to walk away!!

  9. Kiwi Customs LLC

    429, maybe… 429CJ, doubtful unless it was transplanted as it was not offered in this model. This is a Ford XL and I have a 1970 in white with black vinyl top.

    St. Ramone de V8~ the 429CJ was available in late 69 for the 70 model year for Torino

    • St. Ramone de V8

      I stand corrected. I think the Cyclone got it too?

  10. piper62j

    Here’s what I found on the Dearborn Classics site.

    1969 Ford Galaxie

    The 1969 Galaxie was noted as “Bigger, Wider, Longer, and Quieter”. This new Ford grew in size and became even more luxury oriented than previous years. These big Fords were built with more room for the passenger. Still available were the XL models, LTD, in a range of body styles from the attractive Sportsroof and Convertible to the hardtop and wagon models. The XL models were available with either bucket or bench seat options. The Ford power team consisted of the 240 Six Cylinder, the 302 V08 with 220 horsepower, the 390 V-8 with 265 horsepower, the 429 Thunder Jet V-8 with 320 horsepower and the 429 Thunder Jet 4V with 360 horsepower. For transmission types the Full Size offered a three speed manual transmission, a 4 speed floor shift, and the Select Shift Cruise-O-Matic three speed automatic. The buyer had their choice of 15 single tone, and 24 two tone combinations for the exterior, and a large array of interior trim appointments. The 1969 featured a healthy list of options and accessories. Some of the most popular accessories were SelectAire air conditioning, tinted glass, 6 way power front seat, power windows, tilt steering wheel, and rear window defogger.

    No 429CJ mentioned..

    Or, go here..http://www.dearbornclassics.com/galaxie.html

    • Steven Visek

      By the way, this car is a 1969 Ford XL Sportsroof. It is not a Galaxie.

      Like 1
  11. peter helash

    funnie part aboult this is back in theses years if you knew someone that worked on the assembly lime like a manager all they had to do was miss mark a engine and here you go 429cj in your car the vin number wont show it tho

  12. joeinthousandoaks

    Tom is right. My father had a Mustang convertible years ago that had been parked in a gravel floored shed. This was a Southern California black plate car. It was perfect on top but very rusty underneath. The picture of the guy under the car reminds me of the day we took that Mustang out. As soon as I looked under it I new it was due to the moisture in that gravel.

  13. Sam

    Thank you for telling us about parking on gravel. I, for one, was unaware of that issue. I don’t park on gravel, but was thinking of putting some down in a driveway. Now, I won’t do that.

    • Tom Member

      My pleasure Sam. We have been in the Rust Protection and Undercoating business here in Illinois for 52 years and you would not believe some of the vehicles that I have had to deal with that have “automotive lime disease” from being parked on gravel. I can’t explain how extensive the rust and corrosion is, it is kind of mind blowing. It is tragic and really the kiss of death to a vehicle. There are things we can to for vehicles to “put it into remission” and to buy some additional time but it really ruins a vehicle, even a daily driver that is not permanently parked rusts and rots exponentially faster than any other.

      Another well known fact is that vehicles that have been along the coast of any ocean tend to have rust issues due to the salt in the air. Most of those rust issues affect the TOP HALF of the vehicle (unlike Midwest road salt that affects the vehicle from the bottom up) like I the roof, pillars and especially sail panels where all the window channels are….the moist humid salt air blows in to those areas when windows are rolled down (which is a lot in nice weather climates) and these areas tend to rust out. Especially deceiving when hidden by vinyl tops.

      Last rust FACT that I will leave you with is that light color vehicles have more rust issues than dark colors because the dark colors get hotter in the sun, conduct heat through the panels, and dry out faster than a light color car than remains cooler by reflecting the sun. You can touch a white car in Arizona in the summer time (still warm to the touch) but don’t dare touch a black car! Fry and egg on it !!

      • Paul

        Great info, was thinking of putting gravel down in an area for parking. One thing though, is gravel better or worse than parking on dirt/grass?

  14. McQ

    The 429 was optional for the ’70 Torino and Mercury Montego series. Offered in Thunder Jet 360 horse 4V (just a standard engine); then a 370 True HP engine – Cobra Jet; and a 375 HP Super Cobra Jet. These engines continued through ’71 for the Torino/Montego series and also for the new ’71 Mustang.

  15. McQ

    Peter Halish’s story about knowing someone on the assembly line who could get any engine installed in a car just did not happen. The assembly process was and still is closely monitored. A Cobra Jet engine required many unique heavy duty parts i.,e., a Nodular iron differential with 31 spline axles, a unique HD trans whether automatic or 4 speed and much much more.

  16. pvan

    Whether somebody knew a guy who knew a line manager, or a top Ford exec had it custom built, or national sponsored race team requested a custom configured vehicle, if it happened after 1966 a Marti report will tell you. Pretty easy to KNOW for certain how it left the factory.

  17. james burton

    i had one of these back in the early 80s. a one owner 4 spd. bucket seat car. it was maroon with maroon int. had 38 thou. miles on it. man what a pretty car. ran like stink. you could bark the tires in 3 gears. i paid 3 bills for it and the old mans son was glad to get rid of it.a guy ran me out of the road on one snowy night and i hit a light pole right in the door post, right were you couldn’t repair it. man i cryed for 3 days. the bastard didn’t even stop.

  18. BlownCoon

    Wow man, I wouldn’t have been driving such a sweet car in the snow storm.

  19. Bryan

    Mercury’s version of the Ford XL, the Marauder.

  20. BlownCoon

    This is still for sale? What’s the magic number to be the proud owner?

  21. Steven Visek

    My grandpa had a ’69 XL Sportsroof until the early ’80s. I always liked the look, especially those hidden headlights and rear sail panels. Wish he’d kept it so I could have gotten it as my first car just a few years later.

    It was Gulfstream Aqua with white vinyl top and white interior. Not sure but think it was a bench seat/column shift car. For some reason I think his was a 390, but might have been the 302. Car had a great smooth ride, way nicer than grandma’s ’66 Mustang 289 coupe. At least the Mustang now sits in my garage! :-)

    Like 1
  22. Top Jimmy

    I remember my dad’s 69 with a 427. Black top, emerald green. Hated the car because the radio was on the left of the dash board, so mom and I had no way to mess with the radio while Dad was driving. And to think he traded off his 66 Toronado for it.

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