Blinking Beauty: 1970 Ford XL Convertible

030616 Barn Finds - 1970 Ford XL 1

Ford had dropped the Galaxie moniker by the time this one was built, so this 1970 Ford XL Convertible, found here on craigslist in Superior, WI, was sleek not just in style but in name. It was an elegant cruiser in its day and this one could be again with a couple of hopefully easy repairs.

030616 Barn Finds - 1970 Ford XL 2

Our 1969 Ford F-250 pickup had black vinyl seats and it was hot in there, even with the factory A/C dripping on our toes as it tried to keep up on summer trips across the west. There is no mention whether this car has A/C or not and there is only one overall interior photo in this ad. Other than a missing passenger side armrest and some cracks on the top of the dash, it looks pretty decent in there and it looks like it may have power windows. I can still remember my uncle’s 1968 LTD with power wing windows, I thought that was such a cool feature. I’ve heard that black seats in a convertible aren’t the best but I’ve never owned one with black seats so I can’t say for sure. It makes sense that they would be a bit on the uncomfortable side, to say the least, with the summer sun beating down and those black seats soaking it all in. This was certainly an interesting dash layout with everything being centered on the driver, it seems like it would feel pretty spacious in there on the passenger side.

030616 Barn Finds - 1970 Ford XL 3

There are no engine photos but the seller mentions that this car has a 351 in it and that he has extra parts and may consider a trade. There is no mention of the number of miles this car has traveled, but, unless it’s been stored every winter since new, any 46-year old vehicle from the Duluth/Superior area will have rust on it. They get a lot of snow there due to the “lake effect” of Lake Superior and because of that they use a lot of salt and chemicals on the roads to keep things moving in the winters, which last sometimes half of each year. The seller says, “interior and body very good condition” so maybe this car is a transplant to the area and you won’t have to worry about rust. The car does look nice from the one exterior photo provided, other than the blinking headlight doors which hopefully wouldn’t be a difficult fix. I think this would be a good summer car! Is it flirting with you as much as it is with me?


  1. Roseland Pete

    Also, I don’t know if Ford fixed it by 1970, but the 69 models were notorious for the gear shifter to be out of alignment. It could be in “P” but the car wouldn’t start. You would have to reach over with your left had, lift the shifter a bit, and then you could start the car. Ford’s solution to the problem was to give people a sticker warning them of the problem.

    • Jake

      I can attest that a 68 Galaxie has the same shifter-start issue. Sometimes it takes a wiggle, and now that it’s getting older, sometimes you gotta take her all the way to low and back. And always make sure it’s locked into park or you could find yourself lurching backward when you let off the brake

    • Joe

      1970 Ford galaxie 500 conv. I own that car it has 351 Windsor in it it’s in Minnesota. And the speaker and lion on dash it’s very nice and not for sale

      • Joe

        If you guys want more picture of this blinking Beauty just ask got picture of engine and all getting completely restored too factory show car

  2. Fred

    I remember it well, happened on both my dad’s 69 LTD (sometimes) and his 69 Fairlane Ranchero (every time). As far as the headlights- as I remember, they were failsafe. When vacuum system failed, lights opened up.

    • Roseland Pete

      That’s not the worst of it. I knew one guy who had a Ford station wagon. He parked it on a hill and was in the back by the tailgate and the car slipped out of park running him over and killing him. I guess he never got that sticker.

      • Bill

        My parents had a 72 LTD wagon. It popped out of Park when my Mom checked the mailbox. She heard a crash — the car rolled all the way back the driveway and took out the garage door and part of the side of the garage. The Ford dealer said she didn’t put it into Park correctly.

  3. roger

    I would like to have it.
    My parents had a 1969 ford station wagon with hideaway headlights when I was a kid.
    Sure would like to have it back,but it went to crusher.What a waste !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Only thing wrong with it was motor needed rebuild.
    Body was great.

  4. Badnikl

    The Ford “park-to-reverse” story was long and complex, but it came down to a design defect in automatic transmissions used in 23 million 1966-1980 Ford products; the detent in the shifter mechanism that separated the Park and Reverse positions tended to get rounded off and the shifter would slip into reverse. Much legal wrangling ensued, and the upshot was that Ford— which likely would have suffered financial obliteration via a 23-million-vehicle recall to replace major mechanical components,

    Read more:

    • dave

      And a lt was people error.

    • Roseland Pete

      Great find. Thanks for sharing.

  5. MountainMan

    My ’71 Comet GT would start in reverse! The little needle would be pointed at P but turn the key and start to move backwards. Sold it to a friend who was leaving a party a few weeks after he purchased the car and revved up the 302 to impress the people outside and backed out of the driveway and into a parked car.

    • Roseland Pete

      Reminds me of when I visited a Chevy dealer back in the 70’s. The salesman and I were walking the lot and there were a bunch of new Chevies at the back of the lot against the fence. I asked the salesman why those cars were not on the showroom floor. He said that they just came in from the factory and weren’t ready to be sold. I asked him why they weren’t ready and he said that they have different problems like starting in drive so the dealer mechanics have to go through them first. I always thought that was a sad commentary on build quality but I’m sure it wasn’t exclusive to GM cars.

  6. Rubin Collazo

    This car is a 1969 not a 1970.

  7. Pfk1106

    My dad had a 2 door coupe. Always thought it was weird that the radio was on the drivers left instead of between the driver and passenger.

  8. Howard A Member

    I agree with Scotty G., this had to come from somewhere else. Convertibles in Wisconsin are as rare as hand signals. I, like pfk sez, always wondered why the radio was located where it was. Probably for people like my old man, “we’re listening to the ball game, dammit”. The head light doors on these had a mind of their own, and have seen them in all configurations ( right one open, left closed, both open ( during the day), both closed( at night), and I’m sure many were glad that hidden headlight phase passed. Very nice car, though, probably one of the last nice Ford’s.

  9. BillB

    It has a 1969 grill and possibly the entire front clip from a ’69. The 1970 does not have the body color matching horizontal bar. See photo of a 1970 XL above. Beware…

  10. Mike

    Dad’s 70 LTD Station Wagon, had both problems, he had it where it wouldn’t start unless you pulled up of the gear shift, well one day he noticed that the steering column have a set of grooves that were suppose to match up on the clamp that held it on a bracket under the dash just before the steering column went through the fire wall, he loosed up the clamp removed it and saw that there was nothing to hold the grooves in place so he welded and machined the area put it back together and it was fixed, he even did some for other people that he knew was having problems. We even told the shop foreman of the local Ford Dealer and that Ding/Dong told Dad to mind his own business, and keep it to himself that would be to much work to fix it, the sticker was faster, since they would not get paid to repair it car, that was back in the days before factory recalls and the government would force car manufactures to make the repairs for free.
    The Headlights was a vacuum issue, the last time I remember repairing one, was the vacuum line that came forward would rub on the hole in the radiator frame work, simple solution that Dad came up with was to enlarge the hole to handle a 1/2″ rubber bushing in it, and then run the vacuum line through it.

  11. Chebby

    My first convertible taught me that while they’re a hell of a lot of fun, they’re different from the image most people have. Black seats will be scorching in direct sun, but it’s no fun having the top down in midday sun anyway–it’s just too strong. That’s best in the cooler mornings and evenings, and of course at night. And if your hair is even slightly long it whips around and stings you in the eyes, it does not stream out behind you majestically like in a TV commercial. So keep a hat in the glove box. Also any loose lightweight items, like empty coffee cups or even clothing, will drift from the back seat into the front and then WHOOSH out of the car just as you grab for them ;-)

    This car has cheap-looking paint on it, but for the right price, you can’t go wrong with a big old American RWD ‘vert.

  12. John H. in CT

    When I lived in St. Paul many years ago I went up to Duluth one July 4th weekend. It was 42 degrees F near the lake and only in the 50’s everywhere else within 15 miles or so of the city.

    Thus the expression “Summer up there is gorgeous…,both days!”

  13. Ronniecarlo

    OK,BarnFinds. I have to call you out on the ’70 Ford XL..In my first day of high school at 15 years old,I drove my mother’s pee yellow with dark pukey green 4 door GALAXIE 500 to school.Back then in Texas you could get a “Hardship license” at 15.It was the car I spun my first tire in.I brought it home sans the hubcaps. They flew off with every slide around corners. And yes Roseland Pete, My mother actually received two recalls on that car. One was for the fan that may fly off and damage the radiator, the other was a sticker on the dash. It had the 400 I believe. My uncle had some ex-police cars around so it was probably one he found for my mom.I tore it up.She sold it to buy me my first car.A 1970 Duster.. bolt rally wheels.. white hardtop and white buckets. Have any of my BF friends seen it around?

    • Roseland Pete

      It would have been easy to spin the wheels on the XL. I don’t know the exact size but the one I knew had a powerful motor and quick pickup for such a large car.

  14. todd

    my granddad worked for ford back in those days, I remember that when he taught me to drive, you were supposed to pull the shifter towards you before going into any gear, thus preventing the detent from being ground down. and by the way, the detent problem was in the column not the transmission. the one in the trans was steel and the one on the column was soft white metal.he had tons of collars that he replaced where people would just yank it into gear practically stripping the column detent in the process.

    • Roseland Pete

      The one that I had experience with was a 69 Galaxie XL and that was in early 1969 so the car was pretty new. That must have been a pretty soft metal that the detent was made from. Powerful and sharp looking car though.

  15. Jim Marshall

    I had one of these new back in 69. It was the same color with a black vinyl roof Galaxie 500. looking at the door panel this appears to be a straight Galaxie 500 convertible. Vague pictures and description so proceed with caution.

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