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Original Owner 47 Years: 1971 Ford Galaxie 500

A lot of us dream about finding a car like this 1971 Ford Galaxie 500 sedan sitting in someone’s garage, just a regular car that has been maintained over the last five decades. Four doors or not, this good-looking survivor sedan is listed here on eBay in Columbia, South Carolina with two bids bringing the total to $4,000 but the reserve isn’t met yet. The seller has a $5,999 buy-it-now price listed if you can’t wait.

The fourth-generation Galaxie went through some big design changes over the short five years that they were made – for the 1969 through 1974 model years. I can’t help but think of Burt Reynolds and the cool brown car that he had in White Lightning when I see a Ford of this vintage. I believe that it was a Custom 500 not a Galaxie, and it didn’t have a 390 as this car has, it had a 427 429, not to mention a 4-speed manual, at least in some scenes.

Back to this great looking Galaxie 500. This looks like one of those cars that a person could buy to get into the old car hobby for not a lot of money, but it’s not exactly a $2,500 vehicle either. In keeping with its four-door sedan persona, it’s a mid-range beginning collector car, if that makes any sense at all? You can almost be guaranteed to not see another one parked next to you at a car show or in a grocery store parking lot. There is a new battery holder but I’m not sure if the gaping rust hole was repaired first or not?

The fourth-gen Galaxies ranged from models with covered headlights to the 1971-’72 design as shown here, and then a totally different look again for 1973 and 1974. The interior of this car looks stock but they took out the seats and carpet and laid down some Dynamat-type material which is a very nice touch. Then, new carpet was installed over that. That’s my kind of hidden improvement. The seats look great both front and rear.

The clean engine is Ford’s 390 cubic-inch V8 which would have had around 225 horsepower. It has a rebuilt carb with electric choke, and there is a new gas tank, new tires, new shocks all the way around, new rear brakes, and the air-conditioning was converted to R-134. This looks like a well-sorted car that a person could buy and enjoy right away. Have any of you owned one?


  1. alphasud Member

    How many cars in this price range still have working A/C? With 4-doors you and all your friends can go to car shows and cars and coffee. Take note that while this car has A/C and power steering there are no power brakes. I wonder if it’s still drums all around?

    Like 10
    • Racer-X

      My daughter, 18, got into the hobby with a 71 torino, 26k miles, power steering, AC, manual drums. First thing I did was convert to power disks. Fun and SAFE improvement.

      Like 13
    • Boatman Member

      No “disc” in the brake pedal, so maybe…..

      Like 3
    • Boatman Member

      “Ford Galaxie Hardtop / Sedan Front Drum Brakes without Heavy Duty Brakes without Police Package 1971 Heavy Duty Front Drum Brake Shoes by Centric®”

      Like 1
  2. Mitchell Gildea Member

    If the body’s solid and the motor is mechanically sound then that asking price is chump change

    Like 10
  3. Vance

    My Father bought a 1972 LTD, gold with a black vinyl roof. Good vehicle, but it was a let down from the 1969 Marquis that had a 429 in it. About a year after he bought it, we noticed dust in the cabin and we had the a/c on. We looked in the trunk and the fenders had disintegrated Bad steel from Japan Ford said. The dealer was my sister’s in law, we got new fenders and a paint job. I doubt everyone was treated that well. My Father was happy

    Like 8
  4. John B

    The Galaxies with the hidden headlights were actually LTDs or XLs, no Galaxie ever had hidden headlights.

    Like 12
    • mike

      the Galaxie was to Ford as was the Impala was to Chevy. Just a mid range car that didn’t look cheap.

      Like 4
    • Luke Fitzgerald

      No hidden headlights in full size 71 Fords – regardless of trim level

      Like 10
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      John, the fourth-generation Galaxie line – from 1969 to 1974 as I mentioned in the story – definitely did include hidden headlight cars for the 1969 and 1970 model years. I didn’t say that they were on 1971 cars. A quick search will show several 1969 and 1970 Galaxies with hidden headlights on such respected sites as Hemmings, Mecum, and Hagerty.

      Like 2
      • Larry McGaw

        Scotty, if a 1969 or 1970 full sized Ford had hidden headlights, it was an XL or an LTD. No Galaxies of that era had hidden lights, regardless of what Hemmings or anybody has to say. Earlier XL’s were actually Galaxie 500 XLs, but by 1967 the XL was a stand alone model.

        Like 5
  5. Kenneth Carney

    What’s not to like!! A sharp old car that
    you can get into and drive without going
    broke on repairs. And yes, by ’71, all Fords had discs up front and drums in
    the rear. Just wonder if Karl Malden’s
    hat, overcoat, and American Express
    traveller’s cheques come with it.

    Like 7
    • Racer-X

      “And yes, by ’71, all Fords had discs up front and drums in the rear.”
      Uhm, no.

      Like 4
      • Matthew Hafer

        Sorry racerx and the other guy. Not ALL fords had disk brakes after 71. You should talk to the THOUSANDS of us maverick owners that have converted our cars or still stomp on our DRUM brakes. Lol. You can get the brake pads for drums that work ALOT better than the old ones but still nice if you can afford to change them out to disk.

        Like 1
  6. Lawrence.scott.schwartz@gmail.com

    Wheel covers are off of a 1970 model.

    Like 9
  7. Bob C.

    Hi Scotty, Burts car had the 429, not the 427. It was long gone by this point. The 390 was pretty rare in the 1971 models, because technically, 1970 was the last year it was used in cars. It did soldier on in trucks until 1976.

    Like 6
    • Bob C.

      BTW, a bloop in that movie was that it went back and forth between a 4 speed and an automatic.

      Like 8
      • Mr.BZ

        IIRC, all we ever saw of the “429/4spd” was 1 still photo under the hood (some say it was a 351?) and a couple shots of someone’s arm operating a floor shifter, in what appear to be different cars. Not sure a 429/4spd was ever on set for this movie.

        Like 0
      • Tony

        The last full sized Ford with a 4 speed option was in 69 behind a 429. Just a handful built, in the hundreds. The movie car was an automatic with some poorly edited in 4speed shifting footage from who
        knows what car. Fun movie, nonetheless.

        Like 2
      • ADM

        You could actually see Burt put the car in park, when he went to his parent’s house, and at least one other time. It was a 429 under the hood, but obviously, no dual carburetors, as Burt said. Although no 4 speeds were factory available, it wouldn’t have taken too much time and effort to put one into the movie car, and make sure everyone knew it. That would’ve been cool, and made a difference. By the way, Hal Needham was supposed to land on the dirt, on the barge….

        Like 0
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for catching that typo, Bob!

      Like 0
    • Boatman Member

      According to Wiki, the 390 was dropped mid-year 1971 Galaxies.

      Like 3
  8. David G

    Wow, only the second one I have ever seen with manual 4 wheel drum brakes. First one I saw like that was a friend’s neighbor’s ’71 Galaxie 500 4 door hardtop. The 390 was last offered in cars in ’71. Very clean car. I have a ’71 Ford Custom sedan, a USAF Staff car. Even The Air Force sprang for power disc brakes, power steering, 351W engine, automatic transmission, factory A/C and tinted glass. Radio delete, of course. Buyer of this Galaxie will be happy with it. They are great cars, very well built.

    Like 8
  9. Rosko

    This model brings back memories of The Streets of San Francisco. Karl Malden and Michael Douglas.

    Like 6
  10. art

    This car needs power front disc brakes. Very odd not to have it on a car equipped with such a large engine. A radio was an extra cost option, not a “delete” item. Not ordered and paid for = not on the car. Also, the wheel covers shown are for a 1970 Galaxie, not a1971, a minor issue. The interior sure is spartan looking with that black vinyl but overall, it seems to have survived pretty well.

    Like 3
  11. Catman

    My first car – I got it in ’77 – was a ’72 Maverick with a 302 V8, power steering and non-power drum brakes. A light car, despite the big engine, and the brakes were manageable (though I did have to warn anyone who borrowed it – don’t floor the accelerator unless you mean it, and do floor the brakes like your life depends on it). I can’t imagine a car this heavy with manual brakes – yikes.

    Like 1
  12. Aaron Carlson

    Is it me, or is the alternator belt missing?

    Like 0
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo Member

      To me it looks like the alternator belt is very thin and hidden behind the alternator pulley. Maybe it had a double pulley for some reason.

      Like 0
  13. bone

    These were a dime a dozen back in the early 80s. You could pick them up running for $100.00 or less . We derbied a lot of these back then.

    Like 1
  14. John

    My aunt picked us up from the airport in her new, 2-door, 72 LTD. I was a little disappointed though when I quickly noticed it wasn’t a Brougham–although I was still excited about it. It was really quiet and road nicely. She later regretted not getting it with A/C. But at least it had power front disc brakes. She had traded in her 1967 2-door, gold metalic Galaxie 500–a really nice car. Not sure what engine it had but my 8 year old self thought it was pretty quick and she commented about how it could, “get away from you” on the freeway if you weren’t watching it. I know the 72 had the 351.
    I’m curious, what did you get when upgrading from a Galaxie 500 to a base LTD for 71? was it just trim and a nicer interior–maybe more sound insulation?

    Like 2
  15. TJM

    My friend in college had a 1971 Ford Galaxie 4 door in the same color as this one. His had a 351 2V engine. No A/C and non power drum brakes all the way around. He bought it with 90,000 miles on it for $500 in 1976. After he got married and had 5 kids, he and his wife still drove it for another 100,000 miles with little trouble. He gave it to his oldest son while he was in high school. I also noticed right away that it had 1970 Ford wheel covers. Back in those days as a kid I could identify every year car, make, and model. Now I have a hard time identifying the vehicle manufacturer.

    Like 9
  16. Bill Hall

    Eons ago I had a 71 Ltd Coupe Very good car. Except a common Ford Transmission problem. When then get lots of miles they don’t shift as they should and eventually fail . There is a easy solution I found to the problem, complete fluid and filter change and dump some good additive at the same time and it works much better. By the way mine was a 400.

    Like 2
  17. Roger h

    My father had a 71 Ltd in 78 bought it for 900dlrs I remember had a 400 in it blue with a dark blue hard top and interior and I have seen that movie a lot of times badd ass motor he had in that one my dad even had one of the other cars in that movie the big green merc but his was blue I guess he liked blue cars my dad. They smashed it in back in front of our house like back in 74 i was like 6 still remember that dam

    Like 0
  18. Bhowe Member

    As a young boy I remember my folks browsing the food lot and picking out a 72 galaxie 500. Gold glow with white vinyl top. 12 years later it was a hand me down that my folks let me drive. Didn’t appreciate what I had unfortunately. Drove it hard. Lots of speeding and squealing tires. My dad just had a hard time accepting that we only got 7000 miles out of a set of tires, despite my protestations that I wasn’t spinning the tires!

    After that seemed like the car never ran right. Dads buddy was a Ford tech and now I realize those times at his shop were attempts to cut the power back. The last “fix” was capping off the distributor vacuum advance to hopefully make less power. Lots of good memories. Ours was a 400, 2bbl

    Like 0
  19. Philip Lepel

    I had one like this in 74. It came with a three speed on the column, a 350 under the hood and no power steering. It looked like an undercover cop car in solid tan. I used to love coming up on guys in corvettes and watching them slow down to the speed limit. Sadly it had a lot of filler in it’s body panels. I called it the Holey ghost.

    Like 0
  20. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    The ’71-’72 big Fords were nice cars; solid and well built, perfect highway cruisers. For the money, this four door seems like a good deal. It looks to be in good shape in and out and while the drum brakes aren’t the best, it does have a big block and A/C. I’ve owned my ’72 Galaxie 500 for 25 years that I acquired from the original owner. Apart from some mechanical upgrades and aftermarket rims, it’s all original; paint, chrome and interior. It has a 351W with power disc brakes and A/C. It’s my second ’72 Galaxie, my first being a four door like this one but with a 429PI. Had a lot of fun with that one.

    Like 1
  21. Beel

    My French teacher in fifth grade had a 69, same color, same engine. During recess, she would go out for lunch. Us boys always enjoyed the burnout as she put it in drive with the engine on fast idle.

    Like 0
  22. P Wentzell

    I learned to drive in a car very similar to this, (my Dad’s company car). My Mom had a black, 2dr. 1971 LTD. When shopping for that car (car nut then as now), I remember the ones they passed up: a 1972 Mercedes sedan, a 1972 Thunderbird with a ‘fastback’ roof, metallic blue with a white vinyl roof. I tried talking them into those and a ’72 Thunderbird Brougham, a ginger color with high back split bench seats. That one My mom didn’t want because of the seats: “You can’t turn around and talk to the people in the back seat!”

    Like 0
  23. Todd Zuercher

    We had a green ’71 Galaxie 500 with the 351W. No idea if it had 4 wheel drums or discs on it – as I was age 2-8 when we owned it. I know it didn’t have air conditioning. We lived in Ohio so by the time we sold it in ’78, it had a pretty serious tin worm affliction.

    My dad sold it for $300 to the sons of a minister in a local town. They were the Smith brothers, who very shortly thereafter started a company called Trick Flow Specialties, now TFS and part of Summit Racing. I always wondered if the Windsor in our old family car was the test mule for their first sets of cylinder heads.

    Like 0

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