Shed Find! 1968 Ford XL Convertible

While hidden headlights date at least to the 1930s, a number of late ’60s and early ’70s cars featured a full-width grille with hidden headlights similar to this 1968 Ford Galaxie 500 XL Convertible. Because most cars from this golden age of hidden headlight were built before the smog era’s lowered compression ratios, they could be used as a loose indication of decent horsepower as well. This drop top Galaxie, stored in a Utica, Ohio shed since the ’70s, awaits a new owner here on eBay. Check out how Ford’s design team cleverly incorporated the turn signals into the grille surround trim… a sweet detail maintaining the smooth front end design.

To my eye, these cars lack something in profile, but the attractive front and rear more than make up for that. As any car enthusiast knows, the ugliest of ducklings can become a swan with swag’ given the right stance, wheels, and tires. The XL trim adds interest (and the must-have hidden headlights) without seeming gaudy. I thought the 390 cars had badges behind the front wheels, but perhaps only on the GT. Though not immediately obvious from these pictures, the top is completely shot and will need to be replaced.

Instead of bucket seats and a console with a beefy inverted “U” shifter, this convertible features the dating-friendly bench seat and column shifter. Fuel and speed report via actual gauges, leaving the driver to simply trust the bank of “idiot lights” (and their little incandescent bulbs) to illuminate when other monitored functions stray from acceptable boundaries.

The 390 cid “Thunderbird” V8 delivered 280 HP (gross) and a reasonably satisfying 427 lb-ft of torque. (thanks to galaxieclub.com for some details). Despite its indoor storage, decades of damp Ohio winters have imparted many exposed finishes with surface rust. This car does not run, but the new battery indicates failed attempts. Power brakes and steering will make this big convertible easier to handle once everything is sorted. The seller reports some “crusty but solid” metal underneath. Whether rehabilitated or restored, this XL will make the perfect car for piling in a bunch of neighborhood kids for a trip to Culver’s. What do you think of this hidden-headlight rag-top?

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Usually I’m all for more pictures, but the one with it on the back of the flatbed did not help their cause.

    I see $2,500 max, even that might be generous.

    Steve R

  2. jw454

    My brother had a ’68 Galaxie fastback. It was one of the few cars he’s owned I would have liked to have had. Dark green with black interior. It was a very nice car but, of course, he wrecked it while in a pot induced stupor.
    The feature car was a very classy looking ride at one time. I hope someone brings it back to it’s former glory.

  3. Troy s

    Big, cool looking old full size Ford but I’m not much of a convertible fan, as far as Galaxies go I’ve always liked the 62-’64 cars a bit more. That 390 is a good torque arm to get up to speed and carry passengers which is what most buyers were after I figure, not racin’ fast.

  4. Miguel

    I grew up in the back seat of tone of these. It was a 2 door formal hardtop.

    As far as the XL goes, I much prefer the fastback body to the convertible.

    Where I live, I can’t imagine a black car with no air, convertible or not.

  5. Redwagon

    Interior looks pretty good despite the ripped convertible top. My guess is that the top got shredded on the way home.

    Potential. But it won’t be cheap.

  6. Kenny

    Actually in 1968 Ford made the XL a model of it’s own so this isn’t a galaxie but simply a Ford XL. Also in 1968 Ford made the XL with either buckets and a console or automatic on the column like this one. Before that An XL trimmed car came with bucket seats and a center console with a floor shifter. That “U” shaped shifter was called a “U-Bar” shifter and came with a chincy plastic handle that always broke under pressure. General Motors cars like the Chevy Chevelle and Camaro had a similar U-shaped shifter but the handle was diecast and didn’t crack in half like the Ford/Mercury shifter handle did. Repro handles are now available in limited quantities but are also made out of plastic and will probably break or crack as well so maybe a B&M shifter might be the way to go if hot rodding the car. As mentioned earlier, I cannot imagine a triple black car without air conditioning so a switch-over to factory air or even an underdash ad-on unit from classic air would definitely be something to look into. That black vinyl seat can get quite hot out in the summer sun and be next to impossible to sit on here in the Midwest on an 80 to 90 degree day. This must have been a northern car when sold new..

    Like 1
  7. Kenny

    Most of the 68 fullsize Ford came with the 390 big block but the 302 small block was standard equipment. The powerhouse in ’68 was the 428 big block which was an FE engine just like the 390 but had a bigger cam and a different crank and stroke thus had more torque and horse power too. 1968 was the last year for the 428 4V or 8V( dual 4 V carbs). The 385 series 429 2V and 4V Thunderjet engines replaced it in ’69 in the big Fords, T-Birds and pickup trucks. The 428 and 429 CobraJet (CJ) and the shaker hood scooped Super CobraJet (SCJ) were not offered in the big Fords and only in the Mustangs and Torino/Fairlane cars.

    • Troy s

      Although it has nothing to do with this post the strongest runner of the big Ford’s was the 63 Galaxie that had the nasty 427 8V, although that engine was around for a few more years. Very strong runners, very rare too for obvious reasons.

    • Snotty

      Full sized ford’s could be had with the formidable 429 Thunderjet, 4bbl. which put out 360 H.P. and 476 Lbs.Ft. @ 2800 r.p.m. Last yr. you could get a 4 spd. in the full size Galaxie/XL. I had one.

    • KKW

      The powerhouse in 68 was still the 427, with 68 being the final year, and very few were sold. Although heavily detuned from previous years, it was still more potent than the 428.

  8. ClassicCarFan

    The “Thunderbird” 390 V8 (4V) was rated at 315 bhp in the Galaxy/XL that year.

  9. Classix Steel

    Make it a sleeper with a 428 and dual four barrels with black on black interior and top with baby moon caps !

  10. Kenny

    I believe you are under rating it. My ’69 Ford XL has a 390 2V in it from the factory and it’s rated at 320 hp. The 4V version of that same year was rated at 360 hp. Both had 10.5 to 1compression and should be the same as the ’68 390. All the 1960’s FE. Engines were bulletproof

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      The ’69 390 2BBL in the XL was rated at 265 hp.

      I think you are confusing the 390 for the 429.

      The 429 2BBL was rated at 320 hp while the 429 4 BBL was rated at 360 hp.

  11. Nrg8

    Triple black. In this case air would be a must.

  12. Barry

    I owned this exact model 30 years ago and learned the hard way. These cars are particularly prone to rust and can hide a multitude of problems. I would be very careful

  13. Mountainwoodie

    “Frame and floors are crusty”. Must be mighty crusty for seller to be so upfront about it. Pass. Check out the Skylark (?), ’68 Chevy(?) and maybe a Bonneville in the background as well as a ’39 Mercury (?). Hmmmmmm

  14. duaney Member

    Should be a law against storing cars in a shed in Ohio. Look at all the rust! In that damp climate a heated and dehumidified building is a must!

  15. Gaspumpchas

    The prospective buyer needs to inspect every square millimeter of the frame and the rest of the underbelly.Ohio is a rust belt state and the frames on the 65 and up fords rusted out fast.You see very few 68’s up here in New Yawk. if its good you have a nice car there,Even in a heavy car, that 390 is no slouch!!!

  16. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I lucked onto one of these back in 1990. Bought for $750, all it needed was the power brake booster. I’m glad to see the seller offering wheels for the car. I agree that the frame should be inspected and especially the top well where it dips into the trunk. Mine was rust free, cream colored, air conditioned but lacking the retractable headlight doors.

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