Solid Survivor: 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 LTD Hardtop Coupe

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Model year 1965 was a milestone year for The Big Three, especially the Ford Motor Company. It was the first time Ford had joined rival Chevrolet in the “Two-Million-Units-Sold Club” (thanks to the Mustang), and like their two other low-priced field competitors, Chevy and Plymouth, Ford officially entered the luxury car market with the top-of-the-line Galaxie 500 LTD trim package. I imagine the folks over at Lincoln weren’t exactly ecstatic about this idea. Of the 105,279 Galaxie 500 LTD’s produced for 1965, it’s not surprising that the majority (68,038) were four-door sedans. There was also a more-sporty-than-formal-looking 2-Door Hardtop Coupe option, and here’s one of the 37,691 that rolled off the assembly line. It’s in very original condition, has a great color combination, and looks to be a good restoration candidate.

Very little of the LTD’s background and history is given. The seller says “it’s all original as far as I know” and that it runs and drives good. He/she also says that the car’s original paint and vinyl top are rough but describes the body as being very good. This is one of those cars that must’ve looked stunning when new, with its attractive Twilight Turquoise Poly paint, black vinyl roof, and a luxurious turquoise interior. Based on the photos, the paint isn’t too bad (I’ve seen worse on a 59-year-old car), I’m not spotting any major rust or body damage, but the vinyl roof is definitely peeling on top. Overall, it looks like it’s all there. The chrome, trim, LTD badging, and glass all look good.

The original interior is faded, but it’s not ripped to shreds and gives you an idea of the posh, upscale luxury look and feel Ford was offering. It was also quieter, too, thanks to extra sound deadening (Ford advertised that an LTD was a USAC-certified 5.5 decibels quieter than a Rolls- Royce Silver Cloud III.) and the “Limousine-Luxury” cloth-vinyl interiors came Scotchgard protected from the factory.

Luxury interior appointments included faux wood trim, exclusive cut-pile carpet, a rear seat armrest, an electric clock, and courtesy lights in the doors, glovebox, trunk, and of course, the ashtray. LTD’s had a long options list as well which included a choice of five vinyl top colors, power steering, brakes, seats, and windows, as well as SelectAire Conditioning (which this LTD has but isn’t working).

LTD’s came standard with a 289-cubic inch, 200-horsepower Challenger V-8 engine, but three V-8 options were also available. This one is listed as having the 390-cubic inch, 300-horsepower Thunderbird Special V-8 under the hood that is paired with a Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission. The seller says the car “runs and drives good” and the mileage is listed at 57,200, which could be original based on the condition of the car’s interior. The newly-added list from the seller includes new brakes, rear shocks, master cylinder, and pitman arm. The LTD is located in Shelton, Washington and is for sale here on eBay. It currently has a high bid of $7,500 which hasn’t met the seller’s reserve, and has a Buy It Now price of $14,000. Overall, this LTD looks like a solid survivor that would be a real looker if restored to its original glistening showroom glory. What do you think?

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  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    Thanks for the good writeup Ron. These were nicely-trimmed, crisply-styled, attractive cars in their day. This one looks like a good candidate for additional work. Would make a fun cruiser.

    I’ve read a bit about the internal discussion concerning offering an upscale full-size Ford. There was plenty of debate, as you can imagine. It took decades to play out, but some automotive historians point to the LTD as the ‘beginning of the end’ for Mercury.

    Like 14
    • Ron Denny Ron DennyAuthor

      Thanks, Bob. I agree with you. I’ve always liked the crisp styling of the ’65s and think it’s Ford’s best design of the 60s decade. And good point about the “stay in your lane” internal debates that were going on up in Detroit. I hadn’t thought about it, but I’d agree that it probably was the beginning of the end for the Mercury brand.

      Like 7
  2. Terrry

    Speaking of how quiet the Ford is, that was one of Ford’s slogans for the full-size cars, “Ford Quiet”, and they advertised heavily on the TV show “The FBI” starring Ephraim Zimbalist Jr. if you all remember.

    Like 9
  3. Zen

    That’s a really nice survivor, with a 390, factory A/C, power steering and power brakes, in really nice, original condition, I think that car is reasonably priced. I hope it finds a good home.

    Like 7
  4. Big C

    And, NASCAR teams used the chassis of these full size Fords for quite some time.

    Like 3
  5. CCFisher

    The 1965 LTD and Caprice had very premium interiors that would not have been out of place in a luxury car. I think you’re right, Ron, to suggest that their respective corporate cousins weren’t happy, because both cars quickly became less special inside.

    Like 3
  6. Jeff L

    If I was buying this car, I would want to see so.e pictures of the chassis. These mid 60s Fords were notorious for frame rot. The dealership where I worked took one in on a trade, body was immaculate, frame so rotted I don’t know how it didn’t fold in half when I put up on the lift.

    Like 7
    • Bill Hall

      If this car is still native to Washington or anywhere in the West rust in not an issue on a 65 Ford. My first car was a 65 Galaxie convertible. I have no clue how many miles it traveled as the odometer never worked and it showed about 55.000. It was wrecked and repaired on at least three corners including the left front corner of the frame. There were also a pair of unused transmixers. When I finally sold it a few years later the next buyer wrecked again. They don’t make cars like this now.

      Like 2
  7. Jeff L

    If I was buying this car, I would want to see see pictures of the chassis. These mid 60s Fords were notorious for frame rot. The dealership where I worked took one in on a trade, body was immaculate, frame so rotted I don’t know how it didn’t fold in half when I put up on the lift.

    Like 2
  8. chuck

    Rode to high school in a new 4 door one of these…. 65 was the best of its’ generation and this one is the right colors.

    The weave of that upholstery was absolutely luxurious….. felt perfectly smooth…. and it was used on the door uppers as well. These were far nicer than an Impala.

    Like 7
  9. Dave Brown

    What a beautiful Ford! Ford built created great cars. What happened? All they build are top heavy SUV’s and trucks now. This LTD beats the hell out of any of them. What happened?

    Like 7
    • John Silvestri

      Ford stopped producing stationwagons as time went by due to the oil embargo back then. SUVs became the alternative and have no style. you can’t tell them apart anymore. Ford and GM are both in the process of dropping the car class vehicles. I currently own a 68 Galaxie 500 show quality convertible and love it.

      Like 1
  10. Troy

    Well I guess the good news is for those concerned about possible frame rott Washington State didn’t salt or put that brine crap on the roads until about 14 years ago before that when they plowed they just used Sand. Shelton is a nice community inland from the salt air so you will probably only see the typical surface rust. This is a nice clean ride and the asking price isn’t super horrible.

    Like 2
  11. Brian

    The statement above said the majority were four door sedans. The LTD was only available in two and four door hardtops. Not available in sedan form.

    Like 3
  12. Malcolm Greer

    The engine has had some work done to it, as it came from the factory painted black and valve covers & air cleaner were gold. The origin of these valve covers is a bit of a mystery to me, as Ford most always embossed them with some kind of FORD or similar wording.

    Like 4
    • Chuck V

      Those look like aftermarket pressed steel valve covers from Trans-Dapt. I have a pair on my 74 F250. They fit great and the mounting flanges are perfectly flat, unlike my beat up originals. The only downside is the lack of a mounting tab to attach the oem spark plug wire separator to.

      Like 1
  13. Piper62j

    The frames rotted out due to inappropriate amount of drain holes and the lack of undercarriage sealer on the inside of the rails.. The frames were not all dipped back then, just sprayed from the outside.

    Like 2
  14. Randy R

    I had a 1965 Galaxie XL 500 It was burgandy and cream color, I love that car until a friends of mine wreck it.

    Like 1
  15. Robert

    The ‘65 LTD was a trendsetter,and was copied by Chevy and Plymouth..The Caprice maintained its premium quality interior as standard equipment..Ford kept the interior exclusive from ‘65-‘67..In ‘68 and beyond,the LTD had a Galaxie 500 interior as standard,and the Brougham had become an extra cost option..

    Like 1
  16. Colin

    Great to see this survivor in such good condition. This was my Mom’s first ever new car. She purchased hers off the showroom floor and loved her burgandy/black sedan with a rich burgandy interior. The exact model in Ford’s advertising. Was quite the looker for ’65.
    She loved this car so much, she hated to part with it, but loved her ’73 LTD Brougham coupe just as much…But traded it two years later for a ‘a fully loaded ’75 Landau coupe. By ’77 she couldn’t resist the all new T Bird.

    Like 0
  17. scottymac

    As a Ford fan, I resent your assertion that Ford, Chevy, and Plymouth introduced their upscale models concurrently. Ford had the LTD model ready at the 1965 Ford introduction in September 1964; Chevy couldn’t respond with the Caprice until February 1965; and the Plymouth VIP didn’t see sales until 1966 model introduction in September 1965! Ford tore up the marketplace and competitors throughout the Fifties and Sixties with their new models! 1957 Ranchero/Chevy responds with 1959 El Camino. Ford opens personal luxury market with 1960 T-Bird; Chevy “responds” with C-Bird, 1970 Monte Carlo. Ford markets reliable compact 1960 Falcon; Chevy responds with 1962 Chevy II. Ford markets 1962 Fairlane; Chevy responds with 1964 Chevelle. Ford markets 1964 1/2 Mustang; Chevy responds with 1967 Camaro. And so on, and so on.

    Like 4
    • Doug

      Yes, the LTD was introduced as a 1965 model when the ‘65 Fords were introduced. The Caprice trim option only became available on the Impala hardtop sedan (no center pillar). That first year, real wood was used on the Caprice trim option. 1966 was the first year Caprice was it’s own line at Chevrolet with a hardtop sedan, unique roofline two door hardtop and an exterior faux wood wagon.

      Like 0
  18. David Cook

    When I was a kid my dad’s friend bought new Fords every 2 years like clockwork. He traded his ‘63 Country Squire for a ‘65 LTD 2 door hardtop. I loved that car. In ‘67 he bought another LTD 2 door hardtop and in ‘69 another. I miss those days where cars changed so much from year to year.

    Like 3
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

      … and probably bought them from the same salesman at the same dealer. Both of whom loved having him as a repeat customer.

      Like 0
    • Chuck

      The cars changed a lot…

      And somehow the price didn’t…

      Like 0
    • John D

      I would love to have bought a new ford every 2 years but I would want to keep the old ones.

      Like 0

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