Uncommon Muscle: 1969 Ford XL GT 429

All hail the flying buttress roof! First (more than likely) employed by John Fitch on his 1965 Corvair Sprint, and then appearing, with reduced dimensions, on GM’s ’66 and ’67 A-Body intermediate cars. For ’68, this extended C- pillar design was picked up by both the Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Corvette. Not wanting to miss out on the dated trend,  Mercury borrowed the styling cue for its ’69 and ’70 Marauder and Ford glammed on to it in ’69 for its Galaxie 500 and XL and deemed it the “Sports Roof”. And today, for your viewing enjoyment we have a ’69 Ford XL, so equipped. It is located in Raton, Colorado New Mexico and is available, here on craigslist for $14,800. Thanks to Gunter K for this tip!

The seller refers to this Ford as a Galaxie GT  but it appears to be an XL equipped with the GT Performance option which mandated either a 390 or 429 CI V8 engine, competition suspension, steeper rear axle ratio, power front disc brakes, special wheel covers, and GT badging. And assuming that’s the case, this is a pretty rare car as, according to Mecum auctions, there were only about 1,200 or so produced.  Specific XL traits, besides the roofline, are the XL badges on those extended C-pillars and the XL badge on the center console. This is truly a nice find as the Impala, with its Sports Coupe roof, and/or the SS427 option from this era, seems to occupy most of the resale and auction space. As the seller correctly states, “These are getting hard to find!!!!!

Interestingly, the XL, which was offered in both two-door sports roof and convertible models, came equipped with an in-line six-cylinder engine as standard equipment – not very sporting machinery for a car with performance intentions. It was available with more go but it had to be specified. This XL, being blessed with the aforementioned GT Performance option, has the bigger of the two available engines, specifically, the “Big Mo” in the form of a 360 gross HP, “Thunder Jet”, 429 CI, V8 – new for the Ford division in ’69. The big 385-series engine is backed up by a three-speed automatic transmission actuated by an inverted “horse-shoe” selector, first popularized by Buick and then picked up by Chevrolet in 1968.  The seller makes no reference as to how this XL moves out and the mileage is disclosed as 99999 which is probably a placeholder.

In the ’60s, Dodge, Ford, and Chevrolet all employed their own “mag-type” wheel covers – we had a sidebar discussion about them in this 1966 Impala write-up. Ford used them on not only big cars like this XL but on Shelby Mustangs as well. While it’s true that there were cheesy versions available at Pep Boys or J.C. Whitney, the ones employed by the Big Three were quality pieces that trade for notable $$$ today. As for the rest of the exterior, the finish of this Ford is faded and worn in places but the car, with its previously mentioned “mag covers”, presents well overall. There is no sign of rust or crash damage, though admittedly the exterior images are minimal and not very revealing.

The interior, judging from the collection of attention-getting seat covers utilized, is probably not in the best of condition – like the exterior, the interior is poorly portrayed so it’s not possible to make an objective assessment. Of note are the bucket seats and center console, not standard with either the XL model or the GT Performance package.

This Ford XL appears to have good bones, and it is certainly equipped the right way. It’s a great find and a welcome departure from other full-size marques often found, if for no other reason than the fact that big Fords from this era have become scarce. This example will sell, whether the seller will get his price is debatable but this is a car with some draw, wouldn’t you agree?

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  1. Bmac777 Member

    I’ve never seen that type of shifter in a Ford, it looks great.
    I wonder if this shifter could have been had in a Torino or Mustang. It’s a nice upgrade over the T handle , which I always felt was plain and a little undersized

    Like 6
    • Lsrx101

      That shifter was available in the 68 to 70 Galaxie XL and 69 and 70 Marauder for sure. I believe it was also available as an option in the 71 and 72 Galaxie

  2. Moparman Member

    I LIKE this one! For right now, some TLC, seat covers and cruise. Maybe later, paint and Magnums (store the wheel covers!) GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 4
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good to see this XL with the GT group, not commonly seen. Looks like with some cosmetic work it would be a decent cruiser, and with a restoration it would be a stunner. It’s interesting that just a few items on a given car make all the difference: for me, it is the horseshoe-shaped shifter, the three-spoke sport steering wheel, and (surprisingly) the mag-style wheel covers.

    Like 11
  4. JCA

    Wow. Love it. I’d lose the seat covers, the pinstripe, find some big turbine style wheels, chop in a couple flow masters and drive it sideways all weekend long

    Like 7
  5. Sam61

    I thought “flying buttress” is a WWF move…nice car.

    Like 5
  6. Sam Shive

    Let Me At It. Love These.

    Like 1
  7. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Riddle me this…. why does every Tom, Dick &Harry and Alice put a Indian blanket as a seat cover. They are terribly itchy.
    Nice car though. I’ve always liked the “wingback” look. Quite stylist back in the ’60s

    Like 5
    • DON

      The two best I can come up with are #1 they are durable, #2 and more importantly, they are inexpensive !

      Like 2
  8. MC

    FYI… Raton is in New Mexico. 😬

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Ooops, thx, fixed.


    • Steve Clinton

      Isn’t ‘raton’ Spanish for mouse? (nothing like having your city named after a rodent!)

      Like 2
      • Dave

        Like Boca Raton?

        Like 2
  9. Rhett

    I’m loving this car, my Aunt had XL Fords when I was a kid and this one brings me right back. Good colors, great options, nice and solid. I don’t know about 15k, but I’d pay 10k all day long..

    Like 4
  10. Marc Conway

    I had a 1970 XL when I was in high school & really loved it. Dark green 429 PW, PL, Cruise & posi rear end. The steering wheel had the horn integrated in it as a rubber strip all arround the inside of the wheel. Sold it cheap and regret it. Shifter is correct, it is just like mine was. Thanks for the post it brings back lots of great memories.

    Like 7
  11. Troy s

    Looks great. Actually it looks too sporty to be a full sized Ford from the late sixties. It was all about amped up pony cars like the Mustang Mach 1 or mid sized terrors with vast amounts of power and youthful styling. A middle aged highway stormer up there really, and the 429 was all new at the time. Full size cars were the staple in US automotive manufacturing back then, the best sellers really and expensive too.
    From top sellers to the automotive graveyard, possibly demolition derby’s, abandoned and used for target practice….it really is nice to see one of these in such good shape.

    Like 5
  12. Larry Brantingham

    The ’64 Porsche 904 and Ferrari GTO (and the one-off 330 TRI/LM of ’62) might have influenced a racer like Fitch. The 375 Ferrari America /mm of 1954 and ’55 could be seen as progenitors of the flying buttress style.

  13. Snotty

    Btw, when Ford came out with the new 429, it’s was known as the Michigan strong boy.

    Like 3
  14. Scott Kauffman

    I had one of these back in ’89. Red with white bench seat interior, column shifted auto 429 4v. Factory traction bars(?) welded to the rear end. 75,000 original miles beautiful condition. Paid $2500.00 for it. Had a water injection set up on it, I assume a previous owner put it on in the early 70’s. Also had a Gabriel air compressor in the engine compartment with a gauge and controller mounted under the dash for the air shocks. Let me tell you that thing was fast! Sadly 6 months after I bought it someone stole it and totaled it.

    Like 2
  15. Barry Dover

    I had three of these at the same time. One was Seafoam green with buckets and console, power everything. One was triple black and slightly modded. I had it thirteen years. The third was a GT that my ex father in law bought new. Red with white top and stripes, red interior. All were 429’s. That is the factory shifter. Two of mine had that style. I won a bet once with the black car betting I could get a hundred mph out of second gear. With the 2:80.1 rear axle I succeeded in achieving 113 mph. Loved that black one. Sadly it was tboned by a woman trying to beat a red light. I still kept it for years but never repaired it. One of the rides I had that I do miss.

    Like 3
  16. Snotty

    Did have a 69 Galaxie 500 sportroof with the N code 429,bench seat, but what made it special was the factory 4spd. low production numbers because it was just a Galaxie 500,around 425 or so when you could research such things on the internet. Please don’t ask what happened to it for it is still painful.

    Like 2
  17. Autoworker

    My brother had a ‘69 XL sports roof ( 390, Arctic Blue, white vinyl top and interior). I remember laying on the gravel driveway replacing the automatic transmission. Looking back at this, good memories.

    Like 3
  18. Bunky

    Friend in H.S. drove his Daddy’s ‘69 XL.
    Equipped like this one except gold with white vinyl top. Stupid fast!
    Author referenced John Fitch. I got to meet him, and watch him run a Mercedes Gullwing at Bonneville about 2008. He was about 90. Gullwing on salt going flat out piloted by an ultra senior citizen. What could go wrong? 😬
    Google John Fitch, he was an amazing man. Besides racing and automotive design he was active in inventing safety and medical equipment.

    Like 3
  19. jim

    It seems pretty clear to me that if your working on this car while it is running, Don’t lean on that fan shroud. :)
    *chomp chomp*

    Like 1
  20. Gunner

    I like it. Then again, I liked some of the bigger cars, including some long roofs. Brings back memories. I owned a ’70 XL ‘Vert. Blue, white top, blue interior, 429, Floor console, and every option on the list (at least that is what it seemed like). I have a boat load (pardon the pun) of fun in it, and got way to many speeding tickets in it. Sold it to an older lady for $2K in the late eighties. Only ‘Vert I ever owned. Good times, good memories. 👍

    Like 1
  21. Howie Mueler

    Cool car but some mighty poor photos. Nothing of the front or rear.


    66 was the last year the six was std as I recall

    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Note the ’69 Ford sales brochure, the 240 CI six was still standard in the XL.


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