1966 Ford Galaxie 7-Litre is very fondly remembered

By Al Vinikour 
Abandoned Cars and Trucks

(December 15, 2013) I was fortunate enough to have grown up in those halcyon days of the Muscle Car Era. Every manufacturer had a dog in the hunt.

General Motors had its legendary Pontiac GTO and Chevrolet’s fabled 348 and 409; Chrysler had its Plymouth and Dodge Hemis and Wedges; and Ford had its high-performance Mustangs, Galaxies and Thunderbolts. In those days the cars would be raced on Sunday and used the rest of the week as family transportation. You didn’t trailer them to the drag strip…you drove them there and back.

I was always a Ford enthusiast from the time I was a rambunctious teenager. It seemed that Ford’s were the only vehicles that would hold up under me. In 1965 I had a nice Ford Galaxie two-door hardtop.

My (then) wife and I were pulling out of a toll booth and got rammed from behind by a Pontiac station wagon. The next day I was at the dealer getting an estimate and while waiting I was asked by the shop foreman if I wanted to take a ride in a vehicle he just received that needed to be tested. It was a 1966 Ford 7-Litre. One ride in that car and I knew I had to have one.

Rather than wait around to have the smashed vehicle fixed we went dealer-shopping to see who would give us the best trade-in for a ’66 7-Litre. We found a dealer and placed the order. At the time, I was a mailman and my (then) wife worked for her father in a public relations services business.  We were told it would take about six weeks for delivery.

Every day of waiting was excruciating. Finally, I came home one day from walking my route and received a call from the dealer that our 7-Litre was in and we could pick it up that night. I got so excited that I threw up. I have never had that much pure joy (or vomit, for that matter) over the news of receiving a new car.

The 1966 Ford 7-Litre was basically a Galaxie 500 with the XL interior and the optional 428 cubic inch/345 horsepower Thunderbird engine. It was available as a hardtop or convertible.

We bought the hardtop equipped with a four-speed manual transmission. It was turquoise with a matching interior. It came with a 3.25:1 rear-end and factory-installed glass-packed mufflers. It had a custom set of hubcaps that resembled what are now chrome alloy wheels and unique 7-Litre badging at various places throughout the exterior and interior.

There was no brand designation except for the word "Ford" spread out across the hood. It was a real head-turner because it wasn’t that common of a vehicle like the Galaxie XL or Galaxie LTD. It was a “sedate” version of the 429” side-oiler Ford developed for racing. It had hydraulic lifters and a large Holley four-barrel carburetor. Total cost was $4,050.

A few years earlier I had “made the mistake” of teaching my (then) wife how to drive a four-speed. She picked it up in about 20 minutes and could really whip through the gears. Consequently, we would argue all the time over who was going to drive…or even use the car itself. We kept the car for several years and eventually started a family, which meant the 7-Litre morphed itself into a 1970 Oldsmobile 98 four-door sedan.

I recently read that Jay Leno has just acquired a ’66 7-Litre with a four-speed. The man does have taste.

Ford built the 7-Litre for one more year but the 1967 version was a package and not a specific trim level like the ’66. It did not sell well and versions of it are seldom seen. My first wife doesn’t have a place in my heart anymore…but my 1966 Ford 7-Litre will always have.