OUT OF THE PAST 1969 Ford Galaxie 500 once more run­ning strong

The Washington Times Daily - - Auto -

In 1969 Ford was build­ing very large, very pow­er­ful cars. Fast­back styling was be­com­ing quite pop­u­lar and, as a con­se­quence, 63,921 Galaxie 500 Sport Roof Coupes found buy­ers.

One of those Fords, a jade-green model, left the fac­tory equipped with a 429-cu­bic-inch ‘Thun­der Jet’ V-8 en­gine pump­ing out 360 horse­power un­der the hood. When new, the mus­cu­lar Ford had a base price of $2,930. Even­tu­ally, Dr. Howard Hayes be­came the sec­ond owner when he pur­chased the car for use as a tow ve­hi­cle.

Scott Say­lor re­mem­bers see­ing the car in the Oak­ton neigh­bor­hood. ‘He lived two houses down from my mother,’ Mr. Say­lor re­calls.

Mr. Say­lor spent a lot of time dur­ing his teenage years at his neigh­bor’s garage be­fore he went off to col­lege.

When he came back home, he went to visit Dr. Hayes and his Ford. He found that it has been parked since Oct. 13,1994, and it ap­peared to be in sad con­di­tion. The driver’s door was dented where it had been hit by a deer and al­gae were grow­ing on the en­gine

hood. ‘Mice and crick­ets had taken up res­i­dence un­der the hood,’ Mr. Say­lor says.

Dr. Hayes knew how much his young neigh­bor had once cared for the car so he of­fered to sell it to him. He must have been look­ing for a good home for his car be­cause when asked the price, he replied, ‘a hun­dred dol­lars.’

Mr. Say­lor hur­ried off to find a trailer and $100 and with a friend re­turned to get the Ford. ‘When we got done load­ing the car on the trailer,’ Mr. Say­lor says, ‘He stuffed $40 in my shirt pocket and said, ‘You boys bet­ter get some­thing to eat.’’

Mr. Say­lor towed the car eight miles to his Chan­tilly home on Oct. 13, 2003, nine years to the day af­ter the car last had been moved. Then the fun be­gan. ‘There was a lake in the trunk,’ Mr. Say­lor says, ‘and it had Fred Flint­stone brakes.’ Amaz­ingly, af­ter the trunk was dried out, there was no rust ev­i­dent. The lack of brakes was reme­died with the in­stal­la­tion of a new brake sys­tem.

The orig­i­nal grille survives but while Mr. Say­lor lo­cated and sent for new head­light bezels in South Dakota and new door pan­els in New Jer­sey, he shipped both chrome bumpers off to be re­plated.

‘I have a lot of friends to thank who helped me,’ Mr. Say­lor says. Most of the restora­tion work was com­pleted in his garage at home. ‘It’s been a joy to work on,’ he says.

Vir­tu­ally ev­ery­thing needed at­ten­tion in­clud­ing the water pump, fuel pump, al­ter­na­tor and even the tim­ing chain cover and the valve cover gas­kets. The orig­i­nal Ford Mo­tor­craft car­bu­re­tor was set aside on the ‘save for later’ shelf in fa­vor of a four-bar­rel Edel­brock car­bu­re­tor that Mr. Say­lor finds more to his lik­ing. Gaso­line from a 24-gal­lon tank feeds the big V-8. ‘The en­gine likes ev­ery bit of the 24 gal­lons,’ Mr. Say­lor says.

Fea­tures on the car in­clude a re­mote-con­trol left-side mir­ror and a sta­tion­ary right-side mir­ror. Power as­sist helps steer the car on its 121-inch wheel­base and the power brakes have 13-inch drums at each wheel.

A rect­an­gu­lar backup light is lo­cated in the cen­ter of each of the rect­an­gu­lar tail­light lenses.

Mr. Say­lor, a teacher of pho­tog­ra­phy and fine arts at South County Sec­ondary School, in­stalled a new ex­haust sys­tem so that there is a 2.5-inch ex­haust pipe from the en­gine on back. All the power from the mighty en­gine is trans­ferred to the pave­ment via a three-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

The all-black in­te­rior is mostly orig­i­nal although Mr. Say­lor had a new black car­pet in­stalled. The black wrap­around dash­board was de­signed with the driver, and driver only, in mind. All the con­trols and in­stru­ments are po­si­tioned di­rectly in front of the driver. Even the AM/FM ra­dio is in­cluded, to be op­er­ated by the driver’s left hand.

Right around La­bor Day this year the restora­tion of the big Galaxie 500 was vir­tu­ally com­pleted as Mr. Say­lor re­in­stalled both re­plated bumpers.

The odome­ter has yet to reach the 82,500-mile mark but af­ter the re­build Mr. Say­lor says it is ready to go that far again - and more. ‘It’s a very solid car,’ he says with au­thor­ity.

A de­cal on the mas­sive air cleaner proudly pro­claims that the en­gine be­neath it is a 429-cu­bic-inch Thun­der Jet V-8 .

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