You don’t often chance upon a 1965 Ford Galaxie. Where did you find this stunning piece of Americana?
My fiancée Kristine and I were looking to buy our first car. Or to be more specific, we were looking for a classic truck. While surfing the web in search of one, we saw an advert for a 1963 GMC pickup being sold by a dealer in Al Awir, Dubai. So we went out there to see the truck, but were disappointed to find it had just been sold.
Then I noticed this car on the sidewalk, seemingly abandoned under what looked like months and months worth of sand build-up. I brushed my hand on the fender to clear the sand, and was surprised to see a shiny, bright red paint job underneath. I decided to look a bit more and lo and behold, it was a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 with a big block motor! Kristine wasn’t too interested since she really wanted a pickup, but I managed to convince her that this was our car.
We’re glad you did! What condition was it in?
It looked amazing. The body was as straight as an arrow and all the chrome trim was on it. The interior was complete and even the headliner was intact. The engine looked like it was rebuilt and it already had the usual open-element air cleaner and matching chrome valve covers.
The first thing you did was to add an air conditioning system to it, right?
Yes we did, as these cars didn’t come with AC originally, so we took the car to a shop in Sharjah and got one installed. It was a typical installation you’d expect from one of those side-street shops, but we needed cold air, fast and cheap! The original radiator sprung a leak, which was repaired, but it leaked again and it had to be replaced. So I installed an aluminium radiator and electric fan to help the engine stay cool. An exhaust leak soon followed, but the bolts were rusted and I didn’t dare do the job myself since it was a sure thing that they’d break.
So I took the car to a shop in Al Quoz to get this done. Sure enough, they broke four out of 16 bolts! I would never have been able to remove them as I didn’t have the right tools. Kristine wanted the car to be loud, so I sawed off the tailpipes so she could enjoy the throaty reverberation of the big block. I don’t particularly like this, but she loves it. She hasn’t driven it yet, and I don’t think she wants to. It’s a bit big for her to handle. But she does enjoy being driven in the Galaxie.
You then went about sprucing it up a little...
Yep, next I changed the wheels. With the help of my friend, Tamer Hussein, I sourced a set of used wheels and tyres from a late model Mustang. The styling is very similar to the Torque Thrust wheels, but with a 17in diameter shod with 45 series rubber.
The wheels look really good on it. It must be so much fun cruising around in this classic piece of machinery…
It really is. It actually feels like you’re driving a very comfortable truck. The engine has so much torque that I literally just touch the loud pedal and it lunges forward. It has a stock 300bhp 390-cubic-inch V8 mated to a C-6 three-speed automatic. It gets so much attention — people can’t help but look and, for the most part, smile at the sight of the 65 Galaxie.
I guess it’s such an unusual car to see driving on the streets of Dubai on a week day. It’s like driving a treat around — it makes people happy. Countless motorists, who seem to appreciate the Ford rumbling down the road, have given us the thumbs-up. I like to drive it everywhere, and as for my favourite road — any will do!
It is more than 40 years old, does it give you any problems?
Nothing too troublesome — just a few leaks here and there, which have thankfully been easy enough to remedy. Apart from a thrown fan belt, which was a five-minute fix, it’s been very reliable and hasn’t let us down — knocking on wood!
You and Kristine have some interesting ideas with regards to modifying it, don’t you?
She wants wire wheels and an air ride suspension, while I want a supercharger and rear end gears. Who knows what else we will do, but we will surely do something.
Let us know whatever you do. You’ve got to keep hold of this after all the work that’s gone into it...
It all depends on funds. Usually, the plan is to keep your pride and joy. But if you want another and can’t afford both, then the ‘for sale’ sign goes up. For now, we’re more than happy with Peggy, the Galaxie’s pet name.
Peggy isn’t the only rare and very cool ride you’ve ever had — you’ve owned some pretty amazing machines haven’t you…
I’ve been fortunate in that respect. My first car was a Plymouth Arrow that I modified from top to bottom. The original 1.6-litre engine was swapped for a 2.2-litre with higher compression pistons and dual Weber 45 carbs. It was a show-quality build with parts chromed and polished. I was in high school at the time and drove it every day — you can imagine the chaos I caused on the streets of the Philippines!
I also had a 1969 Mercury Cougar and a 1980 Ford Mustang road race, auto cross, drag race and street car, powered by a 5.0-litre roller motor with a Top Loader four-speed transmission. This was my favourite car. It was my daily drive and I raced it on the weekends too. I had this car when I lived in New York City, and when I moved to California, I drove it across the US to Monterey.
Last but not least, I had an original 1966 Ford Mustang GT. I loved that car but it gave me more headaches than any of my previous cars. It looked darn good though!
Name: Mark Montecillo
Job: Marketing manager
Wheels: 1965 Ford Galaxie
In the UAE: Five years