By John Quilter
All photographs by, and copyright of the Author.
In 1965 Chevrolet launched a new top of the line four door car one notch above the traditional top of the line Impala. This was the Caprice which in 1965 was only available in a four door hardtop and usually came with a black vinyl top. Engines ranged from the standard 283 CID V8 all the way up to the newly launched 396 CID big block which had as an option the new GM Turbo Hydromatic three speed automatic. Interiors were quite plush with a sort of nylon cloths upholstery.
Not to be out done in 1965, Ford, launched a subseries of the top of the line Galaxie line known as the LTD. Unlike the Chevrolet this was launched as both a two door hardtop and a four door hardtop. Engines ranged from the “small block” 289 CID V8 to the 352 CID to the 390 CID and ultimately a massive 428 CID unit. Transmissions were usually the three speed Cruise-O-Matic. Common power accessories were power steering and brakes and interior features were often air-conditioning, power windows, and seats. Vinyl tops were popular as well. The LTD and Caprice and the VIP at Plymouth were all marketing effort to entice buyers to abandon the “traditional” top of the line model for a newer even more plush version of the big three’s full sized cars. Ford even ran an ad touting the LTD’s silence in operation comparing it to a Mark X Jaguar!
This 1:43 scale model of the 1966 Galaxie 500 four door sedan was one of the part works series of Mexican cars. Billed as a 1967 it was in reality a 1966, at least in the USA. The conversion I did was to take this pillared sedan, remove the window frames, add a vinyl top and extend the sill moulding to the rear quarter panel as was fitted to the LTD. I picked a dark metallic green colour representative of the mid 60s colours and added a black vinyl top. By repainting the model I was able to overcome the model’s error in that the front and rear scuttle are moulded in the white top colour when they should match the body colour.
To add white wall tyres which would have come on virtually all LTD cars, I made them up using a ring of thin wire painted white and glued to the tire. Attempting a white wall this thin with decals or my previous method of cutting them from adhesive backed white shelf paper is not possible when one wants a white wall as thin as was used in the mid-60s onwards. (note to whitewall tire decal makers: thinner white walls would be a good expansion of the product line). Finally I added bare metal foil wheel lip mouldings and gave the grill a black wash. The F O R D letter badging on the trunk and hood had to be approximated with small dots of silver paint.
One of my model suppliers show a yet to be launched on pre-order, 1966 Galaxie two door hardtop in light blue which should make a good companion for the four door sedan and LTD pillar-less four door hardtop, see here.
Note: the last photo shows the Ixo (??) unmodified model with the incorrect, non-matching scuttle and rear panel and the black wall tires.
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