Junkyard Find: 1962 Ford Galaxie Coupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Today’s Junkyard Find isn’t the first ’62 Galaxie we’ve seen in the series. Yes, we had this ’62 Galaxie with the very rare Harlequin paint option more than three years ago. The second-gen Galaxie sometimes gets overlooked these days, because the Chevy Impala of the same era has become so iconic, but it’s a very good-looking car. Unfortunately, even a fairly straight two-door hardtop Galaxie with big-block isn’t worth restoring these days, so this example ended up in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard late last year.

Some dealership, or maybe the junkyard, tried and failed to sell this car for $1,999. Look, “engine runs good.”

Typical of California cars of this age, there’s no cancer in the wheelwells or fenders, but the areas where rainwater builds up under trim pieces have rotted.

The last year that car radios were required to have the CONELRAD atomic-attack-alert radio stations (640 kHz and 1240 kHz) was 1963, though I owned a ’69 Toyota that still had the CONELRAD marks.

So, the driver of this brand-new Galaxie would know when he or she had to duck and cover.

Of course, some later owner installed this Field Expedient Engineering cassette deck under the dash.

The interior is pretty much toast, which is the main reason this car wasn’t worth fixing up.

The engine is some member of the Ford FE family, which in most cases isn’t worth rescuing from the wrecking yard.

The Thunderbird valve cover should indicate that it’s a somewhat desirable 340-horse 390 instead of the scrap-metal-value 352. Heck, maybe it’s even the 385-horsepower 406!

But then the regular FORD valve cover on the other side argues for the 352 or low-performance 390. These cars had so many engine swaps over the years that the only way to tell what you’ve got here is to scrape off the mung and look at block and head casting numbers.

By the time you read this, today’s Junkyard Find has already been crushed, shredded, and put in a container at the nearby Port of Oakland.

I couldn’t find a ’62 Galaxie ad, but this one for the ’61 gives you the sense of class Ford was shooting for with these cars.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • -Nate -Nate on Mar 11, 2014

    What a shame ; These were such lovely understated design cars . In 1973 I had a '62 Ranch Wagon with the 292 Y-Block and automatic , only other option was the AM radio . Ran great , cost $150 , G.F. ran a red light and sent some poor shmuck's new Renault to the promised land , we hung a used fender on it and traded it in on a Mustang a few years later . lickily the poor schmuck wasn't hurt . In the late 1970's I was given a cherry clean '62 Galaxie Coupe from Arizona , 223 I6 three on the tree and over drive plus aftermarket (IIRC) AC ~ I got it running well but before I sorted out the paperwork (free because of no title) it tossed a rod as I was showing the 15 Y.O. kid from down the hill how easily it breezed along @ 85 MPH thanx to the over drive in it . I shoulda yanked the oil pan and replaced that slightly knocking rod but yanked the O.D. tranny instead , gave that to the 15 Y.O. kid who put it in his Dad's brush painted '59 F-100 and gave the car to the scrapper , back then a heavy full steel beast like a '62 full size Ford brought maybe $35 in scrap . Oops ~ it had perfect paint , body and upholstery , looking back I wished I'da saved it but I had a dozen old cars so..... BTW : when I bought my second house in 1988 I bought the kid's dad's old '59 F-100 and ran it for a year or three as I up fixed the old 1923 house . -Nate

  • Bugo Bugo on Mar 29, 2023

    There is some incorrect information here. First of all, the Z code 300 horsepower 390 4bbl had the Thunderbird valve covers. Source: I have owned a Z code 1962 Galaxie 500 2 door hardtop for almost 35 years. Also, the 340 horsepower 390 was a Police Interceptor engine and was quite rare. Confusingly, it was also given the Z code. The vast majority of 390 engines in 1962 were 300 horsepower engines. And the 352 is a fine engine, not "scrap metal". The 1962 352 only put out 220 horsepower, but in 1960, there was a 360 horsepower 352 that was Ford's first high performance engine since the 1957 supercharged 312 Fairlanes and Customs. That engine was anything but "scrap metal".

  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...
  • Sobhuza Trooper Isuzu's crime was to build some damn good trucks.Shame on them.
  • El scotto Listen, unless you were Lord Headly-Stempmoor or such when you got off the off the boat, boot in Canada, you got the short end of the stick. People got on the boat, these days a plane, to escape famine, becoming cannon fodder in yet another stupid war, or the government thought it was A-OK to let soldiers kill you. Juneteenth is just a way to right one of the more bad ideas in the American experiment. Instead we have commenters who were buying tater chips and diet soda at Wal-Mart and got all butt-hurt because they heard someone who wasn't speaking English. I'm going to go fix a couple of frankfurters with salsa and guacamole and wash them down with a lager or three