1960 Ford Sunliner

Following its 1959 introduction, the new Galaxie shared radical styling changes with Ford’s entire 1960 line. The 1960 Fords looked like nothing seen before or since. Even the casual observer would note that Ford’s signature round tail lamps were missing, replaced by a one year only set of semi elliptical shaped lamps, nestled beneath a set of smooth horizontal tail fins that were far more tastefully presented than those of rival Chevrolet, who had at least toned it down from the bat wings of 1959. Up front the new Fords sported a scalloped hood and grille (known to some as the banana grille) replacing a more sedate 1959 predecessor. Of particular note when discussing the 1960 Galaxie is the fact that these were the widest Fords ever to roll off the assembly line at 81.5 inches, surpassed only by the Wide Track Pontiacs, and when coupled with a reduced overall height of 54.5 inches, the new Fords looked even wider. Riding on a 119 inch wheelbase, the 1960 Galaxie featured a tread width of 61 inches up front, 60 inches at the rear and measured 213.7 inches from nose to tail.

Main-frontGone from the Galaxie model line for 1960 was the Skyliner retractable hardtop, while the Sunliner convertible remained and gained in popularity over the previous year with more than 44,000 produced. A brand new model called Starliner joined the Galaxie family in 1960, and the Starliner’s fastback roof design proved to be more than just stylish as its lower aerodynamic drag coefficient made it a natural for NASCAR stock car racing. This came in a very timely manner since Ford Motor Company was once again testing the waters of organized motor sports competition for the first time since 1957.

While the base models of the full-sized Ford line retained the Fairlane badge for 1960, there was a broad range of Galaxie offerings to meet the needs of the more discriminating customer including the Galaxie Club Sedan, Town Sedan, Town Victoria, and three station wagon models; Ranch Wagon, Country Sedan and Country Squire.

Main-rearThe base engine for 1960 remained the 223 cubic-inch Mileage Maker six, followed by the “W” code 185 horsepower 292 cubic-inch Y-Block V8. Next on the option ladder came the “X” code 235 horsepower 352 cubic-inch FE series V8 and the “Y” code 300 horsepower version of the 352. But perhaps the most notable power train option for the full-sized line for 1960 came in the form of what was arguably one of the best performance engines ever to roll out of Dearborn, the 352 cubic-inch Thunderbird Special V8. Not to be confused with other 352s available throughout the Ford line (although it was an FE series engine) the Thunderbird Special V8 was a dedicated high performance engine. Beginning with a specially cast cylinder block that had no provision for hydraulic valve lifters, Ford engineers added high compression pistons, a solid lifter camshaft, special cylinder heads, an aluminum intake manifold with Holley four-barrel carburetion, a full centrifugal advance distributor, and free flowing header-style cast iron exhaust manifolds for a rated 360 horsepower. Backed by a heavy duty Borg-Warner T-85 three-speed manual transmission, the 1960 Fords would more than hold their own against the competition on the circle tracks, dragstrips and at the stop lights of America.

Our feature car is the pride and joy of Ross and Marilyn Lisle of Portland, OR. The beautiful red Sunliner was previously owned by Marilyn’s aunt, Mrs. Geri Jacobs of Hazel Dell, WA, and was purchased by the couple after not having run for several years but found to be in amazingly solid original condition. In restoring their “new” car, Ross and Marilyn followed a 1960s theme, adding chrome reverse rims and rebuilding the original tired 352 V8 to 390 specifications with a 427 Low Riser aluminum intake manifold and 406 “shorty” high performance exhaust manifolds, and a chrome engine dress up kit, all parts available over the counter at your local Ford dealer through the 1960s. The Sunliner now carries the proud couple to local cruise nights and still visits with Mrs. Jacobs, now living in Salem, OR. Thanks go out to the Lisles for installing the factory correct wheels and tires for our photo shoot!

Ford offered an array of cloth and vinyl interiors for the 1960 Galaxie line. Bench seats were the norm as sportier bucket seats would not be introduced into the full-sized line until 1962. Our feature Galaxie Sunliner sports a striking tri-color vinyl interior and an instrument cluster that mimics the shape of the car’s taillights. While the cluster featured a 120 mph speedometer, along with fuel and temperature gauges, idiot lights monitored oil pressure and charging system functions. This held true even when cars were equipped with the top-of-the-line 360 horsepower high performance 352.

Ford’s engine line up for 1960 began with the 223 cubic-inch Mileage Maker Six, followed by a 292 cubic inch Y-Block V8, a 220 and 300 horsepower version of the 352, and the ultimate, Ford’s first dedicated performance engine, the Thunderbird Special 352, packed full of factory racing parts that delivered a whopping 360 rated horsepower. Transmission choices ran the gamut from a three-speed manual, or manual with overdrive, a two-speed Ford O Matic automatic and a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic. High performance engine was available with standard transmission only. Ford suffered from lack of a four-speed box until late 1961. The Lisle’s have upgraded the original 220 horsepower 352 V-8 in their Sunliner with over the Ford parts counter performance and appearance options such as; an aluminum intake manifold, Hi-Po air cleaner, 406 exhaust manifolds, and a chrome dress up kit that shows off the smooth running FE engine nestled under the huge hood.

Shop for classic Ford parts at www.DearbornClassics.com

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