Sunday, December 26, 2010

Classic Domestic Car Lineup—Ford for '62

When I think of a "classic" American carmaker's full lineup of product offerings, the 1962 Ford perfectly fits the bill. They had a compact, an intermediate, a full sizer, a luxury offering, and even a "people mover" or van as they were called back then. The Falcon, Fairlane, Galaxie, Thunderbird and Econoline are really all anyone needed, or needs today!

My father came home with a black Galaxie 2 door post sedan in 1962, with a 390 V8 engine, the lightest-weight bodystyle with the FE series V8. There were also a couple of 406 engines available but apparently were special-order only, and my father was an impulse "buy from the lot" type of guy. For a young car lover, he certainly gave me some great surprises growing up because of that!

To make "room" for their upcoming intermediate, Ford renamed all of its full size cars "Galaxie" for 1962. Higher trim levels were thus the Galaxie 500 and 500/XL, adding trim and features and equipped to near luxury levels. Elegance was stressed, as can be seen in the way the Galaxie was photographed. The Falcon also added a new model this year, the Squire wagon, available with bucket seats if so desired! The new Falcon Futura featured Thunderbird-inspired bucket seats, console and thickly padded vinyl interiors.

Though there were "senior compacts" from GM in 1961, Ford really can be credited with creating the new "intermediate" class in 1962 with its Fairlane. Interestingly, this new class of cars, fitting perfectly between the compacts and full sizers, this '62 Fairlane used the 115 inch wheelbase of the very popular full size Fords of the mid Fifties. Ford even plucked the Fairlane moniker from that popular series of Fords. For this new car however, Ford used unibody construction, similar to the Falcon's, for lower weight. Ford kept this construction for its intermediates until the 1972 model year.

At the top end of Ford's lineup, the luxurious and sporty Thunderbird added two new models for '62. The now-classic Landau luxury coupe and Sports Roadster convertible both made their first appearances. The Landau upped the luxury ante inside with lots of woodgrain trim and added a vinyl roof complete with "S" bars on the C pillar. The Sports Roadster used a fiberglass toneau with built in headrests covering the rear seats. This was meant to evoke the original 2-seater Tbird, and has become a highly-coveted collectible in its own right. The bottom spread illustrates all of Ford's passenger cars for '62, really a lineup for the ages, in my opinion!

B T W : 
This piece is entitled, "Ford Owner Newsletter Supplement, The Long Ford Line for 1962," measures 11 x 8 3/8 inches and is 16-pages including front and rear covers. The layout is almost haphazard when you look at all of the spreads as I've scanned and grouped them here. The fonts are consistent throughout, but the sizes aren't for the titles. There is not much of a discernible template, as text column widths and photo widths vary. This piece is in exceptional condition, a bit odd since it wasn't an expensive piece to produce—no glossy varnished pages, no heavier-than-usual paper stock. I think it's all the more desirable to me because of it!


  1. Falcon: Best shape economy's ever been in." Ford painted a very idyllic picture in its ads back then. Who would have know...

    1962 Events & Facts


    * Soviet missile bases detected in Cuba; President Kennedy demands their removal. The confrontation is the closest the U.S. and U.S.S.R. ever come to war. Crisis is resolved when Soviets agree to remove Cuban missiles in exchange for removal of U.S. missiles in Turkey.
    * Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann executed in Israel
    * U.S. establishes semi-permanent military presence in Vietnam
    * Pope John XXIII convenes the Second Vatican Council, which will modernize many practices of the Catholic Church when it concludes three years later

    I really think I lived in an ad back in those days... hmmm even includes an airplane to boot.

  2. Ah, the 62 Ford lineup. And a Galaxie two-door sedan! That was not such a popular model but it should have been! I had a Ford brochure for the big 62 Fords that must have been an auto show handout that showed all the Galaxies in a big spread on a parking lot or tarmac. I was very taken with the 62 Fords and spent a lot of time dreaming over this particular brochure. In the fall of 62 while we were waiting for our 63 Falcon to be delivered, Mullane Ford in Bergenfield, NJ, gave us a loaner of a basic 62 Galaxie sedan with a V8 and Cruise-o-matic because our 56 Plymouth wagon (2-door deluxe, ie stripper, suburban) was on its last legs and wouldn't make it through the 4 week delivery time. I hoped the Falcon would never arrive!

    Paul, NYC

    PS -- I think the 62 T-birds are the clear choice in the 61-63 series and the sports roadster is the clear choice of 62s!

  3. Our Galaxie was a bit of a stripper, not exactly my Dad's taste, but I think he was enamored of the big 390 and Cruise-o-matic. He also had a company car at the time, a '62 Buick Invicta wagon but that was replaced in a few months with a Corvair Greenbriar passenger van. He loved that in the snow, which he always seemed to have to drive to New York in.

    I really should start watching Mad Men I guess. I LOVE the real advertising world of the Sixties, I suppose I'd like a TV show about it.

  4. Tbirds: I think I like the '61 styling a bit more, the hood with the slender twin bulges and the rear fender trim, but weren't there mechanical updates to the '62, like an alternator instead of a generator? I love all the '61-63 Tbirds. Even with the '63's added fender sculpting, it was still such a clean design. I prefer all three to the styling of my old '64, but that was more of a sentimental love affair for me!

  5. I am watching Toy Story 2... I feel like I have just tumbled into Casey's place. lol I would love to be watching this with you Casey, I can just hear your narrative.

  6. i haven't seen either Toy Story! one of these days. I'm just not a huge movie person, I always seem to have other things to do. Or I forget!

  7. I agree with you that this was the perfect lineup for Ford. They covered all of the bases.
    Most of the cars featured the round "afterburner" taillights (influenced by jet aircraft) that were integrated quite nicely into the overall design theme and continue to be one of my personal favorites to this day.
    The 61-63 Thunderbird styling epitomized what Thunderbird styling should be - uninhibited and carefree.
    1962 was a great Ford year.

  8. I've been thinking a lot about these 62 Fords and certainly agree that the 62s were a terrific lineup. However, the 63 was as well, and had even more variety with the Falcon having hardtops and convertibles and the Fairlane having a hardtop. And the big Fords added a slant-roof hardtop to the Galaxie 500 and 500XL lineups. I guess the point of all this is that Ford was really on a roll back then!

    Paul, NYC

  9. Couldn't agree with you more Paul.
    Ditto Mercury and Lincoln. This was the FOMOCO golden age.

  10. the 60s were definitely a golden period for domestic cars. My mythical 100 bay garage would be mostly filled with cars from the 1960s!