Getting the $1200 together took a bit of doing, but a couple days later I had it. My wife and I drove out across the Narrows Bridge one November night after work and drove out to the seller’s house. The seller and his wife came out. I gave him the cash, which he immediately gave to his wife. A few minutes later, I had the signed over title, a receipt for the payment, and keys to my 1965 Galaxie. He’d even warmed it up for me.
I started up the car with no problem. He mentioned that there was no gas in it and that the first place I should go is the gas station. Given that we were across the bridge near Port Orchard (which for non-locals is the middle of nowhere), I hoped the car could get to a gas station. I buckled the lap belt and took a look around. This car has some serious room in it. I turned on the stacked headlights and smiled at the dim glow of the dashboard. It ran two thirds of the way across the car and it looked cool as hell. I put the car into gear and followed my wife’s van out onto the road.
Driving a giant classic car like the Galaxie takes a lot of getting used to. You can’t make precision moves with a vehicle like this. As we drove through the night, it was totally clear to me why some people referred to these cars as ‘boats’. I kept looking at the gas gauge. It was on ‘E’ and not moving even a little. I’d never been to this part of the peninsula before. So I wasn’t concerned about nothing looking familiar. I was concerned that there wasn’t a gas station anywhere. I grabbed my cell off the bench seat and called my wife in the van ten feet in front of me. Unfortunately we were so in the middle of nowhere that it wasn’t connecting. I tried a couple more times and got through. She assured me that she knew where we were and where we were going. Five minutes later, we were at the gas station.
I put seventeen gallons of unleaded into the car and told my wife not to worry. She could go on ahead. I got in the car and turned the key. Nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing. I called my wife and asked if she could turn around. She came back, we hooked up some jumper cables and fifteen minutes later, we were on the road.
It was good to be on the freeway rather than the dark back roads. One of the benefits was I could suddenly see the car. While I was admiring the size and look of the car, I noticed I could see what was in front of me reflected on the hood of the car. The Galaxie had no problem getting to and maintaining freeway speeds. In fact it seemed more comfortable going fast than it did on surface streets.
Modern cars often feel like car simulators in that you feel very detached from the road. With the Galaxie it was very clear that I was driving on a road. It’s not a passive thing that you’re doing to get from point A to point B. It’s an active thing. The low roar of the engine sounded better than any other car I’d ever owned. I could also hear a low whistle like a window was down. I checked the driver’s side window. Shut. I reached over to the passenger side but I couldn’t reach the passenger door from the driver’s seat. This was a big car. I looked at the windows and saw the wing window on the passenger side had part of the rubber missing from it. That’s where the sound was coming from.
We got the car home. I grabbed the jump box and plugged it in. I decided the first thing I’d be buying was a new battery.
To Be Continued Next Week