Hi Greg, I enjoy reading your column as I have been a car nut for over 40 years. What can you tell me about a 1968 Ford XL GT? My dad had one when I was 14 and I still remember it well.
His was a black convertible with a gold "laser stripe" down the sides, white power top, white interior with bucket seats and a console shifted C-6 automatic transmission. It also had mag-style hubcaps and every option imaginable for the time. It even had air conditioning, which we thought was silly since it was a convertible! It had a 428 4-barrel with dual exhaust and posi-traction rear end.
After it was gone, Dad always said "I should have kept that car, I have a feeling it was something special." Thanks, Steve, Knoxville, IL.
A: Steve, your dad was right! Of the 11,832 Galaxie convertibles produced in 1968, only 316 were XL GT's with the 428 Thunderbird (Cobra Jet style) engine that produced an advertised 345 horsepower.
Furthermore, your dad's car was finished in what today is "most desirable" colors, specifically a black exterior with the white top and white interior. It must have been quite a car to ride in and look at back then. As for the options, even the air conditioning would be a plus today on the Mecum or Barrett-Jackson auction shows, as would al the other goodies your dad had in your XL GT. Because only 316 were ever built, it's a tough car to find these days in tip top shape.
As for competition, back in 1968 Chevy had a full-size 427 SS Impala that was one of the hot tickets on the street scene. Thus, for those who wanted more room than a Chevelle or Mustang, it was either an SS427 or a Galaxie XL GT 428.
Ford's XL GT came in both convertible and fastback editions; although Chevy probably promoted its full size muscle car a little better than Ford did back then, Ford also had a Torino GT that was a real hot ticket for performance buffs, too. Still, there's no taking away anything from Ford as to the importance of the XL GT to today's performance enthusiasts and car collectors.
In summary, I'll bet when dad dropped you off at a school event, park or wherever, you were the envy of the crew. Thanks for your letter.