Wish you could go back to the 1960s — the exact time when Ford dealers introduced its Galaxie 500? Picture this – September 1961, early morning. In just a few minutes, Hometown Ford will open its doors and remove all of the paper covering the windows advertising the new 1962 Fords. Showroom tables are filled with sodas, coffee, and a variety of pastries. Salesmen in their finest suits, sales pads in their pockets, standing ready to gift each man that walks in the door with a Ford logo’d pen – for the women, a Red Rose.
Ervin Menebroker had just turned 17 years of age. He lusted after a brand-new muscle car and was one of those lucky guys that got one while still in high school. No, we’re not talking present day, we’re talking back in 1961, when the new factory muscle cars were every 17-year-old’s dream.
Placing An Order
He and his Dad (as co-signer) walked into that Ford dealer and ordered his shiny new 1962 Galaxie 500 convertible.
The salesman wrote down the “Z-code 390-cube, 300-horsepower engine with three-speed overdrive.” A four-speed transmission was out of the question, Dad figured Erv would raise too much hell. Little did he know! No automatic either simply because Erv’s Father didn’t trust them and had repaired too many of them, of all makes, in his garage.
He enjoyed that convertible for two years after graduation. He and his wife Judy dated in the convertible and sold it to a friend just before they married. In the fall of 1964, Erv bought a new 1964 Galaxie 500 XL two door hard top. Fords have always been in Erv’s life.
Back to the Future
Fast forward 48 years to January, 2009. Ervin, currently living in Longmont, Colorado, mentioned to a friend that he’d like to find another ’62 Galaxie 500 convertible. That friend told him he knew of a ’62 Galaxie convertible in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. It was a 406-cubic-inch/four-speed car with three deuces on it.
Erv asked for a name and phone number. He and the old lady chatted for 40 minutes. She said the car was at the farm and had been her husband’s, but he had passed away in 1967. Erv assumed that meant the car could be in good shape and simply stored. She explained they had three sons and the oldest had driven the convertible until 1969, when he blew the engine.
“Unfortunately,” she said. “The car’s been outside in the weather for 40 years.”
Didn’t make any difference to Erv – he was interested. She invited him up to check it out. He and son Terry checked out the car, which had deteriorated quite badly. The top had rotted off and the interior was completely weather ruined. Beneath the hood, the engine was missing, but the transmission and early Hurst shifter was intact. Even the dealer installed Stewart Warner gauges were hanging under the dash.
Crestfallen, Erv knew the car would be a lot of work. He checked out the serial number – it was indeed a G-code (Serial Number 2J65G162125) — an original 406-cube 3/2 car. The old gal remembered most of the engine parts were in the barn along with chrome strips that had been removed. Settling on a price, the car was loaded and parts put in the pickup. Unfortunately, the title had to be signed by her oldest son, making Ervin the third owner.
Bringing It Back
Erv did the driveline rebuild and engine assembly, as well as all the body work, paint, and wiring.
During the restoration, he picked up another complete ’62 Galaxie convertible for a parts car — he needed small parts like screws, bolts and body parts such as under-body supports and the left quarter panel and inner fender. He also used the extra doors and hood as you may have noticed — the door handles are shaved and there is a hood scoop. Erv has kept the originals though.
The transmission is the original Borg-Warner T-10 that Erv has since rebuilt. The 9-inch differential is the original 3:50 gears with new bearings and seals. Erv used a 428-cube block because it has the same bore as a 406 but has stronger webbing in the bottom. It is filled with a SCAT crank and new forged pistons after it was machined and balanced. An Isky solid cam controls the airflow. That meant Erv had to block off oil galleys to the hydraulic lifters in the 428 block.
He also installed a set of Edelbrock aluminum 427 medium-riser heads as the originals needed to be rebuilt, and are 53cc heads. That put compression ratio at 12:1, but the aluminum heads have 76cc, which reduced the ratio to 10.5. This makes the engine more streetable and ups the horsepower because the aluminum heads flow better.
All of the outside of the engine is original — carbs, intake, linkages, fuel log, air cleaner and exhaust manifolds. He kept the original gold valve covers, but chromed the used covers from the 390.
The original color of the Nebraska convertible was Chestnut with a white top, but Erv wanted this car to be just like his first new Galaxie – black, but with a black top. The interior is all original material from Dearborn Classics as is the top. The gauges were sent in, repaired, calibrated and re-chromed. The Sun tach in this car is the same tach Erv had in his first Galaxie although it’s been updated — those old Mercury batteries were history so it was fitted with solid state internals.
Erv polished all of the stainless trim and de-anodized and polished all of the aluminum. The hub caps are the original dog dish with aftermarket stainless beauty rings. It has the original Kelsey Hayes 15-inch wheels on the front and custom rear wheels made by Wheel Vintiques on the rear. The paint used was PPG concept single-stage and the primer was PPG DP90 epoxy over all bare metal.
In all, the resulting Galaxie is a beautiful time machine that takes him and many passers-by on a trip back through time. Even though Ervin is long past his 17th birthday, it still feels good to see thumbs-up from passers-by.