differences between 63 and 63 1/2 Galaxie?
'Bout got that right.
The Starliners were dead-bang copies of the Chevy roofs (there was a very active industrial spy network in Detroit at the time) with no real thought given to aero. They just looked cool. Worked good on a race track, a lot better than the boxtopped '58-60 Thunderbirds which 'won' Daytona until Bill France gave the trophy to Lee Petty to shut him up. A Chevy mechanic from the day said those boxtop cars would jump a lane or two if you didn't mind them all the time.
When Ford went to the Formal top for the Galaxie, it was strictly to make them look as much like the hot selling T-Bird (and the late '56 Contiental / '57 T-Bird) as possible. People forget now, but the '58 T-Bird created what is now called the near-luxury market almost overnight, and for Ford in the wake of the Edsel disaster, made enough money for them to wipe out the red ink. It inspired an entire generation of so called personal luxury cars, a trend that lasted almost 30 years.
But the boys in Warren had another plan -- The Corvair Monza and the '62 Impala and Catalina coupes.
The Corvair was key, because it had the smell of Edsel all over it from almost the start. Consumers just didn't get it. That is ... until Bill Mitchell did a show car with bucket seats, wire wheels, a little splash of chrome and a hot turbocharged engine. The auto show crowds went bannnas for it, and suddenly, the $hit car became the "it" car, almost overnight and for what amounted to almost nothing in extra tool cost.
Pizzzaz, they called it. Chevy had it. Ford .... didn't.
The next example was the simulated convertible Fisher hardtop roof. See, GM studied the market for convertibles to see what made them tick. Turns out in that era that people loved how convertibles LOOKED with the top up, cos most of them had a sleeker lower roofline than a traditional sedan that way. They would pay a lot more for one (many years before, steel roofs commanded a premium).
But drivers hated all the problems like water leaks, wind noise, security, bird poop, etc -- in fact, few people ever put the roof down on a regular basis.
So GM figures out how to stamp a roof, that looked almost exactly like a ragtop, at a fraction of the price of a true convertible. Problem solved -- look like a rakehell bachelor but not put up with the problems. They even put a little ridge in the roof that looked like the main bow over the window, that when covered with a $2 sheet of vinyl made the deception complete. Cars sell like beer in a bait shack.
Ford decides to go them one better and put an even more convertible looking roof in place that -- surprise -- actually got thru the air a lot better than the notchback T-Bird lookalike. And heck, don't stop with the big cars, put it on everything. Give everything some much needed pizzaz.
The architect of all this was Lee Iacocca, who wanted the solid and reliable Ford to look like something a guy under 50 would drive on purpose. He saw that Ford products were good cars -- better in many cases than the competition for price and features -- but were DOA in the showrooms because they were so dowdy, because all the fun stuff of the 50s was gone, like the superchargers, retractable roofs, two seaters, etc, and even tho those never sold to the walls, they brought people in to look. No shoppers, no buyers, no money, no future (sound familiar?)
To get the idea across that Ford had changed -- radically -- they came up with the "half year" designation, the first in the industry.
At that "half year" point, they introduced the Fastback Galaxie, the Fastback Falcon, the HP Fairlane and the "Monaco" edition Thunderbird. Bucket seats, slick looking roofs, stick shifts on the floor, jazzzy and fun, just the way it shoulda been from the start.
Hard to say if someone made a "call", but the Galaxies went 1-2-3-5 at Daytona, the Falcons won the Monte Carlo Rally, or at least looked like they did, and Ford dealers moved over 100,000 of the new hardtops in a few months.
All this was a prelude to 1964 1/2 when another jazzy little car that looked like a cross between a Falcon Sprint and a Connie Mk. II hit the floor --- but that's another story.