We get the pleasure of restoring some very unique vehicles and this one definitely falls into that category.  This 1970 Galaxie coupe has an interesting history.  This car was a Caribbean export model that was shipped directly to Puerto Rico from the factory in the US.  These special models had no heater, defroster, AC or even a fan.    We can understand not needing a heater in the tropics but I think a fan might have been nice…  In any event, the factory just installed block off plates where all those parts should have been.  The car managed to survive the salt air from 1970 to 2015, when it was shipped back to the U.S.  The current owner spotted this giant coupe for sale a few years ago and couldn’t resist.  David used it as his daily driver for a while then decided to start a restoration on it with his son Jackson.  These projects always turn into more than expected and finding time to finish the car can become a problem. At that point, David decided to turn the project over to us.

When we received the Galaxie it looked pretty nice.  It was basically original including the drive train and had really low miles.  We were thinking this would be a simple restoration but David warned us of significant rust issues. He and Jackson had already modified the suspension to get the stance right and had started some of the rust repair.

The Galaxie looked good when it came to us but it had a few secrets.
That hood is the size of a double bed…..

Our first step was to get the mechanical side of things sorted out.  The car had been sitting for a while and needed some TLC.  We also didn’t savor the idea of having to push a car this big around the shop.  Once it was running well we started digging into the body.

The Caribbean air had not been kind to the old car.  Underneath some older body work was extensive rust damage. 

After pulling the rear glass we found major rust damage that affected the entire glass track.   The back window was actually held in place with body filler.
The cowl and door hinge area on the driver’s side had major structural damage, causing the door to sag.

We found areas all over the car where body work had been performed years earlier.  The body shop used wadded up newspaper as a backing then applied body filler over the top.  All of the newspaper was from the sports section of a Puerto Rican paper.  We were also able to determine the exact date the body work was done from the dates on the paper.
Both of the doors had major rust damage on the bottoms.

No one makes reproduction body parts for this car so it was “fabrication time”. We did body reconstruction on virtually every part of the car except the roof. For some reason that part stayed rust-free. Here are some of the challenges we faced.

We managed to get the glass track out in one piece so we could use it as a model for the new steel.  It was just bits of rusted metal held together with body filler but it was rigid enough for us to get rough  contours from.
We repaired and treated the rust under the glass track and welded in new steel on the inside of the cabin.  Next we fabricated this new section to support the back glass.  In order to match all the contours we had to build this piece in sections then weld it all together.
Here is the final repair welded in place.
This was quite a mess.  The damage went all the way down to the rocker.  The hood, fender and door all mounted to this area and it was a complex shape that had been stamped out at the factory.
The damage started almost at the center of the windshield.  We started by rebuilding the structure a section at a time in order to duplicate the original shapes.  There were ten different shaped pieces used to restore this area.  For extra support we made an internal brace to support the weight of the door when it opened.
The final piece is actually two layers of steel welded together along with nuts welded to the back side.  This how the factory made this section in order to support the hood hinges.

David chose Nardo Gray for the exterior color and multi-tone black for the interior.  There are very few interior parts available for these cars.  Fortunately the interior panels were repairable.  After we got them structurally sound we were able to dye all the vinyl surfaces and dash black.

The gold interior had to go…. the dash and door panels were restored and dyed black.
You’d never know that those door panels and dash parts are almost fifty years old.

After much searching we were able to find carpet and a replacement headliner for the interior which was a relief.

Our friends at Rayco Upholstery recovered the seats with David’s custom design after we restored and padded the frames.

We couldn’t get any upholstery shops to make a new dash pad because the shape was too complex. Reproduction parts don’t exist.  Sandy took on the challenge and made a beautiful replacement.
There are three seat belts but you can fit four people across.  Did we mention that this car is HUGE ?

The final product is so unique.  The shear size of the car and the low stance give it a menacing look.  The Galaxie is a great driver and really turns heads.  David and Jackson have continued to refine the car since getting it back from our shop and it just keeps getting better.

Note the car’s original Puerto Rican license plate on the front.  We also were able to preserve the last vehicle inspection sticker from PR on the windshield and some car club decals on the back window.
The low mileage 351 Windsor moves the big car with little effort.