- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 3, 2004

Jason Javaras knows that his red 1963 Ford Galaxie XL convertible was ordered on April 25, 1963, and that it was assembled at the Ford plant in Mahwah, N.J.

Beyond that, the history of the 3,757-pound Ford is a mystery. He purchased the car in October 2002 at an antique car gathering in Hershey, Pa.

Mr. Javaras attended the car show with an idea that he might purchase something if the right car came along at the right price, but he was content to go home empty-handed.

“This car was unexpected,” he says.

The odometer has registered 80,290 miles, which he believes to be accurate.

Back in 1963, a much younger Mr. Javaras had wanted a 1963 Ford convertible. However, he missed the cutoff date for ordering one and had to settle for a 1964 model.

Although the Fords from those two years were very similar, he has always preferred the lines of the 1963 model.

Once he saw the Ford in Pennsylvania, he liked almost everything about the 17-foot, 4-inch-long car.

It was powered by a 352-cubic-inch V-8 engine that generates 220 horsepower to back up the sporty appearance of the convertible. The exhaust note that tumbles out of the dual pipes is very satisfying.

In the mid-1960s, Ford designers frequently used carpeting material on the lower portion of the door panels of the high-end models. Such is the case of the 1963 convertible. In the carpeted part of the doors is a chrome-plated fixture with two lights, one red and one white. When the door is opened, especially after dark, the red light is positioned to alert approaching drivers while the white light is aimed toward the ground, where the occupant of the car is likely to step.

The longer Mr. Javaras looked at the Ford, the more he knew he had to buy the car. A deal was struck and then the only obstacle was the 3.5-hour-long trip home.

Comfortably seated in the driver’s bucket seat behind the safety-inspired three-spoke, deep-dish steering wheel, Mr. Javaras finds the 120-inch wheelbase provides an exceptional ride. The 120-mph speedometer has not been tested, although the engine runs strong.

Front to rear the console-mounted gear shift lever works through: Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive 2, Drive 1, Low.

When new the Ford sold for a base price of $2,924. Mr. Javaras’ car undoubtedly sold for a considerably higher price because of all its goodies including an AM radio, rear speaker, power steering, power brakes, front buck seats and backup lights.

The backup lights are cleverly located in the center of the big wagon-wheel taillights.

The white vinyl top fits snugly and, when lowered by power, it is concealed beneath a fitted boot secured by 19 snaps.

The wing vent windows in the front doors can be opened with a hand crank to help direct the air flow around the occupants. Mr. Javaras reports that his car, one of 29,713 manufactured in 1963, is quite comfortable at 65 mph with the top up or down.

Once he got the handsome car home, he was happily surprised that all he had to do was provide tender, loving care in cleaning and polishing the 1963 Ford that he has wanted for for the past 40 years.

The only alteration he has made are the addition of four seat belts.

“Grandkids, you know,” he explains.

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