1964 Ford

This beautiful 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL hardtop is pictured in front of the Mill at the annual Stuhr Museum car show in Grand Island, Nebraska. Check out the gorgeous white leather interior and bucket seats:

The tail lights in ’64 were the size of dinner plates and featured the sunburst design:

When you think of Ford in 1964, you likely think of the introduction of the Mustang, but Ford’s emphasis in 1964 was on power. Ford advertised it as “total performance”:

Clockwise from the top: Thunderbird, Fairlane, Galaxie, Falcon

Engine options for the Galaxie included five different V-8s, ranging from the 195-hp 289 to a 425-hp Thunderbird 427 V-8. Excellent choices for a fabulous Ford line-up!


Some of the more intriguing radiator badges are the ones that feature portraits such as the one of Teddy Roosevelt found on the Marmon Roosevelt and this one, found on the LaFayette:

In October of 1919, it was announced that a motor company was being formed to start manufacturing a new automobile in Indianapolis. It was called LaFayette Motors Co. and Charles Nash was the president.

1919 LaFayette Advertisement

The new automobile was named for the Marquis de Lafayette, the French aristocrat who fought with American colonists against the British during the American Revolutionary War. Lafayette was a tremendous asset during the fight for American independence, providing tactical leadership and securing vital aid from France including troops and supplies. Lafayette spent that terrible winter at Valley Forge with George Washington, and they formed a lasting friendship. The Marquis even named his only son Georges Washington de Lafayette and famously said, “I gave my heart to the Americans and thought of nothing else but raising my banner and adding my colors to theirs.”

1921 LaFayette Advertisment

In light of the Marquis’ relationship with America, it is no surprise that someone in the automobile industry saw fit to honor his memory. One 1920 story states that the engineers and designers of the new automobile studied the memoirs of the “liberty-loving marquis” and that several refinements and appointments of the new V8-powered luxury car had a historic conception. The choice of materials such as silver and walnut woodwork were influenced by French art of the period. The radiator badge, like the one seen above, was a cameo of Lafayette. It featured onyx framed in silver and was said to resemble something made by 18th century craftsmen. The gracefully scrolled monogram used by Lafayette on his private stationary was used on the hub caps and hood ornament.

1936 LaFayette

The company moved to Wisconsin to cut costs but still struggled to make a profit and stopped production altogether in 1924. The name was revived by Nash during the ’30s, but no longer as a luxury car. It is a shame that the automobile didn’t experience greater success, because Lafayette certainly deserved the tribute.

When the government violates the people’s rights, insurrection is, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indispensible of duties.

– Marquis de Lafayette

1924 LaFayette Advertisement

Victory in Europe Day (75th Anniversary!)

This is a WWII GMC model DUCW, a 2.5-ton 6×6 amphibious vehicle that used six wheels on land and a propeller when in the water.  Essentially sea-going trucks, they were crucial for ferrying supplies from ship to shore.  The vehicles were naturally nicknamed Ducks, and Canadian war correspondent Dick Sanborn reported this incident in 1943:

During the invasion of Italy, when hundreds of ducks plied their way back and forth carrying anti-tank guns, mortars and ammunition across the Messina straits, a British destroyer raced cockily past one group.  From the bridge twinkled a signal lamp in Morse.  Deeply offended, the officer in charge of the ducks translated the message:  “Quack, quack.”

This DUCW can be found at the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles in Lexington, Nebraska.


Sanborn, Dick. “Amphibian Wins Spurs in New Canadian Push.” The Winnipeg Tribune, 11 December 1943, p. 1.

The Greyhound Murphy Cap

The iconic greyhound pictured above is adorning a 1929 Lincoln. Of all the hood ornaments and radiator caps ever produced, the greyhound might be the one most reproduced. It is definitely “buyer beware” when it comes to the greyhound as even sellers frequently don’t know what they have. I picked up this greyhound radiator cap years ago:

The underside of the cap is marked “THE MURPHY CAP MFG BY RUPERT DIECASTING CORP KC MO.”

Rupert Diecasting was located in Kansas City until moving to Kentucky in the 1960s. I have been told that this cap was only produced in 1933, which makes it pretty rare. I haven’t been able to verify that, but it makes sense as I recently found a copyright infringement lawsuit that was filed against Rupert by Franklin Diecasting in 1933 regarding Franklin’s copyrighted “Greyhound Combination Ornament and Radiator Cap”. If you have any additional information on the Murphy Cap, I would love to hear from you. Contact me at americancarhistorian@gmail.com.