Posted by: Jerry Garrett | January 29, 2019

ROMA: What’s That Massive Car?

Early in the 2018 movie Roma, there’s a scene where the family’s father tries to wedge a huge sedan into a garage space made for a Volkswagen Beetle.

What’s that car?

Though it’s a bit dark, and the movie’s in black and white, it appears to be a 1970 Ford Galaxie 500.

There’s not much worth remembering about the 1970 Galaxie, except that it was part of the top-range line of full-size Fords. The Galaxie nameplate was introduced in 1958, and it lingered on until the 1974 model year.

The car was a performance dog, at least by today’s standards: Rear-wheel driver, three-speed automatic transmission, with a base 240-cubic-inch engine that produced just 150 horsepower (about what a Toyota Corolla’s output is today).

Despite being marketed as a high-performance model, it’s zero to 60 m.p.h. acceleration was a woeful 13.1 seconds. It’s top speed? Don’t let the 120 m.p.h. speedometer fool you: It’s couldn’t even top out at 100.

Its 3,717-pound curb weight didn’t help.

A sedan with a few popular options could be purchased for around $3,000 in the U.S. No idea what it might have cost in pesos, as the movie is set in Mexico City. But it would have been a rare ride indeed in that city in 1970.

This Detroit dinosaur was an apt metaphor, especially in retrospect, for the father’s impracticality and extravagance.

Without knowing much more than the first few minutes of the movie conveyed about the car, it already seemed like a car you could love to hate. It was enough of a first impression for the audience in the theater I saw in it to applaud when the dad ran it over some dog shit.

Jerry Garrett

January 29, 2019

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