Denis Lanteigne’s One-of-a-Kind Ride Down Memory Lane

Detroit muscle car valuations are influenced by a number of important factors which can turn what appears to be a regular looking car from the sixties and early seventies into a highly sought-after and valuable collectible for an enthusiast with a discerning eye.

Galaxie Gas StationFirst and foremost, the popularity of the make and model of the car. Next up would be the rarity of the vehicle including factory production numbers (the fewer made, the higher the value,) factory options, documented paper work, originality and of course the overall condition of the vehicle. For many serious car collectors searching for those hidden gems that can truly be called collectibles, it comes down to a numbers game and the rarer the car, the more valuable it is.

1968 Galaxie sideDenis Lanteigne of Sudbury has first-hand experience when it comes down to rarity and value in the muscle car field thanks to his ownership of a “one-of-a-kind” 1968 Ford XL GT which he purchased back in 2008 from the original owner, a 77 year old man from Marietta Georgia.

Admittedly, the Ford XL GT might not be the top choice on many people’s muscle car wish list as it is a big, heavy car that originally evolved from Ford’s Galaxie lineup which was introduced in 1959. The Galaxie wasn’t really considered one of Ford’s muscle cars in its early years as it was first offered only as a four-door family sedan, but as the model line-up was expanded to include a two-door coupe and a convertible model that came equipped with larger more powerful engines, the Galaxie began to make a name for itself on the street and strip.

GalaxieLanteigne had always been a fan of the big coupe’s smooth lines and strong powertrains,  and his very first car, as a 16 year old, was a Candy Apple Red, 1968 Ford Galaxie Fastback which he endlessly cruised around Sudbury in for several years and by his own admission eventually “drove into the ground”.

Getting his hands on another big Ford coupe was a mid-life dream for Lanteigne as a throwback to his carefree teenage years, and in 2008 he picked up a couple of the Galaxie Fastback models that he planned to keep and possible restore, but after some soul searching, he decided to sell both cars and set his sights on locating an original XL GT which is considered to be one of the more desirable models in Ford’s big muscle car lineup from the late sixties.

Galaxie DrivewayLanteigne eventually found his dream car in the southern states and called the owner who was an elderly gentleman. The seller knew that he had a special car but because of a slowdown in the U.S. economy, he was motivated to cash out of his pride and joy that he had purchased new 32 years earlier. As a result of the long phone call, Denis agreed to purchase the car sight unseen, after learning that the car was an unmolested survivor that still had its original factory Z Code 390 engine, 4-speed transmission, interior and exhaust system.

This green gem had only 71,000 original miles on the car and the owner still had the bill of sale and all of the car’s paperwork from the date of purchase. One month later, Denis had arranged for his new ride to be delivered to Niagara Falls NY and then he drove the car back to Sudbury (with a head full of memories and a big smile on his face.) Once he arrived home and had a chance to really go over the car he quickly discovered how rare this car really was.

Galaxie InteriorWhat he found while cleaning out the car was a piece of the original factory build sheet and he learned that his new XL GT was ordered with the Highland Green paint, black bucket seats with headrest and console, 3.25 rear end gearing, AM/FM stereo radio, remote side mirrors, GT equipment group and factory tachometer. With taxes, the car was purchased for $4,222.52 which was a lot of money for a car in 1968. The only addition Lanteigne made to the car was to add the factory stripe shortly after bringing the car home to Sudbury.

Galaxie FrontDenis already knew that he had a true collectible that was in excellent condition but the exclusivity of the car was proven when he ordered a Marti Report on the car’s VIN (a research report from Ford expert Kevin Marti who has all of Ford’s production information for authenticating collectible Fords) and the true rarity of the car was confirmed:

1968 Ford XL Fastbacks – 50,045 were manufactured.
8,809 were equipped with the Z Code 390 4-Barrel Engine
740 were equipped with the 4-speed transmission
141 came with the Z Code engine and 4-speed transmission
83 were painted Highland Green
33 were optioned with black bucket seats and console
8 were built with the GT option
2 were ordered with the factory tachometer
Only one was ordered with the AM/FM Stereo Radio

Galaxie RearFor Lanteigne, his ultra-rare XL GT is a dream car for him and he takes the big beauty out for regular cruises as often as possible just as he did as a teenager with his first 1968 Galaxie because this rare find isn’t just garage art that is owned simply for admiring.  The car now has 75,000 miles on the odometer and Denis had the car repainted in 2008. His rare ride can usually be found at Sudbury’s Cruise Night each Sunday at the Costco parking lot where there is usually a crowd admiring the time capsule car that looks like it just rolled off the factory floor in 1968.

Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI became the first woman to go underground at Inco in 1939.
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In 1893 there was twice daily stagecoach service between Sudbury and Blezard Mine.

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