1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL lowrider

How to turn a mild-mannered street machine into a California-style lowrider in 64 easy steps

Photographers: Jordan Leist

ANDREW Goodwin is a man of many talents. Not only have we already featured one of his cars (SM, Jul ’15), he’s also been a contributor to the magazine, photographing events and a handful of feature cars for us before work commitments and raising a young family took priority over throwing himself into abject poverty to become an automotive photographer. The XR Falcon featured some six years ago is now gone. In fact, Andrew swapped the rolling XR shell – after already selling off the driveline – for the ’64 Galaxie 500XL in front of you.

The deal was done just as Andrew’s second child was born.

First published in the June 2021 issue of Street Machine

“My daughter Josie was born on 28 Decmber 2017, and the deal was made over the phone the next day, next to the hospital bed,” he says. “I found the advert on Gumtree while waiting in line at the local tip. I’d always liked Galaxies but never considered owning one until the opportunity popped up.”

Andrew admits that he does have a bit of a thing for Ford models with round tail-lights, as he’s also got an XL Falcon part-way through a complete rebuild, as well as a Compact Fairlane and a ’59 Fairlane that he’s fixing up with his dad – not forgetting the XR that he’d just swapped for the Gal.

Not a bad swap, you might say, but the Galaxie didn’t quite look like it does now. It looked similar, and was a complete and running car, but it wore a set of 18-inch Showwheels Streeters and sat a lot closer to the sun.

Among the first jobs on the list was to change the wheels and get the body much nearer the ground. The car briefly wore a set of Cragar Eliminators, but they weren’t really the look Andrew was after, and before long he sourced a set of reversed 14×6 Appliance Steel Spokes, which gives the car that awesome deep-dish look synonymous with lowriders.

Andrew found more inspiration when he went to the Mooneyes Yokohama Rod & Custom Show in Japan a few years back. It might seem like a strange place to go to find inspiration for an inherently American styling tradition, but you’d be surprised how much amazing old-school lowrider stuff gets done over there.

“The good thing with lowriders is you don’t need to drop huge amounts of cash on huge engines; you can spend your money on other areas that give the car just as much impact,” Andrew reasons. “It’s definitely not going to win any drag races. In fact, it’s probably one of the slowest cars on the road.”

How most lowriders provide impact is with wild paintjobs, although Andrew wasn’t about to paint a whole car himself, especially considering there was nothing wrong with the Galaxie’s Polynesian Green hue. “I started painting a couple of small things and that’s when I realised: ‘Oh, I can actually do this.’ One thing I learned with building the XR was how not to do things, so it was a driving force for me to learn how to do stuff myself. I bought a couple of spray guns off eBay and thought I’d give it a crack.

“Because the roof has a chrome trim all the way around that defines it, in a worst-case scenario, it was just the roof I was going to stuff up, not the whole car.”

So, with that philosophy in mind, Andrew got busy giving the Gal the visual impact it needed. He spent four weekends in the shed at home creating a custom layout on the roof of the car.

“I sprayed the whole roof white, masked out the panels on the top and the C-pillars and then sprayed on the silver flake base and then a smaller silver flake over the top. I then masked it up again and started laying on an aqua candy and a royal blue candy and then lots of clear.”

It was at this point that things started to go a little bit south, as Andrew had laid the clear on too soon and the solvents started to bubble to the surface. The next weekend, he rubbed it back but went right through to the candy in a couple of spots. That worst-case scenario was starting to look like real life, but Andrew got his shit together and worked out a plan.

“I figured I’d get some lace from Spotlight and have a go at spraying a lace pattern over the top to try and hide the bits I’d stuffed up, and it actually worked really good,” he brags. “It’s really weird because usually with paint, everything has to be spotless and clinically clean, then I’ve gone and laid a tablecloth right over the top of it!”

The icing on the cake was getting good mate and expert detailer James England from Proshine to work his magic on the paint. He colour-sanded the roof – and he even let Andrew help – before polishing the entire car to an immaculate shine. As you can see from the pics, it came up like glass.

“I couldn’t believe it; it actually looked like a proper painter had painted it,” says Andrew. “Even James couldn’t believe how good it turned out.”

Andrew says that it might have been a bit of a fluke, but I reckon that’s unlikely. He’s a genuinely talented guy with an eye for detail and a willingness to give anything a crack. With three other fine Fords in the shed, it won’t be long before there’s another one cruising the streets. The priority is to get his dad’s Compact Fairlane fixed up so they cruise low and slow together – with little Josie in the back with big brother Charlie, and Andrew’s wife Hayley riding shotgun. Now that’s quality family time.


Paint: Ford Polynesian Green, custom metalflake roof 
Type: 390ci FE 
Inlet: Edelbrock Performer 
Carb: 650 Holley 
Exhaust: Cast headers, twin system 
’Box: Cruise-O-Matic 
Diff: 9in 
Front: Lowered springs 
Rear: Air-over-leaf, Firestone 9000 Series airbags 
Shocks: Standard (f), HiLux (r) 
Steering: Standard 
Brakes: Drums (f & r) 
Rims: Reversed Appliance Steel Spoke 14×6 (f & r)
Rubber: Suretrac whitewall 175/70R14 (f & r) 

Hayley for allowing me to pursue my passion; Mum and Dad for always supporting me and encouraging me to have a go; Jordan Leist for opening my eyes to the custom world and always offering suggestions and feedback; James England for all his help, support and insight into everything paint related; anyone who has ever offered me help and advice over the years, no matter how large or small – I truly appreciate it

Chad Atkinson; Kev (@greaser54); Larry Watson; Walt Prey (painted Gypsy Rose); Gene Winfield; Mat Egan; Ralph Ascensio (@88mango); Travis Hess (@tukipaintsit); Steve Santos (@santoskustoms); all the 50s/60s/70s lowriders and customs out there