Essentially a fancied-up Galaxie with a sleeker body, the Starliner debuted with the aging 292-cubic-inch (4.8-liter) Y-block V8 as standard. However, Ford also offered the 352-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) FE-series V8 via the options list. A year later, Ford added the 390-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) Thunderbird mill with up to 375 horsepower, but what many people don’t know is that the Starliner also received a beefed-up 352 in mid-1960.
Known as the 352 Hi-Po, this engine generated 360 horsepower and was, at the time of its release, the most powerful, factory-built engine from FoMoCo. Because the Hi-Po wasn’t advertised accordingly, it remains a somewhat unknown model outside the Starliner fan club.
There’s no specific info as to how many were built, but they’re difficult to find nowadays. Some of them might have rotted away in junkyards, but here’s one that survived after being stored away for a whopping 50 years.
This black-painted Starline may look a bit tired, but it comes with an interesting story. It’s been in the same family since new and spent most of its life in a garage. The original owner drove (and raced) it for 10 years and retired it from road duty sometime in 1970. When the owner passed away in the 1990s, his son moved the car into a different garage but opted to keep it in storage for a few more years.
After more than half a century, the Starline is finally coming out of hibernation. Not just to see daylight for the first time in decades, but to roar its Hi-Po V8 like in the good old days.
As you might have already guessed, it’s not exactly road-worthy. The drivetrain needs a complete revamp to run again and everything else needs a good deal of attention to provide a safe experience on public roads. But the owner is set to get it running again and will showcase it at the MCACN show in late November, in the Barn Finds and Hidden Gems category.
It’s not clear if the owner also intends to restore the body, which shows a few rust holes and some battle scars, but it’s an authentic “hidden gem” with Concours-winning potential as is. If you’re into rare, pre-muscle car era high-performance Fords, you definitely need to check this Starliner out.