Sunliner again led the top-line Galaxie group, but the Starliner was a real surprise: a pillarless semi-fastback two-door hardtop replacing 1959's highly popular square-roof version. It looked ready to race -- and did. It also sold well, though evidently not well enough to suit Ford. A conventional hardtop coupe was reinstated for 1961, and Starliner sales nose-dived; the model would not return.
All 1961 "standard" Fords (a needed new distinction with the advent of compacts) were slightly shorter and lighter, and tastefully made over with a concave grille, reshaped hood, more rounded bodysides, and a return to large round tail lamps. Ford began moving toward "Total Performance" in these years with 1960's "Interceptor 360" version of the 352 V-8, then with 1961's enlarged 390 big-block offering up to 401 bhp.