Jim Smart
April 1, 2009
Photos By: Dr. John Craft

{{{Ford}}}'s challenges in stock car racing are well publicized. It has never been easy for Ford to win, let alone compete. It has always been a fierce political game both on and off the track. After withdrawing from NASCAR competition in 1957, Henry Ford II decided it was time for Ford to get back on the track and become competitive in 1961. Once the decision was made to get back into factory-backed stock car racing, those first phone calls went out to the Holman & Moody race shop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At the time, Ford's weapon of choice in stock car racing was the fullsize Galaxie, those big behemoths packing big-block power approaching 50 years ago. Although these battlewagons seem quite large by today's standards, their chassis weren't much different from what we have today within the average stock car. In fact, it pretty much set the standard by which most stock cars to follow were built.

Holman & Moody had been building Galaxie race cars on an independent basis when the call came from Mr. Ford. Those early Galaxie race cars were powered by the Ford FE series big-block engine in various incarnations between 352 and 390 ci. Things heated up considerably in the power production kitchen in 1963 when Ford's engineering guys began casting a hogged out evolution of the FE that displaced 427 ci. A fleet of '63 Galaxie fastbacks dominated Daytona that year--then they went on to steal headlines for the rest of the season. Chrysler countered the new 427ci Low Riser engines of 1963 with a race-only hemi-head 426ci big-block of its own in 1964, which wasn't available to the public--and Bill France Sr. let it run. Ford teams were allowed to campaign equally non-production 427ci High Riser engines. While Richard Petty stole headlines at Daytona in 1964, the High Riser Galaxies still won the majority of the Grand National races that year. Ford loved the taste of victory and just had to have more.

Ford ordered 20 Grand National NASCAR Galaxies from Holman & Moody for the 1965 season. Fifteen dedicated '65s and three dedicated 1966 Galaxies were ultimately built in response to that directive. Those cars represented a high-water mark for Galaxies in stock car competition. Dan Gurney won the season opener at Riverside, California, in a Wood Brothers-prepared, Holman & Moody-built 427 Galaxie. Fred Lorenzen roared up in Victory Lane in his white No. 28 factory team Galaxie at Daytona less than a month later at the 500 and went on to score four more Grand National wins at Charlotte, North Carolina, and Martinsville, Virginia. Ned Jarrett dominated the field at the Southern 500 with his Holman & Moody-built No. 11 Galaxie in August and finished a full 15 laps ahead of the Second-Place finisher. Legendary Junior Johnson, then rookie Dick Hutcherson, grizzled NASCAR veteran Curtis Turner, and other Ford pilots went on to win a phenomenal 49 out of 55 races in 1965. Faithful Ford followers remember 1965 as a banner year in stock car racing. At the season wrap-up, Ned Jarrett was the 1965 Grand National champion and Ford held the NASCAR crown in one of Ford's most incredible seasons ever.

The stock cars that Fast Freddie, Junior, Hutch, Curtis, and Ned counted on to win in 1965 ironically all rolled off Ford's Norfolk, Virginia, assembly line. Each of these Galaxies had been assembled to "body-in-white" level by UAW workers at Norfolk. That was a significant difference from proceeding years when the Galaxies Holman & Moody modified had started life (in 1963 as 1964) as regular-production, 427-powered factory automobiles. For example, the 15-odd Galaxies built by Holman & Moody had all started life as "Q" engine code, single four-barrel 427 cars on the Norfolk line. Holman & Moody modified 20 or so Galaxies in 1964, and those cars were all R-code, eight-barrel 427 factory cars.

Once body-in-white '65s were inside Holman & Moody's North Carolina facilities, these cars were separated from their Ford frames and modifications for stock car racing were made in earnest. New front coil spring perches with jackscrew adjusters were installed. Heavy-duty mounting brackets for upper control arms were installed next, which were modified to make quick caster and camber adjustments. Four tubular shock towers, a Holman & Moody sway bar, and heavily modified control arms were also incorporated. Wrist-thick Holman & Moody spindles, meaty forged hubs, and full metallic drum brakes rounded out the front suspension system. For long tracks like Darlington, Charlotte, and Daytona, special 11x3-inch full metallic drum brakes were used. Beefier 11x3½-inch stoppers were used at Riverside and Martinsville, where brakes were at a premium.

Things were even more radically different at the stern of a Galaxie stock car. Holman & Moody removed the rear crossmember completely on each of the Galaxies they built in 1965 to make way for a meatier sheetmetal replacement. That new frame member featured mounts for the upper pair of control arms in the trick four-trailing-arm, Watt's link-controlled rear suspension that was part of the package for 1965. New spring perches with jackscrew-adjusted coil springs and a quartet of shock mounts rounded out the sophisticated, fully adjustable rear suspension.

Full floating hubs were added to the reinforced Ford 9-inch rear axles. And, in a first for the NASCAR series, double-splined axles were used to make the wheels go round and round reliably for 500 miles. Full metallic brake shoes were used in the rear, too--11x2-inch shoes were used for superspeedways and 11x3½-inch for the short tracks and road courses. Holman & Moody mechanics also re-welded all factory frame and body welds for strength and relieved the frame for rear tire clearance before reinstalling the bodies.

Power was provided by Ford's all-new 427ci FE Medium Riser big-block V-8 engine. As was policy in NASCAR in those days, a stock car's engine was supposed to be, ahem, stock. {{{Chrysler}}}'s 426ci Hemi was banned by NASCAR for 1965. One of the reasons for that decision (beyond politics) was that the Hemi was not available in a street-going production car. Ford's 427ci High Riser heads were axed for the same reason for 1965.

While Chrysler's response to the new rule was to boycott the series in a funk, Ford decided to step up and build a fleet of regular production 427 Medium Riser inducted 427 Galaxies. That all-new engine featured the now fabled Side Oiler block casting, which priority-channeled an abundant oil supply to the 427's main journals. Durability was commensurately improved thanks to new capscrew LeMans connecting rods. They rotated on a cross-drilled forged steel crankshaft. A single-bowl Holley 4150 and special dual-plane intake manifold provided an atomized mixture to 12.0:1 compression chambers. Racing Galaxies sent spent particulates through tubular steel headers and unmuffled 3-inch dump tubes. Ram air was provided by a special Holman & Moody derived "bat wing" air cleaner, which collected high-pressure air at the cowl.

In race-ready trim, a '65 Holman & Moody 427 could be counted on to produce 500 hp. When this raw horsepower was channeled to sticky Firestone 8.00/8.20 gumballs via a Top Loader four-speed and the 9-inch rear mentioned earlier, the estimated grunt turned in speeds of 175 mph at Daytona. This top speed is made all the more impressive by the indisputable fact that a '65 Galaxie is about as aerodynamic as an average, everyday brick hot from the kiln.

Race car ergonomics were spartan in 1965. A single factory bucket seat, a rudimentary rollcage, and a complement of analog gauges housed in a special Holman & Moody dash insert is about all the drivers had. A factory Ford shifter and stock, roll-up, tempered glass windows remained in place. One trick safety piece Holman & Moody came up with was a military-style inertia reel shoulder harness that allowed drivers some mobility during races. In a direct response to Fireball Roberts' fiery and fatal crash, Holman & Moody experimented with on-board fire suppression. Early in the season, Holman & Moody used carbon dioxide (CO2) systems copped from the engine nacelles of large Douglas Commercial passenger planes. Later in the season, all team cars were converted to dry powder fire suppression using Ansul "Purple K" extinguishers designed for restaurant use.

Chrysler followed Ford's lead for 1966 and finally built a "regular production" 426 Hemi street car. In response, Ford renewed its quest to campaign the radical single overhead cam version of the 427 that corporate engineers had begun working on in 1964. Big Bill France was not all that happy with the idea and ultimately decided to only permit that engine's use in the Galaxie car line. Worse yet, if raced, a 427 SOHC engine would have been saddled with a rules-mandated 200-pound weight penalty. Late in 1965, Holman & Moody driver Fred Lorenzen tested the viability of that particular combination at Daytona. When it was determined that a SOHC Galaxie would be uncompetitive against Hemi-powered Dodge and Plymouth intermediate race cars, Ford decided to boycott the NASCAR Grand National Series shortly after the 1966 season began.

Few races were contested by 1966 Galaxie stock cars as a direct result of that political decision at Ford. When Ford decided to lift the factory ban late in the 1966 season, most Ford team drivers then campaigned smaller, slippery "half chassis" intermediate Fairlanes (that Bill France permitted as a concession to end the boycott). And so came the end of big 427 Galaxie stock car racing. In 2009, just five of the '65-'66 Galaxie stock cars Holman & Moody built are known to survive.

1965--C5HM-10047
Documenting a stock car's history is undoubtedly one of the most challenging efforts imaginable because most of these cars were used up, tossed aside, and long forgotten. What's more, not all were serialized, which has made them even tougher to track. Who knew these old veterans of the super speedway would become collector's items 45 years later? John Craft, a writer and Assistant United States Attorney, is a stock car collector/restorer. He has been following NASCAR since he was a child. John "caught" his love of stock car racing from his late father, who followed this sport closely from its inception in 1949. He has researched these cars and their history with the best of them, closely tracking their whereabouts for many years.

Finding and restoring the actual Daytona-winning '65 Fred Lorenzen No. 28 Galaxie stock car was not a simple task for John, who has also restored a '69 Cyclone Spoiler II vintage stock car and researched countless others. John picks up the story: "My car was the `first of the season' chassis raced by Fred Lorenzen in 1965." When John's No. 28 car was fresh from Holman & Moody's race shop, it went to Riverside, starting Second and finishing 24th. Less than a month later, Lorenzen took it to Daytona for the 500, starting Second in the 100-mile qualifier and finishing Second. Then he started Fourth and finished First in the 500. The car would go on to finish First at Martinsville later that year. It would later succumb to a crash at Bristol, getting back on the track to race at Darlington, finishing 25th due to ignition problems. By the running of the Memorial Day World 600 at Charlotte, Holman & Moody had a fresh Galaxie ready for Fast Freddie to drive. Interestingly, when Lorenzen got out of it at Charlotte, F1 driving star Pedro Rodriquez hopped in and finished that grueling 600-mile race in a very respectable Fifth Place. Lorenzen did drive John's Holman & Moody Galaxie at least one more time, however. And that was in late December at Daytona during testing after it had been rebodied by Holman & Moody as a '66 model and fitted with a 427 SOHC engine. Unfortunately, that test session quickly revealed that even with Cammer power, a race-ready Galaxie was at a competitive disadvantage to a Hemi-powered Chrysler intermediate due to the weight difference. The writing was on the wall for the Galaxie as a racing mount from that day forward.

John's Galaxie stock car was sold by Holman & Moody in 1967 to ARCA team owner Barney Barnhardt of Marysville, Ohio. Barnhardt fielded the car for a number of drivers including Shad Wheeler, Curtis Turner, and Charlie Glotzbach. As was often the case with an old race car past its prime, John's historic Galaxie stock car worked its way down the racing food chain to Saturday night dirt track status in the Cleveland, Ohio area. It eventually wound up in the weeds, forgotten behind a barn.

John Slikkerveer, who would eventually become Field Racing Manager for Goodyear's NHRA Division, saw John's No. 28 car when it first showed up on the northeastern Ohio scene. Everyone knew it had been a Fred Lorenzen car at the time. Slikkerveer is a good friend of John's who shares a passion for vintage stock cars. It was via John that ol' Slikk became interested in stock cars at all. It was Slikkerveer who tracked this car down from owner to owner. By the time Slikk found this car, it had been raced into the ground and was wearing '70s Ford sheetmetal. Fortunately, it still had its 1965 cowl and that all-important Holman & Moody manufacturer's plate with "C5HM-10047." Remnants of Holman & Moody's Cashmere Blue interior color was still visible beneath spray bomb black and 30 years of racing crud. Slikk contacted John to ascertain the car's identity. John learned the C5HM-10047 number was one of the three Holman & Moody cars Lorenzen drove in 1965 per the records John has in his archives.

Though Slikk originally purchased the car for himself, persistent nagging (as John calls it) later persuaded him to sell the chassis to John. John began researching photos and documents related to the car. Pay dirt came when he was able to find images in his archives from the 1965 NASCAR racing season that included close-up details of the 10047 chassis. In 1998, Ralph Moody (one half of the fabled Holman Moody concern) reviewed John's photos and Ford paperwork, and, authenticated the chassis in writing. John took the finished Lorenzen No. 28 car to Ralph Moody for his inspection in 2003 prior to his death. Moody couldn't help but be impressed with John's craftsmanship and attention to detail. H&M No. 28 car team mechanic, Freddie McCall has also seen this car approvingly.

John's 10047 Galaxie is one of just three Daytona 500 winners from the '60s that is known to exist. It is the only chassis of the three that has been returned to its "as-raced" Daytona 500 trim, right down to the extremely rare new-old-stock Firestone "Stock Car 800" tires that it rolls on today. John's 427 Lorenzen Galaxie is authentic in every respect with the exception of Hooker Competition Plus headers mounted in place of the "unobtanum" Holman & Moody originals. John's 427 engine produces 505 dyno-tested horsepower, which is quite comparable with the power output the car enjoyed in 1965. Jeff Lynch painted the car in its original Wimbledon White color. NASCAR Hall of Fame Historian Buz McKim lettered the car the way old sign painters did in the good old days--with a brush and sign paint. Contingency decals that could not be purchased were painstakingly reproduced.

John's No. 28 car has been invited to significant events since its completion. It was at the Ford Centennial Celebration in 2003 in Dearborn, Michigan. It was also on display in the Ford manufacturer's display at the SEMA Show that year in Las Vegas. Without question, the coolest invitation came from England in 2004 when John was invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The car was transported to Britain at Lord March's expense. John's historic ride was also invited to the Amelia Island Concours on several occasions and has won "Best of Class" at that prestigious event. The car has also been well received at the Hilton Head Concours in South Carolina the Keels & Wheels Concours in Houston. In 2005, the car was invited to run a parade lap at Daytona on the 40th Anniversary of Lorenzen's 1965 win.

John is hard at work on another Holman Moody Galaxie stock car, a '64 (#C4HM-10041) that he found in a Virginia field, where it had been sitting for 41 years. That car is destined for an authentic restoration to its original status. He's also working on the authorized biography of famed NASCAR and Trans Am team owner, Walter "Bud" Moore.

The Details
Dr. John Craft's '65 Galaxie Grand National Stock Car

Engine

  • 427ci FE 4V
  • Medium Riser intake
  • Shelby Medium Riser aluminum heads
  • Holley 4150 4V carburetor, 735 cfm
  • Autolite dual-point fitted with Pertronix Ignitor and hidden MSD 6AL box
  • Shot peened and polished Ford Le Mans rods
  • JE forged pistons
  • Compression Ratio is 13.0:1
  • Melling high-volume oil pump
  • Ford FE windage tray
  • Holman & Moody 8-quart oil pan
  • Delco fuel pump (rare and absolutely correct for this 427)

Transmission

  • Large shaft Top Loader wide-ratio four-speed

Rearend

  • Ford/Holman & Moody 9-inch
  • Detroit Locker
  • 31-spline double-spline floating axles
  • 5.20 gears (at Daytona, they used 3.00, and at Riverside 3.50)
  • V-belt drive Eaton pump for oil cooler

Exhaust

  • Hooker Competition Plus Long-Tube Headers
  • 3-inch dump pipes

Suspension

  • Front: Holman & Moody designed adjustable upper and lower control arms with coil springs, racing shock absorbers, steering gear reworked by Holman & Moody, Holman & Moody 1¼-inch sway bar
  • Rear: Holman & Moody designed Watt's link coil spring, fully adjustable with two shocks each side

Brakes

  • Front: Full metallic drum, 11x3 inches
  • Rear: Full metallic drum, 11x2½ inches

Wheels

  • Front: Holman & Moody 15x9-inch steel
  • Rear: Holman & Moody 15x9-inch steel

Tires

  • Front: N.O.S. Firestone racing, 8.00/8.20x15
  • Rear: N.O.S. Firestone racing, 8.00/8.20x15

Interior

  • Clad in 1959 Chevrolet Cashmere Blue per Holman & Moody, Ford Econoline van seat, Stewart-Warner instrumentation in a Holman & Moody fabricated dashboard

Exterior

  • Wimbledon White with hand-painted period graphics

1966--C6HM-10073
Like John Craft's '65 Lorenzen car, Jeff Ray's '66 427 Galaxie stock car started out as a "body in white" '66 Galaxie shipped directly to Holman & Moody's race shop. Jeff's No. 28 Galaxie was one of three '66 Galaxies shipped to Holman & Moody and converted to race cars. This Galaxie was built specifically for Fred Lorenzen to race in the 1966 Daytona 500. This car's first time out was for the 100-mile Daytona 500 qualifier. Lorenzen finished Fifth. He started Ninth and finished Fourth in yet another rain-shortened 500. After Daytona, it was on to Rockingham, North Carolina, for the Peach Blossom 500 in March, starting tenth and finishing 26th due to engine failure. The following race was at Bristol, Tennessee--the Southeastern 500--where he started Second and finished 22nd, again due to engine failure. Its last Grand National race was the Atlanta 500 later in March. Lorenzen started Third and finished Second. It would be all over a month later when Ford pulled out of racing and began a lengthy boycott against NASCAR. Suffice it to say Jeff's No. 28 car had a short super speedway career with Fast Freddie Lorenzen at the wheel.

According to Jeff, his No. 28 Galaxie went straight from NASCAR to dirt track racing early on. A gentleman named Red Farmer purchased the car and turned it into a dirt track racer. Jack Vincent Sr., Bug Vincent's father, bought the car from Red Farmer in 1968 to help his son Jack race in the Midwest. The Galaxie was raced extensively until it was rebodied as a 1971 Torino in 1973. The important thing to remember about stock cars is their very confusing paths. Chassis and body are two different elements in the world of stock cars. Chassis live on under different identities because bodies, racers, and owners come and go. So do engines, drivelines, and suspensions. So what you see here isn't necessarily the same body Fred Lorenzen sat in back in 1966. It is surely the same chassis. Stock car racing is a violent, rough-and-tumble world in which cars get smashed and bodies get tossed. Chassis get repaired and live to see more races. Bodies aren't always so fortunate.

The Galaxie's firewall and cowl remained intact along with the Holman & Moody identification tag throughout this car's racing life. Vincent raced the car throughout Iowa with a variety of Holman & Moody 427 Medium Riser, Low Riser, and Tunnel Port engines. The car was retired in 1975 with a 427 Tunnel Port engine. The engine was pulled and installed in a Fairlane until 1978 when it was dropped into a pulling truck. In 1982, it was placed on an engine stand where it would sit for a long time. Jeff bought it all in June 2003.

Tom Dumbaugh, a coworker, turned Jeff on to this Fast Freddie treasure. Tom was a Chevy guy and also a neighbor of Jason Vincent--Jack Vincent Jr.'s son. Tom was building an Enduro car and needed a rollcage. He asked Jason if he could trot out to the backyard and cut the rollcage out of one of the race cars he had. Jason was glad to help out and invited him to help himself. Tom made one cut in the rollcage when the C6HM-10073 Holman & Moody identification tag got his attention along with a lot of other interesting items. This wasn't just another old race car. Call it ironic because the car was to be sold to a buyer in California who wasn't able to verify the number, so the deal fell through. Tom invited Jeff to come check out the car. What happened next was not to be believed.

Jason was in quite the giving mood. He gave Jeff the car under the condition he'd be kept in the loop during its restoration. Jeff hauled the car home. Jason and Jeff combed the Vincent's shop and found all kinds of Holman & Moody pieces, including five 427 engines. Jeff bought one of the engines, which was complete from intake to oil pan. Turns out this 427 was a qualifying engine built by Waddell Wilson for Darrell Waltrip. Everything necessary to an authentic restoration was there.

Restoration efforts began in the fall of 2003 when Jeff and good friend, Kelly Milligan, got to work in Kelly's shop. What made the project straightforward was the existence of most of the original components Jeff needed to perform an authentic restoration. However, one key element was missing--the body. Jeff had to unearth a '66 Galaxie fastback body--a donor car. He also needed specific information about these cars that would help him pull off a world-class restoration. That's when he found John Craft, who owns the other No. 28 Lorenzen car in this feature, via the Carlisle website. John has been very helpful, Jeff tells us, providing photographs, specifications, and other valuable information.

Help long distance from John Craft enabled Jeff to restore the chassis to 1966 specifications. What he couldn't get, he fabricated because that's what Jeff does. Jeff is a CAD (computer-aided design) drafter. Jeff was able to design and produce pieces that would have otherwise been elusive. He was able to get a 9-inch Grand National rear end from one of Kelly's coworkers, Dale Willis, who was getting out of racing. When he disassembled the rear end, he learned it was a Holman & Moody piece acquired by the Vincent family ages ago.

As luck would have it, Jeff managed to find a body, and went to work on it in Kelly's shop. Jeff and Kelly stripped the body to bare steel, applying primer and prepping surfaces for the Wimbledon White finish, which was applied by Kevin Zimmerline of Adair, Iowa. Jeff did a home garage-style body drop, suspending the body from his rafters and carefully lowering it onto the frame.

Although Jeff has no intention of vintage racing a museum piece like this, he took great pains to ensure it would be constructed in "as raced" condition, including its 427 mill. He turned it over to John Hauf from Stuart, Iowa who built it to 1966 "as-raced" specifications to achieve exactly the same demeanor as you might expect from 43 years ago. Once the car was close to being complete, Jeff had it transported to Arizona, where he lives today. After the car arrived in Phoenix, Jeff had Bill Ryver do all of the graphics. A long and involved project was finally complete.

You might wonder what inspired Jeff Ray to build a classic stock car. It dates back to his wanting a '69 428 CJ Mustang Mach 1 to go with his small-block Mach 1 coupled with his wife, Kimberly, wanting him to build a racecar. The rest, as they often say, is history. A race-bred 427 doesn't just fire up when you spin the starter. It explodes to life with the clatter of mechanical tappets and roar of straight 3-inch pipes right off of long-tube competition headers. And thanks to committed enthusiasts like Jeff Ray and John Craft, two out of five Holman & Moody Ford Galaxie stock cars have survived to see the light of day again.

The Details
Jeff Ray's '66 Galaxie Grand National Stock Car

Engine

  • 427ci FE Medium Riser V-8
  • Holley 1,050-cfm dominator 4V carburetor
  • Ford Medium Riser aluminum intake
  • Autolite dual-point distributor
  • Holman & Moody flat-tappet mechanical camshaft, 0.520/0.520" life, 290-degree duration
  • Steel crankshaft
  • Shot-peened and polish Le Mans rods
  • JE forged pistons
  • 13.0:1 compression
  • Tunnel Port iron heads with Ferrea stainless valves
  • Aluminum 1.75:1 rocker arms

Transmission

  • Ford large-shaft Top Loader four-speed

Rearend

  • Holman & Moody 9-inch
  • Detroit Locker
  • 31-spline double-spline axles
  • 3.89 gears

Exhaust

  • Custom long-tube headers
  • 3-inch dump pipes

Suspension

  • Front: Holman & Moody design with special adjustable upper and lower control arms, specially modified Ford worm and sector steering gear, Holman & Moody 1¼-inch sway bar with adjustable Heim joints, two racing shocks each side.
  • Rear: Watt's link design with two Monroe shocks and a single coil spring each side, fully adjustable via jackscrews

Brakes

  • Front: Full metallic drum, 11x3-inches
  • Rear: Full metallic drum, 11x2½-inches

Wheels

  • Front: Firestone Double Center, 15 x 8½-inch
  • Rear: Firestone Double Center, 15 x 9-inch

Tires

  • Front: N.O.S. Firestone racing, 8.00/8.20x15
  • Rear: N.O.S. Firestone racing, 8.00/8.20x15

Interior

  • Chevrolet Cashmere Blue, Stewart-Warner instrumentation

Exterior

  • Wimbledon White, Fred Lorenzen period graphics