Jim Smart
February 7, 2006
Photos By: E. John Thawley, III

You've got to see and hear this '641/2 Galaxie 500 fastback firsthand to fully appreciate the effort that went into its current incarnation. Evan and Scott Campbell--father and son--own a towing business in the Phoenix, Arizona area. More than a decade ago, they were called to an apartment complex to haul off an old Galaxie that had been abandoned for quite some time. At first glance, it was just a dusty, old Ford that had seen better days. It was neglected but quite sound. They towed it to their yard in suburban Phoenix where it sat for months.

Eventually the Campbells began to wonder why they hadn't heard from the car's owner--who surfaced much later when the car was completed. With Arizona's motor vehicle laws on their side and more than an adequate amount of time, they applied for a lien title and took possession of the forgotten Galaxie hardtop. On first inspection of the warranty plate, they learned it was a 390 High-Performance Galaxie 500 fastback with a four-speed and a nine-inch: a perfect platform for the kind of supercar they envisioned.

Because Evan had a background and a passion for drag racing, they decided to build a retro street Super Stock drag racer using all the goodies he fondly remembered from the '60s. The car would be a smorgasbord of drag-race and circle-track parts that would make it a terrific cruiser as well as a Saturday night rocket ship.

The Campbells went for broke and began their Ford project in earnest with a complete restoration. They worked the body and painted the car '89 Nissan White, which is more a striking refrigerator white than Ford's brown-tone Wimbledon White. The Campbells saw abundant potential in their classic, freshly-painted, steel-body Ford. With its Crites Restoration Products fiberglass teardrop hood and white finish, it had "Ford lightweight Super Stocker" written all over it.

With that vision, Scott and Evan went to work planning and executing the rest of the project. They used rich black vinyl, brushed aluminum, and stainless inside, just like Ford did four decades ago. We like the massive center console Ford equipped these cars with in 1964. The finned die-cast resembles Cal-Custom accessories of the era. The Ford brake, clutch, and gas pedals became an oft-imitated aftermarket accessory many people installed in their hot rods.

In '63-'64, Ford graced the Galaxie's interior with a broad-sweeping persona that was inviting. The twin-pod instrumentation with a horizontal-sweep speedometer made the Galaxie's dashboard distinctive with dozens of square inches of brushed, stamped aluminum from door to door. Hop in and you'll notice roominess unseen in even the largest sport utilities and pickup trucks today. Detroit, eat your heart out.

Where this ride really shines isn't in its appearance or the rich, spacious, sporty interior. It's under the hood, where Ford's legendary performance image was born 40 years ago in places like Sebring and LeMans. At first glance, this might look like a 390, 406, or perhaps even a big-bore 427. But, if you had been around when Evan and Scott were building this engine, you would have seen a 1UA 3.98-inch stroke crankshaft laying on the workbench for the 427's 4.23-inch bores, bringing the displacement to a whopping 440 ci. What this means for the 427 block is heaping, helping handfuls of displacement made industrial strength with the stroke of a 428 Cobra Jet.

The Campbells hit pay dirt when looking for a 427 block. Most folks are fortunate if they find any kind of 427 block that can be machined and reused again. The Campbells found a Wood Brothers 427 from the golden age of NASCAR. It was machined to accept a needle-bearing camshaft, a power-wielding, friction-reducing idea that was tried long ago. This meant a lot of research and specialized machine work for the Campbells. They contacted Crower and were able to repair the needle-bearing, flat-tappet, mechanical camshaft. Their engine builder, Chris Buganski, dynamic-balanced the 1UA crank, LeMans rods, .030-inch oversized TRW-forged pistons, and Speed-Pro ductile iron rings. He worked the compression height and chamber sizing to achieve 11.0:1 compression. Call it a formula for FE perfection.

The aggressive mechanical camshaft was good for .525-inch lift and 290 degrees of duration via the old-fashioned method of mechanical flat tappets and adjustable roller rocker arms. Chris ported the 406 heads and fitted them with 2.100-inch intake and 1.800-inch exhaust valves for exceptional flow. The raw combination of hotter vintage camming and liberal cylinder-head logic not only makes power, it produces an adrenaline-inducing sound.

Radir Custom Wheels are known for classic hot-rod styling and flair for the '60s. They look right at home on the Campbell's Galaxie.

The result of all this attention to detail is a solid 600 hp at the rear wheels. Who said the FE big-block is dated thinking? Certainly not us. Thanks to better camshaft, induction, and ignition technology, you can build phenomenal amounts of power into a cross-bolted 427 side-oiler. Remember, this is 600 hp with 1964 technology.

Even more remarkable is the Jerico Performance Products four-speed transmission, fully capable of taking the 600 hp this stroked 427 can deliver. Between the FE and the Jerico is a good old-fashioned Hayes three-finger Borg & Beck clutch, just like we remember from the '60s. Your left leg better be as resilient as the Top Loader for this mission because it takes a lot of brute strength. Those with knee implants need not apply.

The Crites teardrop hood, another nod to the Thunderbolt, not only makes plenty of room for the airbox atop the carburetor, but also helps the Galaxie's performance attitude, whether sitting still or at full chat.

As you might expect, the Campbells specified a bulletproof 9-inch Ford with 35-spline Strange axles and 4.57 Detroit Locker cogs to channel 600 ponies and an equivalent amount of torque to the firmament. Radir Wheels' 15-inch five-spoke mag wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber help handling and aesthetics.

The idea here is period-style performance from Ford's Total Performance era that spanned the '60s. Total Performance is significant to Ford history because of what it did for the company's image, racing, and respect. Ford reentered the world of racing in the early '60s determined to earn respect, and that's exactly what it did in the years to follow. Many victories around the world proved Ford was a worthy opponent. It didn't come without sacrifice: Scattered engines and wrinkled steel were all part of the learning curve that would get Ford to the winner's circle at LeMans sporting FE power.

The Campbells have never forgotten what Ford did for racing, which is what first inspired this Galaxie fastback project. And to think it almost didn't happen.

Photo Gallery

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The inboard headlight-induction setup, made famous by the Thunderbolt, is an effective and capable way for the deep-breathing FE to ingest all the cold air possible.

The Details
64 1/2 Galaxie 500 Fastback
Owners: Evan and Scott Campbell, Tempe, AZ

Engine

  • 427ci FE big-block V-8
  • 4.260-inch bore, 3.980-inch stroke
  • Cross-bolted, side-oiler block
  • Nodular-iron 1UA 428 crankshaft
  • Forged I-beam Le Mans connecting rods
  • Forged pistons
  • Wood Brothers-prepared iron block
  • 406 High-Performance ported iron heads
  • Mechanical flat-tappet needle-bearing camshaft, .525-inch lift, 290-degrees duration
  • 750cfm Barry Grant carburetor
  • 427 medium-riser intake manifold

Transmission

  • Jerico four-speed
  • Hayes Borg & Beck clutch
  • Hurst shifter

Rearend

  • 9-inch
  • 4.57 gears
  • Detroit Locker
  • Strange 35-spline axles

Exhaust

  • Factory cast-iron 427 headers
  • Flowmaster mufflers

Suspension

  • Front: Stock coil spring
  • Rear: Leaf spring

Brakes

  • Front: Disc
  • Rear: Drum

Wheels

  • Front: Radir Wheels Tri Ribb 3, 15X7
  • Rear: Radir Wheels Tri Ribb 3, 15X8

Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich Radial T/A, P225/70R15
  • Rear: BFGoodrich Radial T/A, P245/60R15

Interior

  • Stock Galaxie 500 interior
  • Bucket seats
  • Console
  • Twin-pod instrumentation

Exterior

  • PPG basecoat/clearcoat Nissan White
  • Crites Restoration Products teardrop hood