Mike's R-Code 427 c.i. 425 h.p. 1963 1/2 Ford Galaxie 500, Mecum Auction pending
NOTE: As yet, FOR SALE: Last price would have been set at 130k. For years, this car was going to be auctioned off. The owner is a cancer survivor who thought he would have to give it up. It's possible the car may now stay in the family, though it's certain it would be sold if passed on.|
With a rare R-Code 427 C.I. engine, Mike C. restored this 1963 1/2 Ford Galaxie 500 XL Fastback almost 20 years ago, painstakingly keeping it fit and running to show off at Michigan area car shows. I photographed this vehicle on several occasions and found a way to Photoshop the car to better feature. This daytime photo of the Galaxie was superimposed over a night time drag strip shot.
With a potential value of nearly 160k (based on auctions results in 2014), the specs for this R-code 427 model include the 4-speed transmission and dual 4-barrel carburetors that link to an R-code engine with 425 horsepower under the hood.
I would have written more about this car, but my brother had been tight-lipped for years about leaking too much info. Mike seldom takes his Galaxie to local car shows, either not wanting to draw too more attention or not able to invest the effort. As I understand, the estimated values associated with this particular vehicle are on the rise because of its rarity and growing appreciation by car affeciandos.
Mike came to discover this car after many searches in the 1980s. Unconditioned, it sat many years in a Northern Michigan warehouse with a bunch of other restoration projects. After many years aware of its existence, he eventually persisted in trying to buy it. He had a renewed desire to restore a vehicle similar to the first Galaxie 500 from the same model year, owned in his younger day. He had regretted selling that first love. Renewed, he approached the owner of the warehoused gem again with an offer. Fortunately, it was finally available for sale. It had its roof caved by snow that collapsed part of the building it was in. I suspect he paid under 10k to purchase it, a mere tip of the iceberg that would be the final restoration costs. No matter, the car's value has been dramatically climbing.
With the Galaxie's top demolished by the warehouse cave-in, it perhaps prompted the owner to part with the muscle car. With help of an experienced restoration crew, Mike painstakingly went about returning the car to its former glory. He had to call in a few favors from friends and put himself in debt in more ways than just money. The hood was pounded out to perfection. The car was torn apart and inspected and refinished in all original aspects right down to it's new paint.
He estimated the car to be 95% rust free (as of 2014), thanks to its years of storage and the current garage dedicated to the vehicle where it's maintained. Even with some flaws, Mike thinks the Galaxie rates out as an 80-point car. It rarely leaves the wood-heated garage that he specially built for it. For years, I've wanted to write a full-length feature about the trials and tribulations that got this classic out of the shed and back on the road to meet with car enthusiasts throughout the region.
Mike also has interesting stories about the first '63 Galaxie he owned packing a 406 with eight barrels (I grew up thinking it was a Mercury Comet). I just remember that I was about seven and it was real loud (kinda gurgled and quivered). He had me hold onto the 'oh shit' handle attached near the glove box. We have one lousy blurred photo of him standing next to that old sky blue car that wound up as scrap in a junkyard somewhere sometime after he sold it, before starting a family.
I thought Mike was going to sell this current dream car after a mild heart attack several years ago, just another setback in a long medical history, since retiring as a diesel mechanic. Apparently, he had a standing offer of $125,000 to sell the Galaxie for many years and was very close to taking it once. After talking with him toward the end of that year, it was revealed the talk of him parting with the car may have been started by his wife. I won't comment but it's almost an annual mantra of hers.
~article updated, June 1, 2014
~ article re-updated and edited for content, August 16, 2020
Even in a pandemic, the car still resides with him. It's likely his 13-year-old grandson could become the beneficiary of this vehicle. The two are very tight, as Mike is beyond 70 and kept in great health by the spirit of his grandchildren and breathing in fresh, Northern air. And, his wife takes great care of him.
This article could be edited multiple times in coming months that lie ahead. Stay tuned for more updates.
Another aritcle, with historical perspective:
Example of a similar car with R-code 427 specs:
Location: Webster, Massachusetts, 01570
Exterior: Heritage Burgandy
1963 Ford Galaxie 500 - Super RARE and TRUE "R-code" survivor with a lot of history, documentation and originality. This car is also properly listed in the Ford-427 Registry and includes full documentation from the original dealer to current ownership. Same brotherly-owners from 1963 to 2014. A beautiful example of an un-restored Southern car, in overall excellent original condition with only 59,000 actual miles.
Powered by the original 427/425hp V8 with correct dual-carb setup, 4-speed manual transmission, 9" posi-rear and RARE factory optioned transistor ignition. Vintage-style exhaust dumps were added to give you the option to really open up and be heard. This car is dialed in, runs like a top and drives superbly. Exterior is finished in it's original factory optioned Heritage Burgandy with excellent chrome and trim. Paint is about 90% original, with a few minor touchups done throughout the years, but remains in overall great condition and still shows very well. All body panels, floors, trunk and glass are extremely solid and also original to the car. Correct 15" color-matched steel wheels with newer radial tires help get all that power to the pavement comfortably. The original black vinyl interior has been superbly maintained and shows no signs of any rips, tears or cracks. All gauges work and windows operate very smooth. This is a real-deal investment grade piece of Ford Motorsports history and an awesome time capsule. Highly desireable for any serious collector or muscle car enthusiast. You just DO NOT find them like this anymore!!
Price: $74,900 (listed 8/2020)
The following description that leads to an auction link gone dead describes and shows a vehicle that fit's Mike's Galaxie right down to it's Corinthian White exterior and red vinyl interior:
"R-Code 427: 1963 1/2 Ford Galaxie 500
This 1963 1/2 Galaxie 500 is equipped with the rare and desirable R-code 427. In addition is appears to be equipped with Ford’s Total Performance slate of go-fast goodies that were cooked up for these when they were marauding the nations drag strips and stoplights. Looking extra sharp in Corinthian White with a code 95 red vinyl interior, if legit this is one of just 212 ever built. Outfitted with fiberglass hood, decklid, front and inner fenders along with aluminum bumpers and brackets this is a neat car. The interior is devoid of radio or heater as all of the heat comes from the massively underrated 425hp dual-quad 427ci V8 under the hood. Find it here on Craigslist in Commerce, Texas for $135,000."
Learning from this article that only 212 of this model, with the specs like Mike's Galaxie, were produced in the mid-year production run, at a time when the muscle cars were designed for the drag racing circuit. Rest of the details about the above described car here: