1963 ½ Ford Galaxie 500 R-Code Factory Lightweight
Chassis no. 3N66R144637
427ci OHV R-Code V8 Engine
Twin Holley 4-Barrel Carburetors
425bhp at 6,000rpm
4-Speed Borg-Warner T-10 Manual Transmission
Heavy-Duty Independent Front Suspension, Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Heavy-Duty Police Interceptor Drum Brakes
*Eligible for many vintage racing genres
*Brilliant example of Ford's "Total Performance" program
*Only three owners from new
*Very few miles since restoration
*Extremely rare authentic factory homologation special
The R-Code Galaxie Lightweights
In the early 1960s, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler Corporation slugged it out door handle to door handle on the nation's drag strips, NASCAR ovals, and road-racing circuits. Manufacturers stuffed the largest-possible engines into their full-sized two-door models to create true performance versions. To meet FIA and NASCAR displacement rules, these immensely powerful motors were limited to seven liters, or just over 427 cubic inches. Thus were born the 426-inch motors from Dodge and Plymouth, 421s from Pontiac, and 427s from Chevrolet and Ford.
Recognizing that these big sedans would go faster and accelerate more quickly if they shed some weight, factory engineers looked for ways to eliminate every possible pound. The 1963½ Ford Galaxie 500 Lightweight "Sportsroof" hardtop was Ford's response, built on lighter frames intended for a 300-series sedan, and utilizing various heavy-duty brake and suspension components in addition to lightweight panels, and of course the big 427. The R-Code Galaxie Lightweight is thought to be the only full-sized Ford to obtain FIA Homologation.
The lightweight Galaxies competed in multiple disciplines, from NHRA drag racing and NASCAR competition, to road racing in touring car classes in the UK, Australia and South Africa. Thanks to their extensive racing applications in period, they are today eligible for many forms of historic motorsport.
The Motorcar Offered
The example offered here is one of only 212 built to drag racing specification at the direction of Ford's Merchandising Department. It is equipped with a correct R-Code 427-cubic inch NASCAR V8 engine with dual Holley four-barrel carburetors, solid lifters, and cast-iron headers developing 425 horsepower. There is a Borg-Warner aluminum-cased T-10 four-speed transmission, RC Industries NHRA-approved aluminum bellhousing, stiffer springs and shocks, Ford Police Interceptor rear axle with 4:11 gears, Interceptor heavy-duty drum brakes, steel 5.5 x 15-inch Kelsey-Hayes Interceptor wheels with "dog-dish" hubcaps, a fiberglass hood, front fenders and inner fenders, aluminum bump-ers and mounting brackets, and Bostrom "Thin-line" lightweight bucket seats, a pair of which weigh about half of what a standard bench seat scales.
The interior is bare-bones; the normal carpeting replaced by simple rubber floormats. There are delete plates where the heater and radio would be, and the interior roof supports, dome lamp, and armrests were left out. There are no springs to support the hood. Even the back-up lights and rear-view mirrors were deleted in the interest of reducing weight.
This car is believed to have been originally delivered to a Ford dealership in Hawaii. There being few opportunities to race in the islands, the car remained unsold. Eventually, the Galaxie found a buyer, but the customer apparently didn't roll up many miles; the odometer reads a mere 6.9, although it is not known if this is an accurate figure. When it was discovered and purchased from the second owner about seven years ago, both the engine and transmission were missing from the otherwise quite complete chassis. The vendor states that a correct R-Code 427ci/425hp engine and T-10 transmission were acquired from a donor car, and along with the rear axle, were rebuilt by Garage Motorsports in Vancouver, Washington as part of a thorough, six-year, bare-frame restoration. The body was stripped to bare metal, all trim refinished to factory specification, and the thin aluminum bumpers polished to as-new appearance. The body was repainted in its original color of Corinthian White and retains its original factory-applied "For Racing Use Only" disclaimer label inside the glove box.
This rare factory-built Galaxie Lightweight is representative of a very important part of Ford's competition history, and with its shattering performance would make a marvelous addition to any serious collection of American racing machines.