David LaChance blogs about the full-size R-CODE 427 FORD 1963 ½-GALAXIE that kicked off Dearborn’s ‘Total Performance’ program.Ford had a number of regional and national press and dealer introductions for its new fastback 427/425 Galaxie, including a very limited drive program for pre-production and Pilot models in January 1963 in Monte Carlo. That’s right, that Monte Carlo, tied into its participation in the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally. The Holman & Moody Falcons were there, and the editor of the CarGuyChronicles, Marty Schorr was there.“We drove them through the Maritime Alps, above, following parts of the rally route, and oft times it was a harrowing experience. Sheer drop-offs with no guard rails, plus questionable drum brakes. The new solid-lifter R-Code 427/425 with four-speed was a dream, incredible rev-ability and torque.” The car and the drive are covered in https://www.amazon.com/Day-One-Automotive-Journalists-Muscle-Car/dp/0760352364/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493561421&sr=1-1&keywords=Day+One+by+Martyn+L.+SchorrThey would go on to win Daytona (with Tiny Lunn in #21, replacing Marvin Panch who had been injured), set quarter-mile A/S and S/S drag records, and become the donor for the lightweight program. Holman & Moody prepared Galaxies would excel in Touring Car racing in England. Ford had the right stuff to launch its Total Performance program.
The photos in the mid-year brochure told the story. Captured against the backdrop of Monaco, the new 1963½ Ford lineup was an exercise in elegance and sophistication. Front and center on the cover was the full-size Galaxie with a sporty, new semi-fastback roof to complement its handsome, sculpted flanks. The advertising copy called attention to one important ingredient hidden from the camera’s lens: “V-8 velvet that ranges up to a new achievement of 425 horsepower.”
Since the start of the 1962 model year, the Galaxie’s most potent powerplant had been the 406-cubic-inch FE big-block, which made 405 horsepower when equipped with triple two-barrel carburetion. The 406 had made the big Ford’s performance respectable, but Dearborn had something more than respectability in mind at the dawn of the Total Performance age. Henry Ford II was determined to make his company the dominant force in international competition, and the assault would begin with the Blue Oval’s full-size family sedans.
Enter the legendary 427. Taking advantage of the new 7-liter displacement limit set by the NHRA and NASCAR, Ford maxed out the bore of the FE block to 4.23 inches, but kept the stroke at 3.78 inches, producing a rev-happy, oversquare design. Two versions were offered: The Q-Code topped by a single Holley 780-cfm four-barrel carburetor and rated at 410 horsepower; and the R-Code which produced 425 horsepower using a pair of Holley 650 four-barrel carburetors. Both new engines featured cross-bolted main bearing caps, reinforced steel connecting rods, 11.5:1 compression, solid valve lifters, tuned cast-iron exhaust manifolds, and, starting in 1965, a forged crankshaft.
Ford’s innovations paid off immediately on the track, with the big Galaxies achieving a storybook 1-2 finish at the 1963 Daytona 500 – aided in no small part by the new Sports Hardtop roofline, which wind tunnel tests had shown to be 25% more aerodynamic than the formal, “box top” roof treatment. The new roof even gave a slight edge at the drag strip, where Dick Brannan set the first national record ever held by Ford in NHRA Super Stock racing. (The anvil-tough 427 would go on to greater glories in other chassis, including the GT40 Mark IIs and Mark IVs that snatched victory away from Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966 & 1967, as Hank the Deuce chased his vision.)
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