Although Ron C. was a member of a Galaxy car club and already
owned a ‘69 Galaxy at the time, in 1991 he decided he wanted the earlier
Ford body style. He started looking around and found one that a former
member of his club owned, a 63 ½ Galaxy 500XL. 1963 was the first year
for the top-of-the-line 500XL option. It had a 390 CID engine,
Cruise-o-matic auto trans and power steering and brakes. He liked that
year’s body style because it reminded him of the Fords he used to see at
the drag strips where he used to race: the big-engined, powerhouses of
the muscle-car era. It was, however, in pretty rough condition, needing
help for the drive train, body, suspension and interior. But Ron felt it
was a car worth restoring and set about doing that. Over the next few
years, he rebuilt the trans, suspension and steering, adding a dual
master cylinder for safer braking. He had the engine balanced and
blueprinted, with a roller cam and monster Holley dual pump, dual feed
carb, as well as headers. He found that the heads were from a 406 CID
engine and had them reworked for top performance. The engine turned out
a bit too radical for normal street use, so he detuned it. Even so, it
still puts out an awesome 425 HP! The only downside, Ron says, is that
he seems to fill up at every other gas station. As long as they’re not
too far apart. For appearances, he had it repainted and the rear seat
re-upholstered. Although he still has plans to add air conditioning and
change to front disc brakes, it runs and handles well enough to be a
daily driver (although it isn’t). Although it took wife Sue a while to
get used to the high-torquing Galaxy, she now enjoys driving it as well.
Ron and Sue have taken it all over California, including a number of
trips to L.A., without a problem. The big Ford FE engine moves the heavy
car down the highway with power to spare and makes their Galaxy a real
pleasure to drive.
The 63 ½ Galaxy had a new streamlined roof, developed for NASCAR racing.
This one is painted Rose Beige, its original color.
With bucket seats and a console shifter, this was Ford’s sportiest model
for that year. The interior color matches the exterior, Rose Beige.
Although the real improvements to the engine are not visible, this 390
is much-improved over a stock version, pumping out over 100 horses more
than it’s original 320.
Ron Cherry 2009