Ford’s 427 cubic-inch single overhead cam (SOHC) V8 was engineered specifically to dominate NASCAR’s super speedways, but alas, it was a bit too good to accomplish that goal. After seeing this legendary powerplant nestled under the hood of a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500, NASCAR owner Bill France dubbed it “too exotic” and banned the SOHC 427 from competition. However, this 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 427 SOHC homologation prototype that on display at the 2021 SEMA Show lives on as a reminder of what could have been.
This particular car was designed as an imaginary prototype of the 500 road-going cars that would have been built for public consumption to satisfy NASCAR’s homologation rules if the racer was approved for track use. The Galaxie has been modified by Matranga Hot Rods, Brown Auto Design, and Ford in a way that retains the car’s drivability and stock appearance, which means that it certainly qualifies as a sleeper.
On the outside, that means subdued Wimbledon White paint with reshaped and narrowed front and rear bumpers, a custom teardrop-shaped hood with an OEM-style inner structure, and E-T Mags AC III wheels wrapped with Nitto NT555 G2 tires. The vintage machine rides on a Roadster Shop Fast Track Stage III chassis with air ride, and features large 14-inch Baer Extreme rotors with 6-piston calipers.
Inside, the Galaxie features leather upholstery that mimics the original pearlescent hues, custom trim pieces, a Vintage Air HVAC system, Classic Instruments gauges, a custom horn button, Retro Sound stereo system, a custom upholstered trunk, and an original 8,000 rpm Ford Rotunda tachometer.
The real story lies under the hood, however, where the crew installed an original 1960s-era iron block 427 SOHC V8 that’s been upgraded with dual Edelbrock carbs hiding under a custom-machined air cleaner, a handmade coolant expansion tank, custom accessory brackets, and OEM magnesium valve covers. The big motor sends power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a Strange Engineering 9-inch rear end.
Add it all up, and this very special 1964 Galaxie 500 is a truly cool custom, as well as a nice way to remind us of the NASCAR-dominating beast that could have been.