Most of us would love to have our first car again, and a lot of people started projects just because of this reason. Even though most did not really have an awesome car, to begin with. Only some of us are lucky enough to have great starting cars.
Just a select few have kept their first cars for more than 50 years and Ken Lowe who lives in Westfield, North Carolina is one of them. The 1963 ½ Ford Galaxie Sportsroof is the automotive industries first “½” year model and is Ford’s weapon against the problems of aerodynamics in NASCAR racing. In 1966, Ken’s father, Wayne, worked at the dealership where this featured car was traded in. Wayne thought that this would be the best first car for Ken, he purchased it just over $1,000. To assume Ken was excited about his new car would be putting it down, but nobody thought that he would treasure it even after driving it over 200,000 miles and lending it to his younger brother as his first car during high school. Most of us are used to dispose of almost everything we own but this is not the case for Ken. After 50 years, he entrusted his precious car to Jeff Lilly Restoration from San Antonio, Texas and came out as a beautiful ride you can see here.
“I drove the car through my junior year at UNC Chapel Hill and then turned it over to my brother, Bruce,” Ken said. “Between the two of us, we put over 200,000 miles on it before it came back home to my mom and dad’s farm, then my parents drove it another 50,000 miles.”
This huge and flashy ride is aptly named “Behemoth” but back in 1963, this car was only an average sized coupe if you place it next to the much bigger Lincolns, Buicks, and Cadillacs. The Galaxie Sportsroof was also one of Ford’s race cars that competed in various racing events such as NASCAR and drag races. With its lightweight design that had fiberglass hoods and fenders and aluminum bumpers, the Galaxie was able to perform really well especially if you top it off with a 427 R-code FE engine that was able to produce 425 horsepower. It’s no wonder Ken loved his first car so much, it does not just look great but also achieved a lot in the racing world.
And to give this car the makeover it deserves, Ken sent it to Jeff Lilly Restoration where everything of the work was made inside their shop, including the interior restoration. After they stripped the car to bare, Lou Carrillo fabricated a new frame that has Tube A-arms in the front, four-link at the back, and rack-and-pinion steering. When the frame was done, they started building the 460 engine. Eagle steel crank that had 6.250-inch H-beam rods and Mahle forged pistons were installed into the engine, as well as Comp Cams hydraulic roller cam moves the valves inside the Edelbrock aluminum heads. The TMN eigh-stack fuel injection not only supplies the juice for the engine but also adds charm under the hood. The finished powerhouse is able to produce up to 535 horsepower and a torque of 550 lb-ft. A powerful engine will certainly need something to cool it down and the Ron Davis aluminum radiator and built-in condenser does the job.
Popping the hood reveals a very beautiful engine setup, all of the pipes and wirings are covered by the inner panels. The core support and radiator are also tucked away from sight. The paint finish beautifully highlights the engine compartment that gives it a very modern look.
Even the belly of this beast has been done very neatly. RideTech airbags are installed on all fours.
A rack-and-pinion steering, Wilwood 14-inch disc brakes, and tube A-arms are used to complete the front suspension. It has Dayton wire wheels finished in Platinum measuring 18×9.5 in the front and 20×10 in the back. The tires used are 235/55/18-inch and 295/40/20inch BFG G-Force in the front and rear, respectively.
All of the power produced by the engine is directed to a TCI 700R4 AOD transmission that has a Lokar shifter. It is then connected to a narrowed Ford 9-inch with 3.75 gears. This car breathes through a 3-inch exhaust that has Borla mufflers which are then finished in black.
Not much has been changed in the exterior but most of the components are hidden to make everything look well-ordered. Inner fender panels were built to cover the plumbing and wirings and the brake system has been well hidden behind the dashboard. Refilling the master cylinder is fairly easy and can be accessed by removing the speaker grille. Everything has been hidden very well but is still very accessible including the dual batteries, audio amplifiers, airbag compressor, and fuse block. The lines for the air condition, brake, and fuel are all hidden behind the box tubing. When all of the frame and internal works were done, the body was reshaped to fit the new frame perfectly and was then coated in Bottomless Blue BASF Glasurit basecoat/clearcoat which was all done by Bob Ives. For the final color-sand and paint polish, Nat Ramirez did the work.
You won’t notice it at first glance or even 2nd, but the interior has also been reshaped. The base of the dash has been lowered by 3 inches, it was then made to look like it was not lowered by using the stock trim and console, and covering it with custom border and kick panels. Tony and Jan stitched the Bohemian Gray ultra-leather for the interior that features platinum side trim and satin covered steering wheel, controls, and shifter. For quality surround music, Alpine amplifiers and head unit, JL Audio W8 subs, and Dynaudio speakers are very well hidden around the interior. The gauges are supplied by Classic Instruments and a Flaming River unit for the column.
This full-size Ford is ready for any car show but Ken prefers to use it on his daily cruise that can still be competitive on the drag strip.
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