Incredible R-code tribute built by an original R-code owner using original parts and a clean California shell. Very correct, very fast, very pretty. Amazing attention to detail!
Yes, this incredible 1964 Ford Custom 2-door sedan with a thundering 427 is technically a clone, but the story behind it is so much more interesting than that. The gentleman who restored/built it actually owned an original 1964 R-code Custom, which he bought at the legendary Tasca Ford and raced in-period and beyond. Eventually, as often happens to old race cars, it was just plain used up. So he found this Los Angeles-built V-code (that's a lowly six-cylinder) Custom 2-door sedan with an exquisitely preserved original interior, had it shipped home to Ohio, and proceeded to swap all the hardware from his genuine R-code car onto this shell. The result is a car that's in exactly the condition it might have been right before its first race in 1964. Oh, yeah, he spent about $100,000 to make it happen.
So yes, it's technically a clone, but it was built by the original owner of a real-deal R-code Custom who used his real R-code parts from that real car to build this one, and it's pretty darned spectacular. Wimbledon White is even this car's original color, just like the R-code factory-prepped cars, and the body was stripped bare and refinished to show standards. Fortunately, this car lived its entire life in southern California where it was built, and the sheetmetal was exquisite. In fact, it was so nice that the body didn't even need to come off the frame because it's super clean underneath. All the chrome was restored, an NOS grille was sourced at a cost of more than $1300, and even the 'Custom' emblems were restored, because nobody repops them. Experts will note that this car even uses red taillights without the integral back-up light, a signature component of the R-code cars and again, practically impossible to obtain today.
The blue interior is completely original and ultra-clean. The carpets are new, the gauges were rebuilt, and the dash was refinished, but the seats, door panels, and headliner are vintage 1964 and just beautifully preserved. You'll note the gauges are fully restored with crisp silver faces and they all work properly. The 1960s Stewart Warner auxiliary gauges were also rebuilt, with a warning light for low oil pressure, and yes, that 1967-ish Mallory rev control is fully functional. That's the original (and not reproduced) 4-speed shifter, but it has been invisibly adapted to a Hurst linkage, so it racks through the gears like a bolt-action rifle. All the weather-stripping is new so there are no squeaks or rattles and the doors close precisely (remember this was originally a six cylinder car, so it wasn't abused). The trunk is obviously rust-free and carries a correct mat, a relocated battery with built-in voltage indicator, plus the original spare tire and jack.
OK, the big deal lives under the hood. That's $15,000 worth of R-code 427 cubic inch thunder, rebuilt by the pros at CAMS in Canton, Ohio. It's got two correct Holley 4-barrels up top, correct linkages, and even a correct oversized pulley on the generator, a little item I saw recently on eBay for $350. For a big bruiser, it starts easily, although there is no choke, so it's a bit cranky when it's cold. There's a big honkin' cam inside, so the idle is lumpy, but get it over 2000 RPM and it's as smooth as butter. At 3000 RPM, things start to happen in a terrifying hurry, so you'd better make sure it's aimed where you want it to go. The Top Loader 4-speed was rebuilt and there are 3.50 gears out back. For safety, they added a set of front disc brakes and a dual reservoir master cylinder. The stainless steel exhaust system is custom-made and it sits on steel wheels, with BFGoodrich bias-plys up front and 275/60/15 radials out back that hook up pretty well and look like vintage street slicks.
If you were watching the Mecum auction a few weeks ago, you saw a real-deal R-code Galaxie (much more common) sell for $130,000. While I suppose this is "merely" a clone, it's accurate and all the parts came from a real R-code Custom and it was built by the original owner. Hard to argue with a pedigree like that. It represents not only a screaming bargain compared to a real one, but also in comparison to the cost of building your own clone.
If you were there, you know what a brute this is, and if you've only heard stories, believe me, this sucker more than lives up to the legend.
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com