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1963 Galaxie 406 cu in/405hp

New User
Posts: 2
Joined: 08/11
Posted: 08/13/11 06:08 PM

I have owned my share of mustangs (4) but in my opinion the most interesting car I have owned was my 1963 Galaxie 406 cu in/ 405hp. Back in the day (1970) I discovered my Galaxie on a local used car lot. It was Corinthian white with red interior (bench seat), 54,000 miles without a scratch. 406/405 tripower w/cross bolt main bearings. Aluminum Borg Warner T-10 with factory Hurst shifter, 9" 2.75 rear end, heavy duty suspension and rear brakes. Their asking price was $599 but they jumped on my offer of $500. When I looked at the registration I saw that the previous owner was a local Winston West NASCAR driver. The car was definitely not a drag racer at about 3800lbs but ran like the proverbial "raped ape" on the highway. I had no problems for a few months until the timing chain slipped (45mph in 3rd gear) and destroyed the valve train while dinging the pistons. For the life of me I will never understand why Ford used the (same as a 352 cu in 2V) alloy cam sprocket with nylon gear on their "super high performance" engine!!! I replaced it with a TRW double chain and sprocket. I was shortly introduced to the high performance, limited production expense club. First the heads. Intake valves: $1.69 ea. Sodium filled exhaust valves: $13.60 ea. Double valve springs $4.40 ea (rocker shafts and arms were OK). Total $220. The cam had a scored lobe so I took it to a local Ford dealer who specialized in HiPo parts. The part number on the cam was X-8A (experimental). They miked it and the closest they could come was the 330/.550 427 solid lifter cam. $64w/lifters and pushrods. New 406 12.1/1 pistons were $24 each so I decided to see if I could find used ones. A friend produced a new LeMans 425 cu in crank kit. Forged steel crank with chamfered oil passages, LeMans rods, pistons, rings, and gaskets for $110. This didn't produce my 4.13 in pistons but seemed to good to pass-up. My Machinist Clarence Everett. A Ford "Guru" and Bonneville racer (In his late 50's) when told of the LeMans kit suggested "Build a 427". He bored, sleeved, and re-bored the 406 block and assembled a 427 ($335). For a couple of months I had a tripower 427! Then the air cleaner caught on fire! Fortunately a Bell Telephone Co. driver stopped and with his fire extinguisher quickly put out the blaze. Now I needed an intake system. I heard through the grape vine that there was a shop in Vancouver, WA who specialized in Ford FE intakes and was looking for a tripower. I called and they said bring it. They had a 1963 T-Bird 401hp project and needed the tripower. They were very exited by my air cleaner which had the Thunderbird emblem. They traded me 2 rebuilt Holley 652cfm carbs and linkage. Now I needed an intake manifold. A close friend said his uncle had an FE dual quad manifold. It turned out to be a 427 high riser! The uncle informed me that it could only be used with the high riser heads which he also had. I bought he manifold , heads (which were in excellent condition), and headers for $50! The high riser needed more hood clearance so I installed a thunderbolt hood scoop. I wish I had driven the high riser first as it idled at over 1000 RPM and was basically not "streetable" with a 2.75 rear end and 8mpg. However it would go like hell if you had the space!!! I ended up hanging on to this set-up (selling it a few years later for $400) after removing it and replacing it with a "Shelby Sidewinder 4V manifold made for a 428 super cobra jet with a Holly 850cfm and returning to the 406 heads. As the 406 super high performance heads were basically identical to the 428 super cobra jet heads this was a good fit. performance was very close to the tripower with 15mpg highway. I would love to have my 1963 Galaxie today along with over half of the 46 vehicles I have owned. My dream car of today would be a 1965 Shelby GT 350 white with blue stripes. I guess I should have bought that one in 1972 for $1500!  

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