Woods Allen's 1964 Ford Galaxie 500
(from Volume 19, Issue 225)

story by owner Woods Allen, photos by Michael B. Kelly


June 1965 was Graduation Day at St. Pete Sr. High School, and we all made it through! My buddies and I, some not so easily, moved into another part of our lives and new goals. Graduation was important but not my only goal. For years I had always been one of the “need a ride” guys because I did not have my own car. Free of the burden of the school house and old enough to drive, I hit the streets to earn the money to finally own my own ride.

In our circle, driving the family car was not totally un-cool but everyone knew that the guy who rode in his own set of wheels had a leg up on the rest. The best part was the freedom to alter the image of “your ride” into a personal statement. Change the stance, loose the front bumper, drill holes into the muffler, it didn’t matter; do anything to make your ride cool. We fooled some, and we were never teased again for running around in our Mom’s car. That was good, but it got old, because the really COOL guys were still a step ahead of us in our minds.

You see, even though we had our own cars there were those other guys that really knew what they were doing. They weren’t the ones that ran around making noise rapping their pipes with their hoods gapped at the back and front ends so high you couldn’t see the highway stripes. These guys could tune, these guys understood traction, and they liked to stalk the unsuspecting with a challenge that would surprise the posers. I always wanted that car, the one with the hidden potential. I wanted a “sleeper”!

A lot of people will walk right past my car and never give it a second thought. I have a theory: Like baby ducks, I think many of us are drawn to that which we were raised around. Imprinted to the corporate image we were exposed to in those formative years just as the ducklings will follow the first thing they see when they are hatched into the world of cars. I am guilty of this! In 1963 and 1964, NASCAR was all about Fords for me and Gerry Eastburn. The Fastback Galaxies and Mercury Marauders were our dreams as we waited for time to allow us to start our driving careers.

Gerry and I went through the pre-driving days together at Mirror Lake Jr. High and St. Pete High Schools, always talking cars and reading up on the latest race reports. Fords were really big in 1964. Many years later Gerry sold me this Wimbledon White Galaxie in 2001. Gerry has had greater success fulfilling his dreams, having won many races and owning several different cars that I would have been very proud to own. The stars aligned and he had a need to sell this Fastback, and I had the cash to take advantage. Four kids later, who are out of the house beginning their lives, and a wife understanding enough to be happy to see me fulfill one of my dreams; Life is good!

I have driven this car at every opportunity and was in agony the three and a half years it took to completely dismantle and reassemble it in my much too small two car garage. With a plan to produce a streetable driver, but with enough surprise for the over confident showroom collector, I assembled my parts to hide the modifications and leave the image of the dream as we saw it in 1964.

For most, the 15x8 custom made rear wheels do not go unnoticed. The offset is a sought after measure that allows the 275-60R-15’s to live happily in the back. The 15x7’s with smaller tires on the front are not so easy to spot, but custom assembled as well. Ford guys of the special age and schooled in the true heritage of these Galaxies will spot the rest. A one wire alternator, gear reduction starter and an over sized front and rear sway bars are all easily noticed if you know what to look for. The 2x4 Blue Thunder aluminum intake on a 390 will always bring a question; “Is that stock?”. Well no, it is not....but then it isn’t a 390 any longer either. This is the sneaky part; 445 cubic inches are so easy to hide in the 0.030 over FE block thanks to a 4.25 stroker crank, requiring no modifications to the block. An original P-Code “Police Interceptor”, the 2-1/2 inch shorty headers, 4-speed, 3.50 rear gear and solid lifters are all part of what Ford put into the package. Extra heavy duty drive shaft, universals and springs help it meet the purpose also, and the 3-inch wide drum brakes still do the job very well. There is no power steering, no air conditioning, and no power brakes....these things were only found on the family sedan in those days, and I don’t need them now!

Do I get sleepy going through the gears on the weekend, and cracking the pair of 750cfm carbs as I beat you across the intersection? Hell no I don’t! Can I snap a gear and break the tires loose above the noise of your boom-box rice rocket? Hell yes I can! That’s right; this is that old Ford you saw sleeping at the light just waiting for another go! -Woods Allen