Jack and Donna Bakewell with their 1962 Ford Galaxie 500. Photos by author.
Jack Bakewell’s first new car was a 1962 Ford Galaxie 500 with a 390 beneath the hood, shifting through a four-speed transmission. Like most of us, he later moved on to other cars (Fords, since he spent a 50-year career with the blue oval brand), but always wanted a second chance at building another 1962 Galaxie 500.
In 1990, Jack got his opportunity when he came across a two-door post Galaxie 500 roller for sale on Florida’s Gulf Coast. As found, the car wore sun-bleached paint and needed a completely new interior, but it was the same model of Galaxie 500 that Jack had purchased new 28 years earlier and was remarkably rust-free. A deal was struck, and Jack brought the car back to Michigan for its rebirth.
To power the engine-less car, Jack found a period-correct 390 V-8 and a T-10 four-speed transmission, doing much of the mechanical work on the restoration himself, but farming out the interior and paint work. That engine lasted until 2002 or so, when he came across a 427 V-8 “barn find” engine nearby, a deal too good to pass up. Purists will point out that the 427 wasn’t available from Ford until 1963, but in-period, more than one 390 was likely swapped for a 427.
The 427 underhood today is fed by a pair of four-barrel Holley carburetors, exhaling through a set of Mad Dog headers into a fabricated three-inch exhaust capped by a pair of Magnaflow mufflers. Internally, the engine was bored 0.040 over, but still uses a stock Ford camshaft to keep things (relatively) civil on the street. The T-10 four-speed sends the torque to a limited-slip differential running 4.11:1 gearing, which makes for spirited performance.
For a time, Jack though about going full-race with the Galaxie and adding a fiberglass front end to shave a few pounds, but it’s simply too enjoyable as a driver to make it a dedicated track car. To improve drivability in modern traffic, the front drums were swapped for aftermarket disc brakes, and the suspension has been rebuilt using replacement Ford parts throughout. It currently rides on whitewall radial tires, but period-correct bias-ply tires may be the next change Jack makes to the car.
Jack and his wife Donna hauled the Galaxie 500 out from Ohio, their current state of residence, thinking that our Friday night cruise-in was July 22 instead of July 8 (the only Friday night show, held in conjunction with National Collector Car Appreciation Day). While they may have missed the Thursday night event, we’re certainly glad they stopped by this morning to let us see the car up close.