Property from a Private Ford Collection
1965 Ford Galaxie 500 M-Code "Cammer" 2-Door Hardtop
Chassis no. 5F66M100016
427ci SOHC M-Code V8
Dual Holley 4-Barrel Carburetors
657bhp at 6,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Coil Spring Front Suspension, Semi-Elliptic Rear Leaf Springs
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
*Factory Experimental Car
*Rare Factory M Code 427 "Cammer" Engine
*Banned by NASCAR
*One of the most powerful Fords ever made
THE FORD "CAMMER"
1965 was an exciting era to be working at Ford. During the previous spring the new subcompact Mustang had been released and the Rouge assembly plant could not make enough to fill the orders coming in. Ford's Total Performance program was in full-swing, and for the first time since 1957, a totally new full-size car was about to be released. Featuring a new squared off design signified by stacked headlights up front, sleek smooth even lines on the side panels, and a rear end design that was totally different, yet immediately identifiable as a Ford. Customers of these new Fords had a wide range of engines to choose from starting with a 240ci inline 6-cylinder rated 150bhp, up to the 427ci, "wedge head", dual four-barrel equipped 425bhp V8.
However, Ford had one more engine that was of even higher performance than the R-code wedge head 427, one that evoked fear in the competition. One that was actually banned from the NASCAR race tracks before it was even allowed to strut its stuff. The SOHC 427, known affectionately by its fans as the "Cammer".
During the 1964 NASCAR season, Ford was doing quite well, taking home the Manufacturer's Cup that year with 30 wins under its belt, more than twice its nearest competitor. However, Dodge and Plymouth cars, which together scored another 26 victories, were being powered by a totally new version of their legendary Hemi V8. Even though this motor was not available to the public, NASCAR officials sanctioned its use in competition. When Ford approached NASCAR with a request to install their new SOHC 427 in the Galaxie race cars, NASCAR said no! Officially the new Hemi from Mopar was advertised rated at 426bhp while the new Ford engine was capable of 616bhp with a single four-barrel, and up to 657bhp with a dual four-barrel arrangement.
Not to be deterred, the SOHC 427 "Cammer" would go on to race in a newly created class within the NHRA, A/FX, or a factory experimental. There the "Cammer" was teamed up with the new Ford Mustangs in a limited run of fastbacks specially prepared by the shops of Holman & Moody. Drivers such as Les Ritchey, Bill Lawton and Bob Hamilton, seemed to dominate the quarter-mile strip, as well as the one of the all-time NHRA greats "Gas" Ronda. The engine also faired well in other NHRA classes with drivers like "Sneaky Pete" Robinson and Don "The Snake" Prudhomme in their Cammer powered rail-jobs.
But what about putting the "Cammer" in a regular production car? If one looks at 1965 Ford-Mercury Shop Manual, on page 1-4, it provides a breakdown of the serial number codes. When looking at a 1965 Ford serial number, the factory installed engine was signified by the fifth character in the serial number or VIN. Looking through the list are two interesting entries. "L" for "8-Cylinder 427 Cu. In. (4V OH Cam) and the letter "M" for "8-Cylinder 427 Cu. In. (8V OH Cam). Indeed, it did appear that Ford may have well intended to release these mighty engines into actual street machines. Now, the question remains did Ford ever build any full-size Galaxies with either one of these two engines?
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
For many years, Ford operated a real-life top-secret operation out of Watkins Glen, New York. Likened to the U.S. Government's "Area 51" in Nevada, Ford's "X-Garage" was strictly off limits to anyone except those who had a "need-to-know". It was through this facility that 5F66M100016 emerged.
For those who know how to breakdown the Ford serial numbers, there are several immediate red-flags. The first character, "5" represents the 1965 model year, the second character "F" shows the Dearborn, Michigan assembly plant. "66" signifies the Galaxie 500 2-dr hardtop, and then the letter "M", according to the Ford published shop manual shows the 427 Cu. In. 8V OH Cam V8 engine!
A rather interesting curiosity about this car is the fact that the serial number shows it was assembled at the Dearborn assembly plant. During this time period, from about March 1964 onward, Dearborn was building the unibody Ford Mustang and not full-size body-on-frame cars. However, as our consignor reasons, this was an experimental unit, most likely hand built. While Ford did operate a pilot plant for regular production vehicles in nearby Allen Park, Michigan, it is assumed that this car was most likely assembled at Ford's engineering facility located in Dearborn, thus was given the "F" code designation in its serial number.
The story goes, as related by our consignor, experimental cars and engines were sent to the "X-garage" at Watkins Glen. This was a test facility and prototype vehicles were put through their paces and evaluated. After testing Ford was supposed to send a special transporter to the pick-up the equipment and transport them either to another secret facility to either be further evaluated or ultimately destroyed. According to our consignor, occasionally, a car or an engine would fall through the cracks. Once testing was completed, the vehicles were stored outside and often left to the elements.
One of the engineers involved in the project was a "Mr. Henderson". It is unknown if it was out of a sense of historical preservation or just because he might be able to re-purpose things down the road, that he would occasionally bring home a car or an engine or other experimental parts that were of no further use to the company. In a letter written by Mr. Henderson's son he explained: "After my dad passed away in 1980, my sister was the estate executor and would not let anybody see or sell anything from his previous years at Ford. She passed away in 1998 and we finally got to see and sell my father's possessions."
According to the letter, that "M-code" Ford was driven on the streets for years before being parked in a field in the early 1970's. Around 1972-73, the letter writer's brother removed the "SHOC (sic) engine" from the car and installed it in a motorboat. The letter goes on to say that the brother later installed a 390ci V8 into the vehicle and took it stock-car racing before abandoning it on the family farm near Elmira, NY. After the passing of the sister, the two brothers divided up the left-over cars and engines which is when the current owner acquired the car.
After 5F66M100016 was purchased it was transported to our consignor's shops. According to his recollection, when the car arrived it was not in the best of condition. The original data plate was missing from the car and there was little paperwork included. A full restoration of the Galaxie 500 took place which included locating a proper 427 SOHC "Cammer" V8.
Using a bit of forensic research, the original color of this car was determined to be Springtime Yellow and that was replicated. It was also determined to have a basic black all-vinyl interior also replicated during the restoration process. NOS parts were used wherever possible which today provides a showroom fresh appearance. This car really warrants a close inspection with a keen eye for little details. Up front the headlights are protected by rarely seen clear glass headlight covers produced for Ford by Pyrex. The wheels were designed for high-performance operation, fitted with the basic hubcaps of the day and blackwall tires. Looking inside the car, there is nothing added to the interior that the factory would not have installed. Amenities are simple with only the Magic-Aire heater included. There are no horsepower robbing accessories included such as power steering or brake, manual roll-up windows and adjustable bench seat, and don't look for a radio, that's just extra weight.
The car is presented in excellent condition and its performance has been tested only once or twice, according to the vendor, and has proven to be adequate. Our seller believes this is honestly of one-of-one and one that should not have escaped into the general public.