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Custom R-code 427, 4-speed, dual quads, California car, exceptional, very fast

  • Price: Ask a price!
  • Location: Macedonia, Ohio, United States
  • Make: Ford
  • Model: Other
  • SubModel: 2-door sedan
  • Type: Coupe
  • Year: 1964
  • Mileage: 4,615
  • VIN: 4J56V138316
  • Color: White
  • Number of cylinders: 8
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Interior color: Blue
  • Vehicle Title: Clear

1964 Ford Other 2-door sedan Description

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 (that's a 427 8-barrel race motor to us mortals) 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. The quarter panels had been cut and welded and hammered to clear varying sizes of slicks, the body was tweaked, the frame was modified time and time again, and the interior was gutted, replaced, gutted again, fitted with a cage, etc. In short, the original car was just plain beat to the point where even restoring it would be a monumental challenge.

Somehow, somewhere, he found an identical body shell: this Los Angeles-built V-code (that's a lowly six-cylinder) Custom 2-door sedan. If you're not familiar with the "Custom" line at Ford, it was pretty much the bottom-of-the-line, bargain-basement model that was typically used for fleet orders. Need a batch of Ford squad cars? Customs were what the city bought. At any rate, he found this ultra-clean Custom 2-door sedan, complete 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. There's not a ripple or wave anywhere on the car, and while it may seem familiar up front (the Custom used a Galaxie nose), the rear may look a little strange because it's unique to the Custom line. Not quite a Galaxie and not quite a Fairlane, and as a result of this, replacement panels are unobtainium. Fortunately, this car lived its entire life in southern California where it was built, and the sheetmetal was excellent. 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 almost 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. There's some discoloration on the arm rests, as you'd expect, but the seats are still firm and comfortable, particularly in back, which is almost unused. You'll note the gauges are fully restored with crisp silver faces and they all work properly. The odometer was reset to 0 when it was restored, and shows about 4600 miles today, and the car still looks quite fresh overall. I especially dig the radio and clock delete plates and at night, when you hit the headlights, the dash lights up blue, even the little letters on the bezels surrounding the secondary switches. 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). There are some stains on the front seat backs, as the car was stored for many years with a tire leaning against them, but otherwise, it's very well preserved. Heck, there's even just one sun visor, just like the original R-code cars! 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, who specialize in Ford FE motors, particularly the "side oiler" 427s. 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. The Mickey Thompson valve covers and air cleaner are the same ones that were on the race car for most of its racing career, so they were reinstalled on the motor when it was rebuilt, but I think I'd prefer the stock "Powered By Ford" chrome valve covers and air cleaner, which are easy enough to find. 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. I don't think I've ever driven anything this big that's also this fast.

The big output shaft Top Loader 4-speed was rebuilt by an expert out west and uses a special gearset just for R-code cars, so it's pretty snappy off the line, and there are 3.50 gears on a Detroit Locker out back, which are tame enough for use on the street—there's enough torque on tap that you won't miss the original 4.56s. For safety, they added a set of beefy front disc brakes and a dual reservoir master cylinder, and there is a line lock discreetly tucked under the master cylinder should you wish to head to the track with it. The stainless steel exhaust system is custom-made with “sound chambers” just behind the original cast iron header-style manifolds and a pair of 3-inch pipes heading aft to mufflers and tailpipes that peek out from under the rear bumper. The rear suspension is fortified with a set of traction bars that are similar to those used by Shelby and air shocks with separate fill valves allow you to fine-tune the rear suspension even more. It sits on steel wheels, with 8.15-15 BFGoodrich Silvertown bias-plys up front and rather well-sized 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 an 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, because the receipts on this one add up to six figures and the workmanship is first-rate throughout.

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.