This Ford Galaxie 500 Is A Monster From The Glory Days Of NASCAR. Now It’s Up For Grabs

While viewership of NFL games outnumbers that of NASCAR races about four to one, America’s favourite race series still attracted about 3.7 million fans who turned out (or tuned in) last year. NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing), now in its 74th season, was founded in 1948 by an auto mechanic named Bill France. The rest, as they say, is history. The competition and the cars are almost as wild and woolly as they were back when the first sanctioned race was run in Daytona Beach, Fla., last century.

Shown here in the middle is the car’s first driver, Curtis Turner, who took first place in the 1966 Daytona-Permatex 300.

The 1960s saw some great drivers and constructors joining the field, with American iron that was as big and powerful as it was good-looking. For auto manufacturers, NASCAR was a surefire formula for bolstering showroom sales among America’s Big Three. Even American Motors got into the game. During that era, Ford saw success with its global marketing and advertising campaign called Ford Total Performance, which leveraged the brand’s presence in motorsport to add lustre to the cars that customers could actually buy.

The 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 “Hammer” Mason NASCAR No. 87 being offered through Collectors Garage.

Ford management was smart, enlisting now-famous characters like Carroll Shelby to fine-tune its products for the track. Other suppliers played a big role too, like Dearborn Steel Tubing (DST), who cemented its position as a supplier of Ford exhaust systems and high-performance parts. Eventually, it was even fabricating show cars for the Blue Oval. When Jim “Hammer” Mason, DST’s aftermarket performance-products manager, wanted to go stock-car racing, Ford sent him a 1963½ Galaxie 500. That car was a hand-built vehicle used to test assembly-line processes before the start of full production the following year. Professionally photographed, it was also featured in Ford sales brochures for the model. As a “pilot car,” it received no VIN.

Hand-built by Ford, the car was later improved by Jim “Hammer” Mason, who worked with the marque’s engineers and brought his own fabrication and engine-building skills to play.

Mason turned the Galaxie into a fierce racer, one with a red-white-and-blue paint scheme that stood out on the show stand as well as the starting grid. Working with Ford’s engineers, and using his own fabrication and engine-building skills, Mason made numerous improvements, including designing a “batwing” air cleaner that increased top speed by 3.5 mph. The latter was so effective that NASCAR eventually outlawed it. Mason entered his Galaxie four times in the Modified/Sportsman races at Daytona. The car’s first driver was Curtis Turner, the hard-charging owner of Charlotte Motor Speedway and friend of Bill France Sr. In the 1966 Daytona-Permatex 300, Turner took first place. He entered again in 1967 and placed eighth overall. Bobby Allison drove to a third-place finish in 1968, and in 1969, Donnie Allison took over the driving, finishing seventh.

Mounted on the steel wheels are the original racing tires from Donnie Allison’s run in the 1969 Daytona-Permatex 300.

After retirement, most race cars either become trainers, parts donors, or worse. But this Galaxie retains its original paint and interior, including the racing seat, Stewart-Warner gauges, seatbelts, asbestos flooring, and original tape on the steering wheel. It even still wears the racing tires from Donnie Allison’s 1969 run. Under the hood, the 427 cubic-inch side-oiler V-8 is equipped with its original dual carbs and batwing air cleaner. That’s due to the fact that, after competing in the Daytona-Permatex 300 just four times, Mason took No. 87 home and parked it in his garage.

Under the hood lies a 427 cubic-inch side-oiler V-8 equipped with its original dual carbs and “batwing” air cleaner.

Interesting too is that the fame of No. 87 continued to resonate long after its racing career had ended. Wearing its 1966 “Blanket Order Special” paint and graphics, Mason’s Galaxie inspired a Racing Collectables Legend Series model, released in 1991. In 2001, it was exhibited at the Ford Racing Centennial celebration and later appeared in a Ford Motorcraft TV commercial, driven by Ford’s first NASCAR champion, Ned Jarrett. With much period documentation, this piece of significant stock-car history is offered at RM600,000 through Broad Arrow Group’s Collectors Garage.


Previously published on Robb Report USA

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