This is a car that probably shouldn’t exist. An overhead cam, big block 1965 Ford Galaxie 500. Yet it does, and it’s going up for auction.
Ford made big news when it launched the 4.6L V8 in 1990. An overhead cam V8 in a domestic car was nearly unheard of at the time. It was even bigger news when the engine made the jump from Lincoln Town Car to Ford Mustang in 1996. But that wasn’t the first time Ford had used an overhead cam V8 to outmuscle the competition.
The automaker’s first overhead cam V8 actually predates the “mod motor” as the 4.6 is known, by about 25 years. Developed with a much different purpose in mind.
In 1964, NASCAR competition was nearing a peak. With manufacturers working hard to outdo each other on the track. More powerful engines, more aerodynamic cars, and all sorts of tweaks to get circle track supremacy.
Ford needed to beat the Chrysler Hemi V8. The 7.0L V8 it was using wasn’t quite enough. So it added overhead cam heads to the engine, using one of the longest timing chains ever put on an engine. With twin four-barrel carbs, the engine dubbed the Cammer was officially capable of 657 hp. 250 more than the engine it was based on.
So of course, NASCAR immediately banned it. And it largely went away.
But the massive mill was put into a few cars. Like this one. Because Ford needed cars to test and develop the engine, which would go on to have a bit of a drag racing career, because if it was going in NASCAR it needed to go on the street. So they built prototypes like this Galaxie 500, equipped with the massive engine.
This car has quite a history, the seller says. As an experimental car, it was destined to be crushed once testing was complete. Somehow, it escaped. One of the project engineers is said to have brought the cammer car home. It was driven for a few years, then parked in the 1970s. In around 1972, the original engine was removed and placed in a boat. Making for what must have been one quick boat that would get plenty of attention at the marina. The car later got a new engine and was briefly raced before returning to a field.
In 1998, the original owner’s estate was cleared up, and they found this car. The VIN announced the engine that should have been under the hood, but it was gone and the car needed a restoration.
And did it ever get one. The Galaxie was returned to its original Springtime Yellow, and a black vinyl interior was recreated. As many original and old stock parts were used as possible, making this car nearly showroom fresh. A genuine Cammer engine was found, giving this prototype beast its proper heart back.
The car will go up for sale at Bonham’s Greenwich auction the first weekend of June. The seller believes it’s a truly unique car, the only one of its kind. Because, after all, it was never intended to escape from the factory’s clutches.