I like hot rods, but I love customs. I have a '37 Ford coupe and a '49 Mercury that have been long-term projects, but I had just sold my mild custom '70 T-bird and was looking for another project. I had never really thought much of the '64 Galaxies until I helped my son, Brian, try to find one and found myself realizing what a sharp-looking car it is.
It wasn't long until I found this '64 sitting in the car corral at the NSRA Nats North in Kalamazoo. The body was in great condition, but the interior needed some help. The seller claimed the engine and trans had been rebuilt-which turned out not to be the case-but it was no big loss, as I was buying a solid body for $2,000.
My original plan was to recondition and repaint it and turn it for a profit. Owning my own collision/restoration shop, Van-Tele Auto, makes it a little easier, but the more I looked at the lines, the more I liked it. So I decided to make it a mild custom and make some changes without losing the Galaxie's identity.
Local legends Mike and Larry Alexander did a Galaxie for the Ford Custom Caravan back in 1964, but other than that, I hadn't seen many others customized. My first thought was a contemporary custom with 18- and 20-inch wheels. I tried several different late-model headlight treatments, but nothing was clicking, but I soon realized I really wanted a '60s custom.
A car buddy of mine, Darren Clor, sketched a front end with frenched lights and a simple tube grille, and that became my inspiration. I extended and molded '52-54 Ford headlight rings to the fenders and extended the leading edge of the hood. The grille was a $20 swap meet find originally intended for a late-'70s pickup that I trimmed and bent to fit. In the rear I filled the fuel filler and relocated it in the trunk and extended the rear quarters. The taillights bezels are another set of molded '52-54 Ford headlight rings providing a housing for the '03 T-bird taillights.
All the emblems and handles were shaved and then the really hard part came. We removed the side trim and extended the side character line back into the quarter-panel. That was a big job, approximately 100 hours, and most people don't even notice it.
I had another buddy, Kevin Kovach, sketch up a tuck 'n' roll interior, which we had done in a white vinyl over '70 T-bird seats. The dash was painted and then 'striped by Dr. Ru. I told him I wanted lots of 'stripes and he didn't disappoint. I have really enjoyed this car and drive it almost every day.
1964 Ford Galaxie
Alex chose to leave most of the Galaxie's underpinnings with the exception of adding some '75 Ford Torino disc brakes and spindles and trimming the coils a little bit. Rebuilt components from Kanters Auto Products and Dennis Carpenter brought the suspension back into shape.
Alex continued the leave-well-enough-alone theme for the engine and trans and swapped in a stock rebuilt 390 with an Edelbrock carb and PerTronix ignition along a Cruise-O-Matic auto trans.
Wheels & Tires
It's hard to beat a set of 15-inch Supremes wrapped in 1 1/2-inch whitewalls (P205/75R15s) if you want a '60s custom look.
Body & Paint
You can't own a body and paint shop and ignore the exterior, so this is where Alex spent most of his time. The few subtle tweaks, like shaving emblems and trim, are easy to spot, but the extended hood, quarters, and side body spear take a little more time. Once the body was straight and smoothed, it was covered in House of Kolor Lime Time Green.
Just like the '60s customs of the day, the interior and exterior got most of the mods. Alex replaced the worn original seats with '70 T-bird buckets and wraparound rear bench covered in white vinyl. The dash was painted white and accented with some exterior Lime Time Green and some pinstriping by Dr. Ru.