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1962 Ford Galaxie - When Heavy Metal Was King

John Riggs' Re-Creation Of A '62 Tri-Power 406 Galaxie

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John's Galaxie was originally equipped with a pedestrian 292ci V-8 that took a hike when the previous owner rebuilt a 390 to gracefully place between the fenderwells. The original 406 engines expanded the 390's stock 4.052-inch bore out to 4.130 inches while retaining the 3.74-inch stroke. To accomplish this, 406 engines employed a different cylinder block to accommodate the larger bore. Later '63 castings are also credited with introducing cross-bolted main caps into the Ford engine lineup to improve durability. Since John didn't build the engine, many of the current 390's details are a bit fuzzy. The single four-barrel and three-deuce 406 engines were blessed with 11.4:1 compression, but this FE probably runs a more conservative compression to make pump gas more attractive. History tells us there was even a 12.5:1-compression, 3x2-carbed 406 in 1963, but the horsepower remained the same at 405. As for the camshaft, John tells us his engine is equipped with a mild Crane 272 hydraulic cam with 0.533-inch lift and 216 degrees of duration on the intake and exhaust. The iron 390 FE heads have been tuned up slightly with stock-size stainless steel 2.02/1.60-inch valves. The fun part comes with the factory-style Holley 3x2 induction system. Holley rates its two-barrel carburetors at a different test depression than four-barrel carbs, but according to the Ford 3x2 experts at, this induction package is equivalent to a 730-cfm four-barrel carburetor setup, so it's not necessarily overcarbureted, even for a 390. John says the car currently has electronic ignition, but he wants to go back to dual points for the sake of originality. The valve covers in the photos are 427 FE versions he has now changed over to the gold-painted factory 406 style.

Ford didn't feel confident about putting its Cruise-O-Matic behind that snorting 406, mandating instead a more durable Borg-Warner four-speed to which John has added a Hurst shifter. The Top Loaders didn't debut until a year or so later.

John's Galaxie is equipped with the ubiquitous 9-inch with a set of 3.70:1 gears.

Here's where the information is short but perhaps not so sweet, since it's all basically stock. There is a set of aftermarket traction bars John wants to replace, but otherwise, even the brakes are stock drums front and rear. The only trick pieces are the steel Wheel Vintiques 15x6 front and 15x7-inch rear wheels mounting a set of 225/60R15 front and 275/60R15 tires on the rear.

On a car like this, you would expect to see a factory stock interior. One minor surprise is the radio-delete plate where a simple Ford AM radio once resided. In classic early-'60s fashion, the Galaxie exhibits a distinct lack of amenities. Don't look for the A/C, power brakes, or power steering, because they're not there.

Felix the Cat's arch nemesis was the evil Master Cylinder. In the early drawings, Master Cylinder looks suspiciously like a screw-top, single-reservoir master cylinder.

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