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1962 Ford Galaxie - Got Cams?

The Chrysler Contingent Has Nothing On Bill Cotter's '62 Galaxie.

By Eric English, Photography by Eric English

The Jan. '65 issue of Hot Rod magazine called it "Ford's 90-day Wonder," and nothing has changed in the ensuing four decades. Simply put, Ford's 427 SOHC was one for the ages-and not just because of the speed with which it went from drawing board to dyno. Yep, it's a true Hemi head engine, but rather than being known by this descriptor, the SOHC is affectionately known by a name that gives it even more individual identity: the Cammer. While never allowed to compete in NASCAR as Ford intended, the Cammer did prove a force on dragstrips across the nation during the late '60s-fitted in a variety of efforts from A/FX to Top Fuel. The fact that the 427 SOHC was never factory installed in a street-legal passenger car is a real shame; it would have been a game changer. But it also has the effect of making each and every retrofit a sight of utter magnificence.

Ford enthusiasts and the less informed seem magnetically drawn to a Cammer 427 whenever an open hood reveals one, and the same holds true with the '62 Galaxie here. Multiple carburetion and massive factory valve covers that spell out the goods will do that. Unfortunately, we don't know who initiated the effort that paired the animal FE with this ultraclean XL hardtop, rather it's been lost to history. However, our story picks up in 2000 when Ford aficionado and drag racer Mike Jackson bought this Cammer Galaxie somewhat as you see here, then in turn put in plenty of behind-the-scenes work to make it a fully functioning street machine.

Mike was into the unobtanum-like 427 SOHCs in a big way and swapped what turned out to be a troubled engine for another he built specifically for this car. Beginning with a genuine Cammer 427 block, he fit a reciprocating assembly featuring a 4.00-inch billet crank, Crower rods, and Arias pistons. Custom camshafts were ground by Crane from blanks Mike had in hand, and the one-off sheetmetal intake was crafted up by Hogan's. The 427 SOHC was originally advertised to put out 616 hp in single four-barrel guise, and we'd only be guessing if we threw out a number for this well-warmed version-but suffice it to say it makes plenty. Sadly, Mike passed away in 2004, and thus we've relied on his good friend and subsequent owner Tom Cantrell for specific information related to the '62's hardware.

A good portion of the undeniable appeal here comes from pairing the exotic powerplant with the grandma-ish factory Peacock Blue hue. You'd hardly call it a sleeper due to the bulging hood and 427 emblems, but the juxtaposition of power and color creates a mixed message of major proportion. Likewise, the body style contributes to the same theme, as the '62 is hardly considered the ultimate expression of go-fast Galaxies. Just the same, attractive hardtop lines and a performance pedigree make for a more than credible hot rod. From a historical perspective, 1962 marked the debut of the high-performance 406 and a small fleet of 11 Galaxie lightweights, so fitting the ultimate 427 is clearly in keeping with the lineage.

Current owner Bill Cotter is a guy some might like to hate, but he's simply too nice for that. Any animosity would stem from pure envy, for with a collection of cars that ranges from a 32-valve ex-Bondurant Crown Vic to a real 289 Cobra vintage racer, the drool factor is way high. Beyond being inordinately affable, we give Bill big props for his zeal in using cars for what they were meant to do. He flat out rips in the Cobra during competition and enjoys pinning all eight barrels in this big classic Ford-though it hasn't been to the track during his ownership tenure. Considering Mike was a hard-core enthusiast who massaged the Galaxie into his vision of the ultimate pavement pounder, we think he'd be pleased that the flame has passed to someone who won't be content to have it gather dust. No, anything Cammer powered is too good for that.

By Eric English
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