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.
Who: Bill Cotter
What: '62 Ford Galaxie
Where: Seattle, WA
Engine: Builder Mike Jackson used an original Cammer block, which can be identified by oil drain holes at the back of the block deck-a detail absent on other cross-bolted 427 side oilers. The bore on this one is unknown, but it's likely 0.015 to 0.030 over a standard 427's 4.23 inches. Whatever the number, we do know the internals consist of Arias pistons, Crower rods, and a 4.00-inch billet crank that would yield just north of 450 cubes.
Heads: One word comes to mind when considering 427 SOHC heads: awesome. Tom Cantrell explains that most were iron, such as the ones on this car, however, a few sets of aluminum jobs were built by Ford as well. Featuring fully hemispherical chambers, Cammer heads were left- and right-side specific and used a 2.22/1.87 valve package. In this case, the heads were prepped by Performance Machine in SoCal, while Crane ground some billet cam blanks that Mike provided featuring 0.728-inch lift and 250 degrees at 0.050. Cammers use a traditional-style timing gear and chain set with a stub shaft in place of the normal cam. The stub mounts a secondary gear that spins the overhead cams via a separate 6-foot timing chain.
Induction: We called the Hogan's sheetmetal intake a one-off in the main text, which is slightly incorrect. Tom tells us Mike actually had Hogan's work up two identical SOHC intakes according to his design and ended up selling the second unit. This one mounts a pair of Holley Dominators, while the custom oval air cleaner is Mike's own work.
Exhaust: Custom headers are required when dealing with an engine that was never factory installed in a vehicle; the SOHC was over the counter only. We know Mike had someone in the SoCal area bend up the 2 1/4-inch primary pipes but unfortunately don't know the name. The remainder of the system consists of 3-inch tubing with a crossover and Flowmaster muffs.
Transmission: While few things could be cooler than a shift-for-yourself Cammer, you can't knock a guy for staying with an automatic in an original auto trans car. Long gone is the original Cruise-O-Matic; in its place is a stout C6 with a high-stall converter.
Rearend: What would you expect besides a Ford 9-inch? This one has 3.50 gears, a Traction-Lok differential, and 31-spline axles.
Suspension: It's stock rebuilt with Traction Masters traction bars.
Brakes: The brakes were updated by an earlier owner with mid-'60s Ford four-piston front discs, but Bill wisely had a dual-reservoir master cylinder and adjustable prop valve added to the manual system. Paired with the Galaxie's large factory rear drums, it seems to work well.
Wheels/Tires: The wheels are American Torq-Thrusts shod with BFGoodrich Radial TAs. They measure 15x7 in the front with 215/70R15 tires and 15x8.5 in the rear with 275/60R15s.
Body/Interior: John Rotella at lovefords.org tells us the factory Peacock Blue was a late entry to the '62 color palette and is therefore quite unusual. We don't know whom to credit for the quality respray, but it's a beauty, with evidence of plenty of N.O.S. brightwork as well. John also explained how the XL package seen here was another mid-'62 intro to the Galaxie lineup consisting of bucket seats, console, interior courtesy lights, and appropriate badging. Fiberglass teardrop hoods debuted on '64 lightweights due to 427 High Riser induction, but one looks right here as well.