Eric and Deborah Bennett’s 427-Powered ’63 Ford Galaxie 500XL
There’s an old saying about not knowing what you have until it’s gone, or maybe it’s from an old country song. In the case of Eric and Deborah Bennett’s ’63 Galaxie 500XL convertible, that maxim would have to change to “you don’t know what you have until you restore it.”
It was Deborah’s Dad, Jose, that spotted a pair of ’63 500XL convertibles in a storage barn back in 1999. He bought them both and sold the automatic car to his brother and kept the four-speed for himself, which also happened to be fitted with a dual-quad-fed 427c.i. FE engine under the hood. He got the big Ford running and enjoyed taking his grandkids out for cruises with the top down whenever they came into town for a visit.
Since the grandkids enjoyed the car so much, Jose decided to pass it along to them and the car was placed in storage. Ten years passed until Eric and Deborah decided it was time to get the Galaxie back on the road for the family to enjoy so they enlisted the talents of Jeff Fraser at Black Crow Rod & Restoration in Mooresville, North Carolina, for the job. Jeff was amazed at the overall originality of the car and called the Bennetts to explain just how rare the R-code 427 option was for a ’63 Galaxie, especially in a convertible!
How rare, you ask? There were only 411 convertible Galaxies produced in ’63 powered by the new 427 engine, but that number includes a slightly tamer Q-code option along with the romping R-code. The 427 was designed to battle with the Pontiac 421, 409 Chevy and Chrysler’s 413 on the track (and street), with the R-code being the king. The engine was topped with a pair of Holley carbs along with a solid-lifter valvetrain to huff out 425 gross horsepower. With this new bit of knowledge, the Bennetts decided the car was worthy of a meticulous restoration lead by Jeff and the team at Black Crow.
The car was stripped to the frame with every part being cataloged and prepared for a factory-like reassembly. The factory Light Rose interior coordinates perfectly with the Heritage Burgundy exterior, together providing a bit of a sleeper façade. But once the 427 comes to life, all bets are off!
With the restoration complete, the plans for the Galaxie 500XL may have changed a little, but the car is ready for the entire Bennett family to enjoy for generations to come.
Photos by Todd Ryden