390/4-Speed! 1964 Ford Custom 500

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The Ford Custom was primarily a no-frills economy car during most of its lifespan, appealing to budget-minded customers and also popular in the fleet field. A slightly better-trimmed version called the Custom 500 could be had in ’64, and while still a far cry from a luxury automobile it did offer better seating and a few additional convenience items.  This 1964 Ford Custom 500 here on eBay suffered a major blow in 2016, but it’s really made a strong comeback and there’s a noteworthy upgrade under the hood if you’re looking for some high performance.  The Ford is located in Flat Rock, Michigan, with bidding having reached $10,100 so far, but that’s not enough to drive it home as the reserve has not yet been reached.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first, but stay tuned for the good news, as there’s plenty to share.  Even though it’s a long way from there now, the 500 spent most of its prior life in Louisiana, but in 2016 it got ravaged by a flood and the seller purchased the car as just a rolling body.  The previous owner had already begun the healing process, with services such as pressure washing and interior refreshing already completed.  Underneath the hood, the engine had also been removed, and that’s where things start to get interesting, but more on that in a moment.  What attracted the current owner to this car was how solid the body appeared, with the areas known to be rust-prone in these cars stated to be free of corrosion.  Most of the paint is original, and although there have been a few touch-ups and some weathered areas, the finish is still looking quite decent overall.

Gone is the original 289 the car came equipped with, and instead, you’ll find a 390 filling up the engine bay.  Ford used different catch monikers for some of their engines through the years, and in this case, it’s a 1962 Thunderbird Special, rebuilt to stock specs inside.  It’s got a Blue Alloy intake and an Edelbrock carb, plus the original 3-Speed manual transmission is no longer there either.  Shifting duties are now made by a Toploader 4-Speed from a 1965 Galaxie.  The seller says the car runs and drives great, and does OK even on highways with the 3.00 9-inch rear end.

Considering it’s been waterlogged, the interior seems surprisingly good, with the owner’s sensitive nose not detecting any strange odors or moldy smells.  The floors and trunk pan are also said to be solid, with the underside also stated as having no rust holes, although there is a bit of surface rust on the part of the frame we can view.  I’m glad this car got a new lease on life along with some cool performance upgrades, and as long as bidding doesn’t get too out of hand this one may make an affordable weekend cruiser.  What are your thoughts on this Custom 500?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Big C

    As long as that interior is all brand new, plus the wiring? With the new engine and trans, it should be a good car. Hope they checked that 9 inch, too.

    Like 10
    • HCMember

      A no nonsense Ford for sure. Great choice with the Thunderbird 390 and a Galaxie top loader 4 speed transmission. Bet she is alot fun to drive with that combination. Great find.

      Like 13
  2. Maggy

    Cool car.Bet it’s fun to drive. Looks like the owner did a nice job on it.I’d put a 3:90 gear in it if it was mine. Glwts.

    Like 5
  3. C Force

    The engine bay was done very nicely,couldn’t tell it was a 289 originally.these cars are heavy and the 390 was an excellent choice.it’s making at least 315hp or more with about 400 ft lbs of torque.i would change the rear end to a 3.42 or maybe 3.55 gears.

    Like 7
  4. Kenneth Carney

    This thing’s got moonshiner written all
    over it and I like it! I saw some of these in the mountains of Kentucky
    while visiting family there. The one that impressed me most was a dark blue sedan like this one. We were at
    the general store when it rumbled in
    for some high test. My cousin knew
    the owner who was willing to show off his ride any chance he got so when he opened the hood, all I could
    say was wow! That thing had a 425HP 427 with the same top loader
    4 speed this car has. It must’ve been
    unloaded because the rear sat higher
    than the front. My cousin told me later that his friend did indeed run
    moonshine occasionally and that was
    the car he used for that task. He worked for the county road department during the day and ran
    liquor on weekends. That was near
    Morgantown, Kentucky in ’68 and I
    never forgot it. That’s how you made
    a living in the South.

    Like 9
  5. Jerry Bramlett

    What a great eBay ad! I hope the seller gets his price.

    So many of the eBay car auction descriptions are deceitful. This one has the ring of truth to it.

    Like 6
  6. Jim sibis

    Surprised this has a manual choke. 289’s had automatic chokes. The 223 six was the only motor with a manual choke.

    Like 2
    • Timothy Rudzinski, Sr.

      It probably was disconnected for the new motor.

      Like 2
    • HCMember

      If he says the 390 was built back stock a manual choke Edelbrock works fine. I’ve got one on my 65 Mercury and runs great. That Thunderbird 390 engine looks like candy.

      Like 5
  7. Joe Haska

    Seems with the seller being completely honest about the history and salvage title, it might be fairly priced. Yes skeletons in the closet, but I am sure when you are driving it that will not seem that important. The fun factor is going to be fine.

    Like 5
    • Pat P.

      Not salvage, “salvation!”

      Like 4
  8. greg

    Curious as to what he reserver really is. Will watch the bay post. This would be that fun car just to drive, stop for a ice cream, and have lunch at the golf course. I really like what they did and the fact its a driver.

    Like 3
  9. Dan Bogert sr.

    I used to know a Ken Carney and brothers Dan Stephen and John.. Kenneth being the original owner of a rose (/beige (Available color from Ford) with a427 w/2 4bls and a4 speed. Don’t Know if any of them are still alive – I seem to still be here alas w/o my old 64 w/a406 and 4peed. Good Luck and God Bless The Carney Family, Dan Bogert daniel.bogert@gmail.com

    Like 1
  10. FrankDMember

    Cammer engine would be nice.

    Like 1

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