Black Beauty: 1963 Ford 300 R-Code 427

In 1963, most people bought the Ford 300 because they didn’t want anything fancy or didn’t have the budget to get a Galaxie 500. However, a limited number of them – perhaps 50 – were assembled as factory-built race cars, with a 427 cubic inch V-8 that was capable of nearly one horsepower per cube. And they came with a 4-speed manual transmission. This is one of those cars and it has some interesting history to go with it, along with at least one appearance in a muscle car trade magazine. Gerradstown, West Virginia is where this car calls home and its available here on craigslist for $80,000. Thank you, Anthony M, for digging this one up for us!

The Ford 300 was Dearborn’s version of the Chevy Biscayne and Plymouth Savoy, a no-frills full-size car that was popular for fleet purchases, such as police departments (“Nip it in the bud,” Barney!). They came with basic cloth and vinyl upholstery and rubber floor coverings. Yet, under the skin, the 300 was a Galaxie 500 and, as such, could be ordered with powerplants both large and small. In the case of 50 such cars, the R-Code 427 V-8 could be had that put out 425 hp. This particular one was featured in 2011 in a magazine story about three cousins that owned three Fords that were all black, all post cars, all with big motors, and all in immaculate condition. The other two cars were a 1955 Ford Tudor and a 1957 Fairlane. For that story, you can check out the article in Mustangs and Fords online.

We don’t know if the seller is one of those three cousins since nearly 10 years have passed since that story was written. The seller takes the easy way out with his listing saying there is “too much to list.” Really? You provide just a few pictures and ask for big money and you don’t brag about what you have? Perhaps a relative is selling the car and is just looking to make it go away. Which doesn’t really do the car or the potential buyer justice.

Since the seller doesn’t tell us much, we have to go by what was in the magazine. The owner of the car in the feature said he was taken by a Ford 300 Q-Code car that he tried to buy and couldn’t talk the seller out of. After some 30 years of looking, he found this ’63 R-Code and bought it, taking another six years to bring it up to speed. He tells the magazine the car was one of nine built, so perhaps that refers to the paint/interior combination as 50 in total are said to have been assembled.

Besides a lot of horsepower, the 427 is said to put out 480 lbs.-ft. of torque. The hungry engine is fed by 2X4-barrel carburetors on a low-rise intake manifold. The engine was largely original at the time, as was the Borg Warner T-10 4-speed with a Hurst shifter added later. The camshaft was upgraded and the carbs rebuilt. We assume all this stuff is still in place, but we don’t know. The interior of the car was redone in correct light gold colors sometime before the article was written and a gauge package was added to the dash. The seller says the odometer reading today is 3,500 miles, so we assume that’s from when the car was restored a decade or more ago.

What’s a car like this worth? Probably exactly what somebody is willing to pay for it. A ’63 Galaxie 500 with the R-Code was sold online recently for close to $90,000. So, given the rarity of the 50 Ford 300’s built the way this one was, the seller’s asking price doesn’t sound out of line with the current market for these kinds of cars.


  1. alphasud Member

    Russ, I agree this car is worth it’s asking price. This thing must be a beast of a car to drive. Best to steer with the throttle and use lots of engine braking as tires and brakes came in short supply. The fact that nobody crashed it is amazing!

    Like 26
  2. Howard A Member

    Pretty cool, this was about as bare bones as you could get. These were advertised at 425 hp, but were really closer to 500, like that 440 six pack Challenger. This is all for show, with that kind of motor in a car like this, it will never hook up, and be like driving on ice. I told of the neighbors brother that had a ’64 R code, even though I was just a kid, I never forgot that sound. Is it worth $80g’s? If someone wants $44g’s for a stinkin’ Toyota 4 Runner, it makes this a super deal,,,

    Like 37
  3. Dave Rhodes

    where is the video ?????????????

    Like 2
  4. Keith

    Wow not a Ford lover but this one checks off the boxes for rarity. Would look good sitting next to my Black L-72 69 Biscayne.

    Like 17
    • Dave H

      A friend had a very rare 61 or 2 Biscayne he bought new. 2 dr post with a 409/425 4 speed. Bench seat. He sold it 25 years ago for $60K . Very rare car. What was it?

      Like 1
    • Camaro guy

      That would be a good run pretty even mach up

  5. robinlarry

    I’d want to be sure this one is authentic before dropping $80k on it.

    Like 7
  6. Troy s

    A case where improved tires, brakes would make a difference in driving it. Modern mufflers too, I suppose. Cool Holman-Moody license plate in front. Lot of engine and a rock solid top loader four speed for at least an extra thousand dollars back then, in a stripped down full size Ford. I think it’s a great car now but back then as a new car buyer…geesh, you guys tell me. Would you pay that much for a low line 300 Ford?

    Like 4
  7. Comet

    Look down the side of that car! You can’t cheat with black paint and get away with it. STUNNING!!!

    Like 15

    The cool factor for these old full size factory race cars is off the charts, but without any provenance for this one, I can’t even see half the asking price.

    Like 3
  9. Gordo

    R-code, Q-code, how many codes were there and what do they mean?

    Like 7
    • Greg W

      R and Q are the engine codes in the VIN. Q is a 410 hp single 4 bbl 427 and R is the dual quad 425 hp 427.

      Like 7
  10. Joe Haska

    It is 80 grand because its worth it. In 1961 Ford Motor Co sent a car to Colo for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, it had a big block and 4 speed, plus some added little speed secrets. Curtis Turner drove the car for the race. After that it was sent to a Denver Ford dealer ,that took the 4 speed out and I assume gave it back to Ford as they were not available in 61. They put a 3 speed in it and sold it off the lot. I college buddy of mine bought it, I don’t know what he paid for it, but it had to be cheap ,we were in school and had no money. We would drive it to the drags on the weekend, pop the hub caps off and win the class. It passed through our group of gear heads, for several years, but when I returned from Vietnam it had gone missing. All I remember was, I got to drive it and I thought it was the fastest car, I had ever been in up to that time.

    Like 15
  11. Dave Mathers

    Red line @ 4700? Don Henderson, a TOP Canadian Ford guy, got 9,500 out of his 67 Fairlane 427/425. But he used Chrysler bearings. SWEET piece for sure.

    Like 1
    • Rick

      I agree 4700 redline is not correct. That baby had a solid lifter camshaft from the factory, although It states the camshaft was upgraded which I would not understand why ?, but surely wouldn’t redline at 4700rpm !

      Like 4
    • Dennis Zozula

      We raced an R code Comet. In a chat with a competitor with the 427 we discussed diff ratios. We were around 4:76 and he was 5:30. I saw that he shifted at the same distance points that we did and as we shifted at 7200 I had to know his. Memory fails but it was over 9000, I recall 9500. He confessed that he cracked a lot of pistons. It was likely Mr. Henderson on a tour.

  12. AW

    Here’s a video about a 4-door (!) version of the same car with the same drivetrain. Probably even more rare than the 2-door “sedan” version.

    Like 3
    • Chuck

      Thanks for the vid AW. Talk about a sleeper. I remember these monsters roaming the streets back in the 60’s. They surprised many a street racer back in the day and still capable of jaws drop today. There is nothing like gobs of torque to grab your attention.

      Like 2
  13. pwtiger

    Fords had an 11 digit VIN, Read the fifth character, which identifies the engine type in the Ford vehicle. Two is 6-200 low compression, 3 is 8-289 low compression, 4 is 6-170 low compression, 5 is 6-240 low compression, 9 is 8-390 low compression, A is 8-289 premium, B is 6-240 police and C is 8-289. The letter D is 8-289 regular, E is 6-240 taxi, F is 8-260, K is 8-289 high performance, L is 8-427 overhead cam, M is 8-427 overhead cam, P is 8-390 interceptor, R is 8-427 high performance, T is 6-200, U is 6-170, V is 6-240, X is 8-352 and Z is 8-39

    Like 11
    • Phlathead Phil 🥸

      …and now I know my a,b,z’s!”

      Like 1
  14. chrlsful

    as I remember I posted here several times abt these cars and others of similar ilk. All pre muscle, more to them than the bulge-mobiles of the 50s, all early ’60s with straight lines and mean motors. ’63 Rivera, Toranado was a lill late @ 1965, imagine the look on Opie Taylor’s face (1960) as Andy hit the gas chasin the bad guys in his ford cop car (the above), bouncin off the celling pre-seat belt era…
    “The Greatest Gen” now in their 40s so a lill money’n maturity…but ur right…7 inch 14 tires, bias-ply/pre radial (till ’65 & no steel belts till ’72/3)? Not for me.

    Like 1
  15. Michael N

    When I was a kid we had an insurance guy who would come by and collect life insurance premiums.He drove one of these with 406 emblems,I thought it was a cool car.

    Like 5
    • Greg W

      Early 63 Ford used a 405 hp tripower 406 cube FE big block. Mid year they brought out the 425 hp dual quad 427.

      Like 2
      • Camaro guy

        Yeah and the fast back roof at the same time but some of the fast backs still had left over 406’s in them had a friend that had one very few of those around around even back then

      • Dave

        The Fastback roof was a 63 1/2 model year. I bought one to remove the 428 CJ motor in it and put it back in the original 68 Shelby. I sold the 427 Side oiler (Was in the Shelby)and the body to a guy that made a R code tribute.

  16. Jost

    Amazing car, and as Howard said…the sound. Just start one up and let it idle ..makes my day.

    Like 4
    • Patrick Farmer

      I bet it was camming it’s butt off.

  17. Keith Scott

    Authentic or not it is just what I am looking for. Shame I don,t have the cash right at this moment

  18. LandYacht

    Ok, I take back that 75K on that vinyl topped 455SD Trans Am, and add 5 more to get this. This car is stunning, I love the dual exhaust just poking out from the bumper. Maybe upgrade to 4 wheel disc brakes and have fun.

    Like 1
  19. bull

    My first car was a Rangoon Red 1963 Ford Galaxie XL 500 Convertible “R” Code 427 with 2 4’s 4 Speed that my dad bought new for my mother in August of 1963. The car was a year end leftover at McCullum Ford in Spokane Washington where we lived at the time. Ya my Mom “Rowed the Boat” with that 4 speed! My mother drove me to kindergarten, grade school, middle school, Jr high school to first year and half of high school in that car. That’s when I got the car in 1974 when I turned 16 and started to “Legally” drive. At that time the car was only worth what it weighed as the car only got 7 MPG on Premium gas no matter how hard or easy you drove it. Big Problem as the Arab Embargo DOUBLED the price of gas from $0.30/gallon to $0.060/gallon in 1973-1974! I drove the car through high school and all 4 years of college at Vanderbilt University graduating in 1981. By 1981 the collector car market had recognized the car a little bit for what it was and I sold the car for the then astonishing sum $10K in the fall of 1981! The car was still in superb original condition as that car made me a “Car Guy”. What a great graduation present $10K for a broke just graduated college student!
    The car was always garaged its whole life as I lived at home during college and commuted 15 miles back and forth to college everyday. Should I have kept the car? Maybe however getting $10K for that car in 1981 was “Cuttin A Fat Hog” and it had to go! Great memories from a Galaxie long ago!

    Like 10
  20. Stuart Richter

    Wouldn’t this 1963 precede the 1964 GTO? Unless the 300 was equal in size to the Galaxy 500.

    Like 1
    • Charles Sawka

      Huge compared to a GTO

      • Alan Brase

        Not a whole lot heavier, tho. I’d guess 400 lb.
        Ford made a few lightweight 63’s fiberglass hood and fenders, aluminum bumper. Perhaps other stuff. My friend had one. Put a 289 in it. Still was very quick. My 17 year old self had to find out!
        The really light cars were the no frills, Falcon V8’s and the Chevy Novas.

        Like 1
      • Stuart Richter

        I was thinking of a later, downsized model like the Thunderbolt. My mistake.

  21. Alan Brase

    I don’t think Ford top loader 4 speeds had been introduced by 1963. A Ford specced Borg Warner T-10 was quite different from a Chevy/ GM one. It had nickel gears and a little wider ratio spread, maybe 2.43 or 2.54 first gear?
    B-W’s were nice shifters, but this is gonna be a weak link behind that monster.
    A good shop might be able to put Super T-10 insides into it 1963 case.

    Like 1
    • Rex Schaefer

      A 2.36 first gear for the 406 and 427 Galaxies! I had a ’62 406 G-code Galaxy in high school! Cinnamon exterior with matching color bench seat with white convertible top! Learned to drive a stick in that car! Had 3.50 gears with equa-lok rear end! Too many 2nd and 3rd gear burnouts smoked those clutches in the equa-lok! Sure loved the sound though of those 3 2brl Holleys blow’n through those glass packs!

      Like 1
    • Patrick Farmer

      The introduction year of the Ford Top Loader was 1963. It replaced the Borg-Warner T-10. It was for the 1964 model year. So, it is possible that it found it’s way into a special car like this/

      Like 2
    • TJJR

      A good article in HRM November 1976 ‘A shift in Time” Good info on T-10 & super T 10’s.

      Like 1
  22. Patrick Farmer

    Amazing vehicle. Cleaner than a rattlesnake that just shed it’s skin. Meaner than a rattlesnake that just shed it’s skin. I love the round tail lights. Super functional look. I can see an FBI agent or the men in black driving this car.

    It would be fun to pull up on some Ricky Racer in his Ricky Racer Rice Burning Race Car with to many spoilers on the front and back. He is just sitting there at the stop light, thinking he is a genuine ball of fire in his car and this black car pulls up next to him. He has been listening to his cars megaphone exhaust system for too long. Ricky thinks the old black car sound is glasspacks on a 302, so he tell his girlfriend setting next to him that he going to open a can of whup-ass on this old junker. The light turns green and the black Ford leaps forward like it’s been hit from behind by a cement mixer traveling at 100 mph. There is this fog, a cloud billowing out and around from the old missile. Ricky thinks it is an oil leak from a busted something. By the time his brain has formulated this the old can of poop is five or six car lengths ahead of him and is rapidly growing smaller. His brain locks up. His mind can’t understand whats happening. He knows his car is moving forward as fast as it can go, but what is unfolding in front of him cannot be possible. Ricky thinks he has been drugged, that he is in some sort of science fiction movie. He thinks this is what it feels like to see a UFO. The fog diminishes and reveals the old Ford is waiting for him at the next light. Ricky starts slowing down and it seems like it taking forever to reach the light. When he finally arrive at the next stop light, Ricky looks over at the black car with his mouth open, like he is trying to catch flies. Suddenly his car door open and his good looking long legged girlfriend exits his car and walks around the front of the trembling Ford. She rubs her finger along the front of the cars hood. A car that has enough potential energy to put a pounds of bacon on the moon. She smiles at Ricky, as she settles in and gives him a little bye-bye wave as the ancient Ford roars away. Ricky Racer sitting there with his mouth open swallows a fly which brings him back to reality.

    Like 3
  23. Duke

    Get rid of the non period tach-looks like ass and out of place

  24. John Gibbons

    Actually Andy and Barney drove the upscale Galaxie in ‘62 and ‘63. All the other years they drove Fairlanes or Customs.

  25. SirRaoulDuke

    You don’t know if the seller is one of the three cousins? C’mon Barn Finds, a couple clicks on the ad and you could have found out this car indeed is being sold by Delane Foster, the same guy in the linked article.

    Like 1
  26. Gordo

    Right hand drive Galaxie 500

  27. Patrick Farmer

    I don’t know. 80K would build you one hell of a swimming pool.

  28. Anthony M.

    As the guy who submitted it, it’s been fun reading the comments. To those commenting on the “sound” — when I submitted it to BF, that’s the bulk of what I talked about.

    I’ve seen it in person a couple times at local shows and bar none, there hasn’t been a car around (though I’m sure there are many that exist) that had such an intimidating sound just sitting there at idle. You could almost hear it chugging gas and just sitting there all wrapped in black was simply menacing.

    And better still, the owner driving away probably doing no more than 5 mph, with that grin on his face that just oozes, “Yeah, there’s no need to do anything more because both it and I know what it can do.”

    A stunning vehicle.

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