Factory Racer! 1966 Ford Custom R-Code 427

I remember a time when people who bought Ford Custom or Chevrolet Biscayne two-door sedans were usually of the “get off of my lawn” persona. And they were generally individuals that were, how should I say it, financially conservative. Every now and again though, you would encounter such a car, not give it a second look until you realized that the owner making ingress seemed a lot younger than the typical demographic, and once the car was fired up, it was “Katy bar the door” time. And that’s exactly what Matt R has found for us to review today, a 1966 “R- Code” Ford Custom. It is located in Shaker Heights, Ohio and is available, here on craigslist for $99,500.

Ford had an impressive line-up of models for ’66. The LTD occupied the crow’s nest and then things trended downwards with the Galaxie 500/XL500/Galaxie 500-7 Liter, Custom 500, and the lowly Custom, positioned at the bottom. Models like the XL500 got all of the sportiness glory, and frequently the power too, especially in the form of the Galaxie 500 7-Liter. But cars like the dowdy Custom could be optioned with some real hubba-hubba under the hood and they became the darlings of the drag strip.

According to the seller, this Custom had some help becoming reality courtesy of connections the original owners had at Ford. It is claimed that this Custom is Ford’s last full-size factory race car and it was campaigned in NHRA Stock Eliminator class through 1967. Built with an R-Code 425 HP, 427 “medium-riser”, FE engine, it underwent factory modifications at the Atlanta assembly plant with famed Ford racing outfit Holman-Moody assisting. Modifications included:

  • Teardrop fiberglass hood
  • Thunderbolt Ram Air induction
  • Dual point ignition
  • Cast iron headers
  • Full exhaust system
  • Battery relocation to trunk
  • 4:56 ratio Detroit Locker rear differential with a nodular rear center section
  • 31 spline axles
  • Clock, radio, heater, and left side mirror deletes

So, how’s it run? Probably with tremendous vigor but the seller doesn’t elaborate. It’s racing days are long over and it’s probably too valuable a specimen to consider vintage racing. Still, it would be interesting to know what a blast down the quarter-mile is like. There is a bit more about this special Ford here at the Galaxie 427 Registry as well as extensive documentation included with the sale.

The seller states that this Custom experienced a frame-off restoration in 2008, as well as mechanical refurbishment, and it has only been driven 300 miles since. Its place of domicile has been dry, climate-controlled storage; it looks like it! During the restoration, this Custom was resprayed in its original Wimbledon White and the exterior is just perfect. My understanding is that drag racers always preferred this two-door sedan body-style due to its rigidity, less twist on hard launches. But that said, this Custom’s lines flow surprisingly well for a two-door sedan, a body style designed to plug an entry-level point. Domestic manufacturers really had the tiger by the tail in ’66 in terms of styling – all excelled!

The interior is about what you would expect, it’s taxicab approved without the typical 225K miles of taxi dreck. It’s a drag racers delight with its simple bench seat, rubber mat, deleted radio/heater, and the requisite stalk for stirring the Toploader, four-speed manual transmission. While a sterile environment, it is truly as new, clean, bright, and original a passenger space as you will encounter.

So now, as usual, I have to ask the ever-present question. Suppose you have almost 100 large just sitting around and you’re looking to do something with it, would you make a move on this Ford? And if you did, what would you do with it?

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Comments

  1. gaspumpchas

    Stunning. Hefty price tag but if you have the coin, you probably wont find a nicer on, would love to rip thru the gears once. Much attention to detail by the looks of it. Good luck and stay safe.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 23
  2. Srt8

    Odd that such a rare ride is on CL for sale. I wasn’t even sure if it was still a thing.
    Nice car though

    Like 10
    • Tman

      Yes. Especially dealing with the scammers who call you as soon as you post the add. At least you can block those heartless wicked ” I will send you a check and pick it up in a week mail me the title” nasty jerks. Can’t imagine how many fall for that. My daughter was one.

      Like 3
  3. i8afish

    Hopefully Ford or another museum will pick this up and display it. It’s too rare to drive and it would have to be modified slightly to make it street legal. That’s not a realistic option, maybe the new owner will share it with Hemmings Muscle Machines. Great find!

    Like 9
    • Steve R

      What makes you think it isn’t street legal? They were street legal when manufactured, it was the end user that modified them to the point where they weren’t.

      Steve R

      Like 19
    • William

      Street legal but very street friendly. That is my take on her.

      Like 5
      • William

        Oops! NOT very street friendly! They really need an edit feature on this site! I remember watching these race at the drag strips when new, they made a nice sound.

        Like 9
  4. Poncho

    If you register and license it in FLA you can drive it on the road.

    Like 7
  5. Will Fox

    This car has been for sale so long, most don’t even see it anymore in the ads. I’ve seen it on one site for at least 3-4 years now.

    Like 12
  6. Kenneth Carney

    Now you’re talking Pancho! Sure, it is a
    rare car, but it needs to be driven too.
    I had a Ford Thunderbolt for a short time and did make it roadable by changing the rear gearing to 3.90:1(I think) and putting an exhaust system on
    it. Yeah, the original 427 was long gone
    but the previous owner dropped in a
    potent 289 to replace it. It didn’t have as much oomph but it sounded great
    going down the street. Wound up selling it to a family friend who restored
    the car to factory specs and raced it at
    the drag strip in Assumption, Illinois til
    he bought my hopped up ’61 Plymouth
    Valiant equipped with a 392 cube hemi
    that made 750 HP on pump gas. Ah, the
    good ol’ days when a motor head could
    build an outrageous ride for a few grand. God I miss those days.

    Like 25
  7. sir_mike

    Beautiful R code.It will take that special Ford lover to purchase her…but at a slightly lower price I’d say.

    Like 2
  8. Morley Member

    This is mine a 1965 version. I would love to ad this 67 to my stable. 2 door post – no options max power and a 4 speed, the only way to collect

    Like 35
    • LandYacht

      Morley that is absolutely stunning 65 one of my top three favorite cars of all time but I always remember when I see one of these back in the early 80s 81 or 82 I test drove one guy was selling at alittle used car lot, $250 he wanted for it, no I didn’t have the big motor It had the straight six in it, dreaming of a big block swap,well I asked my dad if we can buy it and my dad said no. my dad’s coworker one of his best friends bought it and a week later got killed on I 84 it hydroplaned into concrete pole.

      Like 4
      • Cattoo Member

        Lucky for you your old man decided no that day. Maybe he saw something wasn’t right about the tires or there was off wear showing. This story may otherwise have never been told.

        Like 2
  9. jwzg

    Craigslist…all you need to know about this deal.

    Like 3
  10. JCA

    Beautiful museum piece. I’d like to look at it but own it for that price.

    Like 2
  11. Joe Haska

    A $100,000 dollar car on CL ,are you kidding me maybe, it has been for sale along time and the seller thought,” What the Heck”, I will flip it on CL ,just like everybody else does.

  12. Gramercy Rampone

    I’ve got a ’65 Ranch Wagon…LOVE it. So many great design touches, both aesthetic and practical. The Ford design studio was really on their game in the mid-60’s!

    P.S. Excellent write-up.

    Like 1
  13. Lynn Member

    66 biscayne 427 would be a good race

    Like 1
    • 70kingswood

      an L/88-427 in a 66 Biscayne would be a worthy advisary and a fun grudge race! Ill take the Chevy! but both would be cool rides!

      Like 2
      • Chris M.

        A ’65 A990 Savoy to take the winner.

        Like 1
  14. jeff51 Member

    Check the ad. They already knocked off 20G’s.

  15. Scott

    Price drop? Shows $79,500 now.

    Like 2
  16. C5 Corvette

    Very nice. 100K…..WOW! Always loved the 66 Galaxie. I bought my 66 Galaxie Convertible when I returned from VN in 1968. Low miles and only 1995.00 from the Ford Dealer. It had a 390 cu. in motor, was bright red with a white top. A year later it became our Honeymoon car and a few months later I traded it in on a 442. Still got 1600.00 on the trade!

    Like 2
  17. DON

    Beautiful car – the closest I came riding in one was my dads maroon 66 Custom …except it was a 4 door sedan with a six cylinder !

    Like 1
  18. JEFF S.

    There are just too many nice cars for way less money that I will spend my money on than this overpriced Ford. A nice Mach 1 Mustang for $30K to
    $40K comes to mind. That I can drive it anytime I want to impress.

  19. chrlsful

    liked the early 60s when I saw the muscle begin (well, some 2, 3 decades earlier too). But the nice straight lines B4 the humps over the wheels (mid/late 60s). This was one I watched starting in ’60/4 @ 2nd gen. A larger car (than I sought) but still q u i t e interesting…

  20. Steve S

    Ok, let the bashing begin. If I had the coin to buy this, I would treat it as intended. It would live out its time with me taking it to events like FAST.(factory appearing stock tire).I would take the high dollar driveline and set it aside. Build a 500+ cubic inch stroker, pro shifted top
    loader, etc. Remember, factory appearing. It would be time to pick on the B body Mopars!

    Like 1
    • Chris M.

      Lol Now that’s a great idea. Good luck with those 500″ Hemis!

      Like 1
    • Steve R

      Most of the cars running that class start with base model cars factory equipped with small V8’s or 6 cylinders. There is no reason to start with an expensive original when the rules don’t make it a requirement. They only require the parts be “correct” for the year make and model.

      Steve R

      Like 4
  21. Troy s

    The best picture of it is from back then, being pulled by the tow car. Complete with girly decal on the side and really, if you look at it, just a big white Ford with white wheels and a handful of decals. The Holman/Moody connection alone makes it very interesting. As they say, Fearsome Ford!
    Museum piece, unfortunately.

  22. Phlathead Phil

    I had a ‘67 in copper with the 390. It was my fishing car.

    You’d pop open the trunk and a salmon would jump out!

  23. ADM

    Growing up, we had neighbors and friends, who bought low end cars. One had a ’69 Ford Custom with a “three-on-the-tree,” and the 240 six. He owned one of the most expensive homes in town. The other had a wife who drove a ’63 flat head, automatic Rambler American, and he drove a ’68 slant six Belvedere, again, with a three speed column shift. He wound up being a co-founder of Loctite Corporation. Go figure.

    Like 2
  24. Errol Glenn Glenn Dickson

    Don’t forget Plymouth Fury 1’s. I had a 66 Plymouth Fury 1 in a 2 door sedan that had a 440 – 4 bbl. Alas mine had the 3 spd auto but it was a fast car with rubber floor mats. no radio, no PS and no PB’s in mine.

    Like 1
  25. Patrick Farmer

    Why does it not have staggered shocks???

  26. Morley Member

    That was only a problem with the leaf spring pony cars Ford recommended traction bars on the leaf spring cars and Air Lift air bags in the coil spring cars. My 65 has the Air Lift coil springs and it launches hard and quick.

  27. Roger

    To Jim O’Donnell, head’s up it’s “7-Litre”, not 7 Liter. Also, while indeed you could get a bare bones ’66 Custom for a lot cheaper than a 1966 7-Litre Galaxie, by the time you optioned that R-code 427 for $1000 and the Toploader 4-speed for a few hundred more, they cost almost the same. Didn’t matter to racers, they’d rather opt for the lighter Custom. But sometimes folks today think an R-code Custom was a lot cheaper when it wasn’t.

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