In February 1963 a legend was born, the popular 1963 Ford Galaxie was re-designed with new sheet metal and a rather interesting engine. The venerable and legendary 427. That's right, Four Hundred Twenty Seven cubic inches of raw power!! The new FE big block was rated at 425 horsepower and had 480 foot pounds of torque! And two huge four barrel carbs.
Drag racing fraternities and NASCAR boys were drawn to it like a bear to honey and so was a less talked about group of individuals.
This group didn't really look for their names in record books and they didn't place decals on their fenders either. These boys were just in the transportation business. Point A to point B AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. And no, they weren't part of the pony express, and no they did not work for the Post Office. They get the slowest vehicles they can find. Thus "snail" mail.
One of the features that these boys liked about the 1963 Ford Galaxie was the huge trunk. Lots of cubic feet allowed for lots of room for their "product". Large loads of jugs and bottles filled with this product from Tennessee's illegal stills hidden deep in the woods.
It was ordered with a 3:50 rear gear for top speed. It had 9 leaf overload springs added and truck shock absorbers to the rear. A set of 15” x 7” mid-50’s Mercury rims were fitted with the widest tires available in 1963.
This particular 1963 Ford Galaxie two door sedan (post) was built in February 1963 on the 20th day of that month in the Ford Atlanta factory. It then went from the showroom to a life of crime. Big crime in the eyes of the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Treasury boys.
The dreaded Revenuers. Be it rum or whisky that the Big 1963 Ford Galaxie hauled down the roads in the deep of night, the Feds were not happy. Of course you can only imagine why.
Moonshine production was illegal because the government wasn't getting to tax it! It was embarrassing to the Feds that they couldn't catch this denizen of the night, big maroon Ford Sedan that howled down the winding Tennessee back roads. They were having problems catching up to it when all eight barrels of induction were stomped open. Sad huh?
And since the "rum runners" didn't announce their plans in the local trader, and since they would pull those 180's at the first thought of a roadblock, the ol' revenuers never stood a chance of catching it.
Until January 1964. Stroke of bad luck, the rum runners got boxed in on a narrow, steep mountain road. A Fed in the front, a Fed in the rear. (I guess you could call it a real pain in the rear!) Poor rum runners were fed up...so to say.
Nowhere to go but over the edge.
Oh well, the good ol' boy decided it would be better to go to the pen then wreck a nice 63 R code. Noooo....I think other things were on his mind. After all he hadn't seen Hooper. It wasn't out yet!
So, he went for a stay at the Fed Hilton for a few years and the Galaxie went to a government warehouse for 16 years. It probably spent more time in storage than the runner did in the Fed Hilton.
Then in early 1980 the US Government decided to auction off decades worth of seized property.
Since the person who won the auction, the car has been in the possession of a number of folks, ending up in the hands of Allan Burnham for the last 11 years. Allan brought the Rum Runner to a Ford Galaxie Club of America car show in Branson Missouri from Massachusetts in 1998. It was there that the director of the club first saw it and began to dream of owning this very rare automobile. This 1963 Ford Galaxie 427 is of the nine (1 of 9) that are known to still exist of the ninety-seven 427 Galaxie two door sedans that were produced in 1963. Finally, six years later, Mark Reynolds had the chance to get the car out of storage after all the years it has been in it. Never tagged or driven since 1964.
Hauling this legendary piece of automotive history all the way back to Harrison, Arkansas from Massachusetts to let it be shown and appreciated.
So if you see a dark maroon big Galaxie howling by your door in the middle of the night, no….it isn’t running rum. She's just out for a stroll.
This article was made possible by Mark Reynolds, the Director and former President of The Ford Galaxie Club of America. Reynolds’ hard work and determination in the preservation of the old car hobby has been immaculate.
This article was reprinted with permission.