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Ford Muscle Cars of 1963
Fast Backs and Total Performance
During the early 1960s, Ford advertising tagged its products as the “The Lively Ones,” and by
1962, they really were lively performers. The “Total Performance” era began in1963, and Ford
engineering worked hard to live up to the new billing.

After NASCAR banned the removable Starlifter top for use in stock car racing, Ford designers
undertook the task of designing an aerodynamic body style that would truly qualify as a regular
production car in every sense of the word, as applied by the NASCAR rule book. The early 1963
Galaxies featured the same “boxtop” styling and 406ci V-8 engine as used in the 1962 models.
The same aerodynamic problems associated with the 1962 models were, likewise, present on the
new 1963 models. In other words, the competition was running away with the super speedway
victories, with Fords normally finishing back in the pack.
Galaxies featured the same “boxtop” styling and 406ci V-8 engine as used in the 1962 models.
The same aerodynamic problems associated with the 1962 models were, likewise, present on the
new 1963 models. In other words, the competition was running away with the super speedway
victories, with Fords normally finishing back in the pack.

1963 Ford Galaxie with Foxcraft fender skirts 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible
The new fastback roofline gives a totally
different appearance from the earlier
“boxtop” Galaxies. The length is even
further accentuated with the addition of
the very popular Foxcraft fender skirts.
This particular example is a very rare
combination of Wimbledon White and an
aqua interior.
The 1963 Galaxie 500 convertible was one of
the best looking models to emerge from Detroit
that year.
The collective automotive industry was sent spinning in early February 1963, when Ford
introduced its famous “double whammy,” in the form of the 1963 1/2 Galaxie 500 (and XL)
Sportroof and equally famous 427ci incarnation of the FE V-8. The Sportroof models featured a
sloping fastback top design that has become one of the most sought after non-Mustang model
produced in the 1960s. All 1963 Galaxie models featured updated styling on the same basic
body shell used in 1962. The famous round taillights were enlarged slightly and raised higher in
the body. The grille, which was flat in 1962, was slightly concave in 1963, and featured the hood
latch, in the form of the Ford crest, located directly in the center. This unique hood latch, which
caused many uninformed service station attendants to walk away scratching their heads, won the
1963 Popular Mechanics award for the “most accessible hood latch,” an award that was probably
contrived just for the occasion.

All full-size 1963 Fords featured a 119-inch wheelbase, an overall length of 209.9 inches, and
ranged from 3,565 pounds for the Custom 300 two-door sedan with the six-cylinder engine, up to
4,010 pounds for the V-8-powered Country Squire station wagon.

1963 Ford Galaxie 500 2 Door Sedan 1963 Ford
One of the early 1963 high-performance
Galaxie 500s, this car is unique in that it is a
two-door sedan, instead of the more
fashionable two-door hardtop. Keystone
custom wheels produce a very aggressive
appearance when combined with the black
sidewall tires.
From any angle, the 1963 Ford is one of the
best-looking models from the decade. The
big, round taillights tell the world this is, quite
clearly, a Ford.
The base trim level was now called the “300,” and was devoid of any exterior side chrome trim.
The FORD name, in block letters, appeared across the hood and across the trunk lid, and the
FORD 300 designation, in script, appeared behind the front wheel on the sides of the front
fender. Inside trim was kept to a minimum, with rubber floor mats, vinyl upholstered bench seats,
and a horn button instead of a horn ring. New on all models for the year was the crank operated
vent window control.

The intermediate trim level carried the Galaxie nameplate, and featured a single chrome spear
along the body side, front fender top ornaments, and the GALAXIE nameplate, in script, behind
the front wheels on the sides of the front fenders, and in block letters across the deck lid. Inside
trim was slightly more plush than the “300” series, with cloth and vinyl upholstery material for the
seat coverings, and nylon and rayon carpeting was color keyed to the rest of the interior.
The top full-size trim level was the Galaxie 500, which featured a chrome spear running the full
length of the beltline, and a shorter, horizontal spear located approximately 12 inches below the
beltline. Seven vertical “vents” appeared on the rear quarter-panel, just in front of the taillights,
and centered between the two horizontal chrome strips. Galaxie 500s also featured a chrome
fender-top ornament on each front fender, and much more luxurious interiors than the lower two
models, with sewn pleats in the seats. Carpeting was standard in the Galaxie 500 models, and a
Swing-Away steering column was optional, as was an AM/FM radio, the first year for the now-
popular sound system upgrades.
1963 Ford Galaxie 500 Interior
Loaded with every option
available, this magnificent red
Galaxie 500 convertible features
such rarities as the Swing-Away
steering wheel, AM/FM radio, and
air conditioning. Prior to 1965,
Fords ordered with factory air
used an under-dash unit, instead
of vents integrated into the
instrument panel.
As in 1962, the XL versions of the two-door hardtop, the two-door convertible and the new two-
door Sportroof, all featured front bucket seats, rear bench seat with bucket seat styling, and a
center console with floor-mounted shifter and a small package compartment. The doors
continued to utilize a “sportier” upholstery design, which included a two-color safety light, to warn
oncoming motorists that the door was open. Outside, Galaxie 500XL badges replaced the
standard Galaxie 500 ornamentation on the front fenders and in the center of the rear trim panel,
as well as on the instrument panel.
1963 Ford XL Interior 1963 Galaxie 500XL Interior
The 1963 XL interiors were identical to the 1962
models, with slightly revised upholstery patterns
and a new steering wheel hub design. Both
automatics and 4-speeds were shifted from the
The 1963 Galaxie 500XLs featured a
redesigned instrument panel and slightly
revised upholstery patterns on the bucket
seats and interior door panels. Sharp
eyes will also detect a new emblem in the
center of the steering wheel, which
designates “XL,” in place of the Ford
crest, used in 1962 models.
The introduction of the swoopy new fastback models would not have been nearly as spectacular
had it not been for the new engine that was introduced at the same time, the awesome 427.
Available in both single four-barrel form and “dual-quad” “low-riser” versions, the 427 was
designed from the air cleaner to the oil pan up as an all-out competition engine, which just
happened to be available to the general public. With a price tag of more than $500 over the base
260 V-8, and requiring several hundred dollars more in “mandatory options,” very few 427s
found their way onto the street, but those that did were immediately recognizable by the gold
badges on the front fenders, in place of the silver badges used only on 390-equipped models. It
wasn’t long before the competition, both on the track and off, became painfully aware of what
those gold badges represented!

In spite of its many victories on NASCAR tracks, Ford was not enjoying great success at the drag
strip. The big Galaxies were simply too heavy to be really competitive in the top Stock classes. In
an effort to make their presence known, Ford created 11 lightweight Galaxie Club Sedans in
1962. They were more successful than their heavyweight counterparts, but the 406 engine
simply wasn’t on par with the rest of the competition. This situation was to change with the
introduction of the more aerodynamic 1963 1/2 Sportroof models, powered by the 427ci engine.
The new lightweight Galaxies were all-out racecars, never intended to be driven on the street. To
reinforce this intention, Ford affixed a tag to the inside of the glove box door that included the
following disclaimer; “This vehicle has been built specifically as a lightweight competitive car and
includes certain fiberglass and aluminum components. Because of the specialized purpose for
which this car has been built, and in order to achieve maximum weight reduction, normal quality
standards of the Ford Motor Company, in terms of exterior panel fit and surface appearance are
not met on this vehicle. This information is included on this vehicle to assure that all customers
who purchase this car are aware of the deviation from the regular high appearance quality
standards of the Ford Motor Company.”
1963 1/2 Galaxie 
500XL Sportroof two-door hardtop
Ford’s “Ultimate Weapon” in 1963, and
one of the most sought after models
from the 1960s, the 1963 1/2 Galaxie
500XL Sportroof two-door hardtop.
The aerodynamic top design,
combined with the power of the new
427 engine, helped Ford stock car
teams dominate NASCAR racing for
the entire season.
The lightweight Galaxies were still very heavy, at 3,400 pounds, but they won more than their
share of races, competing in the NHRA A/Stock classification.

For all the good things that a 427 was, one thing it wasn’t was a 427! Confused? Dimensionally,
the engine is actually 425 cubic inches, but the Ford advertising types decided if seven liters
(427 cubic inches) was NASCAR’s displacement limit, the new engine would be a 427 and that
was all there was to it!
The 427 earned a reputation as one of the most powerful and reliable performance engines ever
built. The alloy-iron block featured increased reinforcement over previous FE engines, large oil
passages, a forged steel crankshaft, impact extruded pistons, forged steel connecting rods, and
their most recognizable external feature, the “cross bolted” main bearing caps. Both versions of
the 427 were equipped with a solid lifter, high-lift cam, and lightweight valve train components,
which allowed the 427s to operate in the 7,000-rpm range. All were equipped with the beautiful
(and expensive) streamlined cast-iron exhaust manifolds, which had been a trademark of Ford
high-performance engines since the first high-performance 352 of 1960. The 1963 version of
these manifolds, however, were much longer than previously, terminating under the car and
resembling a “header” more than the traditional exhaust manifold.
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This has been a sample page from

Super 60s Fords Super '60s Fords - The Inside Story of the
Most Powerful Fords Ever Built
by John Smith
In the ‘50s, Detroit built cars with style in mind . . . but as the
‘60s arrived, a younger group of car buyers had another
thing in mind: Performance! Ford Motor Company met that
demand with some of the fastest and most powerful cars on
the street. In this book, John Smith covers the entire Ford
performance story in the ‘60s, -- and not just Mustangs and
Cobras, but Galaxies, Torinos, Falcons, Fairlanes, Shelbys,
Mavericks, and every other Ford that got extra horsepower
stuffed under its hood in this fast-moving decade. Models are
covered year by year, from the Supercharged T-birds of
1957 to the last gasp of the muscle car era in 1973, and
everything in between. Performance engines and stats are
listed for each year, and an informative appendix includes
information on deciphering VIN tags and parts codes.
With 200 black and white and more than 100 outstanding
color photos, this book has the images and information that
Ford fans want on their favorite performance models, from
supercharged Y-blocks to Boss 429s.
Click below to view sample
pages from each chapter.
Chap. 1 -1957 The Foundation
Chap. 2 -1958 352 Big Block
Chap. 3 -1959 High Style
Chap. 4 -1960 New Ideas
Chap. 5 -1961 Back to Tradition
Chap. 6 -1962 Legends
Chap. 7 -1963 Fast Backs
Chap. 8 -1964 The First Mustang
Chap. 9 -1965 Big Changes
Chap. 10 -1966 Beat Goes On
Chap. 11 -1967 Changing Guard
Chap. 12 -1968 428 Cobra Jet
Chap. 13 -1969 Boss 302 & 429
Chap. 14 -1970 429CJ & SCJ
Chap. 15 -1971 Last of Breed
Chap. 16 -1972 - 73 End of Era
This is without a doubt one of the best books about
Ford muscle cars ever written!
Soft bound
8-1/2 x 11
160+ pages
200 b/w photos
100+ color photos
Item #SA25
Price: $Discontinued
Click here to buy now!
This is a book any Ford enthusiast will enjoy to read over and over.
Read the sample pages to learn more.

Other items you might be interested in

Ford Thunderbird Performance Portfolio 1958-1963
The Ford Thunderbird was continually reinvented over the
years to meet the ever changing needs of the American
public. This book contains a collection of road and
comparison tests, model introduction articles, performance
data, consumer analysis reports, touring reviews, design and
specification data, technical study and history for the 1958 to
1963 Thunderbird including convertible, hard top, Sports
Roadster and Sedan. This is a great book and one that any
Thunderbird owner or enthusiast will love. Softbound, 8 x
10.5-inches, 140 pages and over 250 b/w photos.
Ford Thunderbird Performance Portfolio 1958-1963
$ 27.95

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