Jim Ring’s Pro Street 1964 Galaxie
With 1,000+ HP on Tap, Jim Ring’s 1964 Galaxie May Be the Ultimate Example of Today’s High-Tech Pro Street Ride
The year 1964 was the peak of postwar glitz and excess. For car guys, it was a golden age, where young hot rodders could afford brand-new American muscle. The Big Three automakers were locked in an apparently endless game of high-stakes cubic-inch poker. Three-deuce or dual-quad carburetion fed cheap high-octane gas (about 30¢ per gallon in 1964) into hungry 12:1- or even 13:1-compression, mechanically cammed engines that were getting bigger by the year.
Ford’s FE big-block engine line included 352s, then 390s, and finally 427s, with increasingly larger heads, eventually culminating in an over-the-counter version sporting hemispherical combustion chambers with valves driven by overhead cams that were so outrageous they were banned by NASCAR. Hell, what red-blooded American hot rodder wouldn’t want to relive those glory days?
Certainly not Jim Ring, an avid collector and enthusiast who’s always looking for that next special ride to add to his eclectic stable of 20-plus classics, hot rods, and exotic sports cars.
One day, a derelict 1964 Galaxie sitting behind a body shop caught his attention. Enquiries were made, and Ring found out it was awaiting restoration; the owner lacked the funds to get it started. Cash was exchanged, and Ring had his hands on a truly classic, mostly intact example of early 1960s Detroit heavy metal.
The car was delivered to Bones Fab (Camarillo, California), a high-end custom car and street rod builder that had worked on some of Ring’s previous projects. The shop has become Ring’s go-to builder. “There I have the right team of people—owner Jim ‘Bones’ Bassett and his crew—who are capable of pulling off these projects. Whatever Jim has done for me, I’ve always been very impressed. He’s not only an
impressive mechanic, but a genuine, downto-earth, nice person.”
Ring, a teenager in the 1960s, wanted a hard-core hot rod representative of that decade—but updated as a “what-if ” manifestation of how heavy metal would be built if it still existed today. The prospective Lord of the Galaxies had to look right, drive right, and be powered right. The engine is a big decision, to a large extent dictating the whole purpose and theme of the exercise. At first, Ring leaned toward a Boss 429 powerplant until shop owner “Bones” Bassett showed him a photo of the rare and exotic 427 SOHC FE big-block. “It got me excited!” Ring recalls. “I had to have one!”
He couldn’t have just any old Cammer. Ring, Bones, hemi expert Lyle Larson, and legendary engine builder Ken Duttweiler put their heads together and developed a plan to build a 482ci, twin-turbo stroker based on Robert Pond’s aftermarket SOHC aluminum FE big-block with a goal of making more than 1,000 hp in daily-driver trim on 91-octane pump gas and as much as 1,500 hp by turning up the boost on race gas. The resurrected dinosaur would run Holley electronic engine management, twin Precision turbos, a huge intercooler, and even have dry-sump oiling. Duttweiler built and tested
the engine, but Bones fabricated the sheetmetal intake manifold, the custom intercooler, all the turbo induction-side air ducts, and the custom headers on the exhaust side that feed the 4-inch exhaust system.
A Precision Industries 10-inch triple-disc lockup converter with a 3,200-rpm stall speed couples a CRC Transmissions–built GM 4L80 automatic to the engine. Even the stout 4L80 needed more beef to live behind this engine. CRC’s mods included billet input and output shafts and five-gear planetaries. Shifts are handled by a Winters gate-style shifter.
A stout DriveshaftPro 3.5-inch-od x 0.120-wall steel driveshaft with 1350 U-joints hooks the trans to a fabricated Currie Pro 9 rearend that turns gigantic Mickey Thompson 33x22-20 Sportsman Street Radial tires on KWC 20x15 custom wheels. Planting the rear is a unique Bones-fabbed three-link suspension system consisting of two lower control arms plus an upper Y-shaped wishbone that keeps the rearend centered, essentially performing the same function as a Panhard bar but saving space to clear the Bones-built, 22-gallon aluminum gas tank. To clear the big meats and hang the suspension Bones built a custom 2x4-inch, 0.134-wall box-tubing rear frame stub that connect to main frame rails built from
0.187-inch-wall, 3x5-inch, box-tube.
Extending four feet out from the custom main frame is a thoroughly modern front suspension based on an Art Morrison front clip. The front 26x8-18 Mickey Thompsons on 18x7 KWCs bolt to Wilwood Pro spindles that are steered by a Detroit Speed Mustang II rack-and-pinion unit powered by a Saginaw Type 2 pump. Bringing the 4,300-pound freight train to a halt requires clamping down on big Wilwood 14-inch disc brake rotors with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, all energized by a Hydratech Hydra-Boost hydraulic brake assist system mounted under the floorboard that’s actuated by a Bones Fab brake pedal and linkage. (The throttle pedal is a factory Ford drive-by-wire unit.)
RideTech springs combine with JRI Shocks hydraulic coilover shocks front and rear to vary suspension stiffness and vehicle ride height plus or minus 2.5 inches. Explains Bones, “The coilovers have a builtin hydraulic reservoir at the bottom of each coilover controlled by a trunk-mounted pump, just like a new Porsche or Ferrari.”
Controlling this beast requires a functional as well as comfortable cockpit. Owner Ring is ensconced in leatherwrapped, carbon-fiber Corbeau bucket seats secured by a Crow Enterprises safety harness. Bones built a custom dash around a Dakota Digital VHX gauge panel. JB Auto Upholstery took on the task of upholstering the entire interior and door panels using high-end leather, Mercedes carpet material, and engine-turned aluminum inserts. When he drives through the car’s feeble competitors, Ring uses full protection: namely, a Bones-built rollcage built out of 15/8-inch x 0.134-inch-wall, DOM mild-steel tubing.
Lastly, there’s Bones’ flawless paint and bodywork. Except for the hood and trunklid, the body remains all metal, though Bones replaced both quarter-panels. “The all-metal bumpers remain, but for the streamlined look, I tucked them in tight and shaved the driprails as well,” Bones says. Don Argo at Decore Plating matched the Galaxie’s side trim to the KWC wheels unique “titanium-chrome” appearance.
The end result is not just a car that only lords it over all other Galaxies, but may be the most sanitary example of the 21st-century evocation of Pro Street excess we’ve encountered. It’s certainly the people’s choice: Finally finished in late 2017 after
21/2 years of construction, as of May 2018, the stealthy black Galaxie had already captured the Ultimate Pro Street class at the Grand National Roadster Show (Pomona, California) and the World’s Ultimate Ford award at Mopars and Musclecars on the Strip (Las Vegas)—with more to come.
“I was hoping for a stealth look, and Bones and crew more than delivered. I can’t thank them enough. The sound of that Cammer engine—it’s the sound of music,” Ring says.
“The car is so sleek and sounds fantastic. It’s a piece of art, a piece of jewelry.”
— Jim Ring, Owner
01] Ken Duttweiler’s SOHC 482ci Ford FE big-block develops 956 lb-ft of torque and 1,045 hp on 91-octane fuel. For details, see the June 2018 issue of HRM. 02] Based on an Art Morrison clip designed for Tri-Five Chevys, the front-end uses tubular control arms, JRC coilovers, and a Mustang II rack-and-pinion. CRC built the 4L80 trans. 03] Over the pristine bodywork is a PPG basecoat/clearcoat enamel applied by Bones’ Fab painter Brian Rasori. The body is deep black and the roof a metallic charcoal.
01] Corbeau Kevlar carbon-fiber racing buckets were clad in high-end Italian leather by JB Auto Upholstery. Bones Fab designed and installed the mild-steel rollcage.02] JB Auto Upholstery outfitted the interior and door panels. The plush black carpeting is the same material used by Mercedes. A Lecarra wheel steers a Flaming River column.03] A center console compartment hides aUSB charging port plus seven rocker switches: starter, ignition, accessory, headlights, hydraulic coilover shocks up/down, and two spares. John Baechtel 04] Bones’ 2-inch stainless headers feed twin Precision turbos, one per side. They’re the only “mufflers,” dumping directly into 4-inch pipes all the way back.05] Bones fabbed dimple-die steel trusses to tie the rollcage into the windshield A-pillers. The passenger-side mirror is Eckler’s mirror-image copy of a standard driver-side Galaxie unit. 06] Bones’ rear suspension sports dual lower control arms with an upper three-point wishbone. It’s efficient within the frame constraints. Huge Wilwood brakes pull out all the stops.07] Supported by Bassett’s custom-built rear suspension, a fabricated Currie Pro 9 rearend with 3.70:1 gears and a 35-spline Detroit Locker plants giant Mickey Thompson tires.