Just the Facts
Model: Galaxie 500 XL
Owner: Vic Buraglio
With the vintage Galaxie nameplates added to the valve covers, it looks like Ford could ha
The 2011 Ford Racing Performance Parts 5.0L Coyote crate engine was backed to a Ford 5R55S automatic five-speed transmission that was borrowed from an 2006 Mustang. The original Galaxie shifter was modified to work with the newer trans, and a Hall Brothers Racing driveshaft was also used. A SPAL electric fan works in conjunction with a Performance Rod & Custom radiator, which features a custom auxiliary tank. BBT also fab'd the titanium-coated, mandrel-bent, 2-1/2-inch exhaust system, which extracts gases to a set of 40 Series Flowmaster mufflers.
New sheetmetal covers the fenderwell area of the engine bay, and vintage Galaxie nameplates were used on the engine and valve covers to bring the two generations together. Turn Key Engine Supply provided the serpentine belt system for the engine's accessories, and the oil, radiator, and overflow tank caps were all newly machined.
The 1963½ Galaxies had two major trim pieces running down the side of the car—one from the front of the door to just below the taillight, and the other running from the headlight to taillight through the door handles. For Vic's car, both pieces were removed, but a lower trim piece was reproduced in billet aluminum and reattached after it was shortened to the middle of the door. Mirrors from a 1964 were also added, and all of the car's exterior badging was shaved.
Both Stallmeyer and BBT did the necessary bodywork on the car, but it was Stallmeyer who ended up painting it black with PPG materials. From there the car went back to BBT for final assembly, which included adding the billet aluminum taillight rings that were made to replicate the originals. Any chrome or stainless steel on the cars was either polished or painted PPG Gray at BBT.
For the interior, BBT created a smooth dash piece that runs from side to side that isn't cluttered with knobs, ashtrays, or a radio. Classic Instruments built a custom gauge that fits inside the original cluster's space, and Kicker stereo gear is well hidden throughout the interior. Air conditioning comes from a Vintage Air system while steering is handled by an American Retro wheel that replicates the 18-inch original in a smaller 15-inch diameter. To get all of the car's electronics to work together, an American Autowire kit was used for the chassis harness, Ford Racing for the engine harness, and Powertrain Control Solutions for the transmission harness.
Ross Johns Upholstery stitched up the red leather interior for the Galaxie, reshaping the
When you bought the Galaxie XL, that meant you'd get the front bucket seats and a console, which is what Ross Johns Upholstery (also in Champaign) used as a base to start, then reshaped and refoamed the seats before covering them in Italian red leather. After scratchbuilding the rear seat, he laid out contrasting charcoal-colored square-weave carpet, which complemented the seat trim and console pieces that were painted gray.
Once finished, Vic could stand back and take in his new/old car. Though there was a slight misstep near the end of the build when he decided to change the powerplant (thus requiring the chassis to be reworked as well), he's still happy with the result. It's a car he can currently take anywhere in the country and still be able to relive a portion of his youth, and he says there's nothing that he'd change on the car, and we'd have to agree with him.
Like many hot rodders, as soon as Vic Buraglio got his driver's license he went out and bought his first car. That was in 1960 but, in February 1963, Vic was driving by the Ford dealership and saw a 1963½ Galaxie and he had to stop and look.
In 1963 Ford had introduced its Fastback design for its Galaxie line, which was to aid the car's aerodynamics, as the cars were a favorite in NASCAR racing. But halfway through the year, the boxy shape of the standard roofline was replaced with a Sports hardtop design, which gave the vehicle the appearance of a convertible (complete with metal "ribs" to emulate a convertible top's skeleton). The design was wildly popular, and Ford sold a lot of 1963½ Galaxies because of it, and one of them—a red-on-red version with a 390 backed to a three-speed manual with overdrive—was bought by Vic. His buddies gave him a hard time for driving a Ford rather than a Chevy but, even though he liked his car, Vic says he didn't appreciate the classic look of it at the time.
By 1969 Vic and his wife, Bonnie, were married and his interest was soon geared more toward his livelihood, but he never lost interest in vehicles from the muscle car era. By the time Vic turned 55, he had sold his company and became semi-retired, and he needed what he call a "Plan B"—something to keep himself busy. Because his interest in cars from the 1960s had never faded, he decided he'd purchase or build three muscle cars that he had owned in the 1960s.
A vintage Galaxie shifter was used, and a 15-inch American Retro steering wheel replaces t
The Galaxie was the first one up, and he had found a 500 for sale on eBay in North Carolina for $2,500. Vic bought the car and found out, after it was delivered to his shop, that it was in worse shape than what he'd originally thought, and too far gone to build a nice car. Vic tracked down a 500 XL in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, which wasn't too far from his home in Champaign, Illinois. This one was only $2,000 and in better shape than the first one, so he purchased it and brought it home.
Vic had hooked up with Greg Stallmeyer, a car builder who runs GS Customs out of Champaign, and together they contacted Carter Hickman Designs (in St. Louis, Missouri) to get some of their ideas down on paper, which hopefully would prevent any deviation of the concept during the build. Hickman put pen to paper, cleaned up the car's lines, and updated areas that needed a new look. The car was to be built using the stock frame, and a 390 FE motor would provide the power.
But as the car was going together, Vic read an article covering Ford's new 5.0L Coyote engine and felt that it was the right powerplant for his Galaxie. He also contacted Troy Gudgel of BBT Fabrications, which is also based in Champaign. BBT specializes in vehicles with advanced suspension and chassis needs, and Vic made the decision to not only go with the new Coyote-based powerplant but to have BBT create a chassis to accommodate the new drivetrain.
Work began on the new chassis by adding an Art Morrison Enterprises C6 IFS clip to the original chassis, then boxing the rest of the stock frame. Out back a Moser 9-inch (4.10:1) with 31-spline axles went in along with a torque arm–based rear suspension. The rear also uses Aldan coilover shocks and Watts linkage, along with a set of Wilwood disc brakes. Billet Specialties 17x8 and 18x10 Bonneville G wheels were shod with Nitto 555 rubber (245/45-17 and 295/45-18) from Diamond Back Tires that feature a vintage-looking redline accent.