The Ford Galaxie 500 holds a special place in the hearts of NASCAR enthusiasts. It represents a glorious era in the history of stock car racing, where power, speed, and American muscle reigned supreme.
This iconic vehicle, hand-built by Ford, became a force to be reckoned with on the track, and one particular Galaxie 500, known as the “Hammer” Mason No. 87, etched its name in the annals of racing history.
In this article, we delve into the captivating story of the Ford Galaxie 500 and its remarkable journey in NASCAR.
Origins of NASCAR
Before we dive into the tale of the Galaxie 500, let’s take a quick look at the origins of NASCAR itself.
Founded in 1948 by Bill France, an auto mechanic with a passion for racing, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) quickly gained popularity across America.
The competition was fierce, and the cars were as wild and powerful as ever. NASCAR became a platform for automakers to showcase their products and boost showroom sales.
The Golden Era of the 1960s
The 1960s marked a significant turning point for NASCAR, with the emergence of legendary drivers and manufacturers joining the field.
American auto manufacturers like Ford seized the opportunity to leverage NASCAR to enhance their brand image and increase sales.
Ford’s global marketing and advertising campaign, “Ford Total Performance,” capitalized on their presence in motorsport, highlighting the performance and appeal of their production cars.
The Birth of the “Hammer” Mason No. 87
In the midst of this motorsport revolution, Jim “Hammer” Mason, aftermarket performance-products manager at Dearborn Steel Tubing (DST), had a burning desire to go stock car racing.
Ford, recognizing the potential, provided Mason with a hand-built 1963½ Galaxie 500 for his racing endeavors.
This particular Galaxie 500 was a prototype used for testing assembly-line processes and was featured in Ford sales brochures.
The Transformation into a Fierce Racer
Mason’s Galaxie 500 underwent a series of modifications to transform it into a formidable racing machine. Collaborating with Ford engineers and utilizing his fabrication and engine-building skills, Mason made significant improvements.
One of his notable contributions was the design of the “batwing” air cleaner, which increased the car’s top speed.
However, its effectiveness led NASCAR to eventually outlaw it. With its striking red-white-and-blue paint scheme, the Galaxie 500 stood out both on the show stand and the starting grid.
Triumphs on the Track
The Hammer Mason No. 87 Galaxie 500 made its mark in NASCAR history with its impressive performances on the track.
In the 1966 Daytona-Permatex 300 race, Curtis Turner, a renowned driver and owner of Charlotte Motor Speedway, piloted the car to a first-place finish.
The following years saw other talented drivers like Bobby Allison and Donnie Allison take the wheel, achieving notable finishes.
A Unique Survivor
After its racing career, many race cars fade into obscurity or are repurposed. However, the Hammer Mason No. 87 Galaxie 500 defied the odds and remained intact.
It retains its original paint, interior, racing seat, Stewart-Warner gauges, seatbelts, asbestos flooring, and even the original tape on the steering wheel.
The racing tires from Donnie Allison’s 1969 run still adorn this remarkable piece of stock car history. The car’s authenticity and significance are evident in its documentation.
Enduring Fame and Recognition
The fame of the Hammer Mason No. 87 Galaxie 500 extended far beyond its racing days. Its iconic appearance inspired a Racing Collectables Legend Series model, released in 1991.
In 2001, it was showcased at the Ford Racing Centennial celebration and even starred in a Ford Motorcraft TV commercial, driven by Ford’s first NASCAR champion, Ned Jarrett. This car’s legacy continues to captivate enthusiasts and collectors alike.
The Galaxie’s Availability
This piece of stock car history, the Hammer Mason No. 87 Galaxie 500, is currently being offered for sale at Collectors Garage, a trusted destination for automotive enthusiasts and collectors.
With its rich heritage, originality, and period documentation, this Galaxie 500 carries an asking price of $125,000. It is a rare opportunity to own a piece of NASCAR history that made its mark on the tracks of Daytona.
The Ford Galaxie 500, particularly the Hammer Mason No. 87, holds a special place in the realm of NASCAR.
Its iconic status, thrilling performances, and enduring legacy have solidified its position as a true racing legend. As this remarkable piece of stock car history seeks a new owner, the opportunity to own a slice of NASCAR heritage awaits.
The Galaxie 500 continues to fascinate enthusiasts, reminding us of the glorious days when American muscle ruled the racetracks.