Having raced and repaired classic vehicles since he was a teenager, Alan Hutcheson pined over a beautiful 1963.5 Ford Galaxie for years before he was able to take ownership of it in 2022.
Hutcheson has worked in the auto repair industry for most of his life, but it was his neighbor who first got him involved in drag racing. “My love of cars started at the early age of three years old,” says the Mississippi native, now 50. “My next-door neighbor had a black 1961 Ford Starliner and I loved that car.”
It was a different neighbor, though, who helped Hutcheson find his affection for racing, as that man owned a 1966 Ford Falcon and took the then 10-year-old boy to the local drag strips. “I was hooked at that point,” he confesses.
In 1985, Hutcheson purchased a 1967 Ford Mustang which he drove to high school and college, and which he often raced on the weekends; he still owns the pony and is in the process of building it into an autocross competition car. “I own a black ’61 Starliner, too, just like my neighbor had, and I also owned a 1951 Ford F1 and a 1974 F100,” says the Ford fan who clearly loves his classics.
While working with legendary, wildly successful land speed racer George Poteet of Speed Demon Racing in 2014, Hutcheson was attending the FE Race and Reunion in Beaver Springs, Pennsylvania, and immediately fell head over heels in love with a stunning head-turner.
“As soon as we got out of the truck, George [Poteet] bought this car from Dave Rockwell out of Michigan. It was built to look like a race car and had lots of great parts included,” recalls Hutcheson, who loved the look of the car and the quality of the work that had already been done — so much that he knew he had to have it for himself. “Ever since that day, I had been trying to buy the car from George.”
In February of 2022, Hutcheson’s dreams finally came true when he and Poteet struck a deal and negotiated the sale of the gorgeous Galaxie. “I have been happy ever since,” proclaims the car’s latest owner.
After bringing home his long-awaited prize, Hutcheson and his friend, Frank Murrell, removed the four-speed transmission and instead installed a C6 automatic from TCI Automotive as Hutcheson had planned to go index racing and wanted something a bit more consistent along for the ride.
Next, he headed to nearby Southern Speed Racing in Tupelo, Mississippi, to have a roll bar installed. SSR also added an upgraded fuel system, drag radial tires, and spent plenty of time getting the car tuned up and ready to race.
Fortunately, much of the Galaxie’s previous work was up to par in Hutcheson’s eyes and he chose to keep plenty of the existing equipment.
Under the hood, the 1963.5 icon of Ford history is powered by what was once a 390 cubic inch FE engine but has since been bumped up to 445 cubes with a 4.060-inch bore and 4.250-inch stroke courtesy of Barry Rabotnick at Survival Motorsports in Michigan.
Running in a naturally-aspirated configuration and at a compression ratio of 10.1:1, the engine internals include Diamond pistons, Scat connecting rods, a Scat crankshaft, and a COMP Cams hydraulic camshaft. To ensure everything stays lubricated exactly as intended, a Melling high-volume oil pump was installed along with a Milodon pan.
Survival Motorsports also built the aluminum Edelbrock cylinder heads and fitted each with Dove Manufacturing rocker arms. Between the twin banks sits an Edelbrock intake manifold which inhales the atmosphere after having been filtered through a Holman Moody air cleaner.
The incoming air is mixed with fuel that’s supplied by an Edelbrock pump and flowed through a Holley regulator. Next, the MSD ignition box gets the party going via the Mallory coil, MSD distributor, and Champion spark plugs and Taylor plug wires before all the exhaust gasses are expelled via a set of Ford Powertrain Applications (FPA) headers with 3-inch exhaust and Borla mufflers.
Knowing he would be running in nostalgia-style drag classes, Hutcheson kept the stock control arms in place as well as the stock front springs, stock steering box, stock rear brakes, and other factory components. The Ford had received only minor updates over the years, such as stainless steel front brakes, Lakewood front shocks, KYB rear shocks, and Calvert Racing’s famed CalTrac traction bars to enhance the split monoleaf rear springs.
It was the Galaxie’s appearance that first caught Hutcheson’s eye, and the four coats of PPG Tucson Yellow paint sprayed by Dave Rockwell – as well as the car’s Crites Performance Parts fiberglass hood and bumpers – were all perfect as-is with no need for modification.
Inside, Hutcheson’s showpiece was outfitted with customized Econoline seats and RaceQuip safety harnesses. Much of the original appearance was retained in order to pay homage to the Ford’s history, but a FireAde fire suppression system was neatly integrated in case of emergency. “Other interior modifications include Holman Moody gauges, and a rear package tray and seat delete from Steel Rose Metal Co. in Memphis, Tennessee,” says Hutcheson.
Having invested countless hours into the build, the results were a combination of efforts from shops and supporters including Survival, Southern Speed, Steel Rose, Nautical Whimsey, Jo’s Cafe, Tag Truck Center, and individuals such as Poteet, Murrell, Daryl Nelson, and Zach Straits.
Hutcheson is thrilled with the overall look of his vintage Ford Galaxie and with how much fun the car is to both drive and race. He has raced everywhere from Mississippi to Pennsylvania and Indianapolis and back, but has been busy sorting out a few small bugs to keep the car as consistent as possible.
In 2022, he also began competing in the Nostalgia Super Stock category of the NMCA and cut one impressive, perfect 0.000 light so far with his River City Ford-liveried entry. “I’m hoping to win my class soon, and possibly a championship with the NMCA,” he adds. “I launch around 2,200 rpm and shift at 6,000 rpm and the car practically drives itself.”
With approximately 500 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque available at his beck and call, Hutcheson has run a personal best elapsed time of 12.21-seconds in the 1/4-mile with a top speed of 109.9 mph and a quickest 1.76-second 60-foot time; he also acts as his own engine tuner and is careful to calibrate the car’s combination to his exact requirements.
Looking ahead, he plans to continue with the NMCA series and possibly attend some Sick Week drag-and-drive style events, as well. None of the action, though, would be possible without the support of Hutcheson’s wife, Amy, who “puts up with this crazy habit” and Poteet for first finding the 1963.5 Ford Galaxie and for also being so supportive of letting it go to Hutcheson’s home instead.
Car: 1963.5 Ford Galaxie
Engine: 445 cubic inch Ford
Cylinder Heads: Edelbrock aluminum by Survival Motorsports
Power Adder: none, naturally aspirated
Transmission: TCI C6 automatic
Torque Converter: PTC 10”
Suspension: Lakewood front shocks, KYB rear shocks, Calvert Racing CalTrac traction bars
Brakes: stainless (front), stock (rear)
Wheels: Wheel Vintiques
Tires: Hoosier (front), Mickey Thompson Pro Bracket Radials (rear)
Quickest E.T.: 12.21-seconds
Fastest MPH: 109.9 mph
Best 60′: 1.76-seconds