1964 Ford Galaxie 500 Hard Top

My 9-year-old son was very agitated as I loaded the car. He said “Dad, you can replace any one of the others-this is unique”

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Built by tobacco heir Zachary Reynolds, the “Tobacco King” 1964 Ford Galaxie was as wild an example of a Rocket Drag Axle-equipped car as one could ask for.

Playboy, pilot, ham radio enthusiast, and all-around enfant terrible, Reynolds wanted a car that would terrorize everyone with its appearance, before slamming their senses with a prodigious detonation of Rocket Axle power. The “Tobacco King” certainly fulfilled that mission.

Documented in the 1967 Turbonique product catalog, the Raven Black Galaxie’s original 390 V8 engine was replaced with a 425-horsepower 427 Ford big-block fitted with a rare Latham axial flow supercharger fed by four Carter one-barrel side-draft carburetors. That alone would have been enough for most street racers, but not for Reynolds, who had the differential replaced with an 850-horsepower Turbonique turbine Rocket Drag Axle.

The rest of the car was modified to handle the colossal acceleration, with the frame reinforced and suspension beefed up to handle the torque delivered through the rear axle housing, and ground clearance increased to accommodate the huge turbine housing that shot its rocket exhaust out from underneath the rear bumper.

The car’s visual impact is stunning. From the front, it looks every bit the mid-’60s A/FX racer of the Thunderbolt variety, with dropped suspension, dump tubes, and unpolished American Torq Thrust wheels. The picture is completed by the rear view, where the black Simpson chutepack and twin large-diameter tailpipes draw the eyes down to the rocket axle.

Inside, the Galaxie 500 Hard Tops instruments include gauges to monitor engine rpm, supercharger boost, and the rocket axle. The radio beneath the dash speaks to Reynolds’s passion as a ham operator.

Zachary Reynolds put a total of only 3,611 miles on the car before his death in a 1979 plane crash in North Carolina, after which the car was placed in storage. It is accompanied by early registrations, the owner’s manual, a Turbonique product catalog with photos, Latham Supercharger literature, and Zach’s personal notebook. Completely original, it is in superb condition inside and out.

B. Mitchell Carlson

SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Brian wrote his first auction report for Old Cars Weekly in 1990 and has contributed his colorful commentary in Sports Car Market since 1998. His work appears regularly in Kelley Blue Book, and also in a handful of marque-specific publications. Carlson shuns what he calls “single-marque tunnel vision” and takes great pride in his “vehicular diversity.” He attends about two dozen auctions per year, but he broke away to roar around Oregon with Paul Hardiman in SCM’s Dodge Viper and Porsche 911 Turbo in the 2015 Northwest Passage.

Posted in American