Bruce & Judy Ricks' 1963 Ford Galaxie
Steve Cook Creations is making hot rods great again
People love old cars. A vintage automobile garners waves and thumbs up on the road and starts conversations at fuel stops; they conjure up fond memories and lay the foundation for friendships. Classics are hotter than ever, though part of this current old-car binge is lost on me; if people love these cars, why do they change everything about them? And I’m not just talking late model engine transplants, I mean extreme changes to the interior, suspension (if not the entire chassis), plus intense body modifications. How much of the allegedly loved classic is left? Bruce and his wife Judy Ricks are old-car people, and they are content to let them be just that.
There is a lot to love about the 1963, or ’63 ½ to be exact, Ford Galaxie. Long, low and wide, it’s no wonder these cars did well on dragstrips and oval tracks in their heyday. The fins were gone by the early ‘60s, but the big round taillights remained, giving the competition something to focus on. As such, when Bruce wheeled this full-size flyer into Steve Cook Creations (SCC) in OKC, it was decided early on that the stock style and trim were going to stay as FoMoCo intended. The fitment was dialed in though, righting the wrongs that come with mass-produced sheetmetal. Panel alignment and gaps were massaged with patient hands until each segment flowed into the next. Jon Wright’s CustomChrome brought the trim back to new condition, while the final body work and paint was handled in house at SCC. Axalta supplied the forest green paint, giving the look of black with a bit more interest.
The underpinnings received a thorough once-over; cleaning up, rebuilding and perfecting what Ford provided. If there’s anything SCC is good at, it’d be mirror-like bodies and A-1 stance. This Galaxie is no exception, sitting electrifyingly low over 15” steelies. Fifteens! The tires are custom BFG radials in just the right sizes with a classic redline stripe. Dog dish caps finish things off and leave the admirer unsure what year it is; the rolling stock is timeless.
Speaking of giving away details, the big black shift knob and trio of pedals do nothing to conceal the T-56 Magnum transmission strapped to the back of the FE. That being said, what good is a muscle car without a stick shift anyway? The rest of the interior is as tame and classy as the exterior. Sculpt Garage covered nearly everything in leather, keeping all that glorious ‘60s brightwork intact. It’s so well done that you can hardly tell it is not showroom fresh. Tunes are courtesy of Kicker, and the instrumentation in the 1963 Mercury dash is straight from the Dakota Digital custom shop. How many of you missed the dash? It’s kind of OEM custom, making something that wasn’t from parts that were.
Another facet of the custom car scene in 2018 that I don’t understand is running oneself ragged to finish a vehicle, bring it to a handful of shows only to sell it shortly after completion. I think if you’re in the classic car world only to sell, you’re doing it for the wrong reason and likely not putting in the amount of heart, creativity and attention to detail that is deserved. The Ricks’ debuted their new Ford at the Detroit Autorama just last month and have many more shows scheduled, including the Hot Rod Power Tour. The 496 and T-56 will prove to be an unbeatable duo on the open road I’m sure, and you can bet that this Galaxie isn’t just a flash-in-the-pan for them, but rather a heartfelt custom that stirs something deep inside.