In 1964, Ford made history in a peculiar way: they launched the Galaxie 427 SOHC, an engine that was so powerful the NASCAR banned it… before the engine even made it to the track.
At the time, the Ford Galaxie 427 SOHC was a beast so powerful it would have blown everything else out of the track (pun intended) if it was allowed to race. So, how did Ford make an engine this powerful?
In the early sixties, Ford was embroiled in a battle with Chrysler for domination of NASCAR. In 1964, Ford had edged out Chrysler with its 427 Hi-Riser engine.
To counter them, Chrysler released the Chrysler 426 HEMI engine, powering a car that beat Ford at the Daytona 500. But that wasn’t all; HEMI-powered cars took up all podium places in the same race.
Ford refused to remain silent at this challenge. They built the potentially game-changing 427 SOHC, which used “Hemi-head” pistons and a forged steel crankshaft.
Based on the 427 Hi-Riser short block, the SOHC had a single overhead crankshaft which was placed over every cylinder head–which were fully machined and redesigned.
The camshaft inside the engine was replaced by an idler shaft which drove the oil pump and distributor. And the results were a powerful beast. The Ford 427 Cammer churned out 627 horsepower with a single four-barrel carburetor. With dual four-barrel carburetors, it produced 657 horsepower.
With this, the 427 SOHC became among the most powerful engines made in the sixties. And Ford hand-built it in just 90 days.
The Chrysler camp refused to let Ford have their way. They staged protests, and NASCAR ended up threatening Ford with significant handicaps on Cammer-powered Ford Galaxies. Eventually, they banned the engine completely from participating, before it had even started.
Even though this was a let-down, Ford didn’t stop production of the engine. In the drag racing circuit, the engine achieved continued success until the 1970s. Today, you can only view the Cammer in select drag races.