Sanctioned by NASCAR but open to USAC and FIA drivers as well, the 500 mile Riverside stock car race was a milestone in all respects. First, it was a worthwhile win for international star Dan Gurney since it paid over $13,000 – the largest purse he had ever won! The race also attracted a record 52,500 spectators after “bombing” at the turnstiles in the previous two years. This win was also a resounding one for the 63 ½ Galaxie, North Carolina’s Holman & Moody and also the LaFayette, North Carolina Ford dealer/sponsor.
Of course, there was nothing standard underneath this standard looking Galaxie. A closer look reveals big racing rubber on 8" rims, straps on the rear window and a very strong roll cage. Holman & Moody’s modifications include the strengthened and gusseted frame, dual shock absorbers, HD springs, sway bars, spindles and bearings. The 427 CID engines are highly tuned. In fact, as long as all the Factory options were listed and available to Ford dealer customers, they were legal for racing.
This race was a Dan Gurney show from beginning to end. He qualified on the pole with a 1.37.67 at a 99.4 mph average, about a second quicker than Fred Lorenzen in another Ford but well ahead of Pontiac’s Paul Goldsmith at 1.39.1. Gurney checked out the opposition in third until he moved into the lead on lap 43 of the 185-lap race, never losing it except for the inevitable shuffles during his five pit stops. Gurney’s main competition – Lorenzen, Parnelli Jones, Goldsmith and Fireball Roberts all faded with car problems, leaving AJ Foyt’s Pontiac in second with Troy Ruttman’s 63 ½ Mercury being scored third overall at the end.
After the 1963 season, the Holman & Moody Ford began its inevitable descent through the lower ranks of racing as the top teams had to field newer model year machines. A Douglas Copper of North Carolina is shown on the car’s AACA Class 24-A Certification as a previous owner, but records and VIN numbers from that early era are, at best, sketchy. When the remains were found, Lee Holman was able to identify its C3/HM 1004 number as the Dan Gurney Riverside winner. A letter from him dated June 2nd, 2006, which confirms its status, is part of the car’s extensive files.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
450+ hp, 427 cu. in. Ford NASCAR V8 engine, four-speed Ford top-loader transmission, 9-inch Ford rear, Full Holman-Moody NASCAR preparation including HD frame, suspension, brakes, wheels and driver safety equipment. Wheelbase: 119"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel