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My 1963 Ford Galaxie


It is low, long, wide and the interior is as big as all outdoors. It is softly sprung, and rides elegantly over potholes and speedhumps. Power steering eases the task of negotiating the blue car through traffic. Power drum brakes attempt to retard progress. The regulation V8, a mammoth 6.4 litre unit, powers the rear wheels through a 'CruisOmatic' transmission.

Peter has owned the Ford for 43 years and it is his daily driver. The Galaxie's first few years on the roads are a bit of a mystery. There is a legend that someone attempted to drive the car off the end of the Frankston pier in Melbourne. Whatever the Ford's early life, it first came into Peter's orbit when the second owner, the son of a mate, inserted the car under a truck. The young guy lost interest in fixing it so Peter obtained the car, gave it the once over and has been driving it ever since.

Inside the Galaxie there is easily room for six adults. Eight can fit in if they are good friends. The futuristic dashboard is a glittering array of bright diecast fittings and sharp knobs set against an emerald blue steel facia. The steering wheel is deeply dished, as was the style in 1963.The horn rim stretches two thirds of the way around the inside of the wheel. You cannot miss it.

Peter's Galaxie is distinguished by its continental tyre kit at the rear of the car. Constructed by Peter's son Frank, a decade ago, the distinctive addition draws comments where ever the car is parked. Frank is also in the process of restoring a '63 Galaxie convertible. When it is finished it will be black with a red interior.

The 1963 Galaxie is a rare automobile in Australia. Very few were imported and converted right hand drive by Ford. Peter and Frank believe that their Galaxie is only one of seven or eight sold by Ford in 1963. Ford in the USA used the '63 Galaxie (and Lotus Cortina) to spearhead its return to global motorsport under the evocative banner of 'Total Performance'.

They created a fast back coupe, gave it a 7 litre V8, had Holman and Moody work their magic on the motor and suspension and started winning on road and oval tracks. Drivers such as Sir Jack Brabham, Dan Gurney, Jim Clark, Fred Lorenzen, Jack Sears and Sir Gawaine Baillie all spent time in a Galaxie. A couple of '63s found their way out to Australia. Len Lukey, Lex Davidson and Norm Beechey manhandled them around our tracks. It must have been an awesome sight!

David Burrell is the editor of www.retroautos.com.au